Unpopular Opinion Tag (Films)

unpopular-opinionfilm-tagRichard at The Humpo Show has tagged me to get involved in this Unpopular Opinion Tag (Films edition), and I thought it would be great fun since I have to pick three films generally loved by most people, but which I find undeserving of all the hype and explain my choices. Thanks again, Richard!

In particular, the rules are as follows:

  1. Pick three movies which most people like, except you;
  2. Tag a minimum of five (or more) other people;
  3. Thank the person who has tagged you.

So, without further ado, I pick American Beauty (1999), Dead Poets Society (1989) and The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Be warned, SPOILERS ahead

4e5d899fb6d6955af67044f6ced65cecI. American Beauty (1999)

IMDb score: 8.4; Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%. 

I am a fan of Sam Mendes (see Revolutionary Road (2008) and Skyfall (2012)), but American Beauty is just far from being a great film everyone thinks it is. The film is just a pretentious and self-indulgent portrayal of a middle-class family life in suburban USA. It may appeal to the audience because of its strong performances, alluring direction and cinematography, and its beautiful soundtrack, but its self-conscious, manipulative play with one melodramatic narrative leaves much to be desired, and all of its characters are unlikable. Through the narrative of our already dead protagonist, middle-aged Lester, American Beauty looks at the example of a middle-class suburban life cynically, romanticising the exploitation and commodification of female bodies, the maniac and perverted pursuit of underage girls, and the use of drugs, among other things. The film thinks Lester, played by Kevin Spacey, is another Great Gatsby, who died being misunderstood by everyone and because of some unfortunate series of events. In fact, the film glorifies a protagonist who is abusive and manipulative, and that is only too happy to gain and exploit the attention of young girls to satisfy his own sexual needs (Lester Burnham is an anagram of Humbert learns (from Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita). Though some of its scenes are entertaining, the film’s overall self-importance is just laughable, and the messages its sends are, if not shocking, then definitely very tasteless.


II. Dead Poets Society (1989)

IMDb score: 8.0; Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%. 

Peter Weir (The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)) has crafted a film about a group of teenage boys under the welcoming and “liberating” influence of their English teacher, Professor Keating (Robin Williams), at the prestigious private school. Williams gives a powerful performance, but the script is filled with so much self-conscious sentimentality that the film becomes dull, predictable and, finally, unbelievable. In the film, Professor Keating employs unconventional teaching methods, including instilling in young minds the carpe diem (seize the day) motto, and the want to jump on tables. However, the whole film’s approach often slides into incessant lecturing of its audience. It is not only the group of boys in the film, whose minds and sentiments are being moulded, the film manipulatively attempts to provoke emotions from the audience, but does so so very overtly and clumsily, that the whole outcome is ridiculous and overbearing. However, this is only part of this film’s problem. It is disturbing the way Dead Poets Society romanticises suicide. We all know of Goethe’s hero or other medieval poets who may have committed suicide, in despair, to escape their misery. However, here, when Neil commits his suicide (because he cannot go against his father’s will), his action is neither romantic nor brave…nor even desperate. If anything, the film suggests that victimising yourself by killing yourself is a beautiful method to show mankind your true fighting spirit – in case one’s father disagrees with one’s choice of profession. The film is both ludicrous in its dramatisation and gross in its messages. 

cabin-in-the-woods-posterIII. The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

IMDb score: 7.0; Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%. 

This film is about a group of teenagers who venture into countryside in search of thrills and entertainment, and who encounter some scares along the way, or, at least, that is what it looks like at first glance. I will not go into the detail exploration of the film’s satire on all other horror films made, nor on its “intelligent” twist. All that I will say is that the film is neither genuinely scary, nor genuinely funny…nor “genuinely” clever for that matter. The lovers of “true” horror will find “horror” in The Cabin in the Woods at first cliché and then very much expected, and, therefore, not scary; and those after amusement, must find sequences in this film so ridiculous that they are sad, rather than funny. Moreover, the ending is underwhelming and too self-assured. It elicits surprise, but also annoyance. All in all, The Cabin in the Woods is a silly, “part-this, part-that” mess. It can even be described as a crash-course for dummies on metaphysics and horror satire, whatever you choose, and even its originality is questionable as it combines previously done horror flicks with The Truman Show (1998)-twist. 

Finally, I tag these five awesome bloggers:

  1. Jason’s Movie Blog
  2. Jade’s The Ü (Reviews & Stories)
  3. Let’s Go to the Movies 
  4. MIB
  5. Renate’s Popcorn & Film

Be free to get involved even if you have not been tagged, or share your opinion on the movies above or your own choices below! 


