Top 10 Movies that are Trying Too Hard
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Shannon Stovall
These movies had lofty ambitions, but in their execution they struggled to live up the goals they set for themselves and came off as trying way to hard and coming up short. WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Movies that Tried Way Too Hard to be something incredible! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be 'Collateral Beauty', 'Suicide Squad', or 'The Hateful Eight'? Watch to find out!
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In the case of these films, more is less. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies That Are Trying Too Hard.
For this list, we’re looking at over-the-top films that were either focusing too hard on gaining market success, overemphasizing effects, pulling at heart strings too much, weaving an extremely complex story, and/or capitalizing on a trend. For the record, we’re not saying these are bad movies, just that these films should have quit while they were ahead or taken a major chill pill.
#10: “Passengers” (2016)
Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence and space exploration; sounds like a recipe for cinematic gold and a stellar film, right? So what could go wrong? In “Passengers”’ case, it’s not so much about going wrong, as it is about falling flat. While audiences had mixed responses to Passengers, most agreed that the story seemed too formulaic. Meanwhile, the acting, while not bad, just seemed bland, and it had an overall feel of, been there, seen that. Add to this the fact that the flick was pretty much a box office flop in North America, earning just a little over 100 million on a reported 110 million dollar budget, and this was one potentially explosive film that was just a big bomb.
#9: “The Cell” (2000)
Beauty is only skin deep, or in the case of this psychological thriller, screen deep. While many agree that The Cell was visually unique and stunning, the same cannot be said for the script. The premise of this movie is intriguing: a child psychologist goes into a serial killer’s mind to help find a kidnapped victim. But the execution of the story took a backseat to the imagery. Maybe the visuals were meant to be a bit too over the top to help mask the plot holes and poor casting decisions that critics felt plagued the movie, but in the end it was too much show, not enough tell.
#8: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007)
If any company knows how to extend, expand and exploit a franchise, it’s Disney. We aren’t saying Disney doesn’t make great movies - they do - but many felt that At World’s End was just not one of the better ones. While it was 2007’s most commercially successful flick, there were just too many extra characters, too much emphasis on Jack Sparrow’s quirky antics, too many seemingly repetitive fight scenes, and let’s not forget the confusing plot twist, all of which had audiences thinking the 3rd installment of the Pirates series might’ve been best left at world’s end, or maybe pushed over it…
#7: “The Green Inferno” (2013)
Many directors try to push the envelope with their films, either by doubling down on the shock value, increasing the intensity of visuals or broaching sensitive topic areas. Eli Roth tried to do all of that in The Green Inferno, and the result was too much of all three. With many saying it missed the mark when it comes to being scary, Inferno instead placed all of its eggs in the gore basket, and those eggs were then broken into a bloody mess. Most agreed there was an overabundance of carnage and the macabre, too much shock and not enough awe – all of which diluted, instead of emphasized the film’s social commentary, disturbing intent, and impactful imagery.
#6: “The Tree of Life” (2011)
The exploration of human existence, the place of faith, and the role that relationships and experience have in shaping our identity aren’t new themes for films to explore. However, this Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain drama had people saying it relied too heavily on the philosophical and shocking, which in turn, made the flick more convoluted than poignant. The Tree of Life was well acted, and for many offered thought provoking questions about life and the understanding of oneself, but for others, the almost two and a half hour run time exploring nature and nurture was just plain boring and tedious.
#5: “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (2011)
Real-life tragedies have long since found their way onto the screen, usually in the form of a heartwarming drama or emotional action film. In the case of this pick, the plot revolves around a young boy with Asperger syndrome, who sets out on a quest to find the lock that matches a key that belonged to his father - who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel tells a unique story, but seems to focus too strongly on capitalizing on tragedy and using emotion to sway audiences. The end result is a film that many felt lacked sincerity and connection to the subject matter.
#4: “Cloud Atlas” (2012)
While we considered placing the 2015 space opera Jupiter Ascending here, we ultimately went with another Wachowskis-directed sci-fi: 2012’s Cloud Atlas, which looks at how the cause and effect of one’s actions can impact the future. With multiple switching timelines; the events from each rippling into the others; as well as a message of how kindness or crime can impact everything, the movie is definitely complex. However, for many, it appeared to be too complex. Originally adapted from a 2004 novel by David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas shows that what works on paper doesn’t always work on screen, making a little over $27 million at the US box office on an estimated $128 million budget!
#3: “The Hateful Eight” (2015)
When it comes to Tarantino films, people can expect three things: extreme violence, dark humor, and a healthy dose of fast-paced action. The Hateful Eight offered two of the three, choosing to emphasize over the top violence and humor. It also decided to include long monotonous conversations between characters at the expense of action. Additionally, many felt the flick was trying too hard to recreate past successes and that less effort was made for an original and engaging storyline. Not to mention the fact that the movie hits an approximately 3-hour run-time, which had people thinking it was a whole lot of the same old thing.
#2: “Collateral Beauty” (2016)
Many people wish they could communicate with or understand different parts of the universe. So it’s no surprise to come across a film that tackles what would happen if Love, Time and Death were able to answer you back. The movie was set up to give emotional insight into how beauty can come from turmoil, and how people learn lessons they never expected while striving for another goal. In concept, Collateral Beauty is great. But in reality, it was cheesy and had so much schmaltz that audiences could barely choke it down. The plot seemed contrived, and came across more as a movie of the week than a tale for the ages.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.
- “Zoolander 2” (2016)
- “Vanilla Sky” (2001)
- “The Equalizer” (2014)
#1: “Suicide Squad” (2016)
This much-awaited flick was loud, flashy and went for all out mayhem - maybe a little too much mayhem, all things considered. While the movie did satisfy the cravings of some, especially the Harley Quinn fan base, many others found it hollow, unevenly paced, graphically displeasing, and devoid of the essence of the Squad from comics. Meanwhile, the story seemed erratic and lacking at the same time. Oh, and this wasn’t the first DC flick that didn’t live up to the hype; we’re looking at you, “Batman v Superman.” With a heavy emphasis on one-liners, music video-esque scenes, and hit-or-miss performances from the cast, Suicide Squad likely have benefited from a little less style and a lot more substance.