10. Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
Unlike many movies on this list, this was and still is a pretty enjoyable watch and it definitely does not take itself too seriously. The problem is, “Around the World in Eighty Days” is just not a significant or excellent film, which is the aim of the Academy.
9. Cimarron (1931)
Overrated might be a bit too much, as the film wasn’t exactly highly-acclaimed even in its day. The issue was, very few films of any quality came out in 1931, so they seemingly gave it to the visceral epic. The film doesn’t play well at all today and can offend.
8. Crash (2005)
In 2005, “Crash” seemed to be a solid choice for Best Picture, but this film has not aged well at all. Watching it today, “Crash” appears way too forced and preachy. I still don’t think the film deserves the hate it gets, but overrated nonetheless.
7. Cavalcade (1933)
“Cavalcade” was truly ahead of its time with regard to narrative structure, spanning a whole generation. That being said, the movie really isn’t that good. Yes, it’s revolutionary, but what actually takes place on film is less than inspiring.
6. Chariots of Fire (1981)
This one is known for its dramatic running scenes, but there is really very little else to the film. Sure there’s camaraderie and such, but what is this one really about? Of course, “Chariots of Fire” became the movie du jour for yuppies.
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
I fully grasp the nerd wrath I’m going to get by including this one, but as always, I really don’t care. The fact is, the “Lord of the Rings” films are extremely overrated, as are the books. Sure they’re epic, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll stay awake. I’m fully willing to admit that “The Return of the King” was the best of the trilogy, but that’s still not much.
4. Dances with Wolves (1990)
“Wolves” is nowhere near a bad movie, but it’s just so freaking pretentious and pandering. If you sat down and constructed a Best Picture winner piece by piece, you could do no better than this one. It’s like the sole purpose was to win awards. Again, not bad, but definitely overrated.
3. Chicago (2002)
The Academy has always been gaga over musicals. In 2002, Rob Marshall neutered an avant garde Broadway hit and pawned it off as this great Hollywood achievement. Most thought it was pretentious crap…which it was, but 2002 was a bad year for movies.
2. West Side Story (1961)
Many will say that “West Side Story” is a masterpiece, but this author would argue that it’s everything that’s wrong with the musical genre. The film is extremely hokey and the music is complete schmaltz. Worse still, are the incredibly ridiculous “dance fighting” scenes. Yikes!
1. Titanic (1997)
Beyond the special effects, which now don’t look so special, there’s nothing truly remarkable about this movie. Sure, you had the whole love affair thing and the crazy-annoying Celine Dion song. But really, this movie was nothing spectacular. It was tailor made to win an Oscar, nothing more.