Not all cinematic masterpieces come with blockbuster action, fast-paced storytelling, and dynamic characters. Every so often, we see movies that successfully garner acclaim from critics and audiences alike despite lacking conventional movie excitement and thrill. Here, I shall share 17 ‘boring’ movies that are nevertheless masterpieces:
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is a difficult movie to get through, but not because of a lack of quality. Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, this sci-fi film captivates with its plot as much as its visuals. However, thanks to a mixture of its dystopian theme, uneven pacing, and dim lighting, some scenes can feel dragged out.
Richard Linklater’s 2014 film Boyhood reportedly took over 12 years to film. With a runtime of three hours and basic-feeling dialogue, watching Boyhood can feel as long as the several years it took to make it.
Casablanca is popularly regarded as one of the best movies ever made, and I agree. It is a fantastic film with a thrilling plot and superb performances by its ensemble cast. However, while the film is a masterpiece by every meaningful metric, you might still find yourself a bit bored in the non-romantic parts of the storyline.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The release of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was a landmark moment in history not just for the sci-fi genre, but the entirety of cinema. The film might, however, take a while to finish, partly because of its run-time of about two-and-a-half hours and partly as a result of its incredibly slow pacing.
Forrest Gump (1994)
I know it might seem a bit sacrilegious to have this one on the list. Forrest Gump is responsible for some of the most iconic movie quotes and has even inspired an Indian remake. I personally consider this film a classic, but I also recognize that it is polarizing, as many viewers found its entire length tiresome.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Brokeback Mountain tells the forbidden love story of two men embroiled in a romantic relationship in the 1980s. The film’s premise is captivating, and this shines through in the plot and acting. The charm, however, wears off occasionally, which leads to the movie feeling like a bore in those periods.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
The main problem with Gone with the Wind is that the film was released a long time ago. As such, the attributes that made it enthralling when it premiered don’t really work for today’s audience. To be honest, the almost four-hour runtime doesn’t help, either.
Dead Man Walking (1995)
The acting in Dead Man Walking is phenomenal, and this is why the film remains a masterpiece despite being characterized by tediously lengthy dialogue. The movie certainly deserves its critical acclaim, even if the audience cannot be blamed for getting uninterested at times.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia is a biopic drama centered around the life of T.E. Lawrence and his adventures in the Ottoman provinces. While the film boasts of several exciting moments, it easily finds opportunities to be dull, no thanks to its 4-hour length.
Joker was a masterpiece in almost every way, even winning lead actor Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar for Best Actor. Some have described the film as incredibly boring, but that’s likely because it deviates from the action-packed style of DC Comics-based movies.
The eponymously named Gandhi follows the life of Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic anti-colonial nationalist of India. Drawing on many historical events and notable speeches, the movie is no doubt memorable. However, its heavy reliance on these same elements also makes it difficult for viewers to pay attention throughout.
Citizen Kane (1941)
Produced and written by Orson Welles, Citizen Kane was the quintessential mystery drama of the 1940s and laid the groundwork for many films that followed. Though almost universally hailed as a timeless masterpiece, a huge chunk of Citizen Kane’s plot is made up of flashback scenes that can feel unnecessary.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Regardless of how you feel about Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the last couple of minutes were truly a treat. However, I suspect not all viewers made it that far as the film drags on quite a few times, thanks to its tedious subplots.
Russian Ark (2002)
Russian Ark is one of those movies that is difficult to get through but ultimately rewards the resilient viewers who continue to pay attention. The 2002 experimental movie explores the 300-year history of St. Petersburg, Russia.
Like numerous other films that attempt to and successfully replicate everyday dialogue and experiences on screen, Weekend tends to feel mundane at times. But that’s exactly what the film sets out to do by adopting a naturalistic approach in telling its tale of the romance shared by two men over a weekend.
For the most part, Paterson is intentionally uneventful. The film revolves around the titular character, a bus driver and poet who follows the same routine each day. With a critics’ rating of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, Paterson earned critical acclaim for its brilliant portrayal of everyday struggles.
It Follows (2014)
It Follows is one of the definitive movies of the elevated horror subgenre, a category that is viewed by many as a collection of snooze fests. This should tell you everything you need to know about the movie. While there are certainly qualities to be appreciated about It Follows, just don’t expect to be thrilled by the typical gore and threats of other horror films.
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