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ChaosTitan
05-05-2008, 01:16 AM
I stumbled over this thread on the MSN homepage, about ten "classic" films that, according to the article's author, need to be evaluated.

http://movies.msn.com/movies/moviesfeature/dvd/not-classic-movies?GT1=28002

I haven't seen all of the films listed, but I do agree with the assessment of Easy Rider. The first time I watched it (in a Film Class, no less), I just couldn't figure out why people revered it so much. I know that it helped spearhead a change in studio system filmmaking, but I just couldn't stand it.

Jersey Chick
05-05-2008, 01:21 AM
I also never got Easy Rider - I remember being so excited to see it, and afterwards, my then-boyfriend and I were like That's it?? What the hell...

childeroland
05-05-2008, 04:55 AM
I thought I was nuts not digging Easy Rider.

Ten Commandments is campy fun, or maybe that's just nostalgia talking.

The other films on that list ARE overrated.

alleycat
05-05-2008, 05:08 AM
I'm kind of wondering who put Love Story on the list of classics to begin with; no one that I ever heard of.

Hollan
05-05-2008, 06:14 AM
I'm so happy I'm not the only one who doesn't like Easy Rider. I really can't stand that movie. Love Story too. Ugh!

MattW
05-06-2008, 03:42 PM
I agree with almost all of that list, and I'm glad they took it to Gone with the Wind.

I have never felt inclined to watch any of these films, nor would ever seek them out on free cable if they were showing.

dpaterso
05-06-2008, 03:57 PM
That's a limp list. Nothing there I'm in a hurry to see again. Maybe that's the definition of "classic"? Has its place in history, but now it's only good for intellectual study, not entertainment.

<ducks & runs for cover>

-Derek

Perks
05-06-2008, 04:18 PM
I'm watching Lawrence of Arabia (have to do it in three stints, because it's so long) and it's interesting to see movies that were(are) great and compare them to what's considered an accomplishment now.

Lawrence of Arabia is a gorgeous film about a very interesting man, but the lengths of many shots make me want to tear my hair and scream at the screen. A forty second pan of the desert to show us it's morning is torture. No wonder it's four hours long!

But still...

This particular list doesn't thrill me. I still think Gone With The Wind is a terrific film and I can't say a word against it, but a lot of 'classics' leave me cold. Citizen Kane, for example. Oi.

PattiTheWicked
05-06-2008, 04:44 PM
I don't hate GWTW, but it's one of those movies i watched once and then thought, "Well, I'll never have to watch that again."

Much like I felt when reading the book, I wanted Rhett Butler to stop wasting his time with whiny-ass Scarlett, and go off and have some fun with Belle Watling.

mscelina
05-06-2008, 05:00 PM
You know, I have problems with this list.

"Arsenic and Old Lace" is based on a play, and I actually thought the interpretation of it to film was pretty darn good. "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner"--well, NOW it may look toothless, but for the times it was a controversial movie and the gentle treatment of the subject matter was deliberately done to downplay the perceived 'horror' most people of both races felt about interracial marriage. (Okay, I'll admit it, my fascination with Katharine Hepburn makes me unlikely to accept any criticism of the last flick she did with Spence)--

And is he serious? A problem with "The Ten Commandments" or "The Seven Year Itch?"
Bah! Tastes have changed since both movies were made--you have to appreciate them inthe time periodfor which they were intended. I personally enjoy and actually love both movies.

Gotta agree about "Easy Rider" though. It may just be that I didn't find the subject matter interesting to begin with, but I don't find it entertaining at all. Same with "Giant"--a very boring movie revered because James Dean was already dead when it was released. My actor boyfriend of a long time ago WORSHIPPEd Dean and I could never figure out why--he didn't get into the icon aspect of it, he sincerely got into Dean's method-infused style. I found it plodgy and dull. GWTW--well, I'm a delicate Southern flower so I gave it a pass, even though I was revolted at the liberties taken with the book. The best parts of the story and some of the best characters (Will Benteen comes to mind, as well as Scarlett's son) were left out. Wouldn't it have been MUCH easier to empathize with Scarlett if she'd gone through the war with her toddler son clinging to her skirts? Sure would have helped with motivation--especially after she returned to Tara.

*sigh*

There will always be lists like this and always people who disagree with them. Another writer would come out with a different list. *shrug*

But, yeah, "Love Story" blows. :D

Jersey Chick
05-06-2008, 05:05 PM
I like GWTW, but I agree that there was a lot left out that would make it an even more powerful movie. Of course then, it would be abou 8 hours long.

