I didn’t like There will be blood the first time, but I recently rewatched it. And I loved it! Anyone had an experience like this.
No Country For Old Men
The difference is, I first saw it before I saw any Leone westerns.
I was seven years old and didn’t get the symbolism.
Contempt. I don’t recall why. I was disliking everything Godard did at that point.
I also really disliked the 40 year old virgin the first time I saw it. But for some reason I was laughing my ass off the second time around.
No Country for Old Men caught me off guard, but at least it was funny how that came about. My mother called me one day out of the blue to tell me there was a great movie she saw and I just had to see it. She said it was so great that I should take a date. She was setting me up and I was completely clueless. The following weekend I took her advice and took a date to see it. I don’t remember if it was a first date, but it was an early one. We, like the rest of the audience, sat there with what the fuck looks on our faces when it so abruptly ended, just as Moms figured we would. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker and just had to give the old broad credit for suckering me like that. She was proud of herself, and rightfully so, when I called to tell her what I fish I was. I gave it another chance and liked it much, much more—and more yet once I read the book and was amazed at how well the characters were brought to life in the film.
The Thin Red Line is one I watched when my film tastes were pretty dull. It didn’t help that I had seen Saving Private Ryan and, based on the movie trailers, was expecting something more along those lines. I so badly wanted to walk out on it the first time, but stuck around believing it just had to get better. It never did. That was long ago and I’ve wanted to give it another chance for years now. I’m happy to see it coming out through Criterion and look forward to re-visiting it soon. I’m so sure that I will appreciate it enough now that I’m planning to buy rather than rent or borrow just to see.
Didn’t much care for Blade Runner or 2001: A Space Odyssey the first time I saw them, respectively. I was too young to appreciate them and I saw the former in school (not the ideal place to watch any film in my opinion). Now they’re among my favorites. Many of my favorite films are movies I had a lukewarm reaction to the first time.
Every David Lynch film I’ve ever seen falls into this category. I’ve now learned to completely disregard my first impression of any of his works and wait for repeated viewings before forming a judgment. Mulholland Drive, in particular, was probably my most dramatic turnaround from first to second viewing.
For a long time, I was the same way – I disliked most of my favorite films before thinking about them more and then rewatching and loving them. I had lukewarm reactions to Breathless, Cleo From 5 to 7, 8 1/2, Mulholland Drive, and many more, before upgrading them to 5 stars. However, I haven’t had that happen to me in a while… I think that it’s something to do with the fact that now I have more of an idea what to expect from a movie, as well as have a more defined idea of what I like and dislike in movies. I saw those movies I mentioned when I was first becoming interested in cinema, and they broke my expectations of what I thought I wanted from a movie. However, now I love it when a movie breaks my expectations!
A lot of my now-favorites: BLUE VELVET, THE SHINING, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, which I still have yet to rewatch, but which I went into expecting something very, very different from. I was aware I my expectations were skewing the experience, but couldn’t shake my bias during the screening. So it’s been on my rewatch list pretty much since the closing credits started rolling.
Many of the films that grow to become my favorites start off really rubbing me the wrong way…probably just because they are so strong and committed to an aesthetic or style that I’m not prepared for till at least a second time through. I won’t call DOMINO one of my favorite films, but I sure hated more than any movie I’d ever seen during the first time through, and now I think it’s really doing its own thing that ran counter to my expectations.
Scorsese on Russell: “…he also disturbed me. Whether you liked it or disliked it, you had a strong reaction to the work either way, and this is rare.”
Cache’ and Code Unknown – Every film by Michael Haneke essentially. I always finish the movie thinking how a movie could end on such a low note, and with revealing so little. Then as time goes by, I can’t get the films out of my mind and they become some of my favorite movies of all time.
2001: Space Odyssey – without understanding the context of the cinematography and black screen, the movie doesn’t quite make sense
Elephant by Gus Ban Sant – it seemed overly quite and lacking substance at first.
I was also not that enamoured with Elephant when I first saw it. But after some time, after making films, going to film school, and getting older, it’s become one of my favorite films (certainly my favorite film of the decade).
Mulholland Drive made me angry when I first saw it because I was so confused and thought Lynch was just giving us all the finger. But now I think it’s great.
As for silly entertainment, Fincher’s Panic Room and the first Saw really pissed me off when I first saw them. I thought they were terrible terrible films with very weak scripts. But since then, they’ve become sort of guilty pleasures that I enjoy once in a while.
