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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by SteveGon, Aug 12, 2002.
I just picked up Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie & Video Guide and in the introduction, Maltin writes:
You know Steve? I once mused what it would be like to view the "greats" for the first time. To have been there when Citizen Kane first was covered in the newsreel or when the monolith inspired the apes. And I realized that I have had those experiences. When I first found out what was in Mill's Box, or when Max Fischer cued up a certain song at the Catillion, or Leonard tries desperately to find a pen before...
Those are all moments when I realized I was seeing the very best that film, of any age, could offer. So, while I assume that there is a bit of inflating of current films, the very cream of the crop rise to the top. I wouldn't doubt if every year in film history has critical darlings that fail to pass the test of time, and present day is no different.
Now, as to my favorites that are not great: Why, none of them.
Some are overrated, some are correctly rated, some are underrated.
IMO, the most overrated film of all time is The Jazz Singer. I finally caught it on TCM...and boy is it lousy! I'm a silent film fan, but this movie is simply terrible.
I agree with Maltin's statement.
I recently saw Lord of the Rings for the first time. I did enjoy it, but man, I really think it was overrated.
And films like Gladiator (which I also enjoyed) receiving an Oscar for best picture....I don't know...I just don't think of it as a "Great" film deserving of that kind of award.
Lawrence of Arabia! Talk about overrated!
Gladiator and Lord of the Rings were both terribly overrated. I can think of scores of movies I've seen over the last 10-15 years. None that I can think of off-hand would qualify as "great"...that is, films that will be admired generations from now.
I'll kill ya Steeve!
Rob, we're both taking aim at you, too, pal. LOTR...overrated.
Mike, did it occur to you that previous generations probably said the same thing about movies that are considered classics today?
I think that REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, MULHOLLAND DR, and FRAILTY are all truly great films, and all three are now some of my top favorite films of all time. Hell, REQUIEM is my absolute favorite film of all time! I disagree with Maltin's statement in all honesty. I know I myself know the difference between good and great films, and the films that I think are great are definitely great, and I never overrate movies. The bottom line is, its all a matter of opinions. Not everyone thinks the same film is great. For example, many think the STAR WARS films are as great as films come, while I despise those films. I could honestly name quite a few other films from the last few years which I think are truly great. Greatness is in the eye of the beholder.
It's merely a standard knee jerk reaction for people to think of good films as being great, shortly after viewing them and before giving them any time to prove their lasting appeal. I would guess that a lot of the average films from the 50's where also considered great, to only be completely forgotten about in the years that followed.
The same thing goes for bad films. How often do we hear a week old film declared the worst film ever made?
It's just the way it works. If you asked the average person to name what they consider to be the best film ever made and to name the worst film ever made. Chances are that neither of their two picks will be more than 5 years old.
Critics do the same thing but to a lesser degree. Upon their releases, both IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, & HAPPINESS where widely regarded as "Great" films and given highest ratings by many film critics, yet both of these films seem to already be vanishing from the radar. Not that they are bad films, but time seems to be indicating that they are not films that many people really want to see more than once, and their status has since been reduced from "Great films" to "Interesting films".
I disagree completely. Read my above post and you'll see why, but also, my favorite film of all time may be less than 5 years old, but before it, my fav film was from the early 80s. Also, by the sound of your post, it comes off sounding like you think new films can't be great, which is as untrue as possible.
Quite simply, as I said above, what is great to someone might be shit to another. There are several new films that are great, but there are even more that are just good or downright awful. You decide what is great to you, I'll decide which films are great to me.
I don't think we are overrating movies. Think of it this way, we watch older films all the time on DVD. It's not like they've completely left our memory. Were constantly reminded of what films are great. When I think a movie is great, I don't compare it to the last bad movie I saw. It's in competition with ALL the other great films I've ever seen over the years.
I also don't think we're (as a general rule) 'overrating' movies, although the non-stop deluge of sheer swill DOES make a satsfying film seem a lot more welcome.
Even if there were 50% more "quality films" released every year, I'd still have fallen in love with The Royal Tenenbaums, Almost Famous, Fight Club, Moulin Rouge, Boogie Nights, The Fellowship of the Ring, etc. I'd certainly describe every film I just mentioned as a "great movie".
And when some old fogey (like kaplan) says "They don't make 'em like they used to", you can respond "Sure they do; just not as often."
Just kiddin about the old fogey thing, george. For some reason I see you as the John Mahoney of this board, the wise old rascal who chuckles under his breath while the kids wonder which is better between Minority Report and Strangers on a Train.
And let's not forget: the Hollywood of today didn't invent the 'plagues of bad movies' we see a few times every year. There was LOTS of crap released in the 40's and 50's. It's just that most of the shittiest ones have long since dissolved in some vault. (Just kiddin' there; it's a shame when any movies are lost like that.) I'm certain that there weren't as many movies released back then, but I'm sure the crap-to-quality ratio hasn't changed all THAT much.
Then again, moviegoers of the 40's and 50's didnt have entertainers like Tom Green, Pauly Shore, and Freddie Prinze Jr., so maybe I have no freakin' idea what I'm talking about.
Hey, what's this Submit Reply button d...
I do think we tend to overrate movies. Or at least I do. When new movies come out, I find myself often liking and buying newer movies because they were good. Not great, not outstanding, not extremely rewatchable. Just good. But, good is better than what we get often nowadays.
Someone mentioned Frailty above. I really liked this movie. I will buy it the day it comes out. However, I don't think it's an instant classic. It was merely good. But it does seem better just because of other movies being released.
It seems as if we've fallen into an era of the almighty dollar. Most movies that are being made, are to turn a profit. I know everyone wants this, but it seems to take the forefront over quality. I was watching a reunion special one night with the members of Monty Python. And I believe it was Gilliam who said their comedy and movies were about making themselves laugh. They made stuff that was funny to them. I loved that. Too many movies are dependent on test screenings and the such today. It seems that we've become so worried about making something for everyone, that we lose what the original thought, idea, or purpose was. I know I'm making a broad generalization here, and not all studios and film-makers fall into this, but it does seem to happen more and more.
I know this is nothing new. I know I'm not turning anyone's head and making them pull a Keanu ("Whoa"). I just happen to think that we do embrace the average more-so now.
Well said, Mr. K. Whenever I see a movie I consider a pure 'product' (i.e. MIB2), I always wonder:
"Did they have not ONE guy sitting in a corner somewhere thinking Hey I got a great idea for this sequel or is it ALL just beancounters and market-testers cobbling this thing together?"
To me, even a BAD movie can earn some praise if you can sense that the production had that 'one guy sitting in a corner somewhere'. I may be overly-critical, but I see tons of movies in which that guy is not only absent, but he's wholly unwelcome.
I certainly don't think Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. Of course certain movies are overrated. And some movies are great to one person but not another. And I do think it takes some time to really judge how great a movie is. And I also think it's natural to be overly enthusiastic about a movie you've just seen for the first time. But the notion that they aren't making great movies any more (or, I think, as much as they ever did) is ridiculous.
The proliferation of countless (and often mindless) sequels is proof that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. It seems that every summer movie that grosses over $100 million is thereby required to beget one or more sequels, regardless of the quality of any of those films. Sequels are a pox on cinematic achievement.