Tuesday, August 2, 2011


JOHNNY CHAZZ: Ok Jer and CINEMA: COUNTERPOINT fans, “Would you like to play a game?” All war games aside, we will keep this one clean, safe and fun. This week, I propose a little game of “Over/ Under” and this is basically how it works…

We choose two actors, two actresses, two films, two directors, and for kicks, two popular movie snack bar items and in each category we have one (1) who or that we feel is “overrated” and one (1) who or that we feel is “underrated”. In the end, there should be a total of ten nominees and five representing each category. Sound confusing? Allow Johnny Chazz to show you to your seats, and please enjoy the show:


Actor: KEANU REEVES – No talent, no flair and no ability to understand the method behind a performance. His films and roles are nothing short of lousy.

Actress: JULIA ROBERTS – Receives credit for doing nothing….nothing in the least. Her roles are not demanding and the credit she receives for performances and the "sexiest" woman of Hollywood thing have absolutely no merit.

Film: FORREST GUMP (1994) – Where do I begin? This film is easily the most overrated film of all time other than "Titanic" (1997) and they rival one another. The direction is lousy, the cast and performances are extremely sub-par and I could not wait to find the nearest exit. The film added nothing to my life or to my day for that fact. What is even more sickening is to think that films such as "Pulp Fiction", "Quiz Show" and "Shawshank Redemption" all lost to this movie for Best Picture.....unreal.

Director: ROBERT ZEMECKIS – I will rate his top 5 films from 1 to 10 and not even reach 10. Here we go: “Back to the Future” (4); “Used Cars” (1.5); “Forrest Gump” (1.5); “Cast Away” (1.5); “The Polar Express” (1). This totals 9.5 for a director that is a big name and really never made a single film that I would even come remotely close to recommending.

Snack Bar: ANYTHING “GUMMY” (FISH, BEARS) – They taste bland, spoiled, make your stomach upset and virtually rip your gums right out of your face.


Actor: KARL MALDEN – Worked closely with Kazan to become a true actor. Outstanding roles included: “On the Waterfront”; “One Eyed Jacks”; “The Cincinnati Kid”; “Birdman of Alcatraz”; and “Patton”. He starred across the likes of Gary Cooper, Burt Lancaster, Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Steve McQueen and so many more. Kirk Douglas once told his son (Michael Douglas), "If anyone can teach you how to act, it's Karl Malden."

Actress: JULIETTE BINOCHE – Rarely does Juliette steer herself into a role that she cannot handle. She is relentless and poised, yet maintains her elegance and innocence in every performance from films like “Chocolat” and “The English Patient” to the likes of “Cache” and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”. Born in Paris, France this is once actress that I would cast in a heartbeat and I am in awe that she has never won an Oscar for Best Actress (only supporting for “Chocolat” and “The English Patient”). What is relevant and worth noting is that she was the first actress to ever win the European “Triple Crown” for acting (Venice, Berlin & Cannes). Juliette quotes: “I want to make films that are political and social; Films that dare to ask”.

Film: THE CONVERSATION (1974) – Not only was this film deserving of the Academy Award, but the cast, the performances, the direction and the screenplay make it one of the top-10 films of all time on my list. It is close to the perfect film.

Director: JEAN-LUC GODARD – He defined independent and honest film-making while understanding that no story must be linear in telling fashion...

Snack Bar: BON BONS (Old-fashioned treat, cool for summer and always tasty)

JER:  Wow, JC, this is a very intriguing topic and a ‘game’ I want to participate in. I liked your quote of “shall we play a game” taken from WAR GAMES, by the way! …OK, hmmm…let’s begin!


Actor: KEVIN JAMES- Only because I didn’t want to sound redundant with electing KEANU REEVES, being JC’s choice, but I do have to go with this vast waste of no- talent space! Are we supposed to accept him as the next lovable ‘chubby’ comic actor? We had Oliver Hardy, Lou Costello, John Belushi, John Candy, Chris Farley and now we are condensed to Kevin James??? I can say that what makes the other plump comedians humorous was that they had their own point of delivery and a knack to kind of tug at your sympathetic heart strings a bit… James makes me want to cringe in my seat whenever I see him in yet another film! With nauseating turns in vomit- inducing movies like PAUL BLART: MALL COP, GROWN- UPS and ZOOKEEPER, it would seem as if you are now widdling woodchips from how low the barrel has been scraped! BRAD PITT, JIM CARREY, NICOLAS CAGE and CHRISTIAN SLATER are all close runner- ups!

Actress: Again, the nomination of name by JC has been taken...this time, JULIA ROBERTS…but that is OK, because there are many more to choose from. The likes of ANGELINA JOLIE, KRISTEN STEWART, KIERA KNIGHTLY, MICHELLE WILLIAMS and PENELOPE CRUZ all come to mind! I will give props to JC for his ROBERTS choice, because she would be the queen of “overrated” actresses to this court of disastrous heirs. In this category, I nominate more than one, making it a jumble of “overrated Actresses”…dubbing them all ‘duchesses of dullness."