The first time I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind I thought it was stupid. But when I watched it again I absolutely fell in love with the movie. And by the third viewing I thought it was one of the best films I had ever seen.
I’ve rewatched No Country for Old Men. Still a bore and I don’t get it, though I understand it perfectly. Rewatched Children of Men and still think it’s boring as shit and nothing special. The one that worked for me was “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” First time I saw it I thought, “you’ve got to be kidding me? Is this for real? What a piece of crap!” The second time I saw it, I was, “Ok, I think I kind of see what’s going on here.” The third time, “Hey, this is pretty classy and touching.” The fourth time, “Whoa, this is one great fucking movie!”
Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress was my first experience with the master, at age 15 I think.
At the time I was just getting into arthouse/foreign/independent cinema and was just sort of watching anything and everything I could get my hands on. That proved a mostly fortuitous plan of attack but it had it’s drawbacks. I didn’t really have any background knowledge of a lot of the filmmakers I was sampling. While many people say you should go into a picture with no pre-conceived notions, I don’t think that is universally advisable.
I was extremely thrown off by the performance style in the film, and I probably would have loved it much better had I been familiar with the difference between Japanese and European/American acting traditions. I also tried part of Seven Samurai and was thrown off by it as well (!!!!!!!!). I was genuinely convinced these films had bad performances.
Now I would rank Kurosawa with Bergman as the two greatest artists in film history.
I would agree with “The Thin Red Line.” I was 16 and not at all prepared for what I was presented with. A few years later, as my idea of cinema expanded, I found “Days of Heaven” and decided to give Mallick a second chance. And am I glad I did.
I saw LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP last night, for at least the 6th time, and feel I got more out of it than I have in the past — the brilliance of the performances, mainly. I still think there’s a lot wrong with the film, some moments of would-be visual flair that fall terribly flat, terribly clumsy. But I’m feeling much more positive about the film today than I ever have in the nearly twenty years since that first viewing, on a Criterion laserdisc yet.
I’m curious Roscoe, why did you keep returning to the movie so many times if you weren’t getting much out of it? (I understand the most recent visit, given the new print, it’s those four between the first viewing and this one that I’m questioning.)
Greg — quite simply, because who knows — something might click that hasn’t clicked before. The film is certainly incredibly highly regarded, and I think I just kept feeling that I was missing something, rather than feeling that I was just watching something to be dismissed as junk, like CHICAGO, NINE, 300, COLD MOUNTAIN, etc.. Make no mistake, I still feel the film is a disappointment, as all non RED SHOES films from the Archers are, but there’s enough to make the film worth the occasional re-watch, and even, thanks largely to a magnificent performance from Anton Walbrook, worth owning.
I getcha. I wondered because there are times when a movie that I don’t think I take to at first keeps nagging at me in a way that eventually leads me to accept that there is something more to it than I first gave it credit for, even if what that is isn’t entirely clear. The demand itself becomes somewhat significant.
The Archers films have tended to have something of the opposite effect on me though as when I first saw then all many years ago I liked them better than at other times when I’ve watched them later, mostly due to Powell’s somewhat twisted view of psychology I think. That isn’t to say I still don’t like many of them, just that my reaction is more mixed nowadays, or it varies from viewing to viewing or viewing to reflection on the viewing. The best parts of the movies are great and I admire those aspects without reservation, but some of the connecting bits leave me less satisfied.
The Big Lebowski, also Mulholland Drive.
The Rules Of The Game, another film I didn’t have the cinematic context for the first time I saw it.
The Big Lebowski and Eyes Wide Shut. With me it’s rare, usually the second viewing doesn’t change much in terms of whether I like the film or not, but with these two – big difference after the second viewing.
Seven Samurai, 2001, Blade Runner and Eyes Wide Shut.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Upon re-watch a few nights ago, it is now one of my favorites… much more than just stylized action; it is one of the most pure and beautiful love stories that I can remember.
Being John Malkovich. Fell asleep the first time, the second time was great.
Twentynine Palms by Bruno Dumont. Not only did I not like it, I would go as far as saying that the film angered me. Viewing the DVD extra with Dumont explaining his director’s statement only incensed me more.
However, the film lingered in my mind for weeks and prompted another viewing that revealed the subtle craft involved in creating a truly existential horror film that may indeed represent one of the most effectively executed slow-burns of the New French Extremity.
It’s not so much that I didn’t like them first time round, but after a change in awareness, I now like Errol Morris documentaries for very different reasons to when I originally saw them.