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On second thought...


There a some movies that one may not think to highly of upon first viewing, but upon reflection or repeat viewings change their mind. 2001 is a common one.

But I don't hear of a lot of movies that have the opposite effect- liked it at first, but change your mind later.

In my case, I feel that way about American Beauty. I loved it when it first came out, and I still think the dialogue is funny and the performances are highly enjoyable. So I still kind of like it, but I've also grown to hate it.

Maybe I'm getting paranoid or sensitive, but lately I have the feeling that Hollywood derives too much pleasure from insulting us commoners. In American Beauty, everyone is miserable and unhappy desptie their material posessions (typical Hollywood pop-philosophy) and the only happy people are the gays.

Other films have undercut the suburban lifestyle in clever ways (or, as in Blue Velvet, in extreme ways), but something about American Beauty comes off as mean spirited to me.

And then there's the whole plastic bag thing. I still haven't decided if the intention was to share something that the film-makers thought was truly profound, or something that looked dumb but was important only to the character of the neighbor. 'Cause I just don't buy into the dancing-with-God baggy thing. Extremely corny. If it's supposed to be corny (from our POV), then that makes the scene work. But given the way the camera focused on it with the music, I don't think it was. And that's just silly.

I think part of my resentment may unfairly stem from my profound dislike of Kevin Spacey. Like Robin Williams, he is a real talented guy who insists on making sacharine, preachy schlock. Of course I shouldn't carry that feeling over to his other movies, but maybe I can't help it. Then again, I'm able to enjoy him in Se7en and The Usual Suspects.

Anyone else have this experience with a movie?
Anyone else have this experience with a movie?

Well, the phrase "grown to hate it" might be a little strong. But, otherwise, I would have to say that just about everyone has had the experiance of really liking a movie and then later realizing that it wasn't that great. Otherwise, we wouldn't all of these blockbuster hit movies that are largely forgotten and ignored a decade later.

When was the last time anyone you knew sat down and watched Flashdance all the way through? That was a *huge* hit in the summer of 1983, to the point of being a cultural phenomenon (although one that I somehow managed not to get around to ever seeing). Same thing with Purple Rain the next year (I *did* see that one in a theater). For that matter, I think you could put Saturday Night Fever on that list of HUGE movies that don't get watched nearly as much any more as their original reception would have predicted.
When was the last time anyone you knew sat down and watched Flashdance all the way through? That was a *huge* hit in the summer of 1983, to the point of being a cultural phenomenon (although one that I somehow managed not to get around to ever seeing).

This year both Ginger Spice and Madonna have used Flashdance as videos for their songs. It is possible that the dances were better than the plot.
I saw the movie "Natural Born Killers" in the theatre and hated it. Granted, I was on the last date with my soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend at the time and not quite sober, and I walked out on it. And her.

When watching cable a few years later, I caught it from the beginning and watched it straight through. Well, it wasn't the best movie I'd ever seen, but it seemed pretty good the second time.
A lot of people say that about NBK. I need to see it again. I've taken a liking to Oliver Stone's messiness.

I think I'm a tad too young to really remember the Flashdance phenomenon. I guess I should see it at some point just to know it but... ugh. Movies with dancing suck.
Well, Flashdance was in theaters the summer between my fourth and fith years of college (yeah, I took 5 years to get my BS; dren happens). And I still managed to avoid ever having seen it. Actually, I think the most extended chunks of Flashdance that I have ever seen was what was shown in VH-1's 1983 episode of "We Love The '80's". I wouldn't want to make you feel obligated to sit through Flashdance, or anything. :LOL:

If you are going to check out one movie with dancing from my college years then I would recommend that it be All That Jazz (although that goes back a few more years to my first year of college). It just came out on DVD (timed to coincide with the Chicago DVD release, because of the Fosse connection). That one has *none* of the sacharin sweetness that people who don't like musicals tend to associate with the genre. The phrase "black comedy" comes to mind. And it has some great, classic dance numbers. There was a Paula Abdul video (I don't remember what the song was) that was entirely an homage to a particular dance scene in All That Jazz.
I know you want movies that you thought were good then realized weren't but I have to go with Big Lebowski for movie that i thought sucked the first time i saw it and then became awesome the next. I must have been in a bad mood the first time i saw it.
I know that there have been films I didn't care for the second time around, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment. There are certainly a lot of films that although I enjoyed them once, I have NO interest in seeing again. These are generally entertainment only films, with nothing deep about them. I just watched XXX, and was pleasantly suprised that I liked it, and its respectful sendup of James Bond films, but I have no inclination to see it again.

I did like American Beauty, even on a second viewing. I agree that it IS pessimistic. It is about the superficiality and emptiness of modern life, a common theme. Magnolia is similar in someways, but really the opposite in that it isn't truly pessimistic, even in the face of tragic things. If you can find it on tape, I don't think it is available on DVD, see the 1985 Australian film, Bliss. It is a black comedy in which Harry Joy, a guy who thinks he has it made, and is loved by all, comes back after a near death experience to see how life REALLY is. A bit like American Beauty, at least as cynical, more satirical, but more hopeful. I do like Kevin Spacey, and even liked KPAX moderately, which, as I recall, you hated.

