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18
May

Movies That DON’T Stand The Test of Time (but you wish they did)

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I’m a sucker for an old classic on television.  The other night I caught The Princess Bride on TV, and it makes me laugh every time.  Sometimes all I need to hear is, “you fell victim to one of the classic blunders – the most famous of which is never get involved in a land war in Asia.”  Many movies linger in our memories like this, and stumbling upon them on a random Sunday afternoon is pure delight. We all know the great ones, but sometimes we don’t talk about the others.  These are the movies you may have loved the first viewing, or maybe you were too young to be discerning, but since then, they have soured.

Time and time again, I’ve remembered a movie to be pretty awesome.  Then, a decade or more later, I’ve re-watched it and been embarrassed.  I’m embarrassed I thought it was so good, and I’m embarrassed for the film in general.  I imagine we all have these films, but here is my list of films that if you haven’t seen them – don’t.  And if you have, keep them tucked away in your memories, where they are in a much kinder place than the light of current times.

Obviously, this is my list, and I’m not talking about obviously horrible films.  I’m talking about the ones you thought were awesome, but are finding harder to defend these days.  I’m convinced I’m right on these ones, but I’m open for debate.

1. JFK
I saw it in the theatre with my family and thought it was cool, gritty, scandalous and shocking.  It’s about the Kennedy assassination and a New Orleans District Attorney’s (Kevin Costner) attempt to uncover and prosecute those involved in the assassination conspiracy.  I think I was just mesmerized by the magic bullet scene (“back and to the left, back and to the left), but this film is a mess. Talented actors are doing crazy things – flamboyant southern gay characters, bad Louisiana accents, ridiculous flashbacks, a blurring of facts, every extreme conspiracy theory thrown in randomly, and we can blame Oliver Stone completely.  I can hear people disagreeing with me already, but seriously, it’s a mess.  I judge it more harshly because so many talented people were involved.  And while there are some good scenes and good moments, overall, this film should stay in the 90’s.

2. Legends of the Fall
I’m going to blame Brad Pitt’s hotness as the reason my sister and I were slightly obsessed when this movie came out.  It is set in Montana spanning the lives of the three Ludlow brothers (Brad Pitt, Aiden Quinn and Henry Thomas) through the decades (pre WWI and onwards) and their shared love of the same woman (seriously?).  Basically it’s overly sentimental and cheesy. Upon rewatching it,  it was the angry, half-paralyzed from a stroke, Anthony Hopkins (dad to the Ludlow brothers) communicating by writing on a chalkboard and grunting that put me over the edge. I won’t even mention Brad Pitt’s bear fight. It’s like a Lifetime movie with movie stars.  If you missed it, consider yourself lucky.

3. Red Dawn
I got sucked into watching this film spending the night with a friend because it had Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in it. I think we thought it would be like Dirty Dancing with guns.  We thought they were all badass and started a love affair with Lea Thompson for me (that has long since waned).  While an iconic 80’s film of high school kids defending their community from a Russian attack with every young 80’s star in it (Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell, Leah Thompson), I remember thinking it was pretty badass.  Watch it now people. It’s a jumble of over-acting, ridiculous plot lines and a lot of yelling “WOLVERINES!”  Rewatching it just made me uncomfortable.

4. Face Off
I think some of you may say, it’s so bad it’s good in regards to Face Off, but I disagree. It’s just bad.  Try explaining the concept of the movie to someone that’s never seen it without sounding like a crazy person. Here I go. Face Off : While a crazed terrorist/killer (Nicolas Cage) is in a coma, FBI agent (John Travolta) has a surgery to graft the terrorist’s face onto his so he can go undercover in jail to get some pertinent bomb information. Anyway, shit goes wrong. Cage has Travolta’s face on. Travolta has Cage’s face on, there are doves and gunfights and a really weird thing between Travolta’s family where they swipe each other’s faces slowly in a show of affection. It’s creepy.  You have two of the biggest over-acting, scene-chewers playing each other. It’s like a crazy acting stew. And I can’t even talk about the mass/church scene.  I know it’s so over the top people love it, but you’re wrong. It’s just really bad.

5. Forrest Gump
I remember LOVING this film. I thought it was endearing, funny and well done Now, not so much.  I totally understand that films are of their time, but I can’t sit through more than ten minutes of this film now before I’m cringing or completely uncomfortable.  I still like when they spliced Forrest Gump into historical moments though. Maybe it’s the whole “life is like a box of chocolates” theme of one man’s fascinating life, that I can no longer digest, maybe I’m just getting cynical, either way, it too can stay in my sweet 90’s memories.  Whereas  Big can play anyday of the week, and I’m in.

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10 Responses to “Movies That DON’T Stand The Test of Time (but you wish they did)”

  1. Elisabeth Fitzgerald May 18, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I always despised Forest Gump. Blech.

    Can I put Robin Hood: Prince of Theives on this list? LOVED that movie when I was a kid. Thought it was romantic and wonderful. How did I not realise that Kevin Costner spent the movie talking like he was from Los Angeles and Alan Rickman was pretty rape-y durng his scenes?

    • Claudia Maittlen-Harris May 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      I was OBSESSED with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (which is what saved it from this list). Today it’s a little painful, but from someone who saw it 5 times in the theatre, who am I to judge?

      Top Gun I’m okay with. Maybe the volleyball scene makes it okay, or I love how over the top Val Kilmer is and all the homoerotic references??

      Legend of Billie Jean – no hate for that one. Thumbs up. And Kunka, I agree – it just took me 20 years to come to this realization.

  2. Juan Carlos Bagnell May 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Awww…

    Poor Face Off…

  3. May 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    When I saw the word Legend I thought you were going to say Legend of Billie Jean, which would not have been cool. Fair is fair!

  4. May 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Red Dawn and Forrest Gump were never good.

  5. May 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Totally disagree with you on Legends of the Fall. Every time I watch it I become so enthralled with the characters that I weep uncontrollably. The story line may be a bit overblown but I could watch it over and over again, were I up for dehydrating myself.

  6. May 18, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I CANNOT watch Top Gun now. I feel so embarrassed for the actors, and for myself loving it as a kid, that I become physically unable to sit and watch it. It’s just cringe-inducing.

    In case you haven’t seen it lately, it’s REALLY REALLY REALLY bad.

  7. May 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Maybe not your cup of tea, but what about Highlander? Like the story line but wow, on a rewatch, so much cheese and bad acting. Did you hear there’s a Red Dawn remake on the way? Oh yeah…

  8. May 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Disagree with you about Forest Gump- really like it except for the weird place where he runs across the country?? I always thought they could have cut that part out. But the last 30 mind always makes me cry.

  9. June 22, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I loved Legends Of the Fall and I reckon it’s mainly due to Aidan Quinn.
    Forrest Gump is still one of my favourite movies but there again I find it difficult to find fault with anything Tom Hanks does (well Joe V’s The Volcano!!) and as a life long fan of John Travolta can’t say how much I HATE Face Off.
    Keep up the great blogs Claudia :D

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