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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-04-15 05:36
Subject: [movies] Movies I didn't see when they came out
Security: Public
Tags:books, movies, reviews
Sometimes I am just a contrarian. For example, it took me years to see E.T. [ imdb ], simply because of all the hype surrounding the film. (Apparently I was a proto-hipster back in 1982.) Likewise, The Karate Kid [ imdb ], because it was billed as "the feel-good movie of the year", and I refuse to go see any movie with that billing. I'm not sure I wasn't right about The Karate Kid, either, though I did enjoy myself when I finally did see the movie.

Alien [ imdb ] was probably my biggest error. I was so afraid of being afraid of the movie that it took me years to see that one as well. It's a hell of a science fiction movie, one of the best in the history of cinema, and I can't believe I deprived myself of that experience either in the original theatrical release, and for years after.

What I wish I could understand today, prior to the advantage of hindsight, is which movies I blew off or ignored, that I would regret having done so upon seeing them. Honestly, my life would have been just fine if I'd never gotten around to seeing The Karate Kid, but if I'd never seen Alien, I would be much the poorer for it.

Do you share this tic of mine, or some equivalent of your own?

What movies (or books) did you ignore and avoid, only to realize your error later?

What overlooked movies (or books) would you urge me to pay attention to?

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A wandering fellow on the long road
User: tsarina
Date: 2012-04-15 13:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I avoided Moulin Rouge when it came out because I thought "Feh, I don't like musicals and this looks ridiculous." When I saw it some years later, in a friends apartment in NYC, it just shattered me. It opened my brain up to caring about music in shows, musical theater, etc. That tango set to "Roxanne