Published on July 26th, 2017 | by Nathan Raine0
10 Good Movies with Bad IMDB Ratings
Imdb is great for information on a production; it’s a garbage fire from a critical perspective. Here are some great movies with low imdb ratings.
A while back, the Internet Movie Database (imdb) removed its user boards from the site, which was a clearing out of some of the internet’s most prolific amateur movie banter. We’re not losing all that much. Frankly, most of the conversations were inane or ridiculous at their most benign, and racist, sexist, or homophobic on the more horrible end of the spectrum.
Imdb did choose to keep user reviews and the user rating, so today, we’re going to talk about ten really good movies with really bad IMDB ratings.
This, of course, is all very stupid. Giving any amount of credence to an imdb score is like blindly trusting the nutritional value on a McDonald’s Healthy Choices menu. But the imdb score is also inescapably prominent — a movie’s imdb page is often the first result when googling a title, and the score sits there next to it, big and ugly and derived almost exclusively from an audience of 14-year-olds who haven’t even seen the movie and base their evaluation on the movie’s poster or how involved Joss Whedon was in its production. Imdb scores are dumb, so giving them enough credence to form a list spiting them, then, is also necessarily dumb. Nevertheless, here are ten films that have been unfairly degraded by the unfortunate prominence of their imdb score. Note: The arbitrary cutoff is 6.2/10 or lower, as it was simply far too easy to find really great films in the mid to lower 6’s.
Killing Them Softly – Andrew Dominik (6.2/10)
The only thing not very good about this movie is its groan-worthy, Fugees inspired title, which works as an R&B title, less so for a dingy crime film. The 2008 financial crisis and Presidential campaign serve as an omni-present backdrop to a very stylish, very violent, and very talky hitman movie. It feels almost nihilistic, and is one of the most grim depictions of contemporary American culture in recent years [perhaps explaining its low score]. Ben Mendelsohn, who has possibly never been better, plays a lowlife mobster wacked-out on drugs and so repugnant you can almost smell him through the screen. And one particular slow-motion setpiece has one of the more beautifully filmed killings I’ve ever seen.
King Lear – Jean Luc Godard (5.7/10)
Falling somewhere between Godard’s “Revolutionary,” aka experimental-political-video-art phase, his “Second Wave” phase, and his narrative-but-still-experimental phase, it won’t come as a surprise that King Lear is a difficult film. It’s based on the Shakespeare play, but in typical Godardian fashion, he almost entire abandons story. Godard is interested in other things, as critic Callum Marsh describes: “it aims to be an exhaustive taxonomy of human existence as modern as it is timeless, and in doing so is, to my mind, the most important film ever made.”
Only God Forgives – Nicholas Winding Refn (5.7/10)
I didn’t much care for Drive because while Refn is undeniably a very talented visual stylist, he [at that point in his career], was a pretty poor writer, and much of the story, characters, dialogue, and relationships in Drive failed to resemble something believably human. I can only stomach so much Gosling squinting and toothpick chewing. His follow-up, Only God Forgives, isn’t plagued by any of Refn’s inclinations to be emotionally moving — it’s hollow and he knows it. Only God Forgives is almost entirely concerned with violence, and man, does he succeed. 90 minutes spent in red and blue drenched Bangkok confirm that Refn is certainly one of the great visual poets we have in cinema today.
Personal Shopper – Olivier Assayas (6.2/10)
This movie is such an interesting mess, and Kristen Stewart has enough talent and gravity as an actress to hold everything together. It’s kind of a ghost story and kind of a fashion movie and kind of a movie about contemporary modes of communication. It’s at times ludicrous and at times profound, but it’s distinctly original and doesn’t contain a single frame which lacks intrigue. The emotions of love, hate, confusion, frustration, and rapture I felt while watching Personal Shopper are the sort of things we all hope for when going to the movies.
Pola X – Leos Carax (5.8/10)
X stands for 10, the amount of drafts Carax wrote of this movie, but it should probably signify the movie’s rating, because this thing is shocking in its feverish sex and very unsettling incesty relationships. Pola X is about a young novelist who becomes obsessed with a woman who claims to have an intimate association with him. It’s indulgent and dark and emotionally soggy at times, but Carax is an unabashedly ambitious filmmaker rich with ideas, and when he lands a punch, you really feel it. Plus, it has Catherine Deneuve.
Sombre – Philippe Grandrieux (6.2/10)
Grandrieux isn’t really making movies. He’s using a camera and employing actors, but movies like Sombre are almost unrecognizable as “cinema,” as nearly all the formal qualities we associate with movies are absent. In his frantic use of camera and sound, he’s reaching for truth in place we can’t typically see, like in the case of Sombre, which deliriously follows a mind/hands/soul/breath of a serial killer. Tim Palmer, film scholar, writes of Grandrieux, “looking for inventing new narratives forms that would only fit in films, his films, deriving from horror movies and experimental movies, give the viewer intense sensorial experiences. His goal is to make the viewer psychologically involved in his movies.”
Southland Tales – Richard Kelly (5.5/10)
Succeeding the emo-kid sensation of the century ain’t easy, as Donnie Darko‘s writer/director Richard Kelly discovered, when panned for his Darko follow up, Southland Tales. Granted, it does star The Rock, which is never a smart idea when you’re trying to make a movie not appear to be a flaming pile of shit. But it is far reaching and ambitious and certainly a very clear example of an artist trying to push himself. And, as this article argues, may have been panned because it was way ahead of it’s time.
Spring Breakers – Harmony Korine (5.3/10)
Near the beginning of Spring Breakers, there is a heist that propels the four main characters into a world of sex, drugs, and violence. This is somewhat reflects the heist Korine plays on pop-culture/mainstream cinema, by hijacking sugar-coated teen icons and forcing their oblivious mass-audiences to uncomfortably watch a world of sex, drugs, and violence that is very far from the candied version of which they’re familiar. This stunt is one of many things working in Korine’s rhythmic, fevered masterpiece, and surely the reason its been given such a spitefully low rating.
Twentynine Palms – Bruno Dumont (5.3/10)
Bruno Dumont certainly isn’t for everyone. Before turning to dark-comedy in his masterpiece P’tit Quinquin, he mused on death, morality, and God in a style that was undeviatingly grim and somber. Twentynine Palms is about a couple venturing around a national park to scout locations for a photoshoot, and end up wandering around the barren landscape like a modern day Adam and Eve, desperate for emotional and spiritual fulfillment. As always with Dumont, he explores the link between sex and violence, you know, the stuff that makes us human.
Valley of the Dolls – Mark Robson (5.9/10)
The last movie on this list is the one I feel least comfortable defending. Objectively speaking, it probably is kind of bad [the acting, dialogue, and story are all varying degrees of shit], but there’s enough substance there under the messy, dilapidated surface to make it relatively worthwhile. The expose of the glamour and excess of Hollywood still feels relevant, and as is often the case with camp, most of what works in it is unintentional, but nonetheless, still pretty great.