Sunday, 19 May 2013

Six of the Best... Films I Should Like More But Don't

How many times have you faced someone whose mouth is agape before the words “You don’t like…?” are shot from their mouth, roaring towards your opinions like a bullet to the side of a large barn door. You attempt to justify your opinion but you get a shake of the head in return. After a while you begin to make concessions. You stutter that “It’s not as bad as…” or “I didn’t hate it.” But it’s no good. That person now looks at you like you are something brown and stinky on the bottom of their shoe. I get this look often and not just because of my personality. Just as there are films which you may be embarrassed to like, there are others which you are embarrassed that you don’t like. While I don’t dislike any of the films below, I don’t like them as much as ‘society’ tells me I should. I expect ‘society’ will now also hate me for the opinions I’m about to express below, but anyway here are Six of the Best Films I Should Like More But Don’t.

1. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
MGM’s classic fantasy musical is still much loved, over seventy years after its theatrical release. Of all the films on this list, Oz is the film I like the least and the one that has bought about the most distain and shaking of heads from others. The film looks bright in its shimmering Technicolor and the story is epic in its scale but personally I think people give it an easy ride because they think they have to like it. I find the film incredibly annoying and full of plot holes. The Munchkin characters are just about the more irritating in all cinema history but are luckily at a good height to kick in the face. The Wicked Witch of the West is one of the weakest baddies in cinema and is a character who on one occasion throws a fireball at our heroes. The fireball misses so she leaves. In almost every scene she simply arrives, cackles and leaves. There is no peril. The plot itself is set around the ‘it was only a dream’ premise, something which you’d get told to re-write in English class, aged 10. Other plot holes include the Good Witch failing to mention to Dorothy that she could have got home all along and a bad guy who is destroyed by water. All in all, this is a film which is given far too much credit by people who are partially blinded by its unquestionable visual beauty.

2. The Gold Rush (1925)
Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while will be well aware that Charlie Chaplin is pretty much my favourite film maker. I’m currently working my way through his filmography and have so far reviewed around forty of his films. I’m yet to get to one of his most popular films, The Gold Rush, but I have seen it once before. Produced at the height of his popularity, The Gold Rush was the film that Chaplin himself wanted to be remembered for. To me it is neither as funny, sweet or satirical as the films by which it is sandwiched and feels poor in comparison to the likes of The Kid and The Circus, two films which are much less widely known but much funnier. While I wouldn’t begrudge anyone liking Chaplin, this film’s popularity when compared to the rest of his movies is bewildering to me.

3. Blade Runner (1982)
The popular science fiction noir, Blade Runner is one of the best regarded science fiction movies of all time and is certainly a good film. My problem with Blade Runner is that if it is such a great film then why has the director gone back to alter it so many times. By my counting, there are seven different versions of Blade Runner and why does a near perfect film require seven versions? Other problems for me include the pacing which I found far too slow and a plot which while undoubtedly interesting for a time, soon bored me. The movie generally looks great but the strobe lighting effects created by light entering sets from the outside is very off-putting. There is still a lot that I do like about Blade Runner but I certainly don’t like it as much as most people do.

4. The Lion King (1994)
I didn’t see The Lion King when I was a child, something which I’m told is the reason I don’t really rate the film. The plot is plodding, predictable and dull and the songs drive me up the wall. The characters are broadly drawn and mostly annoying and it still bugs me that members of the same family have accents which are separated by oceans. You could say “But lions don’t really talk” but here they do, so why do they have different accents? The film has an interesting idea at its heart and I look forward to showing it to my children in the same way that my vegetarianism won’t stop me from offering them meat but personally this is a film I don’t understand the love for.

I adore Alfred Hitchcock and some of my favourite moments in the last couple of years have been discovering his films for the first time. From firm favourites like Psycho to hidden gems like Rope, his films have never failed to excite me. I’ve found a pattern emerging which began with Vertigo and came to a head with North by Northwest. Quite often, the better known the film, the less I’ve enjoyed it. I’m certain that this has something to do with heightened expectations and while I wasn’t particularly keen on The Birds, I felt that this point was best exemplified by North by Northwest. When I reviewed the movie last September I gave it 6/10. I was honest and took some flack for it but stuck to my guns and presented my reasons which are thus. The film bored me. Despite some great action sequences, it was a film which lacked mystery and intrigue and for a thriller I was never thrilled. Like a couple of films on this list though I will go back to this one when I get a chance, in the hope that I am swayed towards the opinions of the masses.

6. The Godfather (1972)
If you were pissed at me before, you’re going to hate me now. That’s right; I don’t think The Godfather is one of the greatest films ever made. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic and a game changer as far as film making is concerned but I don’t rate it as one of the best ever and much prefer The Godfather Part II. For me The Godfather contains some of the most boring scenes in any good film I’ve ever seen. The wedding sequence feels like it lasts for months and I got little enjoyment out of it. Other long, hushed discussions did nothing for me either. I’ve seen this movie twice but each time felt as though I was missing something as I usually enjoy the genre, like the director and love the sequel but The Godfather leaves me cold. Having said that, it’s on my list for a third watch soon so maybe I’ll be third time lucky.

So there it is, my honest opinion. Six films I should probably like more but don’t. What do you think about the list? (Don’t be too mean). Are there any films that you don’t love but everyone else does? Let me know.   


  1. I'm with you on Oz and Lion King. I think most people love Oz because they watched it as a kid and so have grown up with it. Perhaps if I hadn't grown up with Star Wars, I wouldn't have liked it coming to it as an adult.

    I think I felt the same as you about Bladerunner, until I saw it on the big screen, and it just blew me away. The strobe lighting that you don't like is just part of the atmosphere of the whole film, and I now love it.

    I haven't seen The Gold Rush or North by Northwest, but The Godfather!! I read the book (twice) after seeing it, and the long boring wedding scene introduces so many characters brilliantly; there's so much going on that you don't notice. It's not a perfect film, all the guys who get shot at the end as Michael is being made godfather are fairly random (I had to rewind it about 5 times to figure out who was being killed). But the scene when Michael shoot Solazzo and McCluskey in the diner is phenomenal.

    But, you know, that's just, like, my opionion man.

    1. Like I said, I need to re watch The Godfather soon because I haven't seen it for about 7 years, long before I really got into film properly. Hopefully I will change my mind.

      As for Blade Runner, I've tried twice and will definitely give it another go. I enjoyed it more the second time than the first so maybe the trend will continue.

  2. OK, here's where you're wrong: The Lion King and North By Northwest. I love both of those (but then The Lion King was a go-to childhood film for me).

    Here's where you're right: Blade Runner and The Godfather. I've never been able to sit through Blade Runner without falling asleep, so I've seen all but the last 10 minutes three times. I've seen the Godfather once, but can't tell you much about it, which doesn't necessarily make it a bad film, it just didn't hit home with me when I saw it years ago. Both of these will be re-watched and reviewed by me imminently.

    Here's where you could be right: The Wizard of Oz and The Gold Rush, because I haven't seen either. They're both on various lists of mine, so I'll let you know if you were right or not when I get to them.

  3. The Wizard of Oz I like, but probably less than other people. It's a film I still enjoy if I watch it, but I like it less as an adult than I did as a kid.

    The Gold Rush, I'm kind of with you on. It's no City Lights.

    Blade Runner I love, but I'm not upset with a difference of opinion here. I agree that they need to stop putting out new versions.

    I'm completely underwhelmed by The Lion King, as were both of my kids. They've never asked to watch it again, which is pretty telling.

    North by is where we really differ. It's my favorite movie hands-down. I love that it feels like a James Bond film in ways. I love the comedy that fits in so beautifully with everything else in the film. I love the menace of James Mason and Martin Landau. And it's Cary Grant.

    I like The Godfather a lot, but it wouldn't make my top-10.

    1. A few people have mentioned Bond when talking about NxNW. I'm going to have to look out for the similarities on my next watch.

  4. Interesting list...I agree with you on The Wizard Of Oz. It's a movie for children, and I think most adults who love it mainly do so because they grew up with it. I only saw it for the first time recently and thought it was average at best, from an adult's perspective.

    I do think North By Northwest and The Godfather are all-time classics, so we differ on those -- give them both another chance!

    I consider Blade Runner a flawed classic. It's a visual masterpiece, but the plot and characters could certainly have been better.

    I have not seen The Lion King for a long time, and I have never seen The Gold Rush, so I won't comment on those!

  5. I go back and forth on Blade Runner now but I tend to think of it in comparison to most of the other SF films I'd seen up to then which were pretty insulting (with obvious exceptions). North by North West may be suffering now because it's twists and turns have been re-used so many times since but I think its a stone cold classic. The Wizard of Oz is no Labyrinth, that's for sure. Still haven't seen Lion King, I heard it was based on Hamlet though. My film I don't like that I in theory should is Mean Streets.

  6. I go back and forth on Blade Runner now but I tend to think of it in comparison to most of the other SF films I'd seen up to then which were pretty insulting (with obvious exceptions). North by North West may be suffering now because it's twists and turns have been re-used so many times since but I think its a stone cold classic. The Wizard of Oz is no Labyrinth, that's for sure. Still haven't seen Lion King, I heard it was based on Hamlet though. My film I don't like that I in theory should is Mean Streets.