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Poll: Classic Films Roger Ebert didn't like
Which of these classic films that Roger Ebert didn't like, suprises you the most? Discuss the list here!
Poll by: Paok-Kilkis
Created Oct 9 2016
Fight Club (1999)
...But the second act is pandering and the third is trickery, and whatever Fincher thinks the message is, that's not what most audience members will get. "Fight Club" is a thrill ride masquerading as philosophy--the kind of ride where some people puke and others can't wait to get on again.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The story builds up to a blinding revelation, which shifts the nature of all that has gone before, and the surprise filled me not with delight but with the feeling that the writer, Christopher McQuarrie, and the director, Bryan Singer, would have been better off unraveling their carefully knit sleeve of fiction and just telling us a story about their characters - those that are real, in any event. I prefer to be amazed by motivation, not manipulation.
A foolish choice in art direction casts a pall over Ridley Scott's "Gladiator" that no swordplay can cut through. The film looks muddy, fuzzy and indistinct. Its colors are mud tones at the drab end of the palette, and it seems to have been filmed on grim and overcast days. This darkness and a lack of detail in the long shots helps obscure shabby special effects (the Colosseum in Rome looks like a model from a computer game), and the characters bring no cheer: They're bitter, vengeful, depressed. By the end of this long film, I would have traded any given gladiatorial victory for just one shot of blue skies.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
"A Clockwork Orange" commits another, perhaps even more unforgivable, artistic sin. It is just plain talky and boring. You know there's something wrong with a movie when the last third feels like the last half.
If this summary seems truncated, it's because an accurate description of this movie dialogue might read like the missing chapters from Finnegans Wake. Because the actors have cartoon faces, the action is often outrageous and Ritchie has an aggressive camera style, the movie is not boring, but it doesn't build and it doesn't arrive anywhere. It's hard to care much about any of the characters because from moment to moment what happens to them seems controlled by chance.
Die Hard (1988)
Here's a suggestion for thrillermakers: You can't go wrong if all of the characters in your movie are at least as intelligent as most of the characters in your audience.
The Elephant Man (1980)
I kept asking myself what the film was really trying to say about the human condition as reflected by John Merrick, and I kept drawing blanks. The film's philosophy is this shallow: (1)Wow, the Elephant Man sure looked hideous, and (2)gosh, isn't it wonderful how he kept on in spite of everything?
“Papillon” is a movie like that: an expensive, exhaustive, 150-minute odyssey that doesn’t so much conclude as cross the finish line and collapse. It has been outfitted with expensive stars and a glossy production, but it doesn’t really make us care. When Steve McQueen finally escapes from Devil’s Island we’re happy more for ourselves than for him: Finally we can leave, too.
"Dogville" can be defended and even praised on pure ideological grounds, but most moviegoers, even those who are sophisticated and have open minds, are going to find it a very dry and unsatisfactory slog through conceits masquerading as ideas.
Harold and Maude (1971)
And so what we get, finally, is a movie of attitudes. Harold is death, Maude life, and they manage to make the two seem so similar that life's hardly worth the extra bother. The visual style makes everyone look fresh from the Wax Museum, and all the movie lacks is a lot of day-old gardenias and lilies and roses in the lobby, filling the place with a cloying sweet smell. Nothing more to report today. Harold doesn't even make pallbearer.
Although Hitchcock tried to choreograph his 10-minute takes so that the camera would be where the drama demanded it, there are moments when it seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And that trunk spends so much time in the foreground that we wonder why it’s not the immediate center of attention.
Dead Poets Society (1989)
"Dead Poets Society" is not the worst of the countless recent movies about good kids and hidebound, authoritatian older people. It may, however, be the most shameless in its attempt to pander to an adolescent audience. The movie pays lip service to qualities and values that, on the evidence of the screenplay itself, it is cheerfully willing to abandon. If you are going to evoke Henry David Thoreau as the patron saint of your movie, then you had better make a movie he would have admired. Here is one of my favorite sentences from Thoreau's Walden, which I recommend for serious study by the authors of this film: " . . . instead of studying how to make it worth men's while to buy my baskets, I studied rather how to avoid the necessity of selling them." Think about it.
The movie is very hard to follow. I have seen it twice, and am still not sure exactly who all the characters are, or how they fit. Perhaps it is not supposed to be clear; perhaps the movie's air of confusion is part of its paranoid vision. There are individual moments that create sharp images (shock troops drilling through a ceiling, De Niro wrestling with the almost obscene wiring and tubing inside a wall, the movie's obsession with bizarre duct work), but there seems to be no sure hand at the controls.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
The conclusion is so lame it's disheartening. Surely anyone clever enough to dream up Edward Scissorhands should be swift enough to think of a payoff that involves our imagination.
Blue Velvet (1986)
"Blue Velvet" is like the guy who drives you nuts by hinting at horrifying news and then saying, "Never mind." There's another thing. Rossellini is asked to do things in this film that require real nerve. In one scene, she's publicly embarrassed by being dumped naked on the lawn of the police detective. In others, she is asked to portray emotions that I imagine most actresses would rather not touch. She is degraded, slapped around, humiliated and undressed in front of the camera. And when you ask an actress to endure those experiences, you should keep your side of the bargain by putting her in an important film.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The movie goes on and on, repeating the same setup and the same payoff: Duke and Gonzo take drugs, stagger into new situations, blunder, fall about, wreak havoc, and retreat to their hotel suite. The movie itself has an alcoholic and addict mind-set, in which there is no ability to step outside the need to use and the attempt to function. If you encountered characters like this on an elevator, you'd push a button and get off at the next floor. Here the elevator is trapped between floors for 128 minutes
A great-looking movie with a plot you can’t care much about. All of the big moments in the movie are pounded home with ear-shattering sound effects and a jackhammer cutting style, but that just serves to underline the movie’s problem, which is a curious lack of suspense and intrinsic interest.
Straw Dogs (1971)
The most offensive thing about the movie is its hypocrisy; it is totally committed to the pornography of violence, but lays on the moral outrage with a shovel.
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
The plot is lame, but that doesn't matter, because "Dumb and Dumber" is essentially pitched at the level of an "Airplane!"-style movie, with rapid-fire sight gags. Some of them work, like the karate fight that ends with a guy getting his heart handed to him in a doggie bag. Some of them don't, like a curious scene where Carrey is hugging a girl and lifts the back of her skirt for no apparent reason: It seems creepy.
Erin Brockovich (2000)
"Erin Brockovich" has a screenplay with the depth and insight of a cable-TV docudrama, and that won't do for a 126-minute "major production." Maybe it's not that the necklines are distracting. Maybe it's just that the movie gives us so little to focus on that they win by default.
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