Classic cinema laid the foundation for today’s 3-D thrill rides, green-screen special effects, and visual adventures. If not for Charlie Chaplin, it’s possible there’d be no Brad Pitt. All of these achievements, however, are in the past. You’re not a film student, so there’s no reason to spend your free time watching old movies they didn’t bother to show you in school.
Disregard the tastes of older generations, who prefer to watch John Wayne and Gene Kelly on repeat than sample the thousands of hours of entertainment released by film, TV, and independent production crews across the globe. Stop wasting time living in the past, and say goodbye to these overrated classics you could read about on Wikipedia instead of watching…
25. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Possibly the most well-known movie ever put on film, The Wizard of Oz is a tale of a young girl from bumfuck Kansas who trips out on psychedelics and visits a magical fantasy land. The film’s technology allowed it to outlast most films from the 20th century, but it still looks tragically dated in a modern 21st-century cinematic world.
Instead, Watch…: Tin Man (2007) – Wonderland is a much more fascinating place than Oz, but if you must obsess over the place, check out the miniseries starring the always quirky Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, Richard Dreyfus, and more. All the hokey old-world Oz fantasies are replaced by a modern world that’s much more believable, multi-dimensional, and dynamic in Tin Man.
24. Star Wars (1977)
So many nerd sing the praises of this sci-fi “epic,” it’s easy to get sucked into Star Wars mania. Resist the dark side, however, as it hasn’t done anybody any good. This melodramatic space fairy-tale is filled with terrible special effects, a hole-filled plot, and one of the goofiest-looking villains in cinematic history. Skip this dork-fest.
Instead, Watch…: Starship Troopers (1997) – Where the Star Wars franchise relies on Muppets for comic relief, Starship Troopers employs a charismatic cast to deliver the personality. A sci-fi film on one hand and political propaganda expose on the other, Starship Troopers is the greatest sci-fi space odyssey ever put on film.
23. The Crying Game (1992)
All anyone remembers about The Crying Game is the broad turns out to be a dude, a twist since parodied multiple times (most hilariously in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective). What lies behind this is a somewhat decent movie, the plot of which nobody will believe if you tell them it’s The Crying Game. If you’re talking to someone under 21, they’ll just think you’re an idiot for mispronouncing The Hunger Games.
Instead, Watch…: Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) – If you’re going to have a man dressed as a woman, it’s better to include the audience. We’re aware of the backstory in Mrs. Doubtfire, with Robin Williams portraying a father just trying to find a job that lets him spend time with his kids. When it’s revealed that Mrs. Doubtfire is actually a Mrs., we’re able to actually relate and feel for the character, instead of against him.
22. Batman (1989)
Prince is a brilliant musician. That being said, Purple Rain is a much better film vehicle for Prince than Batman, where some schlub plays the caped crusader, and Jack Nicholson completely misses a swing at Joker. A reminder of how corny the 80’s were, this relic of a Batman is just barely a microstep above the 1960’s KERPLOW!!!!!!
Instead, Watch…: Purple Rain (1984) – Seriously, though, Purple Rain is way ahead of its time, featuring a wonderful Prince soundtrack and Eminem’s 8 Mile story told through the eyes of Michael Jackson’s strangely sexual competition. If you want to relive the magic of the 80’s, do it without ruining comic books for the rest of us…
21. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Sunset Boulevard, the tale of a washed up actress being wooed by a hack screenwriter, must’ve seemed so cutting edge and noir-ish back in the 1950’s. Today it’s the back-story of pretty much every reality show star on television. This film may as well be titled Real Housewife of Sunset Boulevard. If you’re washed up in showbiz, there’s a reason, and we’re not interested in hearing it.
Instead, Watch…: Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) – Tales of struggling actors are a dime a dozen. Nobody wants to see a movie about every wannabe actor they’ve ever met. Instead, Zack and Miri chronicles the path of two voyeurs (Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks) who make a porn spoof. Now this is the peak behind the curtains of entertainment audiences want to see.
20. Fantasia (1940)
We get it – syncing audio and video is difficult, as is hand-drawn animation. Fantasia is an accomplishment, but so is watching it. An orchestra playing a selection of classical music over animated scenes is pretty much the only thing most people can imagine more boring than opera. Stop pretending you have culture, because nobody watches Fantasia on a regular basis.
