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Well-Loved Movies I Detest


bloodyminded

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Lots. The Gold Rush, Safety Last, Birth of a Nation, Battleship Potemkin - all of these are fantastic films of times gone past that continue to amaze lovers of good film, and fine their way into the hearts of film makers, who in turn rework them and put them on the screen for the popcorn munchers.

Ever heard of Preston Sturges ? How about the Coen Brothers ?

ya there are some really old films that I can still watch and enjoy for me that's the mark of a great movie...

I loved Star Wars when they first came out but now I watch them and they're really bad...

some that I hate that were supposed to be great because I've never been able to sit through them without falling asleep

Godfather 1 and 2

Last Tango in Paris

Gone with the Wind

after several attempts at watching each one I still don't know how any of them end zzzzzzz

all time fav-Lawrence of Arabia

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What exactly is original about Matrix? Ever heard of Tron?
Tron did not have the philosophy. In any case, the measuring stick I use is cultural impact - i.e. how much to the images/ideas of the movie sink into the collective memory. Matrix has done that. Tron was quickly forgotten. Maybe Matrix will be forgetten in 10 years. I doubt it though. Edited by TimG
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Godfather 1 and 2

Last Tango in Paris

Gone with the Wind

after several attempts at watching each one I still don't know how any of them end zzzzzzz

all time fav-Lawrence of Arabia

Good, interesting choice, wyly. I'll start with Last Tango in Paris. It was hyped at release because of the nude scenes, and Marlon Brando. In fact, it's just a "standard" French movie with an American actor. I would compare it with, say, 37.2 le matin.

Godfather 1 and 2. Well, they are certainly better than Godfather 3. I can certainly understand why it might put someone to sleep. For awhile, its script had many cultural references but with time, this will fade.

GWTW. I have never been able to finish the novel, and the movie seems to be an episodic summary of the novel. I found the movie tiresome in the post-bellum before it finally became ridiculous. Still, it's presentation of the South and that scene at the end of Part I will last for a long time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lSMFAkJpbA&feature=related

A special zoom lens was designed for the crane shot. Great effect.

As to Lawrence of Arabia, the best I can say is that Lean made it for the big Cinemascope screen. On anything else, even a big home 1920x1080 screen, the film is just boring. If you get the chance to see it in a retrospective, see it. (When new movies come out, I classify them as rentals or cinema according to visuals.) I agree however that it is slow.

Edited by August1991
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....As to Lawrence of Arabia, the best I can say is that Lean made it for the big Cinemascope screen. On anything else, even a big home 1920x1080 screen, the film is just boring. If you get the chance to see it in a retrospective, see it. (When new movies come out, I classify them as rentals or cinema according to visuals.) I agree however that it is slow.

This important observation applies to many period films and even new releases. Without a big screen, and I don't mean those pretend theatre screens in megaplexes, you really can't see the film as the director intended. The whole experience has become more precise but very sterile compared to reels clicking and changing hands in the projection booth.

This is why I prefer to sit in the front row...more leg room too !

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Certainly everybody knows Gandhi, the man, but nobody my age has seen Gandhi the best-picture award winner of 1982. While E.T. on the other hand became and remains almost universally recognized. Likewise Annie Hall... (a discussion we've had before, I'm sure...) whatever its merits as a movie, it's just some film of some year gone by, of particular interest only to film buffs and Woody Allen fans.

....

There seems to be a notion among "serious" movie fans that serious movies have serious subject matter and serious actors in serious settings, and that movies that aren't "serious" just aren't as good and aren't of lasting significance. What is "good" is entirely debatable, but lasting significance is not a function of putting people in period costumes or portraying historical events or attempting to portray "real life".

Star Wars and E.T. are in the same category as Gone With The Wind...

You make various points Kimmy but I might as well start by playing once again the resident Woody Allen defender (Why not? Particularly after Polanski's "Swiss Get-Out-Of-Jail" Card).

