Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Five famous classic movies that I don't like. {Classic Movie May}

This was the idea for a post that started this whole blog party. :)

There are certain classic movies that are really famous. Ones that are shown on TV, that have lots of related merchandise, that even people who don't like old movies love. And when you watch a movie like that for the first time, there's a lot of hype built up, you know? Phrases like "greatest film ever made" are tossed around (what a lot to live up to!). And unfortunately, sometimes they just don't live up to your expectations.

Please don't be offended if you love any of these films. I know how I feel when someone criticizes one of my favorite movies. :) These are just my honest opinions. And to make sure I was being unbiased, I actually went back over the past month and rewatched every single one of these to make sure I still had the same reaction. Yes...I watched five movies that I really don't like just to make sure I wasn't lying to you guys. :)

So, enough rambling. Here's the list:

1. Gone With the Wind

This was, by far, the biggest classic movie disappointment I've ever had. People seriously adore Gone With the Wind, and I thought I would, too. But after borrowing it and watching it on VHS several years ago, this was my first thought: Oh my goodness. Can I have those four hours of my life back? I had the same reaction watching it the second time, except it was, Can I have those eight hours of my life back, since I've now watched it twice? I honestly don't see myself ever watching this film again.

Here's why...Scarlett O'Hara is one of the most unlikeable "heroines" I've ever encountered. At the beginning of the film, she's an obnoxious flirt and a spoiled brat. I thought that maybe going through the horrors of war like she did would change her for the better, but it didn't. Let's recap her marriages, shall we? Marriage #1: The goal is to get revenge on the man she loves by marrying someone else...who happens to be his fiancée's brother. Marriage #2: The goal is money, because her family is in an awful state. The man she marries is her second choice...and he happens to be her sister's boyfriend. Marriage #3: Not really sure what the goal is here, but the marriage is just about as unsuccessful as the first two. Basically, Scarlett always wants what she can't have, and that ends up biting her in the end. Rhett Butler seems to see how awful Scarlett is but still loves her somehow, which is about the best I can say for him. He's immoral and violent (always yanking her around).

Melanie is one of the few nice characters in the movie, and even she's a bit too sweet and naïve. She's completely oblivious to how awful Scarlett is. That's another thing that bugs me about the movie: so many of the characters feel sorry for Scarlett and talk about how hard she's had it, completely disregarding the fact that she brought most of it on herself. Anyway, the ending is depressing and gloomy, and the whole film itself felt melodramatic to me. And that's all I have to say about that. :)

{P.S. I had never before realized the similarities between the pre-Civil War era South and England! The way this movie portrayed it really amazed me...the similarities between plantations and English country estates, dances, proper behavior expected, etc.}

2. Breakfast at Tiffany's

Nearly every piece of Audrey Hepburn merchandise you can find now is Breakfast at Tiffany's-related. I wish some of her lesser known films would get the attention they deserve! Anyway, I liked this film the tiniest bit more the second time around, but it was still a disappointment. I don't like the characters. I don't like the things they do for money (implied or otherwise). There are a few times when Holly Golightly is charming, but mostly it bugs me how obsessed she is with money and high living. She comes from a poor past, and I understand she's trying to get far away from that, but still. And speaking of her past...there are a few aspects of this film that feel so random and bizarre that it distracts from the story. Mainly her ex-husband showing up and stalking her around town, the whole drug bust incident, and Mickey Rooney.

Even though I don't like the two main characters, I couldn't help but root for the two of them to get together. You get the feeling that they're right for each other and will help each other change for the good. I do like that the ending is hopeful (poor Cat, though!).

3. My Fair Lady

Yes, another Audrey film. It bugs me that her two most popular films are my least favorites! This is the only time I've seen her as anything less than elegant and graceful...her fake Cockney accent is so harsh and abrasive (even more so that Dick Van Dyke's in Mary Poppins, I think!). There are some incredibly charming parts in this film: most of the Ascot race, "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?", etc. I actually like quite a few of the songs and even own the Broadway vinyl album.

