Archive for overrated

THE OVER/UNDER

Posted in The Popular with tags , , , on October 14, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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Overrated: J.J. Abrams Underrated: Jimmie “JJ” Walker

Overrated: the Dow Underrated: the now

Overrated: “Tropic Thunder” Underrated: the Lightning Seeds

Overrated: gravitas Underrated: gravy fries

Overrated: “House” Underrated: “Hoss”

Overrated: “unrated extended” Underrated: 90-minute runtime

Overrated: “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” Underrated: the devil you don’t know

Overrated: Robert Downey Jr. Underrated: Junior Brown

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THE OVER/UNDER

Posted in The Popular with tags , on August 18, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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Overrated: “Generation Kill” Underrated: Generation X

Overrated: Scrabulous Underrated: scrapple

Overrated: “A History Of Violence” Underrated: a moment of silence

Overrated: Katy Perry Underrated: Perry Como

Overrated: Johnny Depp Underrated: “Who’s Johnny”

Overrated: “Heroes” Underrated: gyros

Overrated: M.I.A. Underrated: OMD

Overrated: Electability Underrated: Erectibility

Overrated: Sugarland Underrated: Candy Land

The Over/Under

Posted in The Popular with tags , , , , , on July 1, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

Overrated: Jimmy Buffett Underrated: Jimmy Eat World

Overrated: The new “Doctor Who” Underrated: “The New Zoo Revue”

Overrated: “Batman Begins” Underrated: Split Enz

Overrated: Gus Van Sant Underrated: Van Damme

Overrated: polls Underrated: Poles

Overrated: Rihanna Underrated: “Syriana”

Overrated: “Devils and Dust” Underrated: Angels & Airwaves

Overrated: “Mystic River” Underrated: Mr. Misty

Way under ‘The Wire’

Posted in The Popular with tags , , , on June 24, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

LIKE every other guy on the planet, I am obsessed with “The Wire.” The recently wrapped-up HBO show seems so real and honest, and its characters so lifelike, that it’s hard to believe that Baltimore might not be exactly like it’s depicted in the show.

To me, it’s the complete opposite of that other beloved cop show about Balmer, “Homicide: Life On The Street.” The 1993-99 NBC series, the precursor to “The Wire,” has been praised as one of the best television shows ever (Entertainment Weekly just ranked it among the Top 50 TV “classics” of the past 25 years), but damn, I find it a chore to sit through. Not that I haven’t tried. I’m still trying.

I watched it live when it debuted (the same year as the far-more-entertaining “NYPD Blue”), and stayed with it for a couple seasons before tuning out. Years later, I rewatched the first two seasons twice, figuring that I must have missed the genius that everyone else saw. I’m still working my way through the DVDs, drawn by the promise of David Simon, the co-creator of “The Wire” and the author of the book on which “Homicide” was based (and a producer in later seasons.)

But the show never seemed to live up to the talent involved (talent that included Barry Levinson as an executive producer). I found original cast member Ned Beatty completely miscast, Kyle Secor‘s “Det. Tim Bayliss” an endlessly inconsistent central character, the stylized jump cuts and handheld camerawork out of sync with the unconvincing story lines and dialog, and the performances unnatural (the cast tried way too hard to sound as if they were improvising, so most scenes play more like acting exercises).

And that includes Andre Braugher. I will never understand the ridiculous amount of praise he got for his portrayal of “Det. Frank Pembleton.” He’s overly intense and showy and blustery and actorly (in other words, he won an Emmy), so I never bought him as a real person. Four or five seasons in, after Braugher’s character suffered a stroke, the performance got even worse — his calculated stammering and stuttering took his look-at-me Acting to 11. “The Wire” has probably a hundred actors giving more authentic performances than Braugher’s.

Ironically, the most natural performer on “Homicide” was Richard Belzer, more a comedian than an actor when he took the role of “Det. John Munch.” By underplaying his part, he created a genuine and likable character that would appear on just about every other TV show since then. Including, apparently as his reward, “The Wire.”

The Over/Under

Posted in The Popular with tags , on June 20, 2008 by Adam Sapiro
  • Overrated: “24.” Underrated: “Eight Is Enough”
  • Overrated: Ne-Yo. Underrated: Yanni
  • Overrated: Tim Burton. Underrated: Bert and Ernie
  • Overrated: “Robot Chicken.” Underrated: robot dance.
  • Overrated: “Clerks.” Underrated: “Clerks II”
  • Overrated: “The Amazing Race.” Underrated: The Amazing Kreskin
  • Overrated: “Ghost World.” Underrated: Boo Berry
  • Overrated: “Deadwood.” Underrated: morning wood
  • Overrated: “Little Miss Sunshine.” Underrated: “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong”

The Over/Under

Posted in The Popular with tags , , on June 3, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

  • Overrated: Tilda Swinton. Underrated: The tilde
  • Overrated: Amy Winehouse. Underrated: Icehouse
  • Overrated: “How I Met Your Mother.” Underrated: Mother
  • Overrated: The incredible, edible egg. Underrated: Sperm
  • Overrated: Morgan Freeman, Morgan Spurlock and Tracy Morgan. Underrated: Jaye P. Morgan, Morgan Fairchild and Captain Morgan
  • Overrated: “Veronica Mars.” Underrated: Pluto
  • Overrated: Sarah Silverman. Underrated: “Oscar Goldman”
  • Overrated: Judd Apatow. Underrated: Wynonna

What’s wrong with this picture

Posted in The Popular with tags , on May 27, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

Ever watch a beloved “classic” film for the first time only to find out it really blows?

To kick off this regular feature, let’s look at the movie credited with ushering in a new realism in terms of cinema violence at a time when blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, it’s “Bonnie and Clyde.”

Because I’ll watch just about anything on Blu-ray, I checked it out. It peaks early, way too early, with Faye Dunaway naked right out of the gate. Even Gene Hackman, a favorite of mine who’s really miscast, couldn’t keep me interested. And Estelle Parsons, who won an Oscar for her work here, basically screeches, shouts and natters on for what seems like an eternity. This is probably where they got the idea that she could play Roseanne Barr’s mom.

OK, so it’s the first movie to use a lot of squibs, heightening the realism of the final bloodbath. I’m sure it was quite shocking in 1967, but all the squibs in the world can’t make you care about the fate of the two main characters if they haven’t really done much of interest in the preceding two hours. The movie even skirts one of the most interesting things about the real-life crime duo’s relationship — Clyde’s confused sexuality. The filmmakers instead made Warren Beatty’s character impotent, which requires great suspension of disbelief — especially after seeing Dunaway naked.