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"Classics" that don' t deserve their reputation


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Initial post: 28 May 2010 10:39:21 BDT
LOTHAR says:
The Godfather is one of the most boring, tedious pieces of film I've ever experienced. It may have been great in the day, but it sure hasn't held up in my opinion. Visually unarresting, WAY too long, and just plain dull. I couldn't wait for it to end.

Also, 2001; A Space Oddesy. I have attempted to watch it 3 times and always turned it off. I'm guessing it gets better as it goes on, but I just couldn't force myself to persevere.

What are some of the most over-rated classics out there?

Posted on 28 May 2010 11:00:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 May 2010 11:02:27 BDT
gille liath says:
Oof! Fighting talk!

I can't imagine many will agree with you abt Godfather. Some may abt 2001. I think it's really three films spliced together, each brilliant in its own way, but arguably not making a completely coherent whole. Even so, I can't think of a space film since which doesn't owe it a debt.

I'm struggling to think of a suggestion myself. There have been billions of over-hyped films in recent years - Sin City, Titanic, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings - but are they classics? With older films, I guess they don't hang around unless they have something going for them.

Okay then, just for argument's sake, I'll go for another Kubrick: Barry Lyndon. Yes, it looks beautiful, the music is great, but it's dull.

Posted on 28 May 2010 16:40:46 BDT
ric_mac says:
Barry Lyndon?!

"Oof! Fighting talk!" ; )

Posted on 28 May 2010 17:41:43 BDT
M. Dowden says:
2001 is considered a classic, albeit a flawed classic. A lot of classics fall into this category, becuase they have everything that should make them classics, but just miss out on that extra X factor.

Posted on 29 May 2010 14:49:47 BDT
Elsewhere I mentioned a survey carried out by The Observer of best films, actors etc. They polled their readers and a large number of worldwide critics. As I remember, in the best Film Category '2001' was the only film to appear on both lists. I remember seeing it at the cinema and being impressed but not overwhelmed. I was impressed enough to read the book but I've only watched the film once more since then. Obviously it must mean a lot to many people.

Posted on 29 May 2010 15:45:36 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Lothar, agree with you about Godfather I, Al Pacino, much as I like him, actually, really when I think about it, only in Serpico, is the most overrated actor, perhaps not of all time, but certainly overrated...........(ooohhh! more fighting talk). Robert de Niro talking Italian and all that. Taxi Driver, um, maybe. (social drama).
Godfather okay, but it was Marlon Brando who made that film. So I taped Godfather II, which is supposedly, ha, better, again okay, and god forbid I taped III, what a load of drivel.

2001 is for sci-fi geeks. Don't care what Observer says! Sci-Fi, I prefer The Incredible Shrinking Man!

What next, Lord of the Rings, sorry, don't do fantasy, Harry Potter, et al. will just become like the Mickey Rooney series of films no-one looks at now, but hugely popular in their time. Maybe LOR WILL become a classic. (Ian McKellan seems to think so). It is only time that will make films and books (hate Jane Austen, not personally, never knew her), into classics. Some are just fashionable and disappear, thank god.

Off the top of my head. Modern classic: Identity. Oldish classic: One flew over the Cuckoo's nest.
Really old classic: The Great Dictator.

2001 will not stand the test of time, it's just fashionable, albeit for 30 years or more, but it is going to look pretty stupid in 50 years time and even Metropolis is more worthy and will stand test of time.

Hey, but we won't be around to argue about it, well most of us anyway?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 May 2010 16:19:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 May 2010 16:21:54 BDT
gille liath says:
"2001 is for sci-fi geeks. Don't care what Observer says! Sci-Fi, I prefer The Incredible Shrinking Man!"

"it's just fashionable, albeit for 30 years or more," (actually over 40).

Lol. Austen too - just a 200-year fad. One day people will see the light...

God love ya, IH. Seriously, it's hard to see how 2001 is going to look old fashioned (any more than all films must, as they age) when, as I say, it's influenced all space films since. Except that final 'psychedelic' sequence - I could see that looking a bit daft, in time, though I love it.

Other than that, the weak point is the bit in the orbital space station - the haircuts and space furniture. Terrific!