I have seen almost all of Woody Allen's movies. I usually like them, but not always. I remembering watching one ("Sweet and Lowdown") without knowing who made it. After about 10 minutes, I said this is a Woody Allen wannabe movie and about 10 minutes later, I said Woody Allen has to be involved in this.

IOW, Woody Allen (like Ernest Hemingway and Victor Hugo) has a distinctive artistic style - and in cinema, that is particularly hard to achieve. So many people are involved that any style gets lost in the shuffle. (And then there are the Jerry Bruckheimers and Ivan Reitmans of the world. Artists on steroids.)

I suppose that you could answer that Harlequin romances also have a distinctive style but then I would answer that Allen, like Picasso, started out with one conventional style but then moved into something original - deceptively simple but hard to imitate.

[Am I repeating my previous Woody Allen artiste argument?]

I never liked Star Wars and always thought that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a far better early science fiction movie. I have to agree however that Star Wars attracts more attention now. (I watched 2001 again recently and it's boring, as Wyly would say. I FFW through the end psychodelic scenes.)

"Star Wars" success may be due to Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 and his SDI, and Lucas' brilliant marketing idea to turn the first Star Wars into a sequel and farm filming of the other episodes out to other directors. Disney invented the concept decades ago of re-releasing movies every generation or so. Lucas did it with the concept.

ET? Crappy movie that probably means Kimmy, if you think it is God's gift to cinema, that you were born around 1980 since it would have been your fist big movie. Movies are like music, and highschool sweethearts: there's always a special place for a first love. Around 2020, when most people born in 1940 will be dead, we will hear little of Elvis Presley.

----

Serious movies?

Dreams of the Red Chambers is a Chinese novel whose author is unknown because at the time, novels were considered mere diversions. (The Decameron would be a European equivalent.)

Art has never been taken seriously and artists, ever the frauds at heart, have used pretense to bolster credibility. So the word "serious" should always be taken with a grain of salt when discussing art.

With a few exceptions, Mozart's music is light-hearted and I suspect educated Viennese of the late 18th century treated it as we treat the pop tunes of Elton John. The wonderful difference is that in the late 1700s, there was little choice. In the late 1900s, we had a plethora of choice.

Edited by August1991
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Revisionism nothing. Just because something has a fictional predecessor which it is often compared to, obviously does not mean it does not have real life predecessors. And we are not talking about actual associations here, we are talking about pop culture associations. The criteria are entirely different. This is about life imitating art.

So... big flat screen TVs are based on The Jetsons and not on actual TVs ?

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The Matrix was a milestone for me in that it was the crappiest movie that I ever heard so many people call a great movie or even an important film... as in fil-um...

If the Star Wars trilogy eventually became an exercise in selling toys, then The Matrix was about selling long black leather coats.

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If the Star Wars trilogy eventually became an exercise in selling toys, then The Matrix was about selling long black leather coats.

I don't know about Star Wars or black leather jackets, but I reckon that The Matrix will date when you went to secondary school in the same way that ET will date when you went to elementary school. Edited by August1991
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The Matrix was a milestone for me in that it was the crappiest movie that I ever heard so many people call a great movie or even an important film... as in fil-um...

I went to last version in the Theatre, an hour and a half of my life lost forever, the coming attractions and popcorn were the highlight of the day....
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Tron did not have the philosophy. In any case, the measuring stick I use is cultural impact - i.e. how much to the images/ideas of the movie sink into the collective memory. Matrix has done that. Tron was quickly forgotten. Maybe Matrix will be forgetten in 10 years. I doubt it though.

Oh come on, what cultural impact has the Matrix had? It's about as culturally influential as the Blade trilogy. It has its fans, to be sure, but if you compare it to, say, Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones or ET, it really doesn't belong in the list.

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GWTW. I have never been able to finish the novel, and the movie seems to be an episodic summary of the novel. I found the movie tiresome in the post-bellum before it finally became ridiculous. Still, it's presentation of the South and that scene at the end of Part I will last for a long time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lSMFAkJpbA&feature=related

A special zoom lens was designed for the crane shot. Great effect.

