We all love something a bit different, don’t we, and after sitting through what Hollywood has to offer us, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and relax with the markedly different styles and tones of foreign cinema. However, there’s no denying that critics do go a little easy on foreign films from time to time, if not because there’s a vaguely pretentious association of being more “cultured” if you love foreign films, then for the fact that, if we’re not familiar with the language, it’s much harder to tell when terrible acting and dialogue are present (as we are more likely to pawn it off on dodgy subtitling).

Still, here are 10 foreign films that, while immensely popular, just don’t measure up at the end of the day…


10. 8 1/2

While Federico Fellini’s “classic” about the woes of writer’s block is of interest to film buffs for the strange, memorable manner in which it riffs on the creative process itself, it takes this idea and drags it out painstakingly over 138 tiresome minutes, such that most all appeal of the central idea has pretty much evaporated by film’s end. Fellini’s critics will take him to task for being obnoxious and bloated, and 8 1/2 is the epitome of that critique; while he clearly has some inspired ideas, he can’t seem to make head or tail of them, resulting in this dull, plodding, occasionally incomprehensible existential drama that wastes its fine premise and great actors.

Still, I didn’t like La Dolce Vita either, but at least that doesn’t have the same beguilingly untouchable reputation as this, whereby attacking it is considered tantamount to sacrilege.

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This article was first posted on November 16, 2012