Film: TWILIGHT (2008) Let me see if I got this straight... vampires in love with humans. I guess we skipped a generation when they bypassed 1987's THE LOST BOYS for the same storyline in a far more superior and way cooler film! This revolting and tedious flick has bland and embarrassing performances from the “single- expressioned” Kristen Stewart and the equally brooding Robert Pattinson. Here’s a thought, kids… save your money and stay home and watch TV’s “The Vampire Diaries” instead! Now that’s taking the same story and telling it right! I actually thought the VAMPIRES SUCK movie spoof was better than this toilet flush! Another piece of info, coming from a real vampire…they DO NOT SPARKLE!!!

Director: Tyler Perry- Jeez, has the world gone insane? Have we fallen into some trance that we cannot wake- up from? I, obviously, belong in an extreme minority category, since his films open number one every single time! WHY??? Is the entertainment audience that hungry for something remotely humorous? I am seriously considering my own series of degrading, racially- charged films starring a multi- colored sock- puppet! I would choose a sock- puppet, since that is the equivalent to any cast member of any of his films! I personally believe that Perry has single- handedly taking black comedy back into the Stone Age! It makes pioneering black entertainers like Flip Wilson, Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and even Buckwheat roll in their graves from disgust!

Snack Bar: The 2011 version of Nachos! A container of microwavable cheese and a sealed bag of Nacho chips have taken the place of hand- ladled spicy cheese catching the nooks and crannies of proportionally stacked Nacho chips that were served by the box loads. My first job was working at my local movie theater at the age of 15 and I took great pride in the preparation of the snack bar favorite in my days. I would begin warming the cheese at a mid- point as to not burn or crust it. Then, I would open the can of the aroma- filling jalapenos and slightly pour and stir in some of the juice to the cheese… giving it the right consistency and flavor! Furthermore, I would pack- in the chips and overlay the box to give my patrons their money’s worth! My process would have me cascading the cheese over each chip to make sure that every individual one got their drench on! Alas, living in today’s cheap and fast world of food and concession… I must confess that I felt short-changed and cheated by this manufactured and processed version of my old favorite. That’s the last time I shell out that kind of money for a bag of air and its condiment.


Actor: GARY OLDMAN, Previously mentioned in an earlier blog topic of my choice, I dedicated an entire entry to this fine actor. Always a chameleon, you just never know what to expect. One thing that is guaranteed is attention to detail and a full embodiment of the character he portrays! TIM CURRY is another actor who comes to mind. Who else can play Darkness in LEGEND, Dr. Frankenfurter from THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and the Butler from CLUE? This actor has taken on a variety of different character roles and pulls them off each and every time ranging from comedy to drama, musical to fantasy! I say we all do the ‘Time Warp’ again in celebration!

Actress: BARBARA HERSHEY. I am probably going ‘old school’ with my choice, but she did make a grand and unforgettable appearance as Natalie Portman’s demanding and slightly- psychotic mother in BLACK SWAN recently. On top of this overlooked scene- stealer, Hershey has also made noticeable appearances in two Martin Scorsese films (BOXCAR BERTHA, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST) and in Woody Allen’s HANNAH AND HER SISTERS. Hershey always seems to turn in top- notch performances with hardly the recognition it deserves. Hershey has only been nominated once for an Academy Award in the Supporting Role in 1996’s PORTRAIT OF A LADY. Other noted runner- ups would include Ellen Burstyn (THE EXORCIST, THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) and Mila Kunis (BLACK SWAN, FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL).

Film: This is touchy, because my personal view points will come into play. I honestly believe that the following titles deserve a more respected place in the minds of film audiences around the world… they are:

THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992) Yes, I think it is that great and I think it still gets the short of the stick by many…I don’t see why. It honestly believe that it is both a sweeping epic with adventure and peril, drama and romance with a very authentic storytelling delivered by director Michael Mann. I recommended this film in a previous blog topic.

INCEPTION (2010) It was nominated from Best Picture, but it fell short of its true recognition and its rightful place in the spotlight. Director Christopher Noland is a master- film maker who has grabbed my full attention as to what he will deliver to the viewing audience next! I am already anticipating his next ‘BATMAN” entry into his trilogy entitled DARK KNIGHT RISES set for 2012.

THE WRESTLER (2008) Directed by Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN) the film, Mickey Rourke and the ‘documentarian” style of cinematography and direction are a combination that made it such a delightful sleeper hit.

