G-S-T Quick 5 – Culturally Loved Movies That We Just Hate

A few weeks ago, Cinematical ran a post entitled “Movies that everyone seems to love but you” and that got me thinking.  For years, I’ve had a grocery list of films that I just can’t get into, just don’t understand, or outright dislike.  I have been thinking of these films from time to time but thanks to the post, I (after talking with Rob and Pete) have a great reason to consolidate these films.

There is one common element in each of the films listed below that is a prime contributor making these films “not our cup of tea”, and that’s probably hype.  If people always say, “that film is awesome!!“, and have said so for years, you expect that, after seeing it, you’d have to find your socks as they, true to the phrase, have been “knocked off”.  Sadly none of these films accomplish said metaphorical action.

You can call us all dense for not appreciating the following films, but we at G-S-T just don’t buy into the hype that makes other people (namely our friends) just love these films.  Lastly, we have tried, really, on repeat viewings to find the elements that make people just love these films, but to no avail.  We may be cinematically impaired to ‘great cinema’ but part of being a film fan is liking what you like and voicing about what you don’t.  So using this wonderful thing they call a blog, allow me to elaborate on our behalf, some films that we at  G-S-T truly hate…well hate is strong isn’t it?  How about films we just don’t get?  That better?  Thought so…

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Blade Runner – Number one on my list for years and I cause quite a stir whenever I bring up my dislike for this film.  I’ve written before that I think some parts are cool, it is visually gorgeous and that I can see how it was visionary when it was made but that’s as far as I’ll go with it.  Part of the movie’s missteps, (for us at least) it that everything you see is rather ambiguous.  Not sure who is telling the truth, what you’re seeing is real or what to expect in the next scene can get a little old as nothing seems to get resolved.  Part of the reason we dislike the story is that just when they start to get somewhere, and attempt a resolution to something resembling interest, the movie just ends.  That just pisses me off.  Again call me dense for wanting something wrapped up in a Hollywood bow, but why make something so apparently “Hollywood” then go for an indie or foreign feel.  We just don’t understand.

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Scarface – Now there’s two firm classes of fans that just love this film:  Wanna-be gangster rappers and high school kids.  Since we fall into neither category, that might explain the disconnect that we experience.  I know some people who still have posters in their garages, and while I don’t fault them I still shake my head at it.  We’ve never liked this movie but still continually feel we are missing something but don’t know what it is, and do not have a desire to endure another viewing to find out what it is.  If it is a cultural phenomenon, then why is it such a small class of people who like the movie?  Want a great Pacino/DePalma flick??  Try Calito’s Way…much better in all respects.  Though I’ve got to hand it to Tony Montana, how you can get a grown man to wear a Scarface t-shirt is beyond us.

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Donnie Darko – I think a resolution in this film is the most important non-element.  The only saving grace for this film (and I may be really alone on this) is the soundtrack, namely the Tears for Fear song “Head over Heels” but that’s just me.  For something with such a cool concept, interesting characters and something that could have been very impressive and expanded further, it just fell flat.  Now we’ve tried since college to get into this movie but we can’t.  Time travel, alternate realities and Patrick Swayze should have been waaay cooler…it just wasn’t.  Best thing to come out of the movie was the cover of “Mad World”.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas – Something about mixing Christmas with Halloween using a huge Tim Burton spoon just seems off putting.  To top it off, it was more of a musical than a motion picture and the songs were hit or miss.  While the visuals were incredible, we kept asking “what is the point here?”  It was a ballsy concept and there were some parts that were entertaining but overall this film was just kind of a mess.  Now to us, Tim Burton is an acquired taste and being fans we (oddly enough) don’t like all his films.  We love Batman but not Mars Attacks!.  We like Sleepy Hollow but not Big Fish.  Strangely, Nightmare is loved by people of all ages…just not us.  Also as big a hit as it is here, it is just HUGE in Japan.  Rob lives there now and he still doesn’t understand the appeal.  Well I guess there’s no accounting for taste and we just can’t buy into this film.

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Unforgiven – What I really am starting to see with more recent Eastwood films is a pattern.  It goes like this: the film is slow, very slow and sometimes, so slow you fall asleep then wonder how you’re still watching the same movie.  That can be said of other films that we actually do like very much (i.e. Dances With Wolves) but Clint’s ‘lil Oscar winner doesn’t do anything for us.  To be fair, his films really are great, and I love Million Dollar Baby (though it’s not what you would call a “feel good” movie) but I see Clint’s style constantly replicated in each succeeding film and think he got way better after this one.  Admittedly, this came out when the Western was as dead as it could be and tried to make a character film rather than a guns blazing film about cowboys. Freeman and Eastwood’s performances didn’t really inspire and it felt a little hollow for people who are supposed to be friends in real life.  This film started as nothing special, rolled along like a tumbleweed and then just kind of rolled out of sight without any resonance.  “Unremarkable” is what I would have called it.

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Dis-Honorable Mention:

SidewaysPaul Giamatti is an amazing actor but this film’s wit (and point, really) just eluded all three of us…pity.  Trailer made it look so charming.