This is my main complaint: Henry Higgins, despite his loverly name, is a jerk. He's not just arrogant and conceited...he's mean and hateful! He treats Eliza like dirt, he has a fascination with the "d" word, and even in the end, he can't flat out say he loves her...it's all, "I've grown accustomed to her face." I just can't understand. And Eliza's only alternative to Henry Higgins is not a real alternative at all: the creepy stalker boy who watches her front door and "loves" her though he only met her once? No thanks. My Fair Lady feels about an hour too long.

4. West Side Story

I get that musicals are typically unbelievable. In fact, that's one of the things I like about them. But this one is ridiculously so. I don't even know where to begin! First of all, it's really hard to take the Sharks and the Jets seriously. They hang out on a playground, basically, and they taunt each other (and dump paint on each other's heads?). Oh, and this is most important: Tough, murderous gang members would not dance down the street in ballet-fashion, snapping their fingers. It's not intimidating...it's rather hilarious. Gene Kelly can dance in a masculine way-these guys cannot. And unmanly dancing does not jive with their image.

But this is even more unbelievable. Okay...Maria's boyfriend kills her brother. She's a bit upset at first, but then no big deal. Then she's being so insensitive, singing about her love while her brother's poor girlfriend is devastated. But then, when her boyfriend is killed?? (Keep in mind they are madly in love after knowing each other for LESS THAN 24 HOURS.) She goes crazy. Never mind that she shows hardly any emotion when her brother is murdered, but she goes all wacky and starts waving a gun when her boyfriend is killed. This makes no sense. And I'm not buying the depressing then slightly hopeful ending. I think that probably within a week the Jets and the Sharks were back to normal, chasing each other up chain link fences and dumping paint on each other. :)

Whew. Rant over.

{By the way, Gideon from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers being in a gang is just wrong. And Gomez Addams looks so weird without a moustache. And you know the Sharks girl named Consuelo, who wears the red dress at the dance and afterwards? I knew she looked familiar, and after a bit of research I realized she played Uncle Jesse's mom in Full House. Weird connections.}
5. The Philadelphia Story

Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Katherine Hepburn...what could go wrong? I don't know. I've just never liked this movie. Something just doesn't click for me. It's not funny and I'm not too crazy about the characters. I liked High Society (the musical remake) okay. Anyway, not much to say about this one. I rewatch it every so often hoping I'll change my mind, but I never do.

So...what are the famous classic films that you just don't like? {Feel free to explain to me in the comments your reasons for liking any of the above films. :) }


Until next time,


  1. Hooray! Somebody else that doesn't like "Breakfast at Tiffany's"! I'm not a fan of Audrey Hepburn at all, but I find that movie especially grating. :D

  2. I always HATED West Side Story. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes Breakfast at Tiffany's.

  3. I do enjoy Breakfast at Tiffany's. I just do, even though there are certain aspects I very much dislike about it. It's one of my happy films - whenever I'm having a lousy day, it's one of the films I want to watch. Probably because the party scene makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. Also, because I watched that film for the first time with my favorite cousin, so I have good memories associated with it. I guess I like it in spite of it...if that even makes sense.;)

    My Fair Lady...well, I love Audrey and I love musicals. Some of those songs are my absolute favorites. I watch it just for the songs because I agree completely with your Henry Higgins rant!!! He is complete jerk!!! If it had been me, I'd have left and never come back. He didn't do anything to deserve her coming back at the end.

    Gone With the Wind I do enjoy watching. Yes, Scarlett is a brat. So much so that I can't watch the film in one sitting - I have to watch it in installments so I don't go insane from bratty Scarlett overload. I do however very much enjoy the setting, the beauty of the cinematography, and I adore Melanie. The character I absolutely cannot stand is Ashley. No backbone, not even enough to tell Scarlett that he loves Melanie. He drives me insane!! I really love the book, which was way better than the movie...of course;) You understand where Scarlett is coming from a bit more if you've read the book.

    West Side Story and The Philadelphia Story are both on my list of Classic Films that Disappointed Me Greatly. More on that in my own blog post, but I agree with every word you said! ;D And I really enjoyed reading this post, even though I like some of the films on your list. :)

    1. Ha, I love that you have to watch GWtW in installments. :) I'm sure the book is better (it nearly always is), but I don't think I'll ever be able to bring myself to read it since I dislike the film so much. :)

  4. I've never seen West Side Story, but I agree with you on the other ones, except maybe Philadelphia Story. I can't remember what I thought about that, except that I found Katharine Hepburn annoying.