Gone With The Wind has long been one of those films that irritates the crap out of serious film critics. On the one hand, it is a pretty silly story, as Roger Ebert famously put it, "the [Civil] war was fought not so much to defeat the Confederacy and free the slaves as to give Miss Scarlett O'Hara her comeuppance." By the same token, it is one of the most visually striking films ever made, with cinematography that still makes cinemaphiles weep with amazement. More than that, it still ranks, if not at the very top, then very close to it, in adjusted dollars, as one of the most successful films in history. It was the first blockbuster, the first film that was defined as Jaws and Star Wars and the like would be as "must see". It was THE great Golden Age film.

The problem with watching Gone With The Wind is having to put aside our notions of the 19th century, particularly pre-Civil War south. We all know, intellectually and emotionally, that the South was a place steeped in racism, hypocritical in its devotion to liberty even as it kept a portion of its population in bondage, owned and sold like cattle. So when you see this vision of Southern society, all that anti-bellum charm, that was so peculiar and, in some ways, disturbingly attractive, most peoples' first reaction is to view the film as they might Birth Of A Nation. There's no doubt that it's a naive re-imagining of the South, but I think if you can suspend disbelief, you'll find that it is a damned fine and enjoyable story, and that Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh were probably the greatest masters of sustained sexual tension in all of the history of cinema. There really have never been two people quite like them put together in a movie before or since.

Edited by ToadBrother
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The problem with watching Gone With The Wind is having to put aside our notions of the 19th century, particularly pre-Civil War south. We all know, intellectually and emotionally, that the South was a place steeped in racism, hypocritical in its devotion to liberty even as it kept a portion of its population in bondage, owned and sold like cattle. So when you see this vision of Southern society, all that anti-bellum charm, that was so peculiar and, in some ways, disturbingly attractive, most peoples' first reaction is to view the film as they might Birth Of A Nation.

It is what it is...to be otherwise would insult our intelligence. Slavery in the American South (or Lower Canada) was an economic fact, not to be deplored or ignored in a historical perspective or work of fiction. I don't know why some people try to wish it away as inconsistent or barbaric, because to do so, would also mean no westerns with dead Indians.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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I have seen almost all of Woody Allen's movies. I usually like them, but not always. I remembering watching one ("Sweet and Lowdown") without knowing who made it. After about 10 minutes, I said this is a Woody Allen wannabe movie and about 10 minutes later, I said Woody Allen has to be involved in this.

IOW, Woody Allen (like Ernest Hemingway and Victor Hugo) has a distinctive artistic style - and in cinema, that is particularly hard to achieve. So many people are involved that any style gets lost in the shuffle. (And then there are the Jerry Bruckheimers and Ivan Reitmans of the world. Artists on steroids.)

I suppose that you could answer that Harlequin romances also have a distinctive style but then I would answer that Allen, like Picasso, started out with one conventional style but then moved into something original - deceptively simple but hard to imitate.

Tarantino films are likewise stylistically unmistakable for anything else, and you can't stand them, so I'm not convinced that you're advocating this is a mark of quality.

"Star Wars" success may be due to Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 and his SDI,

I assume this is intended as comedy, although I often have a hard time telling when you're pulling my leg. It's a hilariously funny statement, intentionally so or not.

ET? Crappy movie that probably means Kimmy, if you think it is God's gift to cinema, that you were born around 1980 since it would have been your fist big movie. Movies are like music, and highschool sweethearts: there's always a special place for a first love. Around 2020, when most people born in 1940 will be dead, we will hear little of Elvis Presley.

People my age know Elvis Presley. And Johnny Cash, and Frank Sinatra, and a select handful of other icons of our parents or grandparents' eras.

I was not yet born when ET hit the theatres, and still have not seen the whole movie in one sitting. Nevertheless I mention it in the context of your earlier comments about what will be remembered in 30 years. 28 years on, "crappy" ET remains a popular and widely recognized movie, while "best picture" Gandhi is part of a long list of "serious" "quality" films that didn't capture the imagination in a lasting way.

