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The Overrated Phenomenon: Art of bashing the Popular

The overrated phenomenon is spreading like a virus, and as an individual, I am finding it annoying. We are not appreciating cinema anymore. We are not properly discussing it. We are not showing the love for the medium. Those who are doing it are getting mocked by us. Loving a popular film has become some kind of a sin, really.

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I AM PROBABLY GOING TO BE HANGED BY ALL YOU CINEPHILES FOR THIS, I UNDERSTAND THAT. BUT STILL…

So I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day, and I came across this post on a movie group I’m part of, which was asking, “What is the most overrated movie ever, in your opinion?”

Hesitating a bit, I clicked on the post, being enslaved by common internet habit. It was a fairly new post and comments were pouring in (as you can expect). I went through the comments. The Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Godfather trilogy, Lord of The Rings, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind; these were the most popular answers.




I started to feel weird.
“Wait, why does this feel so familiar?”, I wondered.

And then I realized. I saw the same post on another movie group only a few days ago. Even the answers were mostly the same. And a few days before that, I encountered this in another supposedly great movie discussion group, not to mention the answers were the same.




What does overrated mean?
If you Google the term, the result you find goes like this, “have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved.”

But the internet (the social media) movie buffs have reinvented the meaning, it seems, by making the term itself a phenomenon. That phenomenon has established a theory which says everything that is popular must be regarded as overrated; no matter how good or bad or mediocre it is. A film releases, receives great reviews, the audience love it, they talk about it, ask other people to watch it, other people watch it and they start to talk about it, some of them love them so much that they call it the best film ever; and then the overrated theory start to roll in. The movie breaking into the award race is like the final nail in the coffin; the official confirmation of it being overrated. (Reference from recent past: Damian Chazzelle’s La La Land. Just to be clear, I’m not exactly going into the quality of this particular film).




There are plausible explanations, sure. The Shawshank Redemption is a finely made film about a man wrongly convicted breaking out of a prison. I remember enjoying it while watching for the first (and only) time many years ago. But for some inexplicable reason, this film has got an astonishing 9 above rating on the IMDB and sits pretty on the top tier of the “ever-so-popular” top 250 movies list. But fundamentally speaking, there are at least 250 better movies in the world which are technically better than Shawshank, as films. Of course, art is subjective and different people sees it differently; but you can’t always use that logic as a shield, after all.




But that doesn’t quite justify labeling every popular film overrated and senselessly bash those just to sound cool (so much for being an Avant-garde movie lover eh?). Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight might not work as an ideal comic book adaptation of Batman (oh yes, “but it doesn’t follow the comics so it’s shit cinema, but even if it’s shit cinema it follows the comic you haven’t read so you’re shit” people; I haven’t forgotten about you but you are not getting any more attention here) but it still remains a great film. Even now when it plays on TV, I sit down to catch a scene or two. Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine…” is one of the smartest films of our time which brilliantly blends the romance and science-fiction genre. But this film, over the last thirteen years, had garnered a kind of following and from being a cult initially, it got elevated to one of the greatest modern day romances. It’s all over in the social media, and everyone shares its quotes even in 2017 (even the ones who haven’t even seen it). Which of course, makes this one an overrated film. But it really isn’t (again, I acknowledge your art is subjective opinion, but not going to take that into account here). Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay still holds it edge like it used to. In fact, I actually re-watched it some months ago and it got even better for me.

The overrated phenomenon is spreading like a virus, and as an individual, I am finding it annoying. We are not appreciating cinema anymore. We are not properly discussing it. We are not showing the love for the medium. Those who are doing it are getting mocked by us. Loving a popular film has become some kind of a sin, really. All these movie groups, they are filled with this which movie is overrated, which actor is overrated posts. They are not serving the purpose anymore. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t it really ironical (and hypocrite on my part) to post it in a Facebook group itself? Of course, it is. I myself is no exception here, rather a part of it. In this era, everyone’s with an internet connection is an expert. Everyone can write anything. Everyone can voice their opinion. And everyone, of course, is a cinephile. We have our elite Facebook groups, where we bash every popular film. In fact not only the popular movies, anything we don’t like (and some other people find it likeable) has to be overrated.




I am really sick of all these. These days, I am feeling like I am not being able to love cinema. And I know nothing about cinema. I have no knowledge. No understanding. I have been unable to watch movies for quite a while now. You know what is really overrated? The word itself. The word Overrated is overrated. There, I said it, alright?




PS: – This article, as I understand lacks any particle objective or a point. This can’t even qualify as an argument. A constructive rant is how I’m going to refer it. If you feel you have wasted time reading this and now angry with me, well, I don’t give a f**k.

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