Anyone else try to watch famed cinematic milestones, but find them almost unwatchable?
My two suggestions are:
Citizen Kane - this movie should not be considered in a running for the greatest movie ever made. It is just so boring which makes enjoying the brilliant lighting and sound effects hard to enjoy. Somehow it makes 2 hours seem like an entire day.
Taxi Driver - I tried this movie not long ago and without spilling too much… What the hell did I just watch? Seriously this movie seems great if you were to write a thesis on the use of symbolism in film and different choices the director made. But watching it was just such an unpleasant experience from beginning to end for me.
I really, really hate Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The book was one of my favorites growing up. It manages to make a violent rape scenegratuitously distasteful with the “Singin’ in the Rain” addition, and it freakin SELLS OUT THE ENDING.
The only good part is the story itself, which Kubrick had nothing to do with. I can barely say his name without spitting on the ground.
The year was 2000. The newly coronated champion in film at that year’s Oscars ceremony was American Beauty. Even as a young buck, I was deeply interested in cinema, so I rented it to see what everyone was losing their minds over…
… and I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaated the hell out of it. Deeply, tremendously so. It struck me as so utterly repugnant and pretentious, a movie that spoke only to hear itself talk, and with nothing worth saying, either. It felt like there was some kind of elaborate practical joke where everyone was crowning a film that did not deserve any of its acclaim.
Sometimes, when it comes to films that I didn’t like, I choose to revisit them down the road to see if my viewpoints changed, to see if I’ve changed. I have less than no interest in doing that with American Beauty. I’ll never fathom what people saw in a movie that I felt had no business being named Best Picture of 1999, a year with a murderers’ row of outstanding movies.
I’m also, in general, not a big fan of Charlie Kaufman films. A lot of them are just weirdness for weirdness’ sake. I love weirdness in movies, but not weirdness for no reason other than ‘this is weird, isn’t it?’
Also, for years, my father insisted I should watch Odd Man Out, especially since The Third Man is one of my favorite films. He claimed it was James Mason’s greatest performance. I didn’t hate it, but I did think it was pretty mediocre, and most of James Mason’s performance was him dying for the entire length of the movie in a dark bomb shelter where you can barely see him.
re: Citizen Kane. I watched it once and was both fascinated and impressed with so many parts of it, including Welles’ charisma. But now I’ve seen it, I have no desire to watch it again. I can’t put in the “not actually good” category personally.
There is a certain type of revered movie such as The Deer Hunter or Easy Rider that are really bloated, sloppily-paced and self-indulgent once you strip away the critics’ plaudits and their blind eye turned to some of the worst excesses of Method Acting.
I didn’t even like Being John Malkovich to be honest. Although The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my favorite films. I think that probably has a lot more to do with Michel Gondry than Charlie Kaufman though.
I have to disagree on Citizen Kane. A reason why a lot of people think it’s not as good as it’s made out to be is because 1) you’re coming at it having seen it’s influence reflected in films for almost a century and 2) it comes with the tag of “the greatest movie ever made!”.
I do think it’s pretty great. I have a real love of Orson Welles movies. The posthumously released The Otherside of the Wind is probably one of my favorite films ever. The first time I saw Kane I thought: wow, this thing feels like a modern movie but it’s from 1941! I think you look at it in the context that it’s from 1941 and pioneered a host of filmmaking techniques that have been copied over and over.
I don’t love Taxi Driver but I think it’s one of those films where it gets misinterpreted a bit. Really enjoyed Albert Brooks in it though.
As for movies I think aren’t that good? As someone mentioned above Easy Rider is horrible, very of its time and super self-indulgent.
Someone else mentioned A Clockwork Orange. I don’t dislike it but the hype surrounding it is a lot greater than the film itself.
I can’t say I enjoy any of Nolan’s Batman movies all that much. Didn’t enjoy Joker at all either.
Dirty Harry is awful. It’s supremely 1970s and it’s politics are super conservative. The only thing I took form it was that until I saw it I didn’t know that Andrew Robinson played the bad guy.