Influence of other's opinions and of the legacy of the movie

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Holadem, Oct 16, 2001.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    I have always wondered the following:
    How many people would love some of the movies considered classics if they did not know they were classics before they watched them ?
    I know nobody will admit being influenced in that way, if only because western society puts so much emphasis on individuality, where independent thinking is more valuable than gold. But I am asking for a little honesty today. Would you admit that you ever jumped on a bandwagon in liking a movie, because everyone else (I don't mean J6P) did? Or have tried to "see" something in a movie where you saw nothing and every one else seemed to have? I will admit I feel that way about 2001. Would you notice the great direction if you did not know the director? How many people would have hated memento (J6P aside, not a very easy movie to follow or like) if they had not seen the praises it received here?
    Many people admit hating something because everyone else loved it. But almost no one will admit liking something because everybody they respect (critics, movie experts) do. Are you sure you would really like Kubrick's movies if you did not know he directed them? When you know what you are about to watch is from him, are you sure you do not actually make an effort to like it so you could... get it? Aren't constantly looking for some hidden meaning in everything that is on the screen because you know it's him?
    An interesting experiement would be the show a weird movie to two different audiences of movie buffs, one ending with "Directed by Stanley Kubrick", and for the other "Directed by [no name director of your choice]". Then compare the ratings. Who wants to bet that those who saw "Kubrick" will rate the movie higher?
    Who wants to honestly answer those questions? [​IMG]
    --
    Holadem - Kubrick is just an example btw
    [Edited last by Holadem on October 16, 2001 at 03:09 PM]
     
  2. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    For eyes wide shut, I think it was more of a distraction than anything. The hype hit the fan when he died right before the release. Even reviews by decent critics reviewed the crap that surrounded the film and not the film.
    I saw it on the 1st day it was in the theater and was disappointed; as was my wife
    Watching it on DVD 6 months changed my feelings 100%
    I remember seeing Citizen Kane as a small child and 2001 when I was 6 yo at a drive in .
    I loved Citizen Kane and pleaded to watch it (ending was past my bedtime)
    2001 was another story.
    It disturbed me for many years but I never ever forgot it.
    That's rare.
    The only 2 other I remember from that time of my life are "They might be Giants" and Godzilla movies I loved.
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  3. Dave Barth

    Dave Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    I find that for almost all classic films it takes more than one viewing to 'get' the film and appreciate much of its greatness. A lot of times the first viewing is with entirely different eyes than the second, or third.
    There are certainly classic films that I wouldn't have given a second look at if I didn't know their status. A fair amount of the Criterion collection comes to mind, e.g. Peeping Tom, L'Avventura, The Seventh Seal. I found all these films to be a bit distant, symbolic, and offputting on the first viewing.
    There are other films that even the first time through I knew I was in the hands of a master. For example, the first times I watched The Decalogue, The Third Man, and Taxi Driver, I was entranced.
    I do think it's unavoidable that people are influenced by other people's opinions. I doubt I would ever have thought to look for racial stereotypes in Phantom Menace, for example, but once you start seeing them, it's very hard to ignore them. The situation is probably worse for peer-voted awards like the Oscar than it is for critics' picks and lists of classic films; at least for the latter, critics have had a chance to see most or all of the films themselves. At the Oscars opinions definitely do matter because few (reportedly) watch all their screener tapes/DVDs.
     
  4. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I happened to watch "Monty Pythons Meaning of Life" before I tried watching "the seventh seal"
    I can't watch it without cracking up...they pegged the grim reaper too well
     