I love Arsenic and Old Lace simply because of Cary Grant's reactions to the looniness going on around him. The story is kind of flimsy at best - but watching Grant's reaction to finding the body in the window seat is priceless.

slcboston
05-06-2008, 05:20 PM
Lawrence of Arabia is a gorgeous film about a very interesting man, but the lengths of many shots make me want to tear my hair and scream at the screen. A forty second pan of the desert to show us it's morning is torture. No wonder it's four hours long!


I think herein lies some of the problem with identifying a "classic" film. One of the reasons why LoA is so highly regarded is precisely the sweeping cinematography that you lament. It's gorgeously shot, and part of that is the length of those shots, but in comparison to today's films it does slow down the pacing quite a bit. (And I think the original version was only about 3+ hours long, not four.) And in LoA, the location is as much a character in the film as any of the actors.

(I'm also thinking along the lines of a comparison with Dances With Wolves which also heavily featured several sweeping scenic shots.)

As for the list - Whole-hearted agreement with the beginning and the end (Love Story and GWTW vie for most overrated movie of all time IMO), middling to grudging agreement with the middle of the list.

And, though it pains me to say it bcs I enjoy the film tremendously, and it was easily one of Chuck's best performances on screen ever, but... yeah, The Ten Commandments is mostly over-blown melodrama, start to finish. :)

Perks
05-06-2008, 05:34 PM
I think herein lies some of the problem with identifying a "classic" film. One of the reasons why LoA is so highly regarded is precisely the sweeping cinematography that you lament. It's gorgeously shot, and part of that is the length of those shots, but in comparison to today's films it does slow down the pacing quite a bit. (And I think the original version was only about 3+ hours long, not four.) And in LoA, the location is as much a character in the film as any of the actors.

I agree with this. One of the things that struck me about the cinematography was that, in its time, there was no such thing as The Discovery Channel or National Geographic nature specials. Most Americans had never seen views like these. Color television was just hitting the market and it hadn't yet occurred to anyone to make documentaries specifically for the pleasure of looking at other places.

In that context, a savoring pace was probably a joy.

paprikapink
05-06-2008, 05:41 PM
[...] GWTW--well, I'm a delicate Southern flower so I gave it a pass, even though I was revolted at the liberties taken with the book. The best parts of the story and some of the best characters (Will Benteen comes to mind, as well as Scarlett's son) were left out. Wouldn't it have been MUCH easier to empathize with Scarlett if she'd gone through the war with her toddler son clinging to her skirts? Sure would have helped with motivation--especially after she returned to Tara.
[...] :D

Somebody, make this movie! Truly, why wouldn't someone remake Gone With the Wind? How does A Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe rate and not GWTW?

III
05-06-2008, 05:44 PM
How do I hack that webpage and put Midnight Cowboy on it?

ChaosTitan
05-06-2008, 06:56 PM
Bah! Tastes have changed since both movies were made--you have to appreciate them inthe time periodfor which they were intended. I personally enjoy and actually love both movies.


I think this was the author's point re: classics. A "classic" should be timeless, a film you can enjoy no matter the time period, then or now. Many of the films on the list were hugely important during their day, but something doesn't hold up now.

For me, a "classic" that stands the test of time is The Wizard of Oz. Sure, some of the technical aspects of it seem dated, and parts are a little corny, but the overall film still holds up. You don't need to remember it was made in 1939 in order to enjoy it (unlike, say, the social relevance of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?).

Claudia Gray
05-06-2008, 07:00 PM
I'd agree with all but the last two on the list. "Giant" is a very good movie -- maybe not one of the greatest ever, but OTOH I never see it on greatest-ever lists. James Dean's performance alone makes it well worth seeing.

"Gone With The Wind" is a film (and a book) I have a complicated relationship with, but IMHO, it's an amazing adaptation job on an enormous, sprawling novel, and to appreciate its qualities, you really have to see it in a movie theater full of people. GWTW is not so much a great film as it is a great show -- it grabs an audience like almost nothing else.

MattW
05-07-2008, 03:30 PM
I'd agree with all but the last two on the list. "Giant" is a very good movie -- maybe not one of the greatest ever, but OTOH I never see it on greatest-ever lists. I agree. Billy Crystal was fantastic, and the movie was well made overall...

;)

Bourgeois Nerd
05-08-2008, 02:30 AM
Lawrence of Arabia was OK but too long. I just like it mainly for Peter O'Toole, who claimed that his name was redundant. :)