When Classic Movies Go Bad

The other night, I saw the film Blow-Up for the first time. What a piece of shit!

Don’t you hate it when a movie you’re supposed to revere turns out to be crap? Blow-Up is the boringest most pointless movie I’ve seen in years.   I know it’s a landmark movie of the 60’s but seen today, it’s just ponderous and stilted. David Hemmings can’t act to save his life and never changes out of his bright white jeans. After an hour of nothingness, all I wanted was a different pair of pants.

In the end, David Hemmings comes upom a group of mimes and pretends to return an imaginary ball to them. The End. Fuck! Reading the reviews now, I wonder if everyone was too high on acid to figure out what a stupid bad movie it was.

Black Dynamite, on the other hand, is delightful! It’s a loving homage to blaxploitation films, just funny enough to provoke laughs without devolving into a winking satire.   When a sexy lounge singer tells Black Dynamite “I get off in about 15 minutes,” he answers “I know you do, baby.” My husband and I are still having fun saying, “I can dig it.”

Much more entertaining than a Beatle-haired photographer sulking around his apartment or staring into space. One review of Blow-Up explained that it was about meaninglessness. I think that’s just a euphemism for “Huh?”

What classic or cult films have failed to live up to your expectations?

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43 Responses to When Classic Movies Go Bad

  1. I agree ‘Blow Up’ is nothing to write home about. Antonioni’s best film was L’Eclisse (The Eclipse) and it is seminal. At the time Blow Up must have been fitting in terms of the 60s surrealist experimental culture which dogged a lot of film making but none of them have stood the test of time.

    I have to see Black Dynamite sounds brilliant.

  2. Stella Mayfair says:

    Please watch another 60s classic, Performance, starring Mick Jagger. I so wanted to like this move because Anita Pallenberg is also in it, and I LOOOOVE that woman. But it’s totally shitty, and boring too.

  3. Stella Mayfair says:

    ^^ it’s “movie”, not “move”

  4. Cult/’Classic Horror’ “PHANTASM” (1978). Supposed synopsis: “Two brothers discover that their local mortuary hides a legion of hooded killer dwarf creatures, a flying drill-ball, and a demonic mortician known as The Tall Man who enslaves the souls of the damned” which sounds great, however, actual synopsis is more like whingy kid gets chased by something (and I quote) “little, brown, and low to the ground”, vain big brother tries to help but is a wuss and then it’s all a dream. Ba baow…Not sure how that one achieved cult status.

  5. Kasmira says:

    Gerry, with Matt Damon and Casey Affleck. It’s about two guys who get lost in the desert. It is intolerable.

  6. annemarie says:

    Damn, I love Blow-Up! In fact, this reminds me that I’d like to see it again…

    Maybe you were not in the right mood for it?

    It’s based on a Julio Cortazar short story of the same title, but the film only took the basic idea of the story and then went its own way.

  7. backspace says:

    It’s Ciao Manhattan! The actors are all stoned, at the end of the movie i was like ‘is that it?’ i wonder if Lindsay Lohan would be starring in a similar movie, oops :p

  8. Dru says:

    I liked Blow-Up, and also the Bollywood remake of it, which is one of the best Bollywood movies I’ve ever seen.

    As for movies that sucked when I expected them not to, there’s The Exorcist. I saw it when I was 13, and kept thinking ‘huh? That’s supposed to scare me?’ Even Linda Blair’s famous revolving head did nothing for me.

  9. MJ says:

    I have never “gotten” The Big Lebowski. Husband and I suspect that we’re never drunk enough for it (and we don’t do drugs – maybe you really need to be stoned for that one).

  10. OMGGMAB says:

    Who could forget the cult classic The Blair Witch Project? Absolutely the stupidest movie I ever wasted my time viewing. But let’s not forget my next least favorite movie, “Natural Born Killers”. The only natural thing in that flick was Woody Harrelson’s bad acting.

  11. Jesus says:

    Jesus is a vegetarian, recycles when she can, she cares about the planet, the people, and the animals . . . but she disliked Avitar to the nth degree. It’s really an overblown, overgrown, over the top Smurf movie.