  5. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    A movie I saw that I didn't even know was a classic but ended up watching was
    The Third Man
    - This is one of the few movies I ever watched where I heard very little to nothing about it. All I had to go on were Orson Welles and the creepy cover art of aformentioned star. I'm glad I rented it at my local Hancock's Home Video store, liked it, and bought the Criterion Collection disc. It was only then from people like Roger Ebert, Steve Gon, and miscellaneous other people did I find out that this movie was a noir classic.
    A movie I saw that every film buff/critic in the world loved, but I didn't like was
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    - Every so often, a movie seems to appear in the top 10 or 20 of every film buff's/critic/geek's list. This is one of them. I rented this movie and had quite possibly high expectations for it. I've seen this movie once. I still haven't gotten time to giving it a second chance. I've got better things to do like watch Andrei Rublev or The Jazz Singer for the first time.
    This is quite possibly one of the most disappointing movies I've ever seen. You take the most interesting theme or story you can think of and present it in the most boring light possible. That's what 2001 was like for me. It was like watching an already uninteresting nature/space documentary with no narration. Sure it's beautifully shot, the cinematography is some of the best in film, and the score was one to behold, but that's no excuse to call it a great move if it's got an exremely boring plot. You can have great cinematography, a rousing music score, and an intersting story. It's call Birth of a Nation (even with its highly rascist overtones, it's still light years ahead in presenting an interesting plot).
    Film critics always criticize movie for having one-note characters and/or lack of character development. This movie is no different, yet it's always over-looked for some strange reason. The only character worth mentioning is HAL (and coincidently enough, the segment in which he is in is the only great part in the movie.) Why the exception?
    People who love this movie say it's not a movie to watch (WTF?), but a movie to experience. If it's narcolepsy you're talking about, buddy you've hit the mark. Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather spend my time watching the other greats that I enjoy like Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia. How 2001 gets mentioned in the same breath as Vertigo and The Godfather is beyond me.
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  6. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Knowing that people think a movie is a classic, guides me to watch the movies, but doesn't have any influence on how I feel about the movie afterward. I watched (because of positive reviews by critics, afi lists, etc.) Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, All About Eve, Titanic, etc., all of which I hate (except for LOA which I just think is overrated).
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  7. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Holadem, your point is valid and accurate.
    So, I'll answer your question as a Kubrick fan.
    Until recently, I gave up on movies completely. I started to notice all the controversy around 2001. I rented the movie. I loved the direction and the look and Hal, but it was slow. I then read the book, which gave me a stronger appreciation for the point of the film.
    I do not consider 2001 to be a masterpiece, or even Kubrick's best. But it did spark an interest in the director, and eventually film in general.
    I then discovered that the Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Dr. Strangelove, movies that I had vague memories of enjoying, were all directed by the same man. Needless to say, I'm now a Kubrick nut.
    Yes, if something comes out by an artist I know and like, I will make more of an "effort" to like it. Your experiment about showing the same movie with different credits would probably end up the way you expected.
    As a King Crimson fan, I will buy and listen to anything they put out. Some of their more obscure stuff was dreadful, but I will always give it a chance, because they deliver more great material than not, and the good stuff is fantastic. As a Babylon 5 fan, I will watch any new shows they put out, even if there were some episodes that were painful. The same with Kubrick and Scorcese. I don't like Eyes Wide Shut and 2001 is boring, but Clockwork Orange, Lolita, Strangelove, and Metal Jacket make me interested in anything Kubrick has to offer.
     
  8. DonMac

    DonMac Stunt Coordinator

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    I look at popular opinion as like a river with a strong current. If you disagree with the popular opinion, it's a difficult struggle against the force pushing you the opposite way. It's so much easier to go with the flow and agree with the general opinion. This applies to everything, including films.
    IMO, the only time the general opinion on films is usually right is if the movie has also stood the test of time. That's why I usually agree with the general popular view of classic films more than I agree with the general popular view of more recent releases. But the river current does get a lot stronger once a film gains "classic" status in popular opinion. So, if you disagree with the general popular view of a "classic" film, the current you are going against is almost too strong and it's difficult to find others who also agree with you, so your opposing opinion usually stands all alone.
     