In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2010 02:38:22 BDT
ric_mac says:
I have to agree: 2001 is a classic, not a fad. It's clearly not to the taste of all audiences, but that doesn't rule out classic status. There's a lot of junk sci-fi and a lot of sci-fi that aims to entertain with monsters and laser beams. There are very few sci-fi films with intelligence at their core, but Kubrick's movie is one of them and it pretty much redefines the genre.

As to the furniture and haircuts: what goes around comes around (a bit like the space station, really).

In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2010 11:01:33 BDT
gille liath says:
Got any 'overrated' suggestions yourself, Ric? Must find something to disagree about...

Posted on 30 May 2010 12:04:46 BDT
Molly Brown says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 30 May 2010 12:43:46 BDT
ric_mac says:
"What's the difference between a classic film and a cult film?"

A classic film is one that, even allowing for divided opinion, is generally felt to be momentous for thematic, dramatic or technical reasons. A cult film is one which is heavily favoured by an audience with specific tastes. It is quite possible that a movie could fall into both categories. Metropolis would be one such film.

"Got any 'overrated' suggestions yourself, Ric? Must find something to disagree about... "

Well, in a way -- no!!

But there are a number of classic films that I don't personally like, though I can easily see why they are generally afforded their status. Citizen Kane and Casablanca are two such movies. I find Citizen Kane a drawn out and boring film; I couldn't care less what motivates Kane; Kane is charmless (and far less interesting than Welles thinks he is) and I have no desire to engage with him. Technically CK is one of the most adventurous films ever made, but if I want to watch an engaging movie about deeply unpleasant people I'd rather watch Sweet Smell of Success.

Posted on 30 May 2010 12:54:44 BDT
M. Dowden says:
Personally I can't stand 'Brief Encounter', I just find it hammy and so dull.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2010 12:57:54 BDT
ric_mac says:
... And it's full of the hilarious RP accents mentioned elsewhere in this thread as well.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2010 17:07:29 BDT
It wasn't what The Observer said, it was the 60 or so critics they polled worldwide and their readers who bothered to respond - as I said, personally I am bit lukewarm to 2001. The film that topped the critics poll and is always cited as a classic, most influential film ever etc etc was Citizen Kane - now that really does leave me cold.

Posted on 30 May 2010 17:55:40 BDT
E. Richards says:
The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Titanic? I certainly agree that these films are overrated and,personally,have never appealed to me. I would never regard them as classics unless you term a classic as being shown on abysmal British television to saturation point.

Posted on 30 May 2010 19:27:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2010 11:03:16 BDT
gille liath says:
IH,
Have to say, I wouldn't have known you were being nasty if you hadn't said - I wouldn't have had the faintest idea wot you're on abaht. :) Some reference to the Religion forum? I'm the one who usually ends up getting thrown to the lions...

Actually, I'm not that big on Austen either - but it's obvious you can't write her off as a fad or a cult. That's a discussion for another forum, and in fact, we had it abt six months ago on Fiction.

I agree Casablanca is overrated. I like CK, though it's maybe not the fabulous masterpiece it used to be reputed (I think the critics are a bit bored of it now). And Brief Encounter - saw that for the first time only a couple of years ago - I actually think it's a refreshingly grown-up film abt infidelity. Two flaws: 1) what does Trev see in the drippy, sunken-looking Celia Wotsit; 2) That God-awful music. Rachmaninov, is it?

Surprised a couple agree with the OP abt Godfather. I've never previously met anyone, who was into film, who didn't like that.

Posted on 31 May 2010 04:54:59 BDT
Molly Brown says:
Cults, classics, isn't it all a bit like the emperor's new clothes with some of them?

As regards B.E. I liked Trevor Howards performance, but totally agree over Celia Johnson, although she was a very highly respected actor. I prefer Victoria Wood's version!

CK, I think it is because of Welles age at the time, this made him a legend. A bit like James Dean's performance in Giant, which I thought was fantastic. Shame about the casting of Rock though much as I love him in comedies. Can't think of any contemporary actors who would have been good in his place and made this film into an absolute classic. Suggestions please? Or possible arguments over Dean's three films, which I regard as classics. Not just because he died young.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2010 11:06:27 BDT
gille liath says:
James Dean, now there's someone I think overrated and purely a product of their time. I was watching a bit of Rebel Without a Cause the other day, it just seemes ridiculous.

That enough to start an argument?

Celia Johnson, that's it. She was a good actress - but hardly a screen idol...

What does she say in the film? Something like, 'I suppose it's a good thing to be dependable - but it does sound a little dull.'