Finally, other ‘underrated’ films deserving honorable mention: DOUBT (2008), GONE BABY GONE (2007), APOCALYPTO (2006), MILLER’S CROSSING (1990) and ELEPHANT (2003).


Director: CHRISTOPHER NOLAN and J.J. ABRAMS. I feel there is a tie in this category as I feel that both directors have not honestly been given the recognition or ‘just desserts’ they deserve! I mentioned INCEPTION as one of my ‘underrated’ films and director Christopher Nolan was snubbed from a Best Director nod for this refreshingly original thriller. With films like MEMENTO (2000), INSOMNIA (2002), BATMAN BEGINS (2005) and THE DARK KNIGHT (2008), Noland is a writer/ directing force to be reckoned with! Watch out, Hollywood, I feel we are only seeing the tip of this mammoth iceberg! J.J. ABRAMS is the new wunderkind on the block! Taking a page from the book of Steven Spielberg, Abrams had made his name by stapling his brand to such successful television programs like FELICITY (1998- 2002), ALIAS (2001- 2006), LOST (2004- 2010) and FRINGE (2008- 2011). He has also made a very strong and definitive etching in the film industry with directing such recognizable films as MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (2006), the revamped STAR TREK (2009) and this summer’s sleeper hit (and my choice for “Best Film this Summer”) SUPER 8 (2011). Abrams is currently working on his STAR TREK sequel as well as more surprises under his imaginative sleeves!

Snack Bar: P’nuttles. Do they even serve these tasty treats at the concession stand anymore? If not, what a shame that an entire generation is missing out. Description: peanuts roasted in butter toffee, would create a hard and crunchy shell over the peanuts. You got both the salty and the sweets in every bite! What else can I say, these were great and I always looked forward to grabbing a bag before catching a flick.

Thank you for introducing this fun game, JC. Ok, blog- readers…your turn! What are your “Over/ Under” considerations? We would be very intrigued to find out your take on your opinions! Please send us your comments and follow- up to read your posts and replies! Let the fun begin!

Come back and visit us as I, Jer, take us into a topic of cinematic discussion. As always, we will SEE YOU NEXT WEDNESDAY!
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  1. I think a ton of movies and actors are very over rated in todays age. It seems like movies and acting are actually getting worse with time. Two directors that I feel are very over rated are Ron Howard and Tim Burton because their movies are all the same. Paul (Wyoming)

  2. Thank you Paul... can I say that there was a time when both Ron Howard and Tim Burton were both very original directors bringing something new to the industry. Howard's last 3 or 4 films have been forgettable and Burton is remaking, sorry, the term is now "re-imagining" everything under the sun. ALICE IN WONDERLAND, SWEENEY TODD, PLANET OF THE APES, SLEEPY HOLLOW, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and possibly DARK SHADOWS??? Come on!

  3. Hello Cinema Counter: I wrote once before on the blog a few months ago and wanted to write about this topiic. 'Grease' was a movie that I thouht was really overrated even though it was entertaining. Both of you might disagree with me, but I never really though it was that great of a film. Also, talking about old snack bars treats, I always liked snow-caps but don't see them much anymore. (Gerald, Astoria Oregon)

  4. cinema counterpointAugust 4, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Hi Gerald, thanks for the comments. I kind of agree with you on GREASE, but it is so flippin' entertaining as you said! I almost fell off my seat when you reminded me of the old snack- bar favorite: Sno- Caps! Wow, I forgot about those little choco- treats! Great comments!

  5. Hello, This week's posting is a topic that I discuss a lot with my family and friends and was glad to see it pop up on your site. I competely agree with many of the films and actors as well as actreses that you have both nominated this week as being over or under-rated. Movies are nowhere near what they once were and we really don't have that many great screen actors (maybe a small handful) any longer which is sad, but the truth. (Tom, Westminster CA)

  6. Hi Tom, it is a rude awakening to realize that Hollywood just ain't what it yasta be! I agree that we no longer have "stars" these days and we grasp on to the 'good' movies as if they are the 'great' films. Thanks for sharing...what films and actors do you think are "over/ under" ?

  7. Hi,
    There are some people in the movies today that I think get way too much credit. I like your lists from both of you, but thought I would offe a few of my own: Rick Moranis, Ben Stiller and Catherine Zeta Jones. JESSICA, LAS CRUCES NM

  8. Hi Jessica and thank you for your list of actors! Some great and very interesting options selected! Thanks again!

  9. Two movies that I thought were really overrated were 'Fight Club' and 'The Departed'. Both movies were hyped up way, way too much and received awards that I don't think they really deserved. @Ricky, San Diego California

  10. Hey Ricky, wow, that was bold...since there are a lot FIGHT CLUB fans out there. I would agree with you, to a certain point about THE DEPARTED, sice I thought other Scorsese films deserved the Award prior to this sad win.
    Thank you!