Summer movie season has kicked off and it has not started off hot. Each week brings another blockbuster blunder after another. From the horrendous Hell Boy released in April to the critically and financially disappointing Men in Black: International released just last week, audiences are already questioning if 2019 is going to a film year that lives in infamy.
Though it has its share of films that have come up short, 2019 has still produced some diamonds in the rough. Jordan Peele’s Us is destined to hit the horror hall of fame and Booksmart impresses everyone who has the privilege to watch. There’s also been Robert Pattinson’s outstanding performance in Claire Denis’ psycho-sexual space study High Life.
Then there are the films that are masquerading around as this year’s best when they’re actually missing that special something to deserve it. Whether it be passionate fan bases or comparison to the radically worse this year offers, there are films in 2019 that disguise themselves of being far better than they actually are. Being overrated doesn’t mean all these films are bad, however, their reputation doesn’t match their overall quality.
10. Detective Pikachu
Though pleasing to one’s nostalgia, the apparent faults of Detective Pikachu outweigh any of its positives. The script is the biggest culprit as it never seems to figure out how to properly play to its audience. There an imbalance between the mature themes of loss mixed with the overly childish antics and punchlines. The not so subtle adult humor also fell felt as there was never any build.
Too often it felt like a Pikachu was telling a dirty joke just because they thought it would be ludicrous for a Pikachu to tell a dirty joke. As the film progressed the storytelling became far too familiar with the generic and left no room for unpredictability. The conflict of the film was also shockingly similar to the much more deservedly acclaimed Zootopia which only came out three years prior.
It’s easy to understand why something so deeply mounted in feelings of childhood garners the admiration that it did. Looking out of the nostalgia lens though there isn’t much that Detective Pikachu delivers.
Disney Nature has produced a slew of feel-good hits based all over the animal world(Bears being its best), so it was disappointing when Penguins hatched this Earth Day. Critics responded fondly to Penguins.
Admittingly it is entertaining to follow a year in the life of a clumsy penguin trying to be the best dad he could be, however, the film lacks the imagination and earned emotional investment of its predecessors. This is mainly due to the fact that one of the most iconic documentaries of the 21st century is also about the migration of penguins.
Disney’s choice to feature an entire documentary based around penguins when March of The Penguins is still relevant and referenced in today’s pop culture is baffling. Though the subjects are a different breed of bird the story and location are almost one in the same.
Ed Helms voice, however, is not Morgan Freeman’s thus the film feels more like a knock-off opposed to what one comes to expect with the creativity associated with Disney.
Presenting the hypothetical “What if Superman became a monster, not a hero?” Brightburn had a fascinating premise to hook audiences. The overall product though was remarkably poor. What was intended to be the birth of the superhero horror genre instead burned upon impact.
There are fans though that still cherish and praise the attempt by director David Yarovesky and the writing and production team of the Gunn family. This alternative to the abundance of mainstream superhero movies has made its way into fans hearts as a symbol of something different. Though strides like this are much needed for Hollywood’s current franchise landscape, Brightburn is not a worthy leader in this counter charge.
There are moments in Brightburn that are laughably bad. Not that the whole film is a painful experience to sit through, the absurd and maybe even parody just play as sloppy filmmaking.
Elizabeth Banks could be considered for a Razzie with her performance but it isn’t like the rest of the cast is much better. Brightburn isn’t effective at portraying what the filmmakers intended it to be. The horror relies too heavily on forced jump scares and disturbing graphics opposed to real frights.
7. Gloria Bell
When Gloria Bell first premiered, the narrative for Julianne Moore’s guaranteed best actress nomination began to sprout. Since then it has almost come to a complete halt along with all other enthusiasm for the film. Initially, Gloria Bell was praised by critics and fans as an amusing tale of a divorcee discovering her newfound identity in the forms of clubs and a fresh love interest.
The performances in the film are sensational. Moore, John Turturro, Michael Cera, and Brad Garret capture their characters awkward yet alluring essence perfectly, making their anxiety driven encounters with each other feel like a car wreck you can’t look away from. This is very apparent in Moore and Turturro’s problematic relationship with one and another.
Gloria Bell is a good film but not a great film like it is commonly deemed. Though good, the film lacks enough qualities of excellence to keep it’s longevity as one of the best of the year.
6. Pet Sematary
The comment “Sometimes dead is better” can be applied to the remake of Pet Sematary. Not that the original was a sacred artifact that dare not be replicated, but in the sense that Paramount, like other studios, have done before, capitalized on the name Stephen King and story that was already widely known through parodies.
Coming out of SXSW Pet Sematary captured positive reactions that might have been more related to big festival vibe rather than the virtue of the film itself. Like most remakes, the biggest issue is that Pet Sematary didn’t bring many new ideas to the table. The performances and look of the film are better than the original but the content is a more by the book retelling.
The horror never hits its mark in a way to truly scare audiences. Directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer are successful in capturing the creepy tone of the film, but that can only go so far when there isn’t anything exciting and new for audiences to engage with.