    I actually find it more interesting to see what movies people don't like than the ones they do, so I enjoyed this list.

    Other old movies that I really disliked were: Paris When It Sizzles, Lost Horizon, Kitty Foyle, Twentieth Century, Letter to an Unknown Woman, The Quiet Man, A Place In the Sun, The Heiress, Wuthering Heights, Some Like it Hot, and Summertime.

    1. I used to dislike Katharine Hepburn a lot (probably because of my dislike of The Philadelphia Story!).

      I've seen Kitty Foyle a couple of times and have a hard time liking it. I think that's mostly because I've had a crush on Dennis Morgan ever since I saw Christmas in Connecticut for the first time. And I don't like that he plays sort-of a jerk in Kitty Foyle. :) I don't like Some Like It Hot, either, and I despise Wuthering Heights as a story, though I've never seen the older film. As for Paris When It Sizzles, it's one of those movies that is so bad and strange that I actually liked it. :)

  5. Same here, girl, same here! I've actually not seen Gone with the Wind, but the story itself is just so...nasty!! I don't know WHY in the world it gets all the hype that it does! I agree with all of these! ;)

  6. What a fun post, Kristin! I like reading these kind of lists. Hearing someone blindly say that they "like" something just because it's a classic (be it book or movie), is one of my pet peeves. Most classics are considered to be so for a reason, but there are exceptions (and variation in personal taste!).

    I absolutely agree with you on Gone With the Wind. I just don't find anything to like about Scarlett (or Rhett, really), and their relationship drives me crazy. It's been awhile since I've seen it though, so I might have to rewatch just to make sure it still hits me like I remember... but I'm not looking forward to it. Maybe I'll take Tasha's suggestion and read the book instead. :D

    When I first saw Breakfast at Tiffany's I felt the same way that you do, but it has definitely grown on me over the years and now I really like it. Although, you're right about Mickey Rooney – that is just soooo weird and I'll never be able to get over the strangeness of it!

    I love the songs in My Fair Lady, and like the movie as a whole. But yeah, Henry does NOT make a very charming leading man. He needed lessons in gentlemanliness way more than Eliza needed polishing!

    I'm not a fan of The Philadelphia Story either. The fact that Katherine Hepburn starred in it has a little to do with my dislike (she's not my favorite...), but really, I just didn't sympathize with her character at all. I guess I need to like SOMETHING about the main character in order to enjoy a movie.

    West Side Story is something I've never seen... and probably never will. Thanks for the heads up. :D

    1. I know, Katharine Hepburn isn't very likable at all in The Philadelphia Story (I think that's why I don't mind High Society as much...Grace Kelly is so much more likable in that sort of role than Hepburn is!). The only time I sympathized with her character at all was when her father basically blamed her for his having an affair. That was really low and so untrue, and an awful thing to put on someone!

  7. Love My Fair Lady and 'Philadelphia Story' despite the latter being full of immoralities. It certainly did appeal to my comedic tastes though I understand why it might not everyone. As for 'Fair Lady,' I'm far from wild about Henry either but he doesn't ruin the movie for me. Here's to hoping the rumored re-make is better! ;)

    Haven't seen the other two you mention, Kristin but totally agree with you about Gone With the Wind! What's so special about it (other than it was a revolution in the filmmaking for its time), I'll never know. It's a mystery not to be solved.

  8. Couldn't disagree more about West Side Story, I think the music and quality of the dancing more than makes up for disbelief in the plausibility of the storyline. Plus, as I'm sure you know, it's based on Romeo and Juliet and so you can't really change the fact that Maria still loves Tony even after he kills her brother. Sometimes love doesn't make sense.

    I also really like Gone with the Wind but I agree that Scarlett is a brat and can understand having a hard time watching it all in one sitting. I can't really even explain why I like it, but I do.

    Most definitely agree with you about Breakfast at Tiffany's. I couldn't even get through the whole thing, it was bizarre to me. My Fair Lady is not my fav either. The music isn't good enough for me to stick with it and I agree with the Henry Higgins hate. Haven't seen Philadelphia Story yet but Katherine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart are enough to make me give it a try.


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