  9. RobR

    RobR Second Unit

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  10. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    IN short yes, it happens all the time though most people refuse to recognize it and i don't care because they're at least trying to enjoy the film and will probably convince themselves that they liked it all along in the first place. I enjoy a great deal of classic films, there are very few films i don't like on some level or another.
    2001 I really didn't like at all the first time i saw it, it was boring and incredibly slow paced. But the imagery is icredibly haunting, and i keep coming back to watch it agian to see that same incredible imagery, i can't get it out of my head it's so compelling, and i enjoy the film a little more each time i see it (though i doubt i'll ever see the point of the ludicrous "They've gone plaid" sequence at the end.
    what's more interesting is when somebody disagrees with what the critics all agree is what is the best. good example being, Orson Scott Card, a science fiction author who posted a list of his favorite movies on his personal website for his fans to see, and was verbally skewered by a great deal of people here at HTF
    one person perticulary said something to the effect "because he says he despises citizin kane is enough reason for me to know that his opinions are worthless and should not be taken seriously, i dont'even have to read his reasons.
    Anyone who doesn't like citizen kane obviously knows nothing abotu film, and their opinions shouldn't be considered.
    he doesn't like citizen kane, that's enough to convince me that he's a terrible author and his books aren't worth reading"
    that's just a couple of examples i partially remember, somewhere below will be link to the thread as soon as i find it.
    http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/a...st/index.shtml
    that's the link to the list in question
    hmmm i can't seem to find anything later than three monthes ago (the thread was in july) so maybe the havne't transferred the forum that far back, and maybe they're not transferring it at all.
     
  11. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Not to rehash that old thread, but most people who trashed Card's list did so for more than just his opinion on Kane. Obviously someone can dislike Kane and still know a lot about film. He had a number of great films that he hated, and a number of horrible films he loved, but that wasn't even the real problem. It actually was his 'reasons' for his opinion, and the fact that he was calling them the best films (not his favorite films) that made most people rip his list. I don't recall the reasons, but some of them were quite absurd, or based on his religious/political views, which while valid opinion, led to a bizarre list in many ways.
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  12. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Holadem,
    I have wondered this very same thing quite often. But I do feel there are some films that I would have loved anyway.
    2001 and Citizen Kane are 2 of them. From the moment I saw them I was mezmerized. Obviously from this thread we know that not everyone feels this way, but I think for each of us there are at least SOME classics that we would have loved with no prior knowledge simply because they strike that chord inside of us.
    There are other "classic" films that I can appreciate but might have dismissed more quickly had they not already had some status that made me want to give them a chance.
    But there are so many that I loved more than I was expecting to or stumbled onto when I was younger and didn't know about their status.
    Memento is a more recent example of the former, I had heard good things but I think I enjoyed it even more than many fans did. I feel confident in situations like that that I would have given the film a big thumbs up anyway.
    And like others here I have not been afraid to be honest with other "respected" films. A good example would be "In the Mood for Love" which I found to be too dry and told from a cinematographers angle. However, even still it's beauty shown through, it just didn't hold to a quick enough narrative pace for my taste.
    That's different than seeing a film that is obviously just more sloppily made (cough, Gladiator, cough [​IMG]). (I thought it was entertaining enough, but mostly fluff action with very little quality drama).
     
  13. Iain Lambert

    Iain Lambert Screenwriter

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    Well, I went to see Memento last year because it was an intruiging idea and I think Guy Pearce is a good actor. Boy, was I blown away. The only review I saw before seeing it slated the thing (I think the author thought it showy with a 'pointless' gimmick), so no conforming to opinion there. As for the whole Kubrick thing, the reason I like his work is that even with something like Eyes Wide Shut where I'm not sure I really think its a good film or not, I can spend the next couple of days talking about it. Even though I find A Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket almost unwatchable due to the violence of their tone, its worth seeing them because the pain of the film itself is compensated by the pleasure of talking about it afterwards. I actually enjoyed watching Lost In Space the first time, but that doesn't make it a better film, as what can you say other than 'that was fun'?
    Does that make sense?
     
  14. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    ---- I'd rather spend my time watching the other greats that I enjoy like Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia. How 2001 gets mentioned in the same breath as Vertigo and The Godfather is beyond me.-----
    2001 gets mentioned in the same breath because it did for The SF movie what the other two movies did for their genres.
    It revolutionized the way SF was presented on film. It actually told a serious story that didn't involve pie plate flying saucers and guys running around in gorilla suits wearing diving helmets. It showed that SF could be more than 'D' grade monster movies. It was also one of the few SF movies of the time made where a serious effort was made to actually do realistic special effects shots, not cheesy shots where you could see the strings holding up the pie plate. A person can think the story is boring but it still deserves it's place in cinema history just for the effects work alone.
    I, for one, have been influenced by others opinions and have taken out and watched movies that I might not have otherwise watched. Once I take the film out to watch, other peoples opinions cease to matter. I make up my own mind on whether I like a film or not. An example was "Being John Malkovich". I had read a lot of opinions on how funny it was, so I rented it. It was one of the stupidest, most boring and totally unfunny comedies I have ever had blast the retinas of my eyes. Can you imagine a bigger kiss of death for a comedy than to be completely devoid of anything even remotely funny?
    OTOH I had never seen more than bits and pieces of "Citizen Kane". I had read quite a few positive comments about the film on this board, including totally absurd statements like..."the greatest movie ever made". I actually bought this one sight unseen and I have to admit it was a pretty good movie. I am impressed with how well it holds up considering its age. I still think "the greatest movie ever made" statement is absurd. [​IMG] I have still to run into any movie that deserves that lofty title and I never will because there are too many good ones out there now and in the future.
    [Edited last by Edwin-S on October 19, 2001 at 05:28 AM]
     
