10 Movies in The IMDb Top 250 That Are Just a Little Overrated
Say what you want about the IMDb Top 250 list, but there are undoubtedly many great movies on it. It’s a good starting point for anyone who wants to watch classics that have mass appeal and an important place in film history. There are even a few newer movies that may become future classics as time goes on.
On the other hand, numerous great films that deserve to be on the list aren’t; therefore, some movies on the list might not make the cut when put under scrutiny. There are few, if any, genuinely terrible films in the IMDb Top 250, but some films on the list are a little overrated in various ways and certainly don’t represent the very best of what the IMDb Top 250 has to offer.
‘Into the Wild’ (2007) —
Into the Wild tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, a college student who decided to abandon all his possessions and live a solitary life in the wilderness. While the film does show the people, McCandless comes into contact with throughout his “adventure,” his insistence on living a life of complete independence —and without proper survival knowledge—also puts him in great danger.
Simply put, the film’s just really overdone, owing to Sean Penn’s direction, which is as bombastic as it is confusing and messy. He doesn’t know whether to condemn or celebrate McCandless’s actions and doesn’t do a good job balancing his admirable qualities with his self-destructive ones or even making McCandless feel like a real person…. even though he was. For a better, more consistent, and well-thought-out movie that tackles a similar story and better addresses the themes Into the Wild is going for, there’s always Werner Herzog’s 2006 documentary, Grizzly Man.
‘Jai Bhim’ (2021) —
A legal drama about a lawyer who agrees to help out a rural laborer convicted of a crime he didn’t commit by defending his innocence in court, Jai Bhim is a new addition to the IMDb Top 250, having been released in 2021. It just sneaks onto the list, currently being at #246.
It’s a fine movie. There’s nothing terrible about how it’s shot or acted, and nothing about it necessarily screams bad. But it also doesn’t excel in these areas and feels far longer than it needs to be at 164 minutes. It being in the Top 250 might not be an injustice exactly, but it is somewhat perplexing.
‘The Sound of Music’ (1965) —
There are many classic musicals made during the 1950s and 1960s, enough so that it might be considered the genre’s golden age. And few musicals released during that time are as popular as The Sound of Music, a nearly three-hour movie about a young woman assigned to look after the seven children of a stern yet caring father, who she inevitably also falls for.
The songs are catchy (perhaps too catchy, in some cases), and the scenery is stunning. The characters are likable, and things move well… at least for the film’s first 100 minutes. But the final hour, which contains almost no songs and essentially becomes a war movie, really clashes with what came before. It’s an unwieldy, uneven epic yet remains in the Top 250 while many more consistent epics miss out.
‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939)
Gone With the Wind is an important film within the medium’s history. It was the biggest film of its time, and when adjusted for inflation, it’s still the highest-grossing film of all time. As such, its popularity and legacy can’t be denied.
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But how does the Civil War-set romantic epic fare as a film, particularly when viewed in the present day? It’s got some fantastic sequences, and the spectacle of the production is still astounding. But it’s torturously long, especially in its back half—and its attitudes towards race and romanticized depiction of the plantation lifestyle have aged it worse than many other films from the 1930s (and even some earlier films, too).
‘Spotlight’ (2015) —
Spotlight tells the remarkable true story of a group of journalists at the Boston Globe who put their careers on the line to expose the extent of the child abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, both within America and, eventually, the world.
The story is there, and the cast all give it their best, but in terms of presenting an exciting narrative or having impactful direction, Spotlight doesn’t shine so brightly. It’s a shame the true story wasn’t given a better film, and also a shame that the film beat Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Picture at the Oscars that year (at least that film is #201 in IMDb’s Top 250, versus Spotlight’s #217 spot.
‘Shutter Island’ (2010) —
While it’s certainly not one of Martin Scorsese’s best movies, Shutter Island has nabbed a spot on IMDb Top 250, with a respectable ranking at #147. It’s a twist-filled suspense/mystery film about a marshal’s strange experience while investigating the disappearance of a patient from a usually secure psychiatric hospital.
It’s certainly not a bad film. It’s competently put together and looks good, as you’d expect from Scorsese, and Leonardo DiCaprio gives a committed performance. But it’s missing that certain something to make it “great,” and there are other films that ultimately execute this kind of psychological thriller better.
‘Green Book’ (2018) —
One of the least impressive Best Picture winners in recent memory, Green Book is a movie that’s just fine at best but seemed to get a good deal of admiration for handling a sensitive subject in a way that felt a little too sanitized and clean.
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It’s not a film without merit. Viggo Mortensen and Maher Shala Ali are both very good and have the chemistry needed to make the unlikely friendship between their characters believable. But it’s not much better than Driving With Miss Daisy when it comes to how it looks at race and in terms of its plot. How it took awards away from a more passionate, bolder film like BlacKkKlansman is anyone’s guess.
‘Batman Begins’ (2005) —
Time hasn’t been the kindest to Batman Begins. What once felt like an amazing origin story for one of the most popular comic book characters in history now feels a little overwrought and empty.
It does the job in establishing Batman, enabling the superior The Dark Knight to hit the ground running in 2008. But Batman Begins is a less exciting, far less spectacular film, with a tone that’s so self-serious it feels unintentionally silly and some of the sloppiest fight scene camerawork ever seen in a blockbuster film.
‘The Sting’ (1973) —
The Sting looked to capitalize on the successful pairing of Robert Redford and Paul Newman from 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which ended up working. It was even more successful and won seven Oscars – three times as many as the duo’s last film together.
But time has been kinder to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, though sadly, it’s nowhere to be found in the IMDb Top 250. The Sting, meanwhile, is a decent, light-hearted crime romp, but that kind of film has been done better, before and since… and with less repetitive, less annoying music, too. At least it’s better than its mostly forgotten sequel.
‘The Help’ (2011) —
The Help looks at a young woman (Emma Stone) who attempts to write a book from the point of view of African-American maids during the 1960s, a time when the Civil Rights Movement was well underway.
She has good intentions, and so does the movie. But ultimately, each is looking to show the point of view of someone they’re not (as The Help’s director is also white). Unfortunately, it falls into the same area occupied by Green Book, where its authenticity and impact are somewhat lacking.