Saturday, April 12, 2014

What's the Biggest 180 You've Ever Done on a Movie?

You hated it and now you love it. Or vice versa.

We all have those movies that we change our minds about. Maybe we were in the wrong place mentally when we saw something and didn't give it a chance, or maybe something spoke to us as age 21 but now rings false. Whatever the reason, our opinions on movies are often fluid -- they change as we change (the movie never changes; the movie is the movie). So what's the biggest change of heart you've ever had on a film?

47 comments:

  1. Great question! I hated Crimson Tide when I saw it at age 12 but it has since become a huge favorite of mine.

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  2. P.T. Anderson spins my head around. I wasn't quite sure what to think of Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, or The Master the first time I saw them. It took me a little while to come around. Same with Synecdoche, New York.

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    1. I was the same way with Magnolia (which I love now). I've seen The Master twice and I still don't know how I feel.

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    2. The Master is annoying. I've seen it 3 times. I was perplexed, loved it then didn't like it. WTF

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  3. For me it was Adventureland. I came into it with the mindset of it being similar to a Superbad, which I like, but it was completely different. I agree with your podcast that it was poorly sold on its previews and it wasn't until a few years later in college when my roommate told me to give it another chance that I really liked it.

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  4. I want to say The Royal Tenenbaums. The trajectory of my affection for Wes Anderson resembles that of Adam, I think. I really didn't like his style at first, but the more I've seen of it the more I've warned up to it, especially with The Royal Tenenbaums. It's very good.

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    1. Oh! And Kill Bill is DEFINITELY another one. For whatever reason, I really didn't like it when I first saw it. I think I wasn't used to the amount of violence contained in many Tarantino movies yet, and that turned me off. Now, I think both parts are fantastic.

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  5. I have one for each direction. I saw American Beauty in the theatre with some friends, and we all loved it. I think I was swept away by Kevin Spacey's showy performance. I couldn't wait to see it when it came out on video, and when I did...wow, what a comedown.

    For years I've been watching Lawrence of Arabia and trying to see what everyone else saw. I kept trying because I was keenly aware that I was not seeing it in its ideal environment. Finally I saw the blu-ray disc on a lovely home theatre setup, and...wow, what an awesome film.

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    1. I haven't seen American Beauty in years and that's because I fear I'll have a very similar reaction to yours.

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    2. Totally agree on American Beauty. I thought it was so deep the first time I saw it but it's pretty superficial, I think, on re-watches.

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    3. I still really like American Beauty - I don't think its watchability will ever lose it's lustre for me, but yeah, it's not the intellectual masterpiece I used to think it was - belongs in a category of film I'd call "High School Deep".

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    4. Yes! I love the phrase "high school deep".

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    5. "High School Deep" deserves to go into the glossary. It's the same phenomenon when Zack Snyder frames Superman next to a stained glass window of Jesus.

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    6. I would throw "Fight Club" in there too.

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    7. Much like American Beauty I still like Fight Club, but I totally agree.

      And yeah Steve, I don't think it necessarily has to be the whole movie - it applies to any way too obvious or on-the-nose symbolism/allusion/metaphor.

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    8. Fight Club is a full of a young man's angst. I can't relate to it anymore. I don't understand where those guys got the energy after working all day. The last thing I want to do after work is fight; I want to have dinner and go to bed.

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    9. Ha - yeah, I'd be all like, "Do you mind switching the revolution to Saturday - I'm always zonked on Friday night."

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  6. I have one for each direction too. After seeing Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me opening night with an enthusiastic crowd, I thought it was the funniest thing I had seen in ages. Revisiting it on video I realized what a lame pile of recycled jokes and gross-out humor it really was. There are still funny moments, but it's nowhere near the comedy classic I would have sworn it was opening night.

