Loser's Guide to Life
I recently saw The Yards (2000), a strangely low-key drama directed by James Gray, with “Whackin'” Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, James Caan, and Faye Dunaway. It's a well-made, unusually realistic, drama, the sort of thing that would have been a classic if it had been made in the 1950s, but it comes across as rather dull. The story is neither here nor there, which is of course no big offense, but I think the problem is the gritty earnestness of the dialogue. Sure, it's believable, and very refreshing. But it's dull. If the story is not twisted and bizarre, and if the setting is the planet Earth, then you have a huge challenge on your hands: how to make this interesting? All of a sudden you have to have thoroughly engaging, even poetic, dialogue, and well-placed dramatic scenes, like in a really good play or something! Otherwise ...
It's unfortunate, but a good and reasonable movie has to be even better than average to be any good. That's probably true of a lot of things.