American Beauty - will it stand the test of time.

Paul_D

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It occurred to me today, how little I've thought about American Beauty since I last say it. Naturally I say it when it first came out, and I bought the DVD. But I don't think it has the enduring greatness to be remembered and regarded in say 20 years time.
It's still a great movie. But perhaps not a cast-iron classic?
 

Ricky f

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I adore American Beauty and I have the DVD.
I can understand what you are saying but I think it will stand the test of time. I know it will Stand The Test Of Time in my books for as long as I live
Regards,
Ricky
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Chad R

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It will certainly serve as a "time capsule" for the nineties. It will always be vaild in that respect, having perfectly captured much of America's mood.
 

Roland G

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American Beauty is good..but while American Beauty took the Oscar in 1999....Fight Club took the all time cult award in my book.
 

andrew markworthy

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I'm not sure - I was re-watching AB the other night and thought that it's a bit like Dances With Wolves - at the time it seemed magical, but at a distance, it appears rather 'over-earnest' (for want of a better phrase). My hunch is that in comparison, Magnolia will turn out to be more highly regarded over the long run.
 

Joel C

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I'd say no, if only because of the cliched "repressed homosexual" ending (along with the Three's Company oral sex thing).
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Tom-G

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American Beauty had a wonderful script, great direction and fantastic performances. Movie-goers rarely get that kind of a treat. It was a social commentary for the '90s and I don't know if it will hold for that simple reason.
I can only point to The Graduate, which probably had similar praise heaped on it back in 1968 (before I was born). I seem to be the only person who did not care for it, although many consider it to be one of the best movies ever made.
My hunch is that in comparison, Magnolia will turn out to be more highly regarded over the long run.
I very much agree with Andrew. I would like to add to that list two other films that happen to be from 1999: Bringing Out the Dead and Fight Club. Those three said films will be much more highly regarded than American Beauty, but heck, I loved them all.
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As for the bad rap about the characters--hey, I've seen space operas that put their emphasis on human personalities and relationships. They're called "Star Trek" movies. Give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day. --Roger Ebert on The Phantom Menace
 

Dome Vongvises

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It's exremely hard these days to tell whether or not a movie will stand the test of time. I will go out on a limb and say an Academy Award winner like The English Patient probably won't. It'll probably be remembered as an interesting footnote in history due to its repeated mention in one episode of Seinfeld. Titanic will probably be remembered not for what the movie was about, but rather the sheer number of awards it has won (well, that is until some other movie comes by and wins more awards than it).
So in order to see if a movie will stand a test of time, I kind of came up with generic convention of seeing whether or not a movie will stand the test of time.
1. The movie is statistially significant in monetary or awards gained.
- People looking up useless trivia facts 20 or 30 years down the road will see what the biggest grossing movie is or who won the most awards.
2. The movie's prevalance in pop culture.
- This is why people of this day and age still remember Star Wars (pre-Episode I) or Rear Window (large number of spoofs that keep appearing from time to time).
3. The movie's standing in critics/fanboy/filmmakers lists
- As long as people keep voting Citizen Kane to be the number one movie of all time, it will be remembered.
4. The ability of older generations to introduce newer generations to films they grew up with.
- As long as nerds keep showing their kids (yes that would imply those same said nerds having sex at one point or another
) the joy of Star Wars, the movie will keep in the minds of people.
I've got some more conventions, but those are what I consider the bigger ones. It's a lot like Roger Maris' record of 61 homers. Sure we know who he is, but ask somebody down the road 40 years from now, and they'll say "Roger Who?". As for American Beauty? That's one I'd put in the iffy file.
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[Edited last by Dome Vongvises on September 30, 2001 at 01:47 AM]
 

Darren H

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I'm hoping that American Beauty will be remembered as the start of Sam Mendes' long and impressive film career. I actually watched a few scenes of AB earlier this week, and came to the same conclusion that I reached when I saw the film twice at the theater: the script ain't that great, Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening are mostly just delivering their typical Spacey- and Bening-schtick, the satire is too easy, and the characters are largely two-dimensional. But, I still think it's an impressive film because, by transforming these fractured lives into a work of beauty (and as a devoted anti-sentimentalist I don't say that lightly), Mendes has put the film's simple message into practice.
 