I agree that Hollywood insults us, but I find the average summer teen movie far more insulting than things like American Beauty, even when they don't work. I do agree that the point about people being unhappy despite their material possessions is very over-used, and can seem rather trivial in the light of how much of the world lives, but on the otherhand, it certainly can be true.
Yes, I do hate K-Pax. Very passionately. Only Patch Adams made me angrier.

agree that Hollywood insults us, but I find the average summer teen movie far more insulting than things like American Beauty, even when they don't work.

That's an interesting satement, because I used to feel that way. But those awful teeny movies dont' try to be meaningful or poignant- they're stupid and they know they're stupid. American Beauty and Pay It Forward present themselves as being all moralistic and important, but end up as patronizing.
I still disagree with you on K-Pax... but I agree with you on American Beauty! Overrated! I have Pay it Forward in my DVD collection, but haven't seen it yet.
I like Kevin Spacey. I've liked him ever since his Mel Proffet days on Wiseguy. I don't believe his acting is always as good as perhaps he thinks it is. Even the Usual Suspects was mostly a large monologue which only required him to look glib and deliver gobs of exposition. When it came to Verbal's faux realization that he could have been set up, I didn't buy Spacey's teary performance at all. Still, I like the guy - especially in cynical like films The Ref and Swimming with Sharks (arguably his best performance).


American Beauty was criticized for its preachy notion that all the successful people are unsatisfied and valueless. And only by going against society can you find true happiness and inner peace. Still, it's true in some cases. A lot of people hope to find happiness and success, and sometimes they only find the latter. When you achieve your goals and still haven't found happiness it can be devastating. Look at Curt Cobain.

I wouldn't exactly run out and watch American Beauty again, but I thought it was compelling in that it can take a person like Lester Burnham, give him some VERY unsettling characteristics and still make him sympathetic. It's tough to like a prospective pedophile but they pull it off. My wife cried when he died, I couldn't believe it and neither could she.
I think I need to see Spacey in something off the wall. I want to see him play a character who is a stretch for him. Maybe, something like O'Brother Where Art Thou? DUDE, I love The Big Lebowski! I'd like to see Spacey in a role like Goodman's in that movie. :LOL:

I guess there are a few movies I like less and less everytime I watch them, but I just can't think of them right now. I do think Hollywood talks down to us, but then again a lot of people in Hollywood don't know what it is like to be a regular person. (HATED Swimming with Sharks! I worked at Disney in a situation similar to it. The only difference was the guy never yelled. He always talked quietly. Creepy!)

Pillow Rock or anyone, can you tell me what dren is? I have been calling myself dren1138 online since 1997 and now I see people throwing it around everywhere. I started using it because of what it spells backward and because I love THX 1138. What does everyone else mean?
My two favorite Kevin Spacey films, besides American Beauty, are LA Confidential, and Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil. There are a lot of his films I haven't seen, including Glengarry Glen Ross, which is supposed to be very good.
Agreed with everything in that post (including not yet getting around to Glengerry Glenn Ross).

I think I may buy Midnight. Mmm... Alisson Eastwood.
Glengary Glen Ross was good. Spacey said he was quite intimidated to be working with the likes of Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon and others.

His part in LA Confidential was not much of an acting stretch either. All the hard work was left to Guy Pierce and whatsisname, the other Aussie prick. The real tragedy of LA Confidential was awarding an undeswerved Oscar to Kim Basinger.


Immitation must be the highest form of flattery though, since Spacey's death scene was re-enacted note-by-note by Collin Ferrel in Minority Report. The only difference was he didn't get to say, "Rollo Thomasi."
Pillow Rock or anyone, can you tell me what dren is? I have been calling myself dren1138 online since 1997 and now I see people throwing it around everywhere.

Well, then you have been using it longer than the current usage (among some SF fans, anyway) has existed.

In Farscape the way they get around the problem of people from many planets (many of whom may not have even heard of the other's planets) being able to speak and understand each other was that they were all injected with "translator microbes". These colonize at the base of the hosts brain and work a bit like bable fish in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The thing is they don't translate things that aren't used in anything close tho their literal meaning (or things that don't have direct translations, but that comes up less often). Hence, "colorful metaphors" are left untraslated, which allowed the show to let the characters swear without actually having any objectionable words be said.

So, the short answer is that in Farscape "dren" means "sh!t", "frell" means "f**k", etc. And these meanings have been picked up and used on message boards for a function similar to what the TV writers used them for; to get the emphasis, or whatever, of using explitives without having the "bad" words (which are just banned in some places) show up in the text.
Thank you Pillow Rock! Very interesting. One of the first times I used dren was as an ebay ID. One of the first things I bought was from Australia. I wonder if I should be getting some credit for this word Farscape uses. I guess I should have watched the show.

BACK TO THE TOPIC. I had to watch THE USUAL SUSPECTS again after talking with you all. Man, I love that movie. I love everybody in it. Spacey is great! I still would like to see him in something like a Cohen Brothers Comedy. Dr. Evil was a great cameo, but it was just a cameo. I think he could have more success in a good comedy. He is so funny in interviews and on SNL. He also idolizes Jack Lemon who I personally think was one of the best actors ever. Maybe he stays away from them because of the lack of Box Office success he had with them early in his career. I guess I will have to go back and watch some of those early Spacey films again. :D

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