Instead, Watch…: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) – If you want kids to remember a song, you have to give them something catchy to remember. South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut is not only a great movie, it has some of the most memorably catchy toons ever caught on film. Disney gets one or two hits per movie at best (seriously, go back and watch your favorite – the songs aren’t hits). Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote legitimate musical hits in South Park.
19. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Tennessee Williams won a Pulitzer Prize for the original play of A Streetcar Named Desire. A Southern belle with questionable sanity butts heads with her sister’s oafish husband before finally being raped and committed against her will. With a Jerry Springer-like plot, Williams set the stage for every Lifetime movie ever televised.
Instead, Watch…: Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998) – If you want to see how easy pimpin is not, take heed from real-life Lothario Frankie Lymon, whose philandering didn’t fully come to light until Diana Ross remade Lymon’s titular song in 1981, and all his hoes converged on one area code to fight for the residuals (i.e. free money anytime you hear that hook).
18. Jaws (1975)
Hey, someone’s getting in the water…I bet a shark attacks. If that’s not enough of a warning, simply listen to the music that’s better at luring great white sharks than cheese-flavored marshmallows are for catching lake trout. Jaws is a cliche you don’t have to see to understand. Sharks are scary, but they’re not serial killers and stalkers, Spielberg.
Instead, Watch…: Sharknado (2013) – Without taking itself too seriously, this direct-to-video schlockbuster is everything you’d expect from a Hollywood shark attack. You’re not even safe in the water, and you won’t even see many of these shark attacks coming. Sharknado has the type of visuals that can actually compete with Animal Planet’s getting-lamer-every-year Shark Week.
17. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
When The Beatles arrived on American shores, the world was forever altered. The pop culture phenomenon that is Beatlemania is brilliantly captured in a variety of media, most of which is collected and referenced in The Beatles Anthology. Resembling a Scooby Doo or Three Stooges plot more than an actual day in the life of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, A Hard Day’s Night is beloved more for its footage of the Fab Four than anything else.
Instead, Watch…: The Beatles Anthology (2000) – Collecting the best video footage, interviews, and studio outtakes available, The Beatles Anthology shows a well-rounded portrait of four normal British teens who were transformed into icons. How it affects them (and they affect the rest of us) is the real magical story behind these rock legends.
16. Mary Poppins (1964)
Another overrated Disney musical, Mary Poppins is a tough sell for the Internet generation. This slow-moving rom-com is nothing more than an excuse for Walt Disney to blend music, animation, and comedy into a vehicle for Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Mary Poppins was a series of eight books about a magical nanny, and thankfully we only have one movie to ignore from the lot of them.
Instead, Watch…: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2003) – Where Mary Poppins displays a magical fantasy world where everything is gumdrops and rainbows, Lemony Snicket‘s Count Olaf is more representative of the issues children face when dealing with oppressive adults. This sobering look at child abuse doesn’t gloss over the good stuff by pretending an alcoholic failure of a father is singing, dancing, and smiling with his kids.
15. Raging Bull (1980)
Ray Rice is among a slew of violent athletes beating women for not serving and obeying them. With so many athletes turning to violence, Raging Bull loses some of its oomph. Clearly this is a problem that’s always existed, and nobody’s doing anything to stop it. Instead of glamorizing these violent behemoths, we need to fix the broken system that spawns them.
Instead, Watch…: Enough (2002) – Flipping the script of sports-related violence, Jennifer Lopez turns to boxing training to defeat her husband in Enough, a gripping story of an underdog waitress-turned-boxer and her obsessed ex-husband. Suddenly foxy, boxing finally gains the street-fighting luster it lost during the Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan eras of cinema in J-Lo’s Enough.
14. Schindler’s List (1993)
We get it – the Jews suffered in Nazi Germany. Clearly nobody’s learned a lesson from it, and watching Schindler’s List won’t do anything to change that. That’s because your average skinhead will likely fall asleep during all the boring parts that provide context to the anti-Semitic scenes. History Channel’s Hitler Week provides plenty enough WWII footage to override any need for watching Schindler’s List.
Instead, Watch…: X-Men: First Class (2011) – X-Men‘s Magneto suffered through concentration camps, and he responded by utilizing his mutant superpowers. Barely edging out the cleverness of Inglorious Basterds for its portrayal of the Third Reich, First Class understands mutants make learning history better.
13. Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within (2001)
The first Final Fantasy movie is a complete disappointment. Yeah, we get it – you spent a lot of money on computer animation. That alone isn’t a reason to justify box office ticket prices. The Final Fantasy game series starting at FF7 is known for beautiful graphics, but that’s only because those stunning visuals were backed by a deep plot, which The Spirit Within lacks.
Instead, Watch…: Avatar (2009) – For a beautiful visual experience, Avatar is available in stunning 1080 HD 3-D. In fact, the movie is the reason most people even have a Blu-Ray player and 3-D TV. More than just visually stunning, Avatar has substance, making it wifey material to Final Fantasy‘s shallow crackwhore.
12. Die Hard (1988)
Back in the 80’s, all the bad guys were Russian, German, or some form of European communist. It’s difficult not to notice how minority actors are finally finding work…as Muslim, Chinese, and Korean terrorists. In Die Hard, the terrorists are simply comic relief meant to make Bruce Willis appear to be acting. Everything you need to know about Die Hard can be seen in an episode of Family Guy.
Instead, Watch…: Beerfest (2006) – Nobody knows how to villainize the Germans like Broken Lizard. Beerfest is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was released, with audiences still eagerly awaiting the Potfest sequel teased at the end. Quoting Die Hard to anyone under 30 is frivolous, but quoting Beerfest gets you laughs, regardless of whether or not anyone’s seen the film.
11. Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Don’t let the film sites fool you – James Dean is nothing more than your grandma’s Robert Pattinson. Rebel Without a Cause is basically Twilight without vampires, and many of the scenes are reminiscent of Jennifer’s Body. When you drain the supernatural aspect from those movies, they become a lifeless film about whiny kids. Find a cause, you entitled slacker.
Instead, Watch…: Dazed and Confused (1993) – Remember those days of youth when you simply hung out around town drinking, smoking, and getting into trouble? Dazed and Confused (along with American Graffiti) brings back all those wonderful memories of our carefree youth. None of us has a purpose in life – try to enjoy it, pinhead.
10. Blade Runner (1982)
Re-released as a longer version seemingly every day, Blade Runner has the feel of Shadowrun, incorporating religion, technology, and political themes into a cyberpunk landscape with a noir feel to it. Before Hollywood was raping comic book plots, Blade Runner was one of many sci-fi adaptations that veered so far from the original material, they had to change the branding. Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Ewan MacGregor are only a handful of actors who did the cloning concept better.
Instead, Watch…: Surrogates (2009) – Making up for the Die Hard debacle and his daughters’ chins, Bruce Willis presents the best visualization of Internet addicts on film since The Matrix. Whereas the Wachowski’s chose to make the people behind the Internet profiles super-powered hotties, Surrogates shows the many realities of ugly men’s multiple profiles and the career trajectories of America’s lower classes.
9. Annie Hall (1977)
The only thing more annoying than listening to whiny kids is listening to whiny grown men. Moved by extreme narcissism, Woody Allen directs himself in Annie Hall, a movie he also wrote. Allen’s constant need to prove himself as a romantic comedy lead lowers Annie Hall‘s street value outside Long Island. Don’t just break the fourth wall, Woody, break your habit of appearing on camera in our own movies…and pass the message along to Quentin Tarentino, too.
Instead, Watch…: Grandma’s Boy (2006) – The most classic rom-com of all time, Grandma’s Boy focuses on an ensemble cast of normally bit players like Allen Covert. Woody Allen’s annoying character ticks would’ve made him a great fit for an older relative of J.P. but thankfully he’s not in this comedy that actually draws laughs.
8. Silence of the Lambs (1991)
A serial killer is so good with his puzzling clues that the FBI sends a small, frail woman to discuss private details of the case with another serial killer they already have. Silence of the Lambs has such an unbelievable plot it’s hard to keep from laughing as Buffalo Bill reminds his property to put lotion on its skin.
Instead, Watch…: Joe Dirt (2001) – Instead of focusing on the antics of Buffalo Bill, Joe Dirt focuses on Chris Farley’s still-living sidekick. The serial killer with witty quips is relegated to a much shorter side-story, and janitor Joe Dirt proves to be much more relatable than the dreary Hannibal Lector or his deep-throated platonic love interest.
