16 Overrated Films of 2016 That Are Certified Fresh
Last year, I tested out an idea that in previously years was done on video only. The article was called 15 Overrated Films of 2015 That Are Certified Fresh and was fifteen films that I saw throughout 2015 that I deemed overrated according to the film’s score on Rotten Tomatoes. The article was a lot of fun to write and turned out to be a pretty big hit with We Live Entertainment readers. After seeing so much great response from an article that I thought was different than the typical best of and worst list, I decided to write one each year, as long as there are enough films that I didn’t see eye to eye on and have a certified fresh rating.
So as it is nearing the end of 2016, here is my new list for 2016. However, instead of 15 films, there will be 16 this year. Just like last year, I am going to break this list down into three categories. The first few films are ones that I believe are good films but slightly overrated. The second section will consist of films that I would consider OK but nothing really more than that. Lastly, my final group consist of films that I believe are way below average and shouldn’t have a rating anywhere near the score in which they are listed at on Rotten Tomatoes.
Before I begin my list, I want to point out two things. The first is that this list is entirely my opinion. If you feel differently about a film, I would be more than happy to have an intelligent discussion about why you feel I am wrong or why you feel the rating is accurate. I am not trying to convey that my tastes are better or worse than anyone else. I am just openly sharing my opinion on the titles listed below.
The second thing is that I feel the need to explain what it means for a film to deemed as “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. According to a simple Google search, “to obtain a Certified Fresh rating, a film must have a steady Tomatometer score of 75% or better.” What this ultimately means is that some of the films on this list may eventually dip below 75%, but during the writing of this article, they were all given the “Certified Fresh” rating on the site.
Group One: Solid but Overrated
The Edge of Seventeen – 94% on Rotten Tomatoes
The Edge of Seventeen is easily my favorite film on this list. I saw the film a few days before I left to attend the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. I was extremely excited to see the film so early because I loved the trailer and the cast. While I found the film to be fun and a solid entry in the “Coming of Age” film library, I wasn’t blown away by it. After the festival, I attended a press day for the film where everyone I talked to shared their thoughts on how much they loved the film. Fully convinced that I was missing something, I revisited the film without having to take notes for a review. Truth be told, it was better on my second viewing, but I still found it to be very predictable with several moments that fell a bit short. Honestly, I don’t think Edge of Seventeen should have the same or higher score than films like Arrival, The Nice Guys, and Jackie because I believe that they are far more creative and showcase some of the best performances of the year or themes of the year.
If I were to rate The Edge of Seventeen on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 65% to 75% range.
Green Room – 91% on Rotten Tomatoes
I heard so many great things about Green Room that I made it a priority to squeeze it into my hectic Sundance 2016 schedule after I missed it at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. While Green Room was an interesting horror thriller with solid performances, I didn’t find it to be all that memorable or as the edge of your seat exciting as so many others made it out to be. Instead, I found it to be just overly loud just for the sake of trying to be “metal.” It looks great and is somewhat entertaining, but for me, it didn’t live up to all the hype.
If I were to rate Green Room on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 55% to 65% range.
The Lobster – 90% on Rotten Tomatoes
I am all about creativity and quirkiness in a film. I am not one of those critics that beg for films to be different but then after watching them criticizes them for being too out there. My issues with Yorgos Lanthimos‘s The Lobster has nothing to do with its tongue-in-cheek look at relationships and how we as a society are so desperate to be part of one. It has more to do with the film’s third act where I honestly believe it falls part and becomes just too over the top. I also felt like some of the jokes just didn’t hit hard enough and sometimes the story felt a bit long winded. There is no denying that The Lobster is a solid satire that is geared towards sophisticated film lovers and critics but being considered one of the best films of 2016 and having a rating of 90% seems a bit much.
If I were to rate The Lobster on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 60% to 70% range.