21 Comments Add yours

  1. Great list — my top 3 would be “Lord of the Rings” (all of them, doesn’t matter which film), “Titanic,” and “Inside Out.” People love ’em and I can’t stand any of ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dbmoviesblog says:

      Thank you, your list is also interesting. I have to say I agree with you on “The Lord of the Rings”: every time I sit to watch the first film, I cannot even get to the middle because I get so bored. Also, “Titanic” is, of course, over-hyped to certain extent. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never watched Dead Poet’s Society purely because it just doesn’t grab my attention enough. Haven’t and won’t see Cabin in the Woods as I am a big chicken when it comes to horror. And, American Beauty…I’m with you on that.


    1. dbmoviesblog says:

      Well, The Cabin in the Woods isn’t that scary, rather it shows off itself as that ingenious movie, but, in all honest, is really just ridiculous. I am sorry that I have watched it. I am glad you agree on me on American Beauty!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Richard says:

    Thanks for joining in the tag!

    American Beauty failed to live up to the hype for me, especially as it is billed as a classic.

    I do like Dead Poets Society though, but I understand the glamourizing of suicide part you speak of. It was almost to teach his dad a lesson, a lesson that the son will never know if it made a difference.

    Cabin in the Woods is a film I haven’t watched and it isn’t high on my list for films to watch next.


    1. dbmoviesblog says:

      I think Williams was incredible in Dead Poets. That one was another career defining role for him. It is curious that he was also in another film called Seize the Day (1986), I never watched that one though.


      1. Richard says:


        I never knew that. It might have been a phase he was going through? I’ll have a little look on Wikipedia..

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I also am not that big on Dead Poets Society.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sgliput says:

    Good choices. I’ve not seen American Beauty or Cabin in the Woods, but from what I’ve heard, I’d probably feel the same way as you. I really liked Dead Poets Society, but something I couldn’t quite pin down kept me from counting it among my favorites, and I think you nailed it: the suicide. It would have been a better film without that element. (By the way, in reference to the movie Seize the Day you mentioned, it’s absolutely awful, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Don’t bother.)
    I’m actually about to post my own list of overrated movies so this was a neat coincidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dbmoviesblog says:

      Thanks. I gathered as much with Seize the Day. If we do not know about it, it is usually not good at all. I am looking forward to your overrated movies post.


      1. sgliput says:

        That was definitely the case there. Ugh, that movie still makes me angry. I’ve got the overrated list up now.


  6. Lloyd Marken says:

    I remember Roger Ebert not having much of a positive opinion of Dead Poets Society either. Whether I agree or not I enjoyed this post. Always good to come at things from another perspective.


  7. alexraphael says:

    Always find these interesting.


  8. The Otaku Judge says:

    I suspect many people like The Cabin in the Woods due to the twist they weren’t expecting. I have had the reveal spoiled so I don’t think the film would have much of an impression on me either.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Totally agree on Dead Poets Society and Cabin in the Woods. Woof. Woof. I feel the same way about Good Will Hunting. Most people love it though.


    1. dbmoviesblog says:

      I am 100% with you on Good Will Hunting too. That film actually also has the same lecturing tone underneath it as Dead Poets.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. ospreyshire says:

    Very interesting list there. You’re actually not the only blogger I know who thought Cabin in the Woods was overrated.

    Some movies that a lot of people like, that I can’t stand or thought were extremely overrated would be (in no particular order)…

    Blade Runner
    The Garden of Words
    The Lion King
    The Rabbi’s Cat
    The Painting (animated film)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. dbmoviesblog says:

      Your list is very interesting, thanks for sharing it! I completely agree on The Garden of Words and The Lion King (I knew about the plagiarism of the latter but you opened my eyes on so many more worrying issues in connection with it). Would your criticism of Inception stem from its comparison with Paprika? I don’t think I have seen the animation The Painting. I cannot help but wonder whether that animation aimed to “continue the French tradition” of animations that focus on paintings with live characters in them. The King and the Mockingbird (1980), which was first published in 1952, must have been a certain influence. Interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ospreyshire says:

        No problem. Thanks! Thanks for agreeing about The Garden of Words. It is a shame since I like Makoto Shinkai as an animator, but that was a low point even if it had amazing animation. If the genders were reversed in the plot, then everyone would scream and the cops would be called. I’m glad I was also able to open up your eyes to the problematic things with The Lion King in addition to the whole Kimba issue.

        You’d be right about Inception! Paprika was the first movie I saw where I saw the original before the ripoff, so to speak. The Painting did have good animation, but I thought the worldbuilding was very problematic as well as oversimplifying classism and racism.

        Liked by 1 person

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