So I was contemplating my film collection this evening with the goal of watching something I had not seen in awhile.
In scanning the shelves. I came across dozens of great films that left me thinking, “meh” because i have viewed them so many times.
I thought I would ask my fellow MUBI folks for their short lists of overly familiar classics.
For example, I would give anything to be able to see North by Northwest again for the first time. Kubrick’s 2001 is another. Also, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Boudu Saved From Drowning, From Russia With Love, hell, the first three Star Wars films and Jaws. Also The Godfather Part II. And Fellini’s 8 1/2. Bicycle Thieves. Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. King Kong. Rashomon. Seven Samurai. The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs. Apocalypse Now. Chinatown and Repulsion. Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera. The Seventh Seal and The Virgin Spring.
Yes, and Psycho. Vertigo. Strangers on a Train. The list goes on.
I just cannot find the time or inclination to view these pictures anymore. And it makes me feel, well, rather sad.
I ramble. Sorry.
Short version: which classics have you seen to death such that they’ve lost much of their appeal, which I would define as diminishing re-watch value? Beyond academic study, can any of your overly-familiar films regain some of their fresh entertainment value?
I believe that under the right circumstances a film can “rekindle” that initial spark. There are plenty of films that I watched a second or third time and felt rather “meh” about it, and then watched it one more time only to be blown away all over again.
Now that said the last time I watched The Godfather it went from maybe my 3rd favorite film to possibly out of my top ten, so rather than say the film “lost it” I’d like to sit through it one more time to see if maybe I just had a bad experience.
One film that I’d say fits this bill for me is Breathless. I never realized how much of the film is just boring dialogue, it’s like watching Death Proof all over again. I still love Godard (at least I think so) but Breathless seems incredibly primitive and played out to me now.
Platoon was one of my favorite movies ever the first time I watched it and upon further viewings I felt it lost a lot of it’s initial appeal. However watching it again after several years I still love it, but nothing will quite replicate the feeling I got the first time I saw it.
Can’t think of too many other examples off the top of my head, but I’d like to clarify that you aren’t saying any of these films are bad just don’t quite impress you the way they used to?
No titles immediately come to mind. I feel like if it’s something that I deem a classic, if it’s a film I’ve seen a bunch of times, it’s passed the test of potentially falling out of favor. In other words, I can watch Taxi Driver until I’m 90 years old and that film will still hold rewatch appeal.
I think for me to label a classic unrewatchable, it probably wasn’t a classic to begin with (at least in my book). For instance, The Wizard of Oz will always be a classic because I can’t fathom a time when I won’t enjoy watching it. But Gone With the Wind never impressed me much (I only saw it once) so it’s not something I’d ever feel compelled to revisit.
Probably a lot of John Ford for me. I definitely responded to the dark themes of some of his films, Gregg Toland’s cinematography and a handful of performances from Henry Fonda. But, I can’t stand some of the Irish knockabout humor, Victor McLagen, the unfunny comic relief, Victor McLagen, those grating Sons of the Pioneer songs, Victor McLagen.
Yeah, I have never had this problem. If a movie works, it works. Period.
If I wasn’t completely enamored of it on first viewing, well, then that’s a different story. But generally speaking, if a film does it for me once, it will do it for me again and again until the end of time, no matter how many times I see it. That’s why I spend far more than I should on DVDs.
Deep Throat. Kind of dated by now.