Midnight Special – 84% on Rotten Tomatoes
While I went into Midnight Special expecting nothing but greatness, I walked out feeling somewhat underwhelmed. Midnight Special is an indie sci-fi superhero film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. The film’s story along with some solid performances by Michael Shannon and Joel Egerton deem it worthy of some praise. However, considering how much I loved Take Shelter, I expected more and honestly, was a bit bored with the film in certain spots. Nichols is a very talented writer and director, but I don’t feel like this film ever achieved the greatness that the marketing lead audiences to believe.
If I were to rate Midnight Special on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 50% and 60% range.
Group Two: A-OK
Loving – 90% on Rotten Tomatoes
Loving is probably the most controversial pick on this list. The film has received a lot of love from audiences and critics but left me feeling less than impressed. The film focuses on Richard and Mildred Loving, a real life interracial couple that went to the supreme court after being arrested for their marriage. The subject matter is something that was right up my alley especially considering how close it hits to home. Not many probably know this about me, but I grew up in a mixed-race household and witnessed how people judged my black brothers differently than myself or my white brothers. I had people tell me that there was no way that my brothers who were legally adopted weren’t part of my family because of the color of their skin.
I expected a great and powerful love story about the struggles of interracial marriage and facing racism head-on when I went to see Loving. What I got was a by the numbers story that felt like a made for television film that should have aired on Lifetime or PBS. While I understand that this isn’t supposed to be a flashy film, I found the performances to be a bit too subdued. It was very hard to believe when certain things occurred in the story that Richard and Mildred would have behaved in such a manner. I must also mention that Joel Edgerton‘s performance was very one note throughout the entire film. He didn’t showcase any emotion or range in his performance.
In my eyes, Loving brings nothing new or fresh to table about a subject matter that should be moving and powerful. There is nothing at all about the story, performances, or direction that stood out. With so much talent both in front and behind the camera, Loving is easily one of this year’s biggest disappointments. I still can’t believe the film has such a high rating and so many rave reviews.
If I were to rate Loving on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 40% and 50% range.
Everybody Wants Some! – 86% on Rotten Tomatoes
Richard Linklater’s latest film premiered at SXSW and sold out the Paramount Theater in Austin. Ashley and I didn’t get into the Premiere due to the never ending line that wrapped around the building and across the street, but we heard many positive things about the film during our time at the festival. We eventually saw the film locally after its initial release, and while I enjoyed certain parts of it, I found it to be long, drawn-out, and honestly, pretty pointless. While the performances are entertaining, I didn’t think there was anything particularly noteworthy about them or this college-themed story that Linklater was telling. The film simply felt like frat guys acting like frat guys with some serious homoerotic undertones. I remember an article coming out right after the film released which pointed out that Everybody Wants Some was the gayest film of the year. While I can agree with that article, the high praise, on the other hand, isn’t earned or deserved.
If I were to rate Everybody Wants Some! on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 45% and 55% range.
Star Trek Beyond – 84% on Rotten Tomatoes
Boldly Mediocre. While my good pal and Trekkie, Scott Mantz would beg to differ, I found Star Trek Beyond to be the biggest disappointment of all three of films in this new Trek series. I don’t know if this was one of those films that I just overhyped before seeing it, but I just found it to be less interesting, less amusing, and less action-packed than the previous two Abrams-directed films. While there are some solid moments, the story felt like it is trying to reinvent the wheel from borrowing moments from the original series but didn’t do much for anyone who wasn’t a fan or familiar with the series. While none of these newest films are amazing, I did find the previous two more entertaining and interesting as a whole. Oddly enough, all this is coming from someone who grew up in a Star Trek household where the original series played on repeat throughout my childhood.
If I were to rate Star Trek: Beyond on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 40% and 50% range.
American Honey – 81% on Rotten Tomatoes
Andrea Arnold’s American Honey is a film that I struggled with watching and reviewing. Shia LaBeouf and Sasha Lane deliver incredible performances and Arnold’s direction captures Middle America as though you were watching a well-crafted documentary. There are some great moments in American Honey, but as a whole, it is extremely repetitive and boring to watch. There are far too many scenes where teenagers are shown rapping on a bus or simply walking around aimlessly. The film does contain a few geniune and raw moments but ultimately the film’s bloated 163 minute runtime hurts it. If this was a 90-105 minute film, I think American Honey would have been something to talk about, but as it stands, I don’t think anyone besides film critics and hardcore indie film lovers would be able to make it through the film in a single sitting. In fact, if the average movie-goer tried to watch American Honey, I believe that 75% of all viewers wouldn’t be able to make it through to the end. And of those who did, I think most would label the film as boring, pointless, and irrelevant. It is a real shame because there is a great film somewhere in American Honey, it just gets lost in-between the repetitive sequences and various characters that do nothing else but yell and curse.
