Dec 25, 2005

Overrated films part 1.

Since I'm a huge fan of movies I'd thought I'd start a regular submission specifically for film. After brainstorming about what I would be specifically writing about I came to the conclusion to opine on overrated films. Bad movies would just be too easy and good movies would be too boring. Over hyped films though are fun to pick apart.

First up on the list: "Chicago".

Yes "Chicago". One of the most recent films to memory that everybody said was great, but really wasn't. It was good mind you, but like many films doesn't deserve the title of Best Picture.

Now a lot of you may be thinking that I'm just some beer swizzling, football watching, strip club loving guy who cares nothing for musicals at all. While most of that statement is true I do like musicals. Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite movies of all time as well as the Sound of Music. There are many others that I enjoy, such as Paint Your Wagon.

For those of you who haven't seen Chicago the best soundbyte synopsis I can come up with is basically take the theme from "Natural Born Killers" and turn it into a musical. There you have it.

There is not much story in Chicago really. The usually cute, but now emaciated looking Renee Zellweger kills her lover when he renegs on his promise to make her a star. After the murder Renee and lawyer Richard Gere then lead a song and dance routine while manipulating the media and the public into making Renee a legend and to get her cleared of the charges against her. Oh and Catherine Zeta Jones is in it and works as a plot device to add conflict and to try to make the story a little bit deeper.

In one scene Gere stands in front of the courtroom defending Renee. He breaks out into a tap dance and sings about giving them the "ol razzle and dazzle" to persuade the jury that Renee is the real victim in the case. When I saw it I really thought he was actually speaking to the audience. While Chicago looks good and has great choreography there really isn't much substance and it's very predictable.

My favorite part of the hype to the film is Queen Latifah. She sports dyed hair and plays a prison guard who has certain 'affections' for her inmates. Oh and she acts real tough. She's involved in one song where the Queen sings about how much of a bad ass she is. For some reason the Academy thought that was a real stretch for her and gave her a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Many critics hailed her brilliant performance. Wow. Her career has been followed by such gems as "Taxi".

Many people hate most action films cause there's no story to most of them. They complain about all the gunplay and fighting, but they can't deal with the lack of a detailed plot regardless of how well done the action is. Why does a movie with a bunch of singing and dancing and no real solid narrative get a bunch of Oscars and extreme critical praise then? Why give what basically is a talent show of a film a free ride? Why did this film get the Best Picture Oscar over the vastly superior "The Pianist"?

I imagine that there's an audience, including myself, that would like to see Hollywood musicals make a comeback. Most musicals nowadays are exclusively set for animation. Given that people are so desperate to see a good live action musical on the big screen I imagine that they really didn't given a damn about all the numerous flaws associated with Chicago and praised it to no end. Luckily the hype has diminished and people quite rightly ignored such underwhelming efforts such as "Phantom of the Opera" and "Rent".

Cell Block Tango:

"Like Moulin Rouge, this film (Chicago) relies on the barest threads of narrative. The real purpose is the musical numbers, with the plot existing only to tie them into some kind of coherent whole." - Rob Vaux.

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