    I watched Blow-up over 25 years ago and I remember liking it at the time. I wonder if I would feel the same if I watched it today? But it’s odd I never wanted to revisit it like the movies below.

    I still love The King of Hearts, The Beloved, and my all time fav, Dr. Strangelove, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb, and of course, the original “Manchurian Candidate.”

  12. Ann says:

    Mr Ann doesn’t like Godfather or Godfather II, which startles me to no end. As for me, I’m with OMGGMAB – Blair Witch Project was the Emperor’s new clothes.

  13. The worst thing about Blow Up was having to see Vanessa Redgrave topless.

  14. Caitlin says:

    that bloody film! i bought it for my best friend for christmas and i think she hates me now… where did the woman disappear to? who killed the man? why were there mimes playing tennis? why?????

  15. dust says:

    Blair Witch Project is so bad that it’s not even a movie.
    Man Bites Dog, made before the above mentioned thingy, is one of personal favorites.

  16. Leslie H. says:

    Citizen Kane. I think I am supposed to like it, but I fell asleep halfway through. Maybe if I watch it again, I’ll “get” it.

    I am about to go on a classic film-viewing frenzy, so I am sure I will find a lot more classics to hate.

  17. Dru says:

    The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Fuck irony, I hate it. Same with Pretty Woman- Julia Roberts is pretty, but I don’t get why it’s considered so great.

  18. theresa says:

    I thought saturday night fever was boring…but my movie taste tends to veer towards dumb and pretty to look at with a couple exceptions.

    Another almost cult movie (for my generation): Anchorman and Wedding Crashers. I hate them. I’ve left the room after 10 minutes every single time I attempt to watch them to be more clued in on the stuff everybody quotes. Im officially resigned to blinking awkwardly and tilting my head every time this happens.

    I’d like to defend the rocky horror picture show though. All I have to do is put on its sound track to get a guaranteed lift in my day.

    and: Mark Irwin (a poet visiting my school at the moment) suggested we read Bartleby the Scrivener by Melville if we like Samuel Beckett. Apparently it changed his life. if that interests you.

  19. kate says:

    The Seventh Seal. I like all other Bergman movies, so much so that I am a rabid fan of sorts, embarrassing as that is, but at every party some jackass will be all…

    –: “you like Seventh Seal?”
    me: “It’s the half-baked dullard drippings of a sophist philosophy cock-sucking glorified melodrama.”
    idiot: What…huh. It’s like a classic.
    me: I guess I used to like it.
    Seen any other Bergman movies?
    idiot: Who’s that?

    Other major offenders: Steel Magnolias, The Apartment, Shampoo and other projects of brother-sister team Warren Beatty and Shirley Maclaine (together or apart).

  20. AU says:

    Rocky Horror Picture Show…blegh…

  21. erika says:

    The Wizard of Oz combined with Dark Side of The Moon was a gigantic “so what” for me. I think whoever hyped that had some acid also.

    One movie that is creepy weird and I do like is The Brood by David Cronenberg. Super awesome. Killer babies – really weird psychological horror stuff. Cronenberg does that so well.

  22. Audi says:

    Thank you for saving me from seeing Blow Up; I’ve seen far to many shitty movies lately. The classic that I just don’t get is Citizen Kane; what a letdown and a waste of my time.

  23. Cricket9 says:

    Brood – great and creepy, a classic Cronenberg; Blow Up – I liked it, can’t exactly remember why; Jane Birkin debuted in it. I watched tons of this type of movies in the sixties; they all had, supposedly, some deeper meaning.
    Don’t get Citizen Kane, and can’t find an ounce of humour or anything remotely entertaining in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”.

  24. Bevitron says:

    I’m ashamed to admit it, but Casablanca put me to sleep. Fellini’s 8 1/2 didn’t thrill me, but I was a stupid child of 26 when I saw it so I probably need to view it again now that I’m a stupid older person and see if I’m still immune. Zabriskie Point flew over my head, or under my feet – I’m not sure; Bonnie & Clyde irritated me; Chaplin’s Limelight bored me absolutely shitless – he should’ve never opened his mouth, except for The Great Dictator. Except for that scene where Glenda Jackson flops down on top of a grate at the insane asylum and a bunch of crazy, slobbering men stick their hands up through the bars from underneath and feel her up while she makes disgusting sex noises, The Music Lovers disappointed me horribly, but really, what could I expect. Midnight Cowboy still makes me physically ill, partly because Jon Voight was so cute then and now he’s not.

