Maverick Films’ Maverick Opinions

We all have one. That one film that you aren’t convinced by, yet everyone seems to think is great- a ‘classic’ even. We asked our writers to discuss just that, film’s that they simply never enjoyed as much as popular opinion dictates. The request yielded fiery, controversial opinions and an interesting and varied range of films, here are the results.

(Bear in mind that while you won’t like some of the opinions presented here, you may have you own equivalents. Let us know your ‘maverick opinions’ in the comments section.)


Oliver Rowe- Slumdog Millionaire

I’m a massive fan of Danny Boyle. But I’m also a person who doesn’t believe in fate, destiny and predetermination. So then, I was perhaps ironically predetermined to dislike Slumdog Millionaire, a film about a bizarre series of coincidences that- oh no, wait, sorry, we’re not allowed to believe that these things just happened, it’s apparently all about destiny… Well you know what? I don’t like destiny.

Slumdog Millionaire could have been an inspiring, empowering film about a man’s determination and will to work and risk his own life for the person he loves, a pure tale of aspiration and self-belief – a man in charge of his own fate. However, it ended up being a mess of plot points tied together by a forced theme of destiny, attached to a romance that could have worked had it not been attached to an all-too-obvious, painfully predictable happy ending – the characters had no real arc because the audience was told time and time again that all of this was service to some higher power that was going to make it all alright in the end, an idea that’s just plain offensive to any notion of cinematic free will – how can we care and root for characters that are made bland, rather than interesting by their surroundings and circumstances? A more interesting tale might have been one about how Jamal spent all of his winnings on improving the lives of those who he was fortunate enough to leave behind in the slums and trafficking camps, but no, it was not to be. At least it seemed to realise how silly it all was by the end and just had a big dance number.

Don’t forget to check out our favourites article too, in which a selection of our writers discuss their #1 films.

Jeremie Sabourin- Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko is without doubt one of the most overrated films ever. The film is not entirely without merit but it certainly doesn’t deserve the gargantuan heaps of praise it receives. Essentially the key problem is that weirdness attempts to mask the film’s deficiencies, but simply isn’t enough. The plot is a mish-mash of teen drama, dark comedy, and second rate David Lynch surrealism. Supposedly time travel and tangential universes have something to do with the ending of the film, but it’s not entirely convincing. There’s no explanation as to why there is a tangential universe and why the character of Donnie relates to it. The ending is basically a bastardised take on the old “wake up from a dream” cliché where the events never truly happened. People can spew all the theories and explanations they want but Donnie Darko is weird for the sake of being weird and offers little else besides.

Donnie Darko

Gareth Wood- Alien

A weird little creature bursting out of a man’s stomach does not a cult film make; and Alien does not deserve its cult classic status. Rather it’s a ploddingly boring countdown as the main characters are killed off one by one. Had Alien given us some more memorable characters it would deserve the status it now enjoys, but, after the cat, the two most interesting figures are John Hurt, who gets his stomach ripped open far too early, and Ian Holm’s sociopathic android, which ends up being burned alive. As for the others, Ripley included, they’re so bland that you simply can’t care about them and as a result aren’t fascinated by their story or worried about their fate.

The most interesting of these characters is the ship’s cat, which doesn’t get killed, (about the only good thing there is to say about this film,) and that sums up this film’s horrendous character development. Alien is more of an endurance event, than a horror film.


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Phil Gorski- Titanic

Titanic’s greatest tragedy is its soul destroying run time- tormenting audiences with ham-fisted attempts to create a romance that transcends both time and social taboos. Despite the film’s best efforts, there are no real heroes or villains to be found. The iceberg could count as the film’s greatest protagonist, mercifully killing off so many people who know Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio were creating one of the most wretched sex scenes in all of cinematic history.

This entire movie plays out like contrived fanfiction. Sad rich girl meets quirky poor guy, falls in love and then lets the guy drown because she didn’t want to share her door-raft. She remembers him by throwing the one macguffin -symbolic of her former love- into the ocean.

Essentially this film was great for Celine Dion and terrible for anyone and everyone else who had anything to do with it.


George Storr- A Clockwork Orange

I admire Stanley Kubrick immensely with regard to his master-pieces, Full Metal Jacket and The Shining, but for me A Clockwork Orange should never really have been a film at all and making it was a stain on Kubricks otherwise excellent career.

Anthony Burgess’ original novel was immensely unique and his invention of the slang language ‘Nadsat’ in which the stories protagonists often spoke, takes some getting used to for the casual reader. This language was a pivotal factor in tarnishing the books on-screen adaptation. The language was immensely awkward on-screen and made it hard to take the film at all seriously or to become immersed enough to really think about what was being communicated through the stark, violent world the film attempted to create.

This being the case and hindering the film’s presentation so much meant that it seemed almost as though the film had only really been made to shock with its drug fuelled violence. While many films have seen success on the back of similar appeal this, under Kubrick, could and should have been so much more. However the bottom line is that Nadsat just didn’t work on-screen at all and as a result A Clockwork Orange doesn’t deserve the ‘classic’ status it seems to have been given by (too) many.


Tom Jordan- The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker is the winner of six Academy Awards and was nominated for three more on top of that. It’s seemingly critically acclaimed by just about anyone who’s ever seen a film. So it’s understandable that there are many people out there who’d be astounded to learn that this film might not actually be the pinnacle of cinema it would have you believe. Put bluntly, I think The Hurt Locker is just another mediocre war film.

Jeremy Renner plays a somewhat forgettable character who is a member of a bomb disposal unit. The movie consists of his character, rather predictably, walking around and disposing of bombs. And walking around to dispose of a few more bombs…

Some would claim these scenes are rife with dramatic tension, but the truth is they are just plain dull. There is a fine line between what is tense and what is boring… but, to put it simply, The Hurt Locker falls on the wrong side of that line.


Gareth Wood- Avatar

CGI blue horses or unicorns getting killed in a burning CGI forest all because people want some CGI Unobtainium; gee, I’m hooked already. Avatar succeeds as the biggest triumph of style over substance, throwing in a load of computer generated action and flying lizards to make up for a plot whose writers assumed its audience was too dumb to see through their (admittedly expansive,) bag of tricks.

Except of course, it is all too easy to see through it. The story, of nasty newcomers with superior technology against primitive natives is recycled straight out of the sixteenth century, or is it Return of the Jedi? The Ewoks at least were walking teddy bears so they had the cuteness factor going for the fact they beat up Stormtroopers. Blue CGI people though? How can we care about something so blatantly and un-apologetically artificial?


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Joel Durston- Moonrise Kingdom

I’ve never really got the enduring adoration for Wes Anderson (apart from the wonderful Grand Budapest Hotel). Critics generally fawn over his films, which are popularly seen as quirky and unique, but I often think are just boring and awkward, particularly Moonrise Kingdom– the tale of a twelve-year-old boy and girl from New Penzance, (a fictional island off the New England coast,) running away in a storm and the island’s ‘quirky’ band of characters joining together to try to find them. It has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 84% on Metacritic.

I suppose it does have a bit of innocent nostalgic charm, but it’s style over substance; it’s just so unbearably twee and the characters are emotionally constipated. I appreciate this is kind of the idea, a change to the big drama typical of Hollywood, but sometimes things are contrary for a reason.

Moonrise Kingdom

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