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Top 10 Most Overrated Movies of All Time

by Jonathan Hastad
fact checked by Rachel Jones

Some movies are unforgettable cinematic masterpieces that inspire and deeply touch us. However, some movies receive an excessive amount of hype and attention. It’s difficult to determine what makes a movie overrated: Is it due to excessive promotion, failure to deliver, or a disconnect between critics and the audience? Join me as I explore the top ten most overrated movies in history.

Related: Top 10 Underrated Film Scores By Famous Composers

10 Jaws (1975)

Jaws | “You’re Going To Need a Bigger Boat” | Shark Attacks Chief Brody in 4K HDR

I must say that Jaws is a classic often hailed as one of the greatest films ever. However, I wonder if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong; Jaws is a very well-made movie. The tension and suspense are masterfully built throughout the film, and the shark is an iconic villain that has become a pop culture phenomenon. However, when you look at the actual story and characters, some flaws prevent it from truly being a masterpiece.

The characters are one dimensional. While Roy Scheider’s Chief Brody is a relatable protagonist, the other characters are mostly just caricatures. Richard Dreyfuss’s Hooper is the nerdy scientist, and Robert Shaw’s Quint is the gruff old sea captain. They don’t really have much depth beyond these basic archetypes.

The film’s pacing can be slow at times. While the build-up to the shark attacks is expertly handled, there are stretches of the film where not much happens. This can make the movie feel dragged out. I think Jaws is a good movie, but I don’t think it’s quite as great as some people make it out to be. It’s definitely worth a watch, but don’t expect a flawless masterpiece.

9 The Shining (1980)

The Shining | Jack Nicholson | BEST SCENE

I’ve heard endless praises for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. However, I cannot help but feel that it may be a tad overrated. The plot of the movie is quite straightforward. A family moves into a hotel, and the father goes crazy and tries to kill his family. The movie’s premise is not particularly innovative or complex. In fact, the story has been used in countless horror movies.

The film is almost two and a half hours long, which doesn’t help its general slow pace. The slow pacing may be intentional, but it also makes the movie tedious. Jack Nicholson’s performance as Jack Torrance is over the top and cartoonish, but most of the other actor’s performances fall flat.

While The Shining may have been groundbreaking when it was first released, it may not hold up to today’s standards. While it is a classic, it’s not the masterpiece that many people make it out to be.

8 Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump runs across America for 1170 days and 16 hours

This is the one that is sure to ruffle classic movie lovers’ feathers—Forrest Gump is also overrated. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate the film’s attempted themes of perseverance, love, and friendship, but it doesn’t live up to all the hype for several reasons.

The plot is disjointed and unrealistic. Gump is always in the right place at the right time. It’s hard to believe that one person could be present (mostly unintentionally) at all the major historical events in the movie while also becoming ridiculously wealthy.

But this luck seems to affect everything—but his love life, of course—and the implied reason the film often uses is Gump’s simple mind and low IQ. It feels like a forced way to elicit sympathy while selling a false sense of conflict.

All this leads to the biggest criticism of Forrest Gump: the film’s sentimentality. The “love story” is over the top and manipulative. Jenny was nice to him when he was a kid, so he turned himself into her loyal pet to be neglected and emotionally abused unless she needed something.

Honestly, I get what they wanted to do, but it just doesn’t live up to the hype.

7 The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Blair Witch Project (1999) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

This isn’t really a surprise: The Blair Witch Project is overrated. It tried to be innovative and groundbreaking at its release, but I left the theater feeling supremely underwhelmed.

The shaky camera work is incredibly frustrating to watch. It was meant to add to the film’s sense of realism, but it violently distracted you from the story.

Speaking of the story, it’s pretty lackluster. A group of people go into the woods to investigate a legend, then get lost and scared. Any death is off-screen, probably to let everyone imagine what was happening.

That’s it. There’s no character development or plot twists to keep the audience engaged.

And let’s not forget about the ending. Or rather, the lack of an ending. The movie just kind of stops, leaving the audience with more questions than answers. And while some may argue that this was intentional and adds to the film’s horror, I would argue that it’s lazy storytelling.

The Blair Witch Project may have had impressive marketing, but it isn’t a great horror movie. There are plenty of other films that are more deserving of the praise and accolades that this one has received.

6 The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook is often hailed as a romantic masterpiece, but in reality, it’s an overrated movie. The film follows the story of a young couple from different worlds who fall in love and face various struggles.

The movie relies on cliches and predictable plot points, making it forgettable and unremarkable. The story of star-crossed lovers has been done many times before, and The Notebook offers nothing particularly unique or groundbreaking.

The characters are often one dimensional and lack depth. The audience is not given much information about their backgrounds or motivations, which makes it difficult to connect with them emotionally. As a result, the story lacks the authenticity of a truly romantic film.

The film’s portrayal of romantic love as all-consuming and all-encompassing is boring. Real-life relationships are complex and multifaceted, and reducing them to a simple fairytale romance does a disservice to real couples and their experiences.

Simply put, if you’re capable of nuanced feelings, The Notebook doesn’t deserve the praise and adoration it receives.

5 Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club Best Scenes – Speech About Modern Life

I have watched quite a few films that are considered classics. One of those movies that often comes up in discussions is Fight Club. While it received critical acclaim and a cult following, I can’t help but label it overrated.

First and foremost, the movie’s message seems like a shallow take on a complex issue. And the movie’s twist ending also feels forced and gimmicky. It tried too hard to be edgy, and why is squinting considered tough?

None of the characters are particularly likable or relatable. If you do relate, maybe consider talking to someone about it because they are one dimensional and uninteresting.

The one thing that they did get right, everyone should follow rule number 1: Don’t talk about fight club.

4 Gravity (2013)

Gravity – Official Main Trailer [2K HD]

Gravity is another movie often praised for its stunning visuals and technical achievements. However, when it comes to the plot and character development, no one cared.

The movie revolves around one character’s struggle for survival in space, which becomes repetitive and predictable.

Additionally, inaccuracies and plot holes are hard to ignore in this film. Surviving multiple catastrophic events in space without major injuries or long-term effects seems unrealistic.

While the visual effects are impressive, they are not enough to compensate for the story’s lack of substance. Gravity fails to deliver a truly engaging experience and ultimately falls short of being a great film.

3 Moulin Rouge! (2001)

I have to admit that I was quite disappointed with Moulin Rouge!>> It’s praised for its stunning visuals and catchy soundtrack (which is great), but it is overrated.

The movie relied too heavily on its music and dance numbers. While they were certainly enjoyable, they didn’t add enough depth to the plot or characters. It felt like the filmmakers were trying to distract the audience from the fact that the story was lacking.

Next, the characters themselves were underdeveloped; it’s difficult to care about their struggles when watching what feels like a side character the entire time. They have little to offer beyond their surface-level traits, such as Christian being a naive young man swept off his feet. At the same time, Satine is a beautiful and talented woman who is trapped.

The film’s pacing was also uneven. It felt like it was trying to cram too much into its relatively short runtime, and as a result, some scenes felt rushed while others dragged on.

Moulin Rouge! values style over substance, so it’s not worth a repeat viewing.

2 Titanic (1997)

Titanic (Iceberg Complete Scene)

When it comes to movies that are widely considered classics, Titanic is often at the top of the list. However, the film is overrated.

The romance between Jack and Rose has its moments but feels forced and cheesy. The love story between the two is a classic tale of forbidden love. What rich young girl wouldn’t fall for the struggling, beady-eyed artist?

The fact that the disaster of the Titanic is a well-known historical event isn’t enough. There’s nothing particularly new or innovative about the story.

The film’s pacing can be quite slow. It sometimes feels like the story is dragging on, which can be frustrating for viewers looking for a more engaging experience. The real action of the movie, the disaster of the Titanic, doesn’t happen until over an hour and a half into the film!

So even though Titanic is undoubtedly a classic movie that has significantly impacted pop culture, it may be time to let go; sorry, Jack.

1 Avatar (2009)

Avatar | Official Trailer (HD) | 20th Century FOX

I have watched Avatar multiple times, and I can’t help but feel that the movie is overrated.

The visual effects are stunning, and the world-building is impressive, but the story itself is nothing groundbreaking.

It’s literally the story of Pocahontas—a white soldier goes to a foreign land to claim riches and kill the “savages” but instead leads the native people to victory.

Even Jake Sully feels like a stock character so much that the romance between him and Neytiri feels forced and lacks chemistry.

The themes of environmentalism and imperialism are heavy handed and lack nuance. While raising awareness about these issues is important, Avatar’s message feels preachy and simplistic.

fact checked by Rachel Jones