    On the flip side of that coin, the first time I saw Blade Runner (several years after its release) I just didn't get why it was hailed as a classic by so many people I respected. I was bored and uninvolved, and didn't see it again until a friend dragged me to a theatrical screening when I was in college. Seeing it again it was a whole different movie, and also a whole new world unfolding before my eyes. Now I've seen every alternate version on that 5-disc blu-ray set and it's a movie I love, I even find it fascinating how different the choices in each cut make the movie as a whole play out. At this point I don't know how there was a time when I didn't love Blade Runner. Maybe I'm a replicant.

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    1. Blade Runner was a movie that I didn't have a 180 on, but gradually grew from "pretty good" to "one of the best things I've ever seen" over the course of three viewings in the span of two weeks. A lot of people I know had a similar experience with it.

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    2. Hm, maybe I should see it again then, cause I'm still in that first phase.

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  7. There was no movie I found more pretentious, boring, and overrated than 2001: A Space Odyssey, now I'm endlessly fascinated by it. I also used to think Goodfellas was a overly long and much too talkative look at a bunch of obscene psychopaths. Now it's one of my favorite Scorsese movies. Makes me think I need to give Raging Bull another shot.

    I also used to love The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Thanks F This Movie for helping me kick that habit, though I still prefer it to JP3.

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  8. I HATED Pulp Fiction when it first came out. I really LOVED Reservoir Dogs, but Pulp Fiction did nothing for me. Everyone I know was losing their shit over it. I just didn't see it. I think part of my hatred for it came from that. Everyone just kept quoting it and rambling on and on. After a few years I picked up a copy and have slowing changed my mind. I dig it now. I'm not sure I like the same things about it everyone else does.

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  9. It's well documented how much I disliked Hellboy II when I first saw it, but since then I've grown to really, really love it. Like an idiot on a podcast I named it one of the worst comic book movies I've ever seen, but now I think it's one of the best.

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    1. Call me cray, but over time I beginning to think The Golden Army is a better movie than The Dark Knight.

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    2. I've been waiting 6 years for the Dark Knight backlash to begin. Have you kicked off the movement? #overrated

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  10. Great topic. For me it's George Romero's Day of the Dead. The first time I saw it, it ruined my day. I couldn't handle the nihilism, mean-spirit, and truly upsetting gore. The second time I saw it years later it was a revelation. It is the definition of a HORROR movie. Great atmosphere, the over the top performances work, and it is so damn scary. Romero's (first) Dead trilogy contains 3 masterpieces.

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    1. I love everything about this comment.

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  11. I can't think of any complete 180s I've made, but I remember not thinking very highly of District 9 when I first saw it. Even walking out of the theater thinking I had wasted my money and time. Now, it's one of my favorite movies, easily in my top 20.

    On the other side, I recently had the opposite reaction to The Counselor. While I didn't love it, I certainly thought it was one of the better movies I had seen last year, I even put it on my top 10. Then I redboxed it a few weeks ago, and realized I had made a huge mistake after about 20 minutes (HOW LONG IS THIS DIAMOND SCENE?) Originally, I loved the unconventional structure of the movie, which I still do, but I think it kind of distracted me from what an absolute bore it was, save for a great Brad Pitt performance. I don't completely hate it, but it's close.

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    1. Also, this just came to me. Back when I was young, dumb, and full of....well you know, I used to think Bad Boys II was an awesome movie. I watched it for the first time in maybe 10 years a few months ago while too hungover to find the remote....wow, what a nightmare. I guess maybe it's hard to tell just got god awful a movie is when there's a big expensive action scene every 5 minutes to distract you...when you're 14 at least.

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    2. It's ok. I thought Bad Boys II was incredible back in 2003. Little did I know, I was the worst back then.

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  12. I'll write about both kinds of 180's.

    I used to consider Kill Bill QT's worst, but in the past year it has shot into my personal top 5 movies.

    I really enjoyed Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, and Man of Steel in theaters, but the more I thought about them and the more I rewatched them I grew to really really not like them.

