Not At Odds #3 – This Ep Is Overrated!



This week on NOT AT ODDS Jandy and I discuss our distaste for the term “overrated” and how we shouldn’t be using it in our discussion of film, or any media for that matter. Join us, won’t you?





The Guardian Series on Most Overrated Films

Is The Word ‘Overrated’ Ruining Film Criticism? by Clarisse Loughrey.

Why ‘Overrated’ Is a Garbage Word by Sam Adams.

Rewatched and Reconsidered: Sabrina (1954) by Jandy Hardesty.



Follow us on Twitter at @faithx5 and @movieguyjon!

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Matt Gamble

I need to listen to the other shows, but I liked this episode, though the idea you two are tossing around might have been better served with a larger round table discussion mainly because I think the term pretty much means something different to everyone that uses it. Its so heavily based in subjectivity it’s hard to lump it all together as meaning ____ IMO. But still a good discussion and a good listen.

Jandy Hardesty

Thanks, Matt! Yeah, we’re definitely constrained on some of these bigger topics by it just being the two of us and us having similar opinions on some of these things. Would you define “overrated” differently than we did?

Andrew James

Great episode!

To Jandy’s point that when a critic (or blogger or commentator) uses the word “overrated”, there isn’t really much that can be done with it; or that it isn’t really saying anything about the film, but rather it is saying something about people’s reaction to the film – I think this is an interesting point. The only value I can see in a statement such as “this film is overrated,” might be in an attempt to lower a potential viewers’ expectations. In other words, a longer way to say “this film is overrated” would be to say that this particular film isn’t as good as everyone is making it out to be. So be prepared to not be wowed as much as RottenTomatoes says you will.

From the creative side, I think if someone says my film is overrated, I’d almost take that as a compliment because it means everyone pretty much really likes the film, except for this one guy. I’ll take it!

Jandy Hardesty

That’s a good point, Andrew, to use the idea of something overrated to adjust expectations. That’s perhaps the only decent reason to use it, I think, and perhaps it could be expressed better. I think that also goes along with Jonathan’s point of avoiding hype, which is definitely something I try to do.

With the kind of classic films that often get the “overrated” treatment, I’d rather do something like “here’s why this film is so highly regarded by so many people, but you don’t have to agree with them.” A lot of times when I see people wondering what the big deal is about some classic, it’s because of a lack of appreciation of the original context or something like that. Which doesn’t mean you have to like it yourself, but I think it’s better to understand the acclaim and still own your dislike for something without saying everyone else shouldn’t like it as much as they do, which is what you’re saying when you say it’s overrated.

Arnold Schizopolis

I tend not to take seriously reviews by people that are mainly a reaction to other reviews or popular opinion or even just them trying to be contrarian. Good ideas can still come out of it, but I feel that kind of review isn’t intellectually honest. I think Armond White is a perfect example. IMO, he’s just using his intellect to mostly be a contrarian, while still occasionally expressing some insightful ideas about a film. At the end of the day, I think he serves his own ego. Hence, his public implosion and banishment.

The most authentic reaction to a film is when the viewer is basically in a bubble. Little or no expectation and unaware of the public response and the RT score, which is a rare situation to be in.

Thanks for the episode!

Jandy Hardesty

Armond White is such an interesting case. I don’t read him a lot (because I get mad), but I think he does actually have some interesting point sometimes, and sometimes a good corrective for the rest of the industry. But he couches it in such hubris most of the time that it’s really hard to take seriously. So that’s basically what you said. 🙂

The bubble is so hard to achieve. And it’s even harder with acclaimed older films – just try watching Psycho as a film lover knowing NOTHING about it. And I mean, sometimes hearing what others say helps me coalesce my thoughts, but the trick (and it’s not an easy one, especially on the internet extremist rage machine) is to avoid constructing your opinion as a response to someone else’s.