If I were to rate American Honey on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 40% and 50% range.
Lion – 77% on Rotten Tomatoes
“You have to see Lion!” “It is so incredibly moving.” “This is going to be nominated.” These quotes among many others are actual quotes that I heard from various people in attendance at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Needless to say, after hearing so many people praising the film, I obtained tickets to the final screening at TIFF before I left the festival. While Lion tells a fascinating true story, it is about an hour too long and feels like an extended commercial for Google Earth. The performances are stellar all around, but given the actors involved, this isn’t too big of a surprise. I think the film would have been more emotionally impactful if the runtime was 80-90 minutes instead of 120 minutes. I think the build up towards the ending is so predictable with very little happening for almost 60 minutes that I couldn’t help but feel bored and uninterested. This long build up made me lose interest almost entirely which as a result made the ending not nearly as emotional as it should have been. Again, I know not everyone feels this way, but for me, this is why I feel Lion is one of those overrated films of 2016.
If I were to rate Lion on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 40% and 50% range.
Trolls – 75% on Rotten Tomatoes
Trolls is a colorful film with an incredible soundtrack. The film is made to amuse children as well as adults. The animation is decent, and the story is fun but very predictable and nothing all that special. With so many great other animated films in 2016 from Zootopia to Kubo, I don’t think there is much about Trolls that stands out. While it’s an entertaining film, it brings nothing new to the world of animation. Sure, there is glitter and high energy characters, but that doesn’t make the film groundbreaking. I also feel like the marketing behind the film gave so many of the best jokes away, therefore, making most the jokes in the actual film not nearly as amusing as they should have been. Trolls is fun enough but definitely, shouldn’t have the same rating as much better family films such as Finding Dory and Pete’s Dragon.
If I were to rate Trolls on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 35% and 45% range.
The BFG – 75% on Rotten Tomatoes
Just like most of the Disney releases of 2016, I found The BFG to be visually stunning. I loved the animation and look of the film that Steven Speilberg brought to life on the big screen. I thought the film brought a classic story to life, but the story felt dated and didn’t quite hold my attention. I will never forget when I exited my screening of The BFG, and a little kid was walking next to me, and his mother asked if he liked the movie. He responded with “I didn’t like the film very much mom, it was boring.” I hate to agree with that little kid, but while I admired certain aspects of the movie, I was pretty bored with the movie as a whole. I think this was the weakest of all Disney releases this year and while I would still give it like a 6 out of 10, I do feel given the talent behind the camera, a film like this should have wowed me considering I love the book and director.
If I were to rate The BFG on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 45% and 55% range.
Ghostbusters – 73% on Rotten Tomatoes
The female remake of Ghostbusters was probably one of the most discussed films of summer 2016. I feel like for almost an entire month leading up to the release people were bashing the film without even seeing it. The sad reality of the Ghostbusters remake is that it isn’t anything that amazing but it isn’t nearly as bad as the haters made it out to be. Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters was entertaining but somewhat uneven. I didn’t find the film to be all that funny, but I do admire what Feig did with the source material and how he made it fresh to this generation. Sure, the cameos in the film didn’t work and like I said, I didn’t find the film to be all that funny, but it was a decent start to a franchise that was hopeful to go somewhere but may not go anywhere.
If I were to rate Ghostbusters on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 40% and 50% range.
Group Three: I Don’t Know What My Colleagues Are Thinking.