-k

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It is what it is...to be otherwise would insult our intelligence. Slavery in the American South (or Lower Canada) was an economic fact, not to be deplored or ignored in a historical perspective or work of fiction. I don't know why some people try to wish it away as inconsistent or barbaric, because to do so, would also mean no westerns with dead Indians.

I was referring more to the accusation often made against Gone With The Wind that it glorified slavery. I think the charge misses the mark. Gone With The Wind was, fundamentally, the story of the Southern aristocratic class from that class's point of view. To suddenly have an Abolitionist pop up in it would have been inconsistent and, well, ludicrous. This wasn't a film about Yankees, indeed, they're portrayed even worse than the slaves. As Roger Ebert says in his review:

Remember that when ``GWTW'' was made, segregation was still the law in the South and the reality in the North. That the Ku Klux Klan was written out of one scene for fear of giving offense to elected officials who belonged to it. The movie comes from a world with values and assumptions fundamentally different from our own--and yet, of course, so does all great classic fiction, starting with Homer and Shakespeare. A politically correct ``GWTW'' would not be worth making, and might largely be a lie.

And that's how I view it. I remember watching that horrible Jodie Foster film Somersby and when it gets to the part with the black judge played by James Earl Jones, the whole thing became some sort of absurdest surreal fantasy, so detached from the realities of the Reconstruction-era South as to laughable. It was Hollywood at its revisionist worst. I don't mind wholesale invention, but if you're trying to make some sort of historical fiction flick, it's a lot easier to swallow when it actually resembles the historical setting you're putting it in.

I believe that to truly understand any society, you have to put aside all your own particular beliefs, prejudices, and yes, sometimes even morals and ethics. To me slavery as abhorrent, but to the people who the characters of Gone With The Wind are based on, it wasn't. They, like people all through time, did not question the underlying premises and values of their society, and like countless societies throughout history, fought to preserve those values. Were they wrong, certainly from my perspective and from the perspective of a mid-19th century Abolitionist, damn straight. But, even as Gone With The Wind is just fiction and does idealize the South, in a way it tells a truth, like all great art, about how those people in that place at that time felt. If you want the slave's point of view, go watch Roots, though it too is every bit as stylized as Gone With The Wind, just in the opposite direction.

One of my favorite songs is The Band's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. It is, of course, written from the perspective of a poor white Southern farmer, and not the aristocratic classes, but it too is sympathetic to the South. Do I think Robbie Robertson likes slavery. No, no more than I'm sure David O. Selznick or Margaret Mitchell did, but in both cases there is a story to tell, a story worth seeing or listening to, and one that maybe makes us consider that the South was populated with people who held as deeply-held beliefs as their northern brethren, and who feared, like all civilizations do, the extinguishment of their way of life. I can't defend their society, but I can understand it, and Gone With The Wind tries to do just that, showing us a stylized version of the South, but necessarily completely unreal version of it.

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I was referring more to the accusation often made against Gone With The Wind that it glorified slavery. I think the charge misses the mark. Gone With The Wind was, fundamentally, the story of the Southern aristocratic class from that class's point of view.

Correct...but I would challenge you further by asserting that "slavery" was in fact a legal and economic necessity for the successful development of not just the US South, but the North and Britain as well in key industries. King Cotton was a powerful agribusiness that many...white or black...were willing to die for.

....No, no more than I'm sure David O. Selznick or Margaret Mitchell did, but in both cases there is a story to tell, a story worth seeing or listening to, and one that maybe makes us consider that the South was populated with people who held as deeply-held beliefs as their northern brethren, and who feared, like all civilizations do, the extinguishment of their way of life. I can't defend their society, but I can understand it, and Gone With The Wind tries to do just that, showing us a stylized version of the South, but necessarily completely unreal version of it.

This selective approach ignores cinema's depictions of life in the North that also celebrated aristocracy on the backs of marginalized human beings (black or otherwise). I can absolutely defend the South in that very American historical context.

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Correct...but I would challenge you further by asserting that "slavery" was in fact a legal and economic necessity for the successful development of not just the US South, but the North and Britain as well in key industries. King Cotton was a powerful agribusiness that many...white or black...were willing to die for.