Paul_D

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That bit about how beautiful the floating bag really gets on my nerves every time I watch it now!
 

Tom-G

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Walt, could you please opine without giving us your political views?
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As for the bad rap about the characters--hey, I've seen space operas that put their emphasis on human personalities and relationships. They're called "Star Trek" movies. Give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day. --Roger Ebert on The Phantom Menace
 

NickSo

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Man, i still need to see it... amazingly i havent seen it since Mena Suvari is in it.. which is quite odd...
I saw it for $10 used at a rental store, i didnt have any cash on me, and my dad said it wasnt worth buying coz its not that good of a movie...
The next day i go with some cash, boom, its gone...

Ugh.. my dad... such a penny pincher just annoys me alot...
 

Dome Vongvises

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Just making an observation here, but is Walt Wagers the superhero persona of Orson Scott Card? Those comments you made about American Beauty (I have to kinda disagree with them), sound eerily similar to ones made by Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card. Hmmm.....
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Brian_J

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quote: Walt, could you please opine without giving us your political views?[/quote]
Tom_G,
Though I love this movie I dont really think you can falt his synopsis that much. My only flaw with this wonderful movies is that the stereotypes come on way too thick and quite trite. But its still a damn great movie. Sometimes when we discuss movies we note the political leanings ingrained in the movie. In my opinion this would not violate forum rules but if we stray from the narrow discussion of the movie it does.
I will say that the Kevin Spacey homosexual reference was over the top however and inappropriate.
Brian
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[Edited last by Brian_J on September 30, 2001 at 11:33 PM]
 

Eric Peterson

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I definitely think that this movie will stand the test of time. I'm probably biased on this as it currently stands as my favorite movie of all time. I've seen it 16 times (12 in the theater) and considering that I've never seen any other movie more than twice in the theater, I think that says a lot.
I can't put my finger on any one thing, but I can really relate to the Spacey character and his struggles with the exact same daily routine and never really enjoying it. I would absolutely love to quit my job one day and just be able to say screw it and work at McDonalds. Society can be so oppressive that it just makes you want to scream. I guess it's an escapist thing for me.
Now, I'm in the mood. I'm gonna go home and watch it right now. Screw it!!!
 

DaveF

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Since I didn't think the movie really passed the test of a two hour viewing, I don't think it will age well.
I was very surprised by the incessant critical acclaim.In contrast, I thought it was simplistic and lacked keen insight into modern life.
I enjoyed the performances, but found the film as a whole fairly dull and highly overrated. So no, I don't think it will stand the test of time.
***
Since the movie had a strong social and political bias, it seems appropriate to critique it from one's own views.
 

Jefferson Morris

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My answer to the question in the thread title: P'raps, but it doesn't deserve to. After enjoying this film upon a first viewing, it utterly fell apart when I made the mistake of watching it again. It was like seeing a different film (and I promise this isn't just Best Picture-backlash).
the script ain't that great, Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening are mostly just delivering their typical Spacey- and Bening-schtick, the satire is too easy, and the characters are largely two-dimensional
That pretty much nails it, IMO. 1999 was a terrific year for Hollywood, and as has been pointed out, other films (Fight Club, The Matrix, hell...even Office Space) took much more interesting, incisive stabs at some of AB's themes (repression, the workplace, conformity, etc.).
--Jefferson Morris
P.S. Is it just me, or does the upcoming Life as a House look like a shameless AB ripoff?
 

Richard Kim

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IMO. 1999 was a terrific year for Hollywood, and as has been pointed out, other films (Fight Club, The Matrix, hell...even Office Space) took much more interesting, incisive stabs at some of AB's themes (repression, the workplace, conformity, etc.).
Okay, I can buy the arguement about Fight Club being a better representation of our times than American Beauty, but The Matrix???
I'm sorry, but I don't see any kind of meaningful social commentary, just an escapist action/sci-fi flick.
 

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