I was just chatting with Sam and he brought up seeing Pulp Fiction again, and his need to do so. When I first saw this movie I absolutely hated it. I didn’t find it particularly funny, thought it was largely violent for the sake of being violent. I liked it’s non-linear structure, but that was about it. I’ve done a complete 180 on this movie. I wouldn’t say I love it, or even put it on a list of top-whatever, but I do really like it. It got me to to thinking about other movies I completely misjudged the first time around, and for some reason gave another viewing.
1.) Dr. Strangelove: Or how I learned to Stop Worrying and love the Bomb (1964)
Man, I couldn’t have been more wrong about this one. I chalk this up to youth. I first saw this in high school and I just didn’t get it. I thought it was slow, with a couple of funny moments, but that was about it. This is, without a doubt, one of the 5 best movies ever made. Cold-War satire at the heart of the red scare. It takes balls to make a movie accusing everyone involved in both sides of the arms race of sexual dysfunction when most of the world is busy hiding under their school desks and buying fall out shelters in preparation for the nuclear holocaust.
2.) Raising Arizona (1987)
When i saw this I thought it was just about the dumbest thing ever. I sat there jaw opened and staring at the absolute idiocy that is H.I. McDunnough. What I know now that I didn’t know then, was that this movie is just about perfect. The entire story, and just about all of the pertinent characters are introduced in the first 10 minutes, and their all done by voice-over, and (and this part you don’t even notice until it happens) all before the opening credits. This also rates very highly on the J. Evans Pritchard scale for what makes a truly great comedy. Y Axis – Holds up to multiptle viewing. X-Axis – Quotability. I can only think of one or tow movies that get a higher overall score than Raising Arizona. BTW, 10 bonus points for correctly identifying Mr. J. Evans Pritchard.
3.) Star Wars Episode i: The Phantom Menace (1999)
This one goes the other way. I was one of the few people not to completely trash this movie when I first saw it. I was admittedly grading on a curve. I knew that the 20+ years of anticipation had created expectations that no movie could possibly match. I didn’t think it was great, but I thought it was fun and worked well enough. I wasn’t willing to kill it because it didn’t elicit in me the same emotions that the original trilogy did, and still do. But after repeated viewing, this movie is almost unwatchable. Young Anakin is horribly annoying, there are few things as intrinsically dull as trade disputes. Ben Stein’s delivery about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act is exactly as exciting as all trade disputes are, and it serves as the lynch-pin of the whole story. Not to mention the pod-racing, which made for a fun video game, but was about as essential to the plot as, well it just wasn’t very essential to the plot was it? I apologize to anyone I ever disagreed with about this movie. I hope we can still be friends.
That seems like a good place to start. I’d be interested to see other people’s 180s.