Paterson – 95% on Rotten Tomatoes
While this might be a bit controversial, I am going to call it as I see it. I firmly believe that a lot of film critics love feeling superior to your average movie-goer. This is why films like Paterson have rave reviews, and the casual filmgoer will more than likely never see it. Paterson is this pretentious art house film about a man who we watch follow his daily routine for a week. The film shows him going to work and how mundane it is while his wife takes on new forms of creative expression with painting and learning how to play the guitar. For a good portion of the film, Adam Driver’s character writes poems and reads them out loud to the audience. The poems are as dull and lifeless as watching this film. Paterson is one of those films where you hear critics saying “oh, it’s so deep and profound” because they want to feel like they appreciate the director’s artistic vision regardless of how simplistic it truly is. I hate pretentious indie films and Paterson is just that. It’s nothing special regardless of its ridiculously high rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
If I were to rate Paterson on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 20% and 30% range.
Southside with You – 92% on Rotten Tomatoes
I saw the Obama first date film with We Live Entertainment contributor Fred Topel at Sundance in January. I watched this film hoping to be entertained or interested in a day in the life of the Obamas before they officially became a couple. The film is incredibly dull and portrays Barack and Michelle as people who never should have been together. The film almost makes Barack into an asshole who has no respect for women and Michelle as this floozy who doesn’t know how to stand up for herself and can be won over by an ice cream cone. I don’t get the hype surrounding this film, nor do I view it as a decent love story. I believe that it’s a cash grab to try to tell a story that no one besides the real life couple knows all the real details about. Its completely pointless despite the two lead actors giving it their all.
If I were to rate Southside with You on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 20% and 30% range.
Sausage Party – 83% on Rotten Tomatoes
I attended the World Premiere of Sausage Party while I was attending SXSW earlier this year. While I can wholeheartedly agree that SXSW was the perfect place to premiere a film as infantile and moronic as Sausage Party, I am genuinely baffled that so many of my colleagues found this film to be entertaining and intelligent. I believe Sausage Party is one of the worst films of 2016 and didn’t make me laugh once. The film runs on the same type of sexual humor found in every single Seth Rogen film, and the animation is basic at best. The story while many have argued makes a deep statement about the state of our society, I respectfully disagree. Instead, I believe that the film is just Rogen being racist for the sake of getting cheap and easy laughs. Having a Jewish bagel that sounds like Woody Allen isn’t funny nor is having a Mexican actress voice a taco. The opening musical number isn’t even good and I am a sucker for all things musical. It is actually mind blogging to me that critics are labeling this as an original and well-crafted animated adult comedy. I can agree with South Park and Team America but this film, come on. I completely understand the idea of to each their own, but for me, this is one of those occasions where I honestly wonder how the vast majority of critics saw past this Rogen ruse.
If I were to rate Sausage Party on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 5% and 15% range.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – 77% on Rotten Tomatoes
The Lonely Island gang is hit or miss for me. While I am very familiar with their work and find a lot of it to be amusing, I think the reason it works is that it is only about 5 minutes in length. Popstar: Never Stop Stopping seems like a funny concept, but for me, I felt like the film lost steam very quickly. It follows the cliched story of a Popstar who went from being huge to being a has been. The film is aimed to poke fun at most of the recent Popstars such as Justin Bieber who are very much in love with themselves rather than their fans. I think I was entertained with this film for about 15 to 20 minutes before I became uninterested and bored. There are a few decent jokes in the film, but the joke gets old very quickly. It also doesn’t help that the story is very predictable and that even though Andy Samberg is playing Connor, he is actually just playing the same character that we have seen him play so many times before. I didn’t hate Popstar, but it certainly isn’t a comedic gem that deserves such a high rating. I found both Keanu and Central Intelligence far more clever and consistent than this film and yet they have lower scores on the site.
If I were to rate Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping on a Rotten Tomatoes scale, I believe it should fit somewhere between the 30% and 40% range.
Well, those are my picks of the most overrated films of 2016 that are certified fresh. Please feel free to share your thoughts or your list below. I am sure some of my picks many will agree with while others will probably get upset that I put some of these films on this list. I always love chatting films with others so feel free to share your thoughts about this list in the comment box below.