It certainly wasn't limited to the South. Pretty much every colonial power who had interests south of the Mason-Dixon Line, right to Strait of Magellan imported slaves, and I'd argue that in a lot of cases in Latin America, even after slavery was officially abolished, a lot of former slaves, Indians and the like were still for all intents and purposes indentured workers.

I can't say whether slavery was necessary or not. In Canada and what would become the northern states it really didn't exist as such, Europeans not so much enslaving Indians as driving them westward across the Mississippi, shooting them when they had to (even in the 1890s when my great-grandfather and his family came up from North Dakota into Canada, they had a few skirmishes with Indians along the way, neither side particularly liking the other).

It's a hopeless, and pointless what-if. Certainly, until the invention of mass agricultural technologies and techniques, you needed a lot of people to work the land. In a way the tobacco and cotton plantations straddled the line between an almost feudal agricultural system and a more modern agricultural one. But while the technology existed in the 1800s to greatly decrease the number of laborers required, you are right in the respect that that technology didn't exist a hundred or two hundred years before, and whether you did like the Spaniards and Portuguese did and work your Indian population to death and then import blacks, or, in the South, drove the Indians out and then imported slaves, the fact was that a huge chunk of the Americas was colonized on the backs of indentured labor.

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Casino and Goodfellas were both incredibly violent films, the difference being Goodfellas was a good movie, and Casino was fairly mediocre.

I liked Casino, but you're right, it's simply not in the same league s the former film.

I'm not necessarily against gratuitous violence in a film, I enjoy Tarantino's films and they're incredibly violent.

It doesn't bother me either.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Certainly everybody knows Gandhi, the man, but nobody my age has seen Gandhi the best-picture award winner of 1982. While E.T. on the other hand became and remains almost universally recognized. Likewise Annie Hall... (a discussion we've had before, I'm sure...) whatever its merits as a movie, it's just some film of some year gone by, of particular interest only to film buffs and Woody Allen fans.

Hi Kimmy,

I was just looking up some Woody movies on wikipedia, came across this - the AFI ranked it as #4 comedy OF ALL TIME.

I did watch it last year, and it's as funny as ever.

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Tarantino films are likewise stylistically unmistakable for anything else, and you can't stand them, so I'm not convinced that you're advocating this is a mark of quality.
Tarantino hasn't changed. Woody Allen, like Picasso, Mozart and the Beatles, changed his style - and yet it somehow remained personal.

But I'll leave change aside and let history decide whether Tarantino is a Somerset Maugham or an Arnold Bennett.

I assume this is intended as comedy, although I often have a hard time telling when you're pulling my leg.
I was pulling your big toe. (Can I say that in public?) I'm sure George Lucas was happy when journalists associated the term "Star Wars" to Reagan's SDI. Lucas knew that he could buy bigger, better toys for his garage/studio.
I was referring more to the accusation often made against Gone With The Wind that it glorified slavery. I think the charge misses the mark. Gone With The Wind was, fundamentally, the story of the Southern aristocratic class from that class's point of view. To suddenly have an Abolitionist pop up in it would have been inconsistent and, well, ludicrous.
I agree TB although I have always wondered about this word "class". Who defines it? We can arguably define skin colour but accents and fork-holdings, I'm less certain.

Now then money, I have no problem with such discrimination. If you have $4, you can have a Big Mac. If not, you go without. (I think Leftists refer to this as "social discrimination". Society treats poor people badly. The poor cannot enjoy life the way rich people do.)

I can't say whether slavery was necessary or not. In Canada and what would become the northern states it really didn't exist as such, Europeans not so much enslaving Indians as driving them westward across the Mississippi...
To me, slavery is simply theft and no sustainable society works well in the long term based on theft.

I use a similar reasoning when thinking about Islamic societies and women. (Sorry for the thread drift.)

----

To get sort of back on track, Gone With The Wind is famous as a war movie without a single battle scene.

Edited by August1991
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