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Well film fans, what say you??  Did we stir up a hornet’s nest or hit a nerve with any of you??  Opinions are subjective, but do you think we’re out of line or truly just don’t get “great” cinema??  Love to hear your thoughts…

Comments

  1. madhatter21 says

    Kudos for your honesty! It takes sand to up and say “I know it’s a classic, but I still don’t get the appeal”. You aren’t at all being out of line…you’re being true to where you stand, and that can’t be all bad…can it?

    I’ve had a few movies that fell into this category through the years (I couldn’t stand FARGO for the longest time), but at the moment I am hard pressed to think of one that everyone else loves but me.

    The only thing I might suggest, is not to write these films off completely (except for DARKO, which if you don’t dig by now…you never will). Where all the others are concerned, come back to them sometime. You might be surprised to find that being in a different mindset puts you in touch with the movie in a new way.

    I actually wrote about the whole “Was originally disliked / Now it’s beloved” phenomenon.

    • Wow, thanks for the encouraging comment. i thought for sure if I didn’t all of a sudden estrange my readers with that post, the first comment I would have gotten would be some lambasting rant about how off we are…or worse yet, death threats.

      I’m glad you wrote “not to write these films off completely” because for a few, I was planning on revisiting them…just not anytime soon. What’s the link to your “Was originally disliked / Now it’s beloved” post. I’d really like to read it!

  2. madhatter21 says

    Nah…

    I wouldn’t pester you for not liking them – even if I do count many of ’em amoung my faves. At least you’re being honest and saying “I know a lot of y’all like it, but it just ain’t my thing”. There are actually a handful of classic that I feel the same way about!

    Likewise, I’m happy to hear that you might circle back someday. That shows character.

    As for my post about certain movies getting better with time…..ask, and ye shall receive!

    • Very nice work Hatter. I knew about the resurrection of LIFE and have come to love SHAWSHANK over the years but the one I am still at odds with is KANE. I think I’ve been a CASABLANCA fan since birth an nearly everyone I’ve met either has CASABLANCA or KANE as their all time fav but KANE’s appeal still escapes me…but like the others I’ve chosen to revisit this one day and will be on my list of “to be considered”. Only then might I have a slightly more favorable opinion…actually looking forward to it. Great post btw. Like reading your stuff!

  3. madhatter21 says

    Thanks for reading – and the feeling is mutual.

    As for KANE, do me one small favour…actually two. Move it up the list, and do watch it again soon. However, you need to watch the dvd with Ebert’s commentary track running. There is so much going on in that flick that was pretty revolutionary at the time.

    Might up your opinion of the film!

  4. Scarface fucking sucks, I don’t get that one. And I once heard Blade Runner coined as “Blade Crawler”, I think that sums up my thoughts on that one nicely. Can’t say I’m down with the other contributions to the list, but hey, to each his own.

    • Yeah Adien, I don’t think anyone in the world will like all of the same movies no matter how much they do have in common. But that’s what makes things interesting, differentiation of opinions.

      BTW, I love “Big Trouble in Little China” but a lot of people I know think I’m smoking crack to love the film as much as I do.

  5. madhatter21 says

    @ Aiden… I wouldn’t go so far as to say SCARFACE sucks, it’s just been raised to a height it doesn’t deserve by would-be thugs. It’s a good flick – not a great flick, and certainly not an essential…but it’s not a crap flick.

    As for BLADE RUNNER, it’s a tough call…it’s one that seems to have gained more and more of a following as time has gone on. For those who find it slow, they must remember – it’s sci-fi noir. If a viewer doesn’t like film noir, they won’t dig noir with flying cars and replicants, right?

    The big question, is which version is better? Voice over, non voice over, or final director’s cut?

    • Wow, looks like we’ve got the makings for Go,See,Talk’s very first virtual shoving match:P j/k

      You know I hear that people are at odds with Ridley’s director’s cut since it really does change the story. I also just say the Biography interview with Ford this weekend and he wasn’t particularly happy with Scott’s ending change but still liked working on the movie.

      Hatter, I don’t know the difference between voice over vs. non. Care to elaborate? Also, I know of the director’s cut and how it’s different, but never seen it. Which do you prefer??

  6. madhatter21 says

    @ Marc… It’s really only two versions.

    When the movie first came out, it included a grizzled harrison Ford voice-over that the studio insisted on, seemingly believing that certain details wouldn’t be understood by the audience at large.

    Ten years later, in 1992, Scott released “The Director’s Cut”. The voice-over was removed, scenes that included allusions to a unicorn were spliced in, and the ending was tweaked a bit, giving it a slightly darker conclusion.

    Thing is, Scott had a bit of a limited window to do this, so it’s a tad sloppy. Thus a “Final Cut” was released on DVD, primarily as an excuse to clean up little things in the Director’s Cut.

    Funny thing is – there are legions of fans who prefer the original, and just as many who prefer the re-working.

  7. Have you seen the original Scarface? I have a feeling that if more people saw the 1932 version, they would stop making such a big deal about the 1983 because

    1) it’s a gangster movie the way gangster movies should be made, and
    2) they’ll discover the newer one isn’t as special anymore

    • I’ve always wanted to see it but haven’t gotten around to it yet. That said, I’ll back anything that will break the cultural stigma that has tons of people claiming Pacino’s Scarface is “soo awesome” so thanks for the suggestion. I’ll have a look and get back to you…looking forward to it for sure:)