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  13. If you spend more time discussing a bad movie then you do a good movie, then chances are you need to revisit it immediately. I can think of a lot of films that have festered in my brain for months upon initial negative reactions. Drive and The Social Network are two recent lukewarm responses and my affection has deepened with each viewing. However, there are two movies that I have gone completely 180. When I first saw Synecdoche, New York I thought it was a failed masterpiece. It seemed to contain everything Charlie Kaufman ever wanted in his movies, but without the crafted narrative symmetry and romanticism of his previous works. The experience was so negative that I was literally depressed for a week over watching a main character contiguously suffer for two hours. I did not see the film for over a year, and then an impulse Blu-ray purchase at Half Price Books resulted in newfound appreciation. The other 180 turn was Brian DePalma's The Phantom of the Paradise. My first viewing was an exhausting experience as myself, JB & Patrick had already sat in the same seats for 13 hours at the Music Box Massacre. Maybe it was the energy drink crash, but I just wasn't feeling it. A few years later I happened to see the film again at the opening night of the Music Box Theatre's 70MM Film Festival. The 70MM reels of 2001 were mixed up resulting in extremely rare cancelled screening. Fortunately the midnight movie was Phantom and they screened it free of charge with your money back (Only the Music Box Theatre is this fucking awesome to movie patrons.) I was completely memorized upon a second screening and marveled at Paul Williams' creepy eternal man-child performance. The bottom line is that the movie never changes, we change. If you love movies then you owe it to yourself to revisit them, even the bad ones. You never know when you might go all Tony Hawk Pro Skater on that shit.

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  14. The first time I saw No Country For Old Men I pretty much hated it. I thought it was incredibly boring, fell asleep somewhere in the middle, and found the plot too slow and meandering.

    I watched it again some months later and was shocked by how wrong I was, and now consider that film one of my favorites of all time. Not sure why I hated it so much the first time (I'm sure the mid-movie nap didn't help), but am so glad that I came back around. That movie is absolutely brilliant.

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    1. NCFOM is an honourable mention for me - not my biggest 180 but probably my fastest - I didn't quite hate it the first time (giving it a pass based pretty much based on Bardem's performance alone) but it took a second viewing less than a year later before I got the brilliance of the complete picture - I might watch that today!

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  15. An appropriate photo for me as I absolutely hated Full Metal Jacket for years, yet now I love it. I think, as with most movies I have had a change of heart on, I simply saw it too young.

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    1. That's true with me, too. I needed to rewatch most Kubrick movies once I grew up.

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  16. I thought Mars Attacks was terrible when I saw it opening weekend. With all the stars in it, including one Michael J Fox, I thought it was going to be great. However all of the characters are complete morons and the aliens are decimated by the most awful soundtrack choice in Hollywood history. I saw it with a group of people and no one liked it.
    Fast-forward to when its out on HBO and I'm up late but since I'm procrastinating on my homework I decide to rewatch that turd of a movie. But this time I think it is hilarious because all of the characters are complete morons and the aliens are decimated by the most awful soundtrack choice in Hollywood history. I haven't seen it in awhile, I wonder what I'll think about it now...

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  17. The biggest one I can think of is actually the original Fantasia, I actually loathed that movie as a kid (I remember it very well as it was preceded almost inexplicably by a Bugs Bunny cartoon) when I saw it in theatres during a early 1990's reissue. Now I watch the movie and while I admit its still a little bit too long, the combo of art and music just takes me away and I would gladly go see a reissue of the original Fantasia if they could clean up the film.

    Honorable mention to The Other Sister- which I really should have stopped the first time I saw it, on a repeat viewing I had to look in the mirror and say "Who am I ?" in disbelief at how much I hated this movie

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  18. The Godfather went from a dry, over-long, "what's the big deal with this" snoozefest that I daydreamed my way through half of, to one of the greatest movies of all time in the span of about 3 years for me. Not sure what happened to my brain in those intervening years, but I'm glad it did!