7. Psycho (1960)
A lonely man with mommy issues isn’t hard to find, so it’s hard to still act surprised at the twists in this Alfred Hitchcock “classic.” Everyone knows a Psycho, and American Psycho provides a much more insane look at the issue, likely due to Christian Bale’s willingness to explore his personality issues on film. Even gorefests like Tourista and Hostel provide a more chilling look at the hospitality industry. If the Bates Motel were on Yelp, it would have reviews more reflective of this stinker.
Instead, Watch…: The Waterboy (1998) – If you’re into mommy issues, few have more than Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) in The Waterboy. Also serving as a replacement for Rudy, this underdog story of a college football player struggling to keep up with a hectic school and football schedule and the pressures put on him by the school, coaching staff, and his family. The Waterboy can soothe your Medulla Oblongata much better than Psycho, while telling the same basic story.
6. Rocky (1976)
Some no-name gets a shot at the world heavyweight boxing champ in Rocky, a Cinderella story loosely based on the life of real-life boxer James Braddock in the much-better Cinderella Man. By subtitling Sylvester Stallone, many obvious cliches can emerge in the dialogue, but, since Rocky loses at the end, everyone gives the movie a hall pass.
Instead, Watch…: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) – The title says it all. Dodgeball is a true underdog story, focusing not on one man’s selfish push for fame, but Vince Vaughn’s noble quest to defend his mom & pop gym from a corporate takeover. That’s the underdog we should all root for.
5. The Big Lebowski (1998)
A stoner crime comedy about a loser and his bowling buddies, The Big Lebowski is the Cohen Brothers’s’s’s homage to L.A. noir, neighborhoods, and noise. It’s not that the film isn’t entertaining – it’s just insulting. First, it’s difficult to see Tara Reid as eye candy. The most insulting insinuation, however, is that potheads have no goals, and nothing better to do than go bowling…
Instead, Watch…: Kingpin (1996) – Vanessa Angel, on the other hand, is the perfect eye candy for a bowling movie. Kingpin focuses on the East Coast bowling leagues, and both Woody Harrelson and Bill Murray deliver wonderful performances. Although we all know the West Coast is the best coast (R.I.P. 2Pac), Kingpin strikes down any Lebowski – big or small.
4. Ghost (1990)
Even at the time, Ghost was a cheesy movie. One memorable pottery scene does not a great movie make. Over time, the movie has become tragically dated, with comical orchestrations, fashion sense, and that broad from The View.
Instead, Watch…: The Sixth Sense (1999) – Spoiler Alert – Bruce Willis was as dead as M. Night Shayamalan’s career from the start – we just didn’t know it at the time. Still, The Sixth Sense managed to survive the test of time, despite everyone and their mother knowing the twist.
3. Gone with the Wind (1939)
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn how high Gone with the Wind is on every critic’s must-see movie list. Focusing solely on the white American experience during the Civil War during a four-hour run-time is a tough sell. Clearly America was not yet accommodating minorities during the filming of this way-too-long, overly acted “epic.” Gone with the Wind is unwatchable and in desperate need of a modernized (read: less racist) remake.
Instead, Watch…: Django Unchained (2012) – Whoop, there it is…
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
No matter how many times people insist Money Python or the Holy Grail movie is funny, it’s difficult to truly chuckle at it past the age of five. Most of the actors have recovered, but the spoof film simply doesn’t work – that’s why Anna Faris isn’t making Jim Carrey or even Seth Rogan money. Ignore the hype of this attempt to make you learn about Camelot and King Arthur.
Instead, Watch…: A Knight’s Tale (2001) – If you’re into history lessons, there’s no better celebration of knights and kings than A Knight’s Tale. Barely edging out Martin Lawrence’s hilarious Black Knight, AKT mixes Heath Ledger, a Moulin Rouge-style rock soundtrack, and the stunning Shannyn Sossamon to make the best knight story this side of Game of Thrones.
1. Anything Black and White
Technicolor was around for most of the black-and-white movies you see on the shelves of libraries, pretentious film students, and critics. It’s not that they were too old to have color added. Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock – these lazy “geniuses” chose to create aged b&w films in an age when color was available, as though providing us with HD visuals wasn’t worth their time and effort. As such, watching these poorly-created relics is a waste of my time and effort.
Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, freelance writer, and troll. Penny has been featured on Huffington Post, Lifehack, The Street, Cannabis Now, and Hardcore Games.