Sunday, September 14, 2008

Movies You Expected to Like, But Didn't

Every year, just about now, I read the list of movies opening in the fall and get really excited. I just know I'm going to do nothing but watch great movies and love them. There's nothing I like more than watching a movie on the big screen with the smell of popcorn (my own) permeating the theater. For me, the small screen doesn't cut it except for films I can see no other way. Blame it on my age.

But all too soon, a disappointment sets in, as movies I expected to love, fall short. A few years ago, I expected to love
The Ladykillers. Loved the original from the sixties with Peter Sellers. Love the Cohn Brothers output. They never miss. Until this one. Horrible movie. Just falls flat. How could Hanks, so funny in Bosom Buddies, be so stale? How could the script come up this short? Some actors are always brilliant. But not Hanks.

Similarly I was recently disappointed in
The Italian Job, Alfie and Sleuth. Is it just remakes? No, because I also hated the Woody Allen movie and Brideshead Revisited. What movies did you look forward to mistakenly?

What were your biggest disappointments? Do you expect more from a movie you paid $10 to see than ones you watch on DVD?


J. Kingston Pierce said...

The biggest disappointment I can think of, right off the top of my head, was The Black Dahlia, adapted from James Ellroy's novel of the same name. Loved the book, hated the movie, which I found incomprehensible, even knowing the plot from having read Ellroy's story.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, boy, I forgot that mess. Great example. Hollywoodland from about the same time was also disappointing although not as.

Travis Erwin said...

The Lady Killers was awful, but want comes to mind first is the mini series HBO did of Empire Falls. I loved Russo's novel as I do most of his work but whoever cast the HBO series screwed up and so much from the novel was missing from the screen.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I love Russo too and avoided that series because it permanently changes how I feel about a book after I see the movie. I didn't want my memory of that book to change.
Another of his books with Paul Newman was tolerable but they overemphasized the sweetness in it.

David Cranmer said...

This year it begins and ends with The X-Files movie. I love the old show and had high hopes for I Want To Believe. It wasn't awful but just incredibly lame.

Dave Zeltserman said...

I loved the original Lady Killers, but also liked the Coen Bothers remake. There was some cute stuff in it, like the expression on the dead husband's portrait constantly changing. Also liked Hollywoodland quite a bit-- terrific acting by Ben Affleck, excellent movie.

The only Coen's brother movies I didn't like (actually hated) was No Country for Old Men. I went into that movie with such high expectations (but hadn't read the book) and found it so damn pretentious and fake, and the last 30 minutes of Tommy Lee Jones whining about his dreams and how he doesn't understand the evil in the world today was torture. Coen brothers could have least shown a sense of humor and had John Tuturro in Woody Harrelson's role. Another huge disappointment for both me and my wife (we're both Bill Murray fans) was Lost In Translation. Gotta feel for the two lead characters--so bored and unhappy having to spend a few days in a luxury Tokyo hotel. We left an hour in, just couldn't take it anymore.

Dave Zeltserman said...

LEt me also add Spiderman 3--loved the first 2, third was just too much noise, and it gave me a wicked headache. Also, gotta add Godfather 3--GF 1 & 2, might be my 2 favorite movies, and 3 was just so far those standards.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have to see GF 3 again because at the time I didn't mind it. Found the tragic operatic quality appealing. But certainly not of the quality of 1 & 2. I found Lost in Translation vastly overpraised. I didn't hate it but didn't get the buzz. Now Groundhog Day, that I can love.

pattinase (abbott) said...

X Files, I didn't take a chance on. Why do they assume good TV makes good movies. Also Twin Peaks. Ugh. Won't see Sex in the City for sure.

Todd Mason said...

I can't call THE BLACK DAHLIA (the De Palma atrocity, rather than the low-budget item that was surely no worse, had I bothered to see it) a disappointment, since I knew it was a De Palma movie, going in...I was just hoping against hope it would be at least more Ellroy than De Palma, and on the better edge of both self-indulgent, and it the latter's case nearly talentless, men. More the fool, I. I've seen two films since nearly as bad, but only very nearly, not quite: WANTED and THE HOUSE BUNNY (and the latter only in trading with my ex-housemate; she took a gamble on TELL NO ONE with me, and I returned the favor on that utterly witless thing--she didn't love TELL, but liked it better than THB).

LOST IN TRANSLATION is not redeemed, but is slightly improved, by its ending, and it does get across the message that the pain of even trivial, self-impressed people matters. It doesn't get that across very well, but what can one say? Ms. Coppola apparently thought she'd done a good job with THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, too, since nearly everyone told her she had.

Well, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED is an arguable remake! The original miniseries will be syndicated to public stations this fall. THE ITALIAN JOB seems like it was dumbed down considerably...particularly with the childish geek character portrayed in the remake by Seth Greene.

Biggest disappointments in film: I've walked out of three films in my life so far: THE FOOD OF THE GODS, CHUCKY, and the earlier adaptation of NIGHTFALL, with the nearly talent-free David Birney. My ex was the primary driving force in the latter two, but I wasn't in any mood to dissuade her...she was made physically ill by the last, and I could definitely see where she, or her rising gorge, was coming from. I would've walked out of THE KAMA SUTRA, the remarkably oily and unpleasant Mira Nair film, which had followed her first film with Sarita Choudhry, the wonderful MISSISSIPPI MASALA, but my housemate and her sister wanted to stick it out to the bitter end. So, I'll nominate that film, with only NIGHTFALL (oddly enough) anywhere near as skin-oil-soaked in my viewing experience, as the biggest cinematic disappointment so far. I came This close to walking out on the utterly ridiculous Costner NO WAY OUT, as well.

I find that if I have taken the trouble to go to a theater, and paid whatever price for tix and junk, I'm inclined to be lenient on a film...moreso than if I've seen it on home video. So it has to be pretty damned bad to get me angry at it. CRASH somehow comes to mind, and I do mean the Haggis haggis.

A surprisingly interesting film I caught on Starz yesterday, CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN. Almost made up for their run of a severely edited YOU, ME AND EVERYONE WE KNOW over this month. (That they only run the US edit of STORYTELLING I hold less against them.)

Gerald So said...

My biggest disappointment in recent memory was Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Its worst sins were trying to give The Force a scientific basis and telling backstory that didn't need to be told. It drained any excitement I had for the rest of the trilogy.

I was also somewhat disappointed in Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. Singer seemed afraid to put his own stamp on things, not wanting to mess with what fans liked about Richard Donner's films.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Todd, you need to go into standup. I'll put Conversations on my netflix list.
Star Wars 1-3 were disappointing. Times change, people get old. They should turn it over to new blood that understand it new requirements.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I walked out on two movies-- Kentucky Fried Movie and Lethal Weapon 1 when I discovered I had no appetite for the torture of children. Found out again in Raiders 2. There were many more I would have left, but I'm usually with my husband who has a much greater tolerance than I.

MysterLynch said...

Black Dhalia and Crystal Skull.

I did not have huge expectations for Skull, but when Shia lead the monkey army, my heart completely broke.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think Black Dahlia probably takes the prize for squandering the best source material.

Anonymous said...

MAN OF LA MANCHA might have it beat there, Patti. Though they both rate high in Wretched Literary Corruption history.

As do:
LOST HORIZON (the musical)
NIGHTFALL (both films so far)
THE HAUNTING and PSYCHO remakes (forever twinned as intentional insults to both the novelists and to the better filmmakers of the first adaptations)
WEIRD WOMAN (despite good performances by half the cast--NIGHT OF THE EAGLE/BURN, WITCH, BURN! was the much superior version of Fritz Leiber's CONJURE WIFE)
...and so on...