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  19. I'm a big Zorro fan, and in the fall of '05 was missing California, and The Mask of Zorro was perhaps the best adventure film since Raiders, so when The Legend of Zorro came out, I really wanted to love it, and did; I even pre-ordered the dvd, something I've only done twice. I've since accepted that it is in fact Not Good, and put the dvd in a Goodwill box, but in my younger self's defense, it is a beautiful-looking movie (Martin Campbell knows his stuff), and that moment when Alejandro carves a Z into Armand's shirt and growls "so the DEVIL will know who sent you" is undeniably awesomely badass.

    It's also true that The Mask of Zorro must have been insanely difficult to follow - how do you top a 20-year-spanning epic that absolutely ruins the original Zorro's life and then kills him (can you imagine a Batman movie doing the same for Bruce Wayne?) - and given how sparsely populated California was at the time, his proper screen home is probably TV, as in the heavily serialized 1950s Disney show. So I'm sympathetic to the filmmakers in that regard, but they simply didn't rise to the challenge.

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    1. I was (and am) a big fan of The Mask of Zorro, but I still haven't even seen The Legend of Zorro. I think I was put off by the precocious kid in the trailers.

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    2. I'm tempted to say Legend isn't that bad for the audience it's pitched at, which, between the kid and the PG rating, seems to be roughly 6-10. So, just as Mission: Impossible II is a Notorious riff/rip-off for the high school set, Legend is a Notorious riff/rip-off for the lower schoolers out there. I mean, as the saying goes, the filmmakers of a sequel to Mask had one job - to put Zeta-Jones in a Zorro (Zorra?) getup of her own - and while she does play swords a bit, they didn't even manage that.

      FWIW, I thought the kid was really charming and spirited, but then, I thought the tyke in The Mummy Returns was great, too. If you're an adult, sure, you're probably not going to be hugely interested in the character, or the movie either, but if I'd seen the movie when I was six or eight, I'm sure I'd have been cheering him on every minute, assuming the epic 130-minute runtime didn't wear me down. So if you disregard the awesomely badass posters and the fact that it's a follow-up to Mask, you'll find a kid-friendly movie that's a hell of a lot better than, say, The Phantom Menace, but that's probably not what most adult fans of the first movie were hoping for.

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  20. Watchmen. When I saw this in the theater I was blown away by the opening fight scene set to "Unforgettable" and then was bored to tears for the rest of the film. Upon revisiting the film, I really like it now. Not a masterpiece, and still overlong, but for the most part I think it's enjoyable.

    Reverse 180 - Good Will Hunting. Saw this in the theater on a limited run when it was released and really liked it. Upon rewatching I find it super annoying, especially Minnie Driver (who I still think is an awful actress). I also loathe the "How you like them apples" scene. It's forced and so obvious that when they wrote that line they probably though that was going to be the tagline.

    Honorable mention #2 - 360 degree turn and still turning. Return of the Jedi. Loved it as a kid, hated it as a teen, loved it again as a late teen, hated in my 20's then loved it again. Hated it last week, loved it yesterday. It's probably the #1 movie that I have no idea how I feel about it.

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    1. Oh my god, yes a million times on Return of the Jedi. I want to love it because the stuff with Luke and Darth Vader is fantastic, but I also want to hate it because of the awful first 40 minutes, the Death Star again, and, to a slightly lesser extent, the ewoks.

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  21. It has to be Oliver Stone's "The Doors." Maybe it's because I didn't even know about the band or the place I was in my life at the time (ending HS, about to start college) or whatever, but in a group viewing on VHS I hated this movie. Then I saw it again (don't remember where/how) and I hated it even more. Then a third viewing post-"JFK" (after I was more familiar with both the band and Stone's body of work) went much better, and by the fourth time I saw I'd come around to seeing the movie in a much better light and as a flawed but energetic, entertaining and fun early 90's Stone head trip with some excellent performance (mainly Val Kilmer and Kyle MacLachalan). Granted, even at it's peak for me "The Doors" was no masterpiece, but it was definitely a 180 from the 'worthless pile of shit' place where it landed the first two times I saw it.

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  22. I know I'm late, and I think we've discussed this before, but Pulp Fiction is mine.

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