  25. Bevitron says:

    Oh yeah – I really want to see Black Dynamite now. In my head the music is of the BOK-uh chik-uh WOK-uh chik-uh (you have to say it real fast) type.

  26. Mark says:

    Okay, why does everyone love “The Wire?” I know it’s not a film; it’s a TV show, so this is slightly off topic, but it drives me crazy. People I like, love, and trust rave about this show, so I watched the first two seasons. It sucks! Why can’t anyone but me admit that?

    And I agree with Audi: “Citizen Kane” sucks. It’s a fucking sled.

  27. OMGGMAB says:

    Mark, I don’t know the show, personally. But, maybe you don’t get the show because the actors are using palinspeak? Just a thought. Might be the same reason Citizen sucks for you. I’m thinking “toboggan.”

  28. the 1st time i saw Blow Up i wondered what the fuss was about. but last time, or the 2nd time, i settled into it in a completely different way. all the stillness. and just looking at that decade. i found it perfect this time.

    AND i love The Wire. but the only thing about Citizen Kane i remember is how the narrator says “Rosebud” when it’s burning at the end? love Bonnie & Clyde and anything Fellini.

    but as for my disappointments… uh. i’ve watched the new Miami Vice film about 60 times so… not sure if i am a responsibly judging adult. and i’m currently addicted to the Scottish cop show Taggart. which is like the Miami Vice tv show but shot in Scotland.

    um. oh. ok, well i don’t care about the Lord of the Rings. ya.

  29. oh, not that it was hyped but my gosh Zabriskie Points is a tad wackadoo but i love when the house blows up 20 times followed by exploding refrigerators.

    i do love for realz Le Weekend by fancy brain Godard.

  30. Eliza says:

    If you liked Black Dynamite, watch the Last Dragon. The classic full circle of so bad it’s good it’s bad again – but sincerely.

    Sho’Nuff: Am I the meanest?
    Gang: Sho’Nuff!
    Sho’Nuff: Am I the prettiest?
    Gang: Sho’Nuff!
    Sho’Nuff: Am I the baddest mo-fo, low-down, around this town?
    Gang: Sho’Nuff!
    Sho’Nuff: Well, who am I?
    Gang: Sho’Nuff!
    Sho’Nuff: Who am I?
    Gang: Sho’Nuff!
    Sho’Nuff: I can’t hear you!
    Gang: Sho’Nuff!
    Sho’Nuff: The Shogun of Harlem!

  31. Sister Wolf says:

    Make Do -Should I see L’Eclisse?

    Stella Mayfair – Well, I have a soft spot for Performance because I saw it when it came out, tripping out of my mind, sitting in the front row.

    HarboutMaster – Wow, sounds like something to avoid at all costs.

    Kasmira – Ugh, I couldn’t even see that other one that won them the awards.

    annemarie – I was in the mood!

    backspace – I remember the title, but I was spared the experience.

    Dru – Bollywood remake?!?! Awesome! I hope the pants are different.

    Jill – the original??

    MJ – OH GOD, please, the whole Big Legowski thing, I don’t get it either!

    OMGGMAB – Blair Witch = complete shit. Total snoozer.

    Jesus – YES, The Manchurian Candidate is brilliant and never loses it’s punch. Way before its time, wasn’t it?

    Ann – Don’t tell anyone, but I can’t watch any Godfather all the way through. It upsets my husband and Max, who are huge fans.

    Peter Winkler – Please, the mimes were worse than Vanessa!

    Caitlin – Give my condolences to your friend, and let me know if you find out those answers.

    dust – So true. I was afraid to see Man Bites Dog.


    Dru – Pretty Woman is just nauseating. Who thinks it’s good??

    Theresa – People quote those movies?!? Tragic. (thanks for the tip, too)

    Kate – The Seventh Seal is sort of quaint now, I saw it on TV a few months ago. I don’t need any Warren, but I have liked Shirley a couple of times.

