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Friday, August 8, 2008

8 Timeless Classic Movies That Critics Are Afraid Of

There are some movies that are well liked, but no one gets offended if you have a few problems with them. Then there is another league of films, often called “classic” or “timeless,” that break beyond the mold of mere movie. Fans will defend them with the ferocity of a grizzly bear mama protecting her cub. That is why these 8 films, each deserving of at least a little criticism, frighten us into submission. First, though, let me say that I like every movie on this list — just not to mama grizzly level. Ok, I actually hate one of them, but I know better than to say which.

8. The Original Star Wars Trilogy

Star Wars

Why We’re Afraid

Let’s face it — unless you want to start a nerd stampede, you should be afraid to criticize the first three forays into that galaxy far, far away. When some fans actually want to change their religion to “Jedi”, you know a movie has reached something far beyond popular science fiction. It’s for good reason: there’s no denying that the original trilogy is one of greatest examples of smart, fun, escapist cinema around. But make a peep about any problems with these movies, and you’ll be looking at death sentences on twelve systems.

Why We Should

As good as Star Wars is, this sci-fi phenomenon isn’t without its flaws. Mark Hamill’s acting in A New Hope straddles the thin line between uncomfortable and annoying. Meanwhile, plot holes pile up, like why exactly the Death Star was equipped with a hole that might as well have come with a sign saying “Blow up here”. And let’s not get started on how exactly the Han Solo rescue plan at the beginning of Return of the Jedi would have worked if everything hadn’t played out exactly as it did. Plus, Ewoks. I know it’s hard to admit. They are adorable, after all. But surely they are a major evolutionary link in the path to Jar Jar Binks.

7. Grease


Why We’re Afraid

Bring up Grease to a group of women, any age, and you will be greeted with the same response: “Awww, I love Grease.” This is fine. They get a kick out of summer lovin’ and watching pretty people dance around in a simpler time. But things take a dangerous turn when you admit to an ounce of dislike for this musical. They’ll pounce faster than greased lightning, ready to declare you a heartless, un-American fiend. You’d think you were the hardass judge from Footloose and had just banned dancing altogether. For the record — that’s a better musical.

Why We Should

The songs, although catchy, are grating. The acting is stiff and borders on self-parody. The comedy is immediately dated. And worst of all, the problem with making a movie that celebrates a simpler time is that simpler times are by their very nature boring. Aside from it being an entertaining enough movie, it's just not the ultimate joyous musical that many feel it is. And no, I’m not saying that because I'm threatened by John Travolta’s scientologist henchmen.

6. Scarface


Why We’re Afraid

If you’ve ever watched an episode of MTV Cribs you know that, besides 7 cars they don’t drive and 3 dead behind the eyes models soaking in a hot tub, the one item that every rap star must own is a Scarface poster. Somehow, Al Pacino in an ugly suit has come to represent everything that thugs out there aspire to be. That’s why we’re afraid. We don’t want to get shot.

Why We Should

Scarface is a pretty cool gangster movie, but it drips with the 80s and hasn’t exactly held up perfectly over the years. What shocked and impressed a 1983 audience just doesn’t cut it in 2008. Plus, we should probably criticize it just to get all the Tony Montana worshippers out there to take another look at the film and pay attention to more than just his little friend and that mountain of cocaine. You guys realize your hero is supposed to be a warning about greed and excess killing you in the end, right?

5. The Wizard Of Oz

The Wizard Of Oz

Why We’re Afraid

It’s the first color movie ever made. That alone is enough to make one pretty wary about ripping on it. Add in the fact that it is one of the most beloved stories to ever grace the silver screen, and you’re really breaking a sweat when you think about calling the flying monkeys “stupid looking.” The Wizard Of Oz is one of those charming classics that almost everyone can agree on and at least enjoy in a nostalgic way. Almost everyone.

Why We Should

The Lollipop Guild, for one. A more annoying sound than their singing may never have been committed to film. The Wicked Witch is also one of the least threatening villains to become so iconic. When your greatest act of evil is simply being ugly, you shouldn’t be allowed in the upper echelon of villainhood. Finally, there are the songs. Oh, those songs. I wrote one of my own called “If I only had some earplugs.”

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey

Why We’re Afraid

It’s a movie that film buffs and sci-fi lovers can come together to fawn over. That’s a dangerous combination. Plus, it's a movie with fantastic stretches of awesomeness. Thanks to HAL we all discovered how frightening a glowing red light could be. Also, there’s a bunch of monkey people and this big shiny black slab, which makes great viewing even if you have no idea what’s going on. Monkey people! It’s like planet of the apes without all those pesky words.

Why We Should

I mentioned the no words thing right? Silent stretches in films can be haunting and wonderfully effective. But this movie takes it to ridiculous levels. I would imagine that acid is a necessary tool to even begin to enjoy the last 20 minutes of the film. Finally, the great part about this movie is that there are a few storylines going on. The problem is that some are far more interesting than others.

3. The Godfather

The Godfather

Why We’re Afraid

It’s regarded by many as the best crime movie ever made, and launched a successful franchise that still ripples into the gangster movie genre today. With powerhouse performances by Marlon Brando and the rest of the cast, there’s a reason the first two films in the series are the high watermark for mob movies. All of this makes criticizing this movie an offer you can, and probably should, refuse.

Why We Should

It’s a crime epic, there’s no doubt, but at times it does get a tad … boring. Intrigue and suspense is part of the genre, but sometimes we just want a good old fashioned mob-land killing. And Marlon Brando certainly makes an interesting choice as far as the voice he uses, but unfortunately “interesting” in this case also means “oftentimes unintelligible.”

2. The Passion Of the Christ

The Passion Of the Christ

Why We’re Afraid

Hardcore Christians are capable of frightening things. Sure, many of them are just trying to be good people. But every time we think of criticizing The Passion, thoughts of the Crusades flash in our heads. You can’t be negative about The Passion without sensitive Christians assuming you hate Jesus.

Why We Should

Because The Passion is a sadistic torture flick dressed up in religious garb. If the guy having the crap kicked (and ripped and beaten and whipped) out of him wasn’t Jesus, the Christian Right would have been up in arms. Plus, Mel Gibson is kind of a dick. Actually — I take that back. The “kind of”, I mean.

1. Every Art Film Ever Made


Why We’re Afraid

Because people that like art films are going to make us feel stupid the second we open our mouths to criticize one. When it comes to art films, not “liking” something immediately becomes synonymous with not “getting” something.

Why We Should

Sometimes a five hour silent film of a man sleeping is actually just a waste of time.

Original here

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