Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The 50 Most Disappointing Movies Of All Time - Over-Hyped Films

 Continuing on with the series on the 50 Most Disappointing Movies of All Time, here are the movies that fell short because they were over-hyped.

Now, expectations may have been raised because of an incredibly strong marketing campaign.  It is no wonder that they say that a studio spends as much on the advertisement of a film as they do on the actual budget to make it.  They will do anything they can to get butts in the seats.  For me, the most egregious sin of this kind is when the advertise a serious, tragic drama like its a light-hearted comedy.  I remember we took my mom to see One True Thing because the trailers looked like it was the story of a daughter and her quirky mother who dresses up in costumes.  It was actually about a daughter who watches her mother slowly die of cancer.  That movie isn't on this list simply because I wasn't expecting to be good in any case.

However, some movies have their expectations raised in me simply because something captures my imagination and I build it up in my head, even against all evidence.  Even though I don't have anyone to blame but myself in these cases, they are still disappointments.

Suicide Squad

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This movie had one of the best trailers I have ever seen.  It was strange, off-key, and exciting.  There was some subliminal nostalgia in using songs from Wayne's World (Bohemian Rhapsody and Ballroom Blitz) in the trailer to amp up the energy.  It had a terrific cast and it was the DCEU's follow up to one of my favorite movies Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  And to be clear, this is not a terrible movie.  But it it did not live up to the hype.

From what I understand, the studio made a lot of revisions to the director's film as a response to the general negative reaction from BvS.  However, what we have is often a mess.  Characters have such abbreviated introductions and arcs.  The take on the Joker was a miss.  The main villain was awful, who basically conjures magic by hula dancing.  And while the action pieces were good and Captain Boomerang was so funnier than I was expecting, I walked away thinking about how much better it could have been.

The Hateful 8

The trailers for this looked great.  Tarantino's last two films had been good and I could see his skills as a director constantly improving.  And even as I began to watch the movie, it felt like it was going to be great.  But as it began to unfold, it started getting worse and worse until it degenerated into awfulness.  This movie was hailed as Tarantino's masterpiece and it might be his worst film.

A Star is Born

This is a hard one to explain without spoiling it.  If you haven't seen it and don't want SPOILERS, skip to the next.

The ads for this film made it seem like a tragic, poignant love story.  And the music was powerful and a big selling point.  While it delivered on the music, it destroyed any good will that it had.  Having your love story end with a tragic death can solidify its romance.  Having your movie end with a pointless, nihilistic, despairingly stupid death will make you hate that romance.  It was incredible, I can actually still feel the exact moment that I went from loving the movie so much that I was anticipating buying it when it came to Blu-ray to detesting it and wishing I had my two hours back.

Raw Deal

This comes down to the poster.  If you look at the poster for Commando, which came out the previous year, you can clearly see Raw Deal copying it.  


Commando is one of the most enjoyably silly, over-the-top action films of all time.  Raw Deal clearly leans into that with the poster.  Now, you may say that it is silly to have expectations because of a poster, and you are correct.  But my young self couldn't make the distinction as I went with my dad and brother into the theater for another fun adventure with Arnold.

Raw Deal is not fun.  It is not an adventure.  It is dark.  Much darker than Commando.  And even though I was a kid, I knew that the jokes were awful.  Arnold, delivering with Terminator-like seriousness the line "You should not drink and bake," is worse than anything he said in Batman and Robin

Red Heat

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Another Arnold film.  He had just done two good movies (Predator and The Running Man).  This movie looked like another action hit.  And the ads with Jim Belushi made it look like it was more of a comedy in the vein of Beverly Hills Cop.  But they could not crack the code for action/comedy and it was oddly pro-Soviet for the anti-communist Arnold.  All-in-all, a drag of a film when all I wanted was light-action fare.

Career Opportunities

This was a film written by John Hughes and the trailers were actually pretty funny.  The concept was simple: imagine being trapped in a Target overnight with Jennifer Connelly.  And I will admit that as a red-blooded young man, I had a bit of a crush on Ms. Connelly and found the concept of such a film appealing.  And the trailers did everything to make her look appealing.  The trailers also implied that comedy legend John Candy would have a much bigger role instead of being only in one scene.  And the main character was built up as the next Ferris Bueller.

But the movie is awful.  None of the jokes work.  The dialogue is terrible.  The romance makes no sense.  

In short, the film is just plain stupid.  



Again, probably a film most of you have not heard of.  It was an action comedy from the 1990's staring Christian Slater.  In fact, the trailers did very little to highlight the action and the drama.  The film looked like it was only a comedy.  I'm sure that if you were to watch the trailer on YouTube today, you would think it looks lame.  But maybe it was because I had watched Pump Up The Volume dozens of times on video that the humor in the trailer really grabbed me.  But the funniest parts are in the trailer (and I admit that in hindsight that they weren't that funny to begin with).  

Of course it has one of the stupidest, funniest lines of a movie from the 90's:  "Never go to a bald barber.  He doesn't respect your hair."

Reality Bites


They played this movie up a lot on MTV.  Sad to say that it worked on me and convinced me that this was supposed to be the epitome of cool.  It expertly used music to tap into my Gen X sensibilities and made me hyped to see it.  

Of course the movie is terrible.  It's a bunch of narcissists who cannot understand why their own selfishness isn't making people adore them.  Oh, it is so awful.  I would say that it is some kind of commentary of the selfishness of this generation, but the movie revels in their naval-gazing and ends on a joke about how the main character stole thousands of dollars from her parents.


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Remember, this was after the original Spider-Man was a breakout hit.  This movie not only had wall-to-wall ads, but it also had tons of merchandising tie-ins that were constantly on TV.  

Poor Eric Bana.  He is actually an incredibly talented actor and he has been a lot of star-making vehicles like this, Troy, and Munich.  But director Ang Lee decided he wanted to take a crowd-pleasing super hero film and just get weird with it.  This was one of those films that I defended after seeing it, even though in my heart I knew it was bad.  That's how deep my disappointment went.  

Cowboys and Aliens

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The title alone would have gotten me into the theaters.  But the trailer was fantastic.  Jon Favreau's movie looked like a star-studded perfect merging of the Western with Sci-Fi.  The plot was shrouded in mystery, adding to the mystic.  And the super-bowl ad was perfect.

The movie itself was not perfect.  It had its moments, but it felt so... bland.  Instead of the two genres enhancing each other, they felt like oil and water.  The alien factor diluted any of the classic Western style.  I bought into the hype and I was cheated.

Stay tuned for our next category for disappointing movies: Wasted Talent.


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