  15. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I think what it basically boils down to is your own opinion. What shapes whether or not you take a chance on a movie depends on other's views. I heard a lot of great things about Memento, decided to take a chance, and liked it a lot. My opinion of the film was influenced very little, if not at all, by other people. What made me want to see it was, however, influenced by other's praise.
    Let's take another movie, Being John Malkovich. I heard wonderful things about it like the humor and its great script. However, when I finally got around to watching it, I found that the premise of the movie, rather than the movie itself, was the only enjoyable aspect. I can't seem to explain this, but I had a hard time accepting the humor behind the absurdity in BJM (eg. the 1/2 floor joke). Again, my desire to watch a movie is shaped by other's, while my opinion of the movie is uniquely and distinctly my own.
    With the advent of the Internet (particularly this forum), it's kinda hard to want to watch a movie simply because you want to. I'm pretty sure that any new aspiring film fan will undoubtedly always hear of Citizen Kane or Casablanca. Of course, there's always the rare exception (eg. my wanting to watch the The Third Man)
    ------------------
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  16. Peter M Fitzgerald

    Peter M Fitzgerald Screenwriter

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    Quote:



    2001 gets mentioned in the same breath because it did for The SF movie what the other two movies did for their genres.
    It revolutionized the way SF was presented on film. It actually told a serious story that didn't involve pie plate flying saucers and guys running around in gorilla suits wearing diving helmets. It showed that SF could be more than 'D' grade monster movies.





    Funny, I thought METROPOLIS (1926), THINGS TO COME (1936), DESTINATION MOON (1950), FIVE (1951), WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951), CONQUEST OF SPACE (1955), FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956), INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956), THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957), ON THE BEACH (1959), THE WORLD THE FLESH & THE DEVIL (1959), THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1962), ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (1964), FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966) and SECONDS (1966) did that... [​IMG]

    I do like (but don't love) 2001, though not because it's the popular position to take. I find it an interesting visual experience, more than anything else. Profound? Bah! Pretentious? Ja! Good-looking? You bet!

    While critical and/or public popularity can (sometimes) lead me to films I'd otherwise ignore, it can't convince me to like something I hated, or vice versa.

    I discovered A MATTER OF LIFE & DEATH (1946), THE BIG HEAT (1953), POINT BLANK (1967) & THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST (1967) on TV, before reading/hearing anything about them, and loved them from the first.

    Few care about THE WHIP HAND (1951), MR. BUDDWING (1966), FUNERAL IN BERLIN (1966), RETURN OF SABATA (1971), NO ESCAPE (1994) or UNFORGETTABLE (1996), but I like 'em.

    All the critical praise and/or box office stats in the world won't make me bother with GONE WITH THE WIND, SOME LIKE IT HOT, PULP FICTION, PLEASANTVILLE, or SAVING PRIVATE RYAN again.
     
  17. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    ---Funny, I thought METROPOLIS (1926), THINGS TO COME (1936), DESTINATION MOON (1950), FIVE (1951), WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951), CONQUEST OF SPACE (1955), FORBIDDEN PLANET (1956), INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956), THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957), ON THE BEACH (1959), THE WORLD THE FLESH & THE DEVIL (1959), THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1962), ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS (1964), FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966) and SECONDS (1966) did that... ----
    Ha Ha. Caught me with my pants down. [​IMG] Of course some of these films are good examples of SF films that were more than 'B' monster movies. Some of them, however, I consider sci-fi not SF.
     

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