Overrated Movies: Gosford Park.

Warning: Minor Alluded Spoiler (as to who dies, not to who kills).

I had thought about doing a Top 10 for Overrated Movies, but felt it might be better to just do a recurring article and do one at a time. So that brings us to this movie: Gosford Park. I had the (dis)pleasure of watching this movie for the first time last night (I DVR’d it off IFC). Gosford Park is about…um… absolutely nothing up until somebody gets killed about an hour and a half into the movie. Okay, honestly, it’s about a bunch of rich English aristocrats (and Ryan Phillippe) and their servants who all get together at this mansion to go shooting/hunting. When one of them dies, it turns into a (relatively boring and slightly predictable) who-dun-it.

So this movie has a massive cast full of top-notch actors: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Stephen Fry, Geraldine Somerville, Emily Watson, Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, Derek Jacobi, Ryan Phillippe, and a whole bunch of others. As I’ve joked, Ryan Phillippe seems to be the most out of place (and he’s not even the only American in the movie. Bob Balaban plays an American movie producer/director, and even he seems like he could be there. Ryan Phillippe’s character just seems to be like a random red herring that normally wouldn’t be there otherwise).

Anyway… so the movie starts off with this young woman (I didn’t really bother to learn anybody’s names, because not only did they change once they got to the mansion, but there were too many people to bother remembering), going out into the rain to help Maggie Smith’s character open a thermos. Yeah. I’m not kidding. So then they get to the mansion and everybody meets up, they talk in quiet voices about stuff you can’t understand and move on to the next person before you can get a grasp on what was being said. Then they cook dinner and then eat it. And the process cycles for the next hour and a half. And then Dumbledore dies TWICE. Then what has to be the most incompetent detective (Stephen Fry) shows up (though he was one of my favorite parts of the movie, albeit insanely out of place).

The movie was incredibly obvious as to whom at least one of the killers was. The other was what I like to call a ‘pull-out-your-ass’ ending. These types of twist endings are those that leave absolutely no clues for the reader or watcher to pick up on to figure it out, and then pull this random ending out their ass so they can point and laugh at you because they pulled a fast one on you, when in reality, there is no respect for that type of ending. For shame, Robert Altman… for shame.

So yeah… incredibly boring and pointless first half (save for a few key scenes in dropping ‘killer’ hints) that you can’t even understand. Then a really random second half that is only made up for by the funny and random Stephen Fry. I know this movie was supposed to be this social commentary thing, but I didn’t even care for it as that, and I like movies with social commentary. I can’t believe this movie won Best Original Screenplay over Memento (or, hell, even Amélie or The Royal Tenenbaums… neither of which I’ve seen, but I’m sure both are much better movies). I can’t believe I’m about to use the following rating… as even Stephen Fry’s short character appearance couldn’t make me watch this again.

She's Gone From Suck to Blow!

(P.S. I think it’s funny how at least half the cast has either been in, is related to somebody who has been in, or is somehow linked to Harry Potter. Gotta love British ensemble casts).

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