Sometimes the worst thing you can have going into a movie is a high expectation. Hype totally kills the experience if you let it get out of control. The following movies aren’t necessarily bad, but left me disappointed. (my favorites of the year right here)
1. Battle: Los Angeles – The real problem with this movie is that the trailer was so stinking cool. It wasn’t misleading, it just had this real cool vibe that wasn’t matched by the movie.
Aaron Eckhart delivered a great performance but the supporting cast…not so much. They were all very predictable and the movie as a whole was formulaic. I could almost guess the dialog before it came out of any of the actors’ mouth. If you seen one generic war movie and heard the cliches you’ve seen this movie. Aliens didn’t really make up for it.
2. X-MEN: First Class – I’ve already written about this movie and why I think it’s not good. The problem is that I really wanted it to be good. I had read a review from a guy that I normally agree with on movies and where it’s one of his top 10 movies of the year, it just seemed blah to me. It’s nothing compared to the atrocity that is X3: Last Stand but something just doesn’t click. I even watched it again last week just to be sure. When Eric and Xavier are treading water and Xavier asks Eric “how did you do that?!” and Eric replies with, “you’ve got your tricks, I’ve got mine”, I just rolled my eyes. I hadn’t been mistaken.
3. Hugo – Hugo is actually an amazing move. I mean, it’s awesome. But one thing it is not….it is NOT about a robot. I was tricked on this one. If you see the trailer, you honestly believe that it could be about a cool robot. Like some kind of steam-punk Pinocchio (minus the whole lying/nose thing). Actually after seeing it again, only the first half of the trailer is about a robot. But I only saw the trailer once and the most compelling thing I walked away with is that it was a cool movie about a mystical robot. Again, NOT what it’s about. Over an hour into the thing I realized I had been paying attention to the wrong story. I was watching out for clues about the robot and was missing the movie in the meantime. Seriously, this movie was great, but when I saw it, I didn’t realize what I was seeing and it made the whole experience disappointing. I wasn’t disappointed in the movie as much as with my lack of understanding.
4. Cowboys and Aliens – I know that this movie has no chance of being good. But it SHOULD be enjoyable to someone like me who eats up this kind of content. Seriously, how do you mess up a movie where cowboys face off against aliens starring Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, and Harrison (friggin) Ford. HARRISON FORD! Well, John Favreau is how. I’m declaring it now. Iron Man was a fluke and everything else this guy touches is going to disappoint (me).
5. Raging Bull – Yeah, yeah, a classic…Robert De Niro…blah blah blah. Some of these gritty, depressing movies from the 70s/80s just don’t really resonate with me. I had the impression I would walk away just amazed at what I was seeing. Maybe I’m just too immature in my hobby, but I don’t get it.
6. Following – This is one of Christopher Nolan’s earliest films. I think the history and making of the film and how it ties into and influences his later films is more entertaining that this movie. I was jazzed to see some of Nolan’s earlier work only to get the impression he’s come a long way since those days. You don’t need to watch this movie, really. It’s not bad, but if you have The Dark Knight and Inception-quality movies in your mind you will likely be as disappointed as I.
7. Road Warrior – I keep thinking that somewhere along the lines these are supposed to be good movies. Mad Max was bad, really bad. Road Warrior isn’t much of an improvement and I was disappointed yet again with a movie that seems like it should be right up my alley.
8. Despicable Me – Normally, I only watch the cartoons that I think have some value beyond the targetted-at-small-children aspect. Normally, I get it right. With Pixar and Disney cranking out amazing movies (did you see Tangled?) I figured Despicable Me would be good. I wasn’t expecting Toy Story quality, but I figured it would be like Mega-Mind. Not as spectacular but a great way to spend 2+ hours. Wrong. This movie drags. And it doesn’t make sense to me to get a celebrity voice but then have the celebrity do a character voice. The whole point is for people to recognize the voice! Steve Carell is certainly a funny guy and has the right kind of voice for this role…but a Russian accent? Just get a Russian.
Of course all of this is very subjective. Sometimes I enjoy not agreeing with someone about a movie if it will spark a conversation about specific things about the movie that resonate with certain individuals. I often get into discussions with my brother about a movie we don’t agree on. It helps me see things in a movie that maybe I never thought of before.