Lay down your cards

A few days ago, Our Girl in Chicago asked the world to lay their cards on the table, and let her know which critically acclaimed movies we thought were extraordinarily overrated and downright atrocious. Her criterion was elaborate and well-considered:

What are your favorite sacred-ish cows to slaughter? And by “sacred-ish,” I mean revered, or at least taken seriously, by your own peer group. You know: movies it actually costs you something to cut down. I can ridicule “American Beauty” or a lot of other Best Picture winners until I’m blue in the face, but it takes a Jarmusch-directed roll of the eyes to really get my friends’ attention.

The results are here; she’ll start posting actual comments from readers soon. For the record, I submitted Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Federico Fellini’s , and Jim Jarmusch’s godawful Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai—commence the flame wars!—and would have mentioned Happiness and Election if I’d had my thinking cap on. (A small caveat: Yes, I admit Lost in Translation is visually stunning and the score is gorgeously eerie, but I couldn’t get past Sofia Coppola’s smug jabs at Japanese behavior or Scarlett Johannson’s vapid, blank stares disguised as deep insight. And I’m getting tired of Bill Murray’s sad-puppy minimalist schtick—I remember you in Ghostbusters, pal; where’s the smartass side of you gone?)

Fulfilling the Law of Reverse Simultaneity, the Onion’s AV Club proposes the reverse—and, I think, much more difficult—challenge: What are some universally snubbed pictures that actually have a lot of merit?

Since only one of my immediate choices are on the AV Club’s list, however, I’ll spend the next three revisiting movies that I love and you probably hate. No peeking, kids, but I’ll give a hint: I’ve got a thing for Italian-American women. What are your underrated faves?

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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