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2010 11:56:00 BDT
ric_mac says:
"Cults, classics, isn't it all a bit like the emperor's new clothes with some of them?"

Cult films appeal to a restricted and particular audience. Those 'outside the tent' might well think poorly of said films, so they might well think it a case of the emperor's new clothes, but both opinions are subjective and both valid from their respective points of view.

Those films termed 'classic' tend to please critical opinion in the first instance and often this extends outwards into popular opinion. Audiences (especially cult audiences) are quick to lay claim to classic status for their pets, but if there is a viable test of the status of such a film, it's probably the passage of time. Much German expressionist movie making retains its status after nearly 100 years. Some more recent films may not retain their reputation for quite so long. Whether they do or don't, there will always be folks who love them and those that hate 'em. I have to stick to the definition in my earlier post of what constitutes a classic film and also to the observation that I dislike some of them, while at the same time understanding those qualities which make them 'classic'.

Maybe it would be better to simply dispense with the labels?

Posted on 31 May 2010 14:41:25 BDT
Balok says:
"Enfants du Paradis" is supposed to be some kind of classic film. When I saw it, all that I saw was a fairly standard costume melodrama. As far as I can tell, its "classic" status is more a function of the circumstances under which it was made than of any inherent quality.

Some people seem to think that Godard's "Weekend" is a classic film. It's a classic boring film; it's a classic example of how to pad a 20-minute short into feature film length; it's a classic example of pretentious and pointless filmmaking. But a classic film? I don't think so.

While at the time it was released, "Last Year at Marienbad" might have been seen as something of a shocking new approach to "narrative" filmmaking, I thought (having seen it some 25 years later) that it too was pretentious and silly. As if your ears were far away. Far from the carpets. Far from everything.

How much trouble would I get into if I said that I had a hard time staying awake through "Gone with the Wind"?

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2010 15:03:57 BDT
ric_mac says:
'How much trouble would I get into if I said that I had a hard time staying awake through "Gone with the Wind"?'

No trouble from me: I also find GWTW boring (and hysterically overblown by turns)!

Posted on 31 May 2010 19:10:17 BDT
LOTHAR says:
I'm with you on that one! GWTW is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. SO slow moving, so disconnected from anything a modern audience can relate to and yet retains "classic" status simply because it would be heresy to suggest otherwise. Well let the blashpemy begin!! That is another one that has failed to stand the test of time and needs to be yanked off of its pedestal.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2010 19:23:51 BDT
gille liath says:
Weeell...maybe, but I don't think you'll get film critics (or anybody else under abt 50) trying to tell you GWTW is a classic of film-making. It was simply the blockbuster of its day.

It's hardly my cup of tea, but I sometimes think there's something to be said for its sheer humungousness.

BTW, what is it that 'a modern audience can relate to'? Do they just have a shorter attention span?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2010 10:25:03 BDT
ric_mac says:
gille: I'm fairly sure that GWTW features in Barry Norman's book 100 Best Films of the Century (mind you, he also listed Oh Mister Porter!). And the second para of Wikipedia's entry reveals a startling, continual high regard for the film in the USA. Its setting in events of the War of the Rebellion may have more resonance for them.

On the other hand it makes me pray for unconsciousness. Luckily the movie supplies the same in pretty short order.

Moving on, can I just express my lack of affection for anything by Tarantino?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2010 11:05:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jun 2010 11:39:00 BDT
gille liath says:
Mmm, Tarantino: massively overrated. I think his best film is actually Jackie Brown. After that I thought Kill Bill was gonna be great, but it's complete drivel: the ultimate triumph of style over substance.

GWTW - You surprise me - although I was thinking of a UK audience. Barry Norman really is stuck in the past, or at least his yardstick of good cinema is defined by 1940s Hollywood. Still, a hundred is a lot of films! It's not easy to think of that many 'classics'. I think you could definitely argue GWTW warrants a place in the top 100, if only because it was such a big splash.

How's about Raging Bull?
'What's da madda wit *me*? What's da madda wit *you*?'
And the boxing scenes are rubbish, as if Scorsese had never actually seen a boxing match. Even Rocky is better. I don't know why De Niro bothered with all that training.
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Discussion in:  classics discussion forum
Participants:  74
Total posts:  227
Initial post:  28 May 2010
Latest post:  15 Jul 2013

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