    AU – I never saw Rocky Horror Show, and now I’ll keep on not seeing it.

    erika – Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie, but I don’t want to try out the Pink Floyd thing. On or off drugs!


    Cricket9 -Great news on Citizen Kane!

    Bevitron – Casablanca is one of my favorites, but I’m with you on all the others. (the music is not exactly like that, are you thinking Shaft? but it’s good!)

    Mark – Sled, toboggan, it’s all bad. The Wire is just crime shit, not worthy of HBO.

    SwanDiamondROse – What are you doing watching Miami Vice 60 times? I’m worried about you! But Lord of the Rings is all about gay longing, I’m pretty sure. I want to like Godard! I don’t know if I can, at this point. I could try!

    Eliza – Sounds good. Who’s in that?

  32. Jill says:

    Yes…the original

    the newer version was just too ridiculous for viewing more than 5 minutes.

  33. Constance says:

    I love Blow up. Sister you are wrong this time.

  34. Constance says:

    Not a movie but a classic, i can’t stand Catcher in the Rye, but americans almost orgasm talking about it.

  35. Following an earlier commenter, I was so excited about seeing Edie in Ciao Manhattan. But it was dreadful.

  36. Suebob says:

    I saw some Antonioni where everyone was restless and bored, first on a boat and then on a Greek Island…a big yawner.

    My Dinner with Andre made me run screaming.

    Mark doesn’t like The Wire? It is the best TV show ever produced, ever, in any way shape or form. It is made of awesome. The Wire makes Shakespeare look silly. The Wire is like caramel-coated chocolate caramel. With sprinkles.

  37. I felt so sad when I first saw Casablanca, as I thought I may have enjoyed it if I hadn’t heard the punch line a million times before seeing the film.
    I hated The Big Lebowski the first time I saw it, and oddly, saw it a few times after and now like it.
    I too, had problems with Blow Up. And I keep waiting to dislike Fellini, but so far was only kind of bored by The Ship Sails On. La Strada is one of my all time favorites, and his wife was freaking brilliant.

  38. Carole says:

    @Cricket9: do you mean the 1941 version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith?

  39. you really have to watch Le Weekend. it’s about yuppies fighting it out in parking lots with tennis rackets and guns. it’s about endless bloody multi-car crashes filling the highways. it’s about right now even though it was way back 60s then. it has groovy hippies and groovy french mods in crayola bright outfits that take same yuppies hostage in the woods where they play in their band amongst the nature. and convert the yuppies into killers? or something. you have to watch this thing.

    i blogged it, not sure if a link is obnoxious but here goes-

    and ya, michael mann can be a hard sell, to a certain crowd! but i never stop trying.

  40. Esz says:

    I was thoroughly disappointed with Mad Max – Mostly I think because the blurb on the back of the DVD pretty much explained the whole story right to the end and through the whole thing I was waiting for something MORE to happen.

    Also dont ‘get’ the Big Lebowski and I’ve done my fair share of ‘substances’ hehe.

    As for literary classics, I didn’t really like Catcher in the Rye either. At first I thought there was some fundamental message I was missing but it turns out it really is just about a whiney teenager who hates everything. *yawn*

  41. Charponnaise says:

    Haha! Aww, man. I love Blow Up. It’s a pretentious pile of bull but nonetheless pretty enjoyable. I have a 1960s fetish anyway, so I just get lost in transferred nostalgia for an era I never lived through. And David Hemmings was reasonably hot back then, before he turned into a baked potato.

    I have no patience or tolerance for the Godfather trilogy. This is strange as I love gangster movies and mafioso shit. But it bores me.

    Also maybe this is sacrilege from a movie-buff point of view, but Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris vs Stephen Soderbergh’s remake with George Clooney – I prefer the remake! I almost never prefer the remake, but this one is so beautiful and strips everything down to the barest, most human elements, and by contrast the original is pretty to look at but doesn’t wrench at you the way Soderbergh’s version does.

  42. Alexia Wimer says:

    I adore Tom Cruise movies, his movies are always the best!.

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