12 "Important" Movies That Are Actually Terrible

2. Braveheart (1995)

In many ways, it really does beggar belief that this extraordinarily pompous, overblown, inaccurate historical epic came to be embraced so lovingly by so many. Okay, so it's very a clear-cut case of good guys vs bad guys, and features a burly leading man dishing out righteous vengeance; there's always some joy to be taken from that. But when it takes itself as seriously as Braveheart, and gets showered with awards the way it did, it's screaming to be taken down a peg or two.

Even putting to one side questions of how true to history it all is, Braveheart veers so wildly between extreme sadism and masochism as to make any grindhouse revenge movie seem positively conservative. The characters are so two-dimensional it's not even funny, with the dastardly English portrayed as the absolute scum of the earth, and Mel Gibson's William Wallace as - well - Jesus in a kilt with a broadsword. And on the Jesus connection, the film's suitably overdone climax clearly paved the way for the two hour torture porn movie that was Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (not listed as here as, well, it isn't generally regarded as important).

Wallace's climactic cry of "freedom" may be very impressive considering he has a crushed larynx at the time, and it may be carefully designed to give the audience a similar lump in the throat - but surely the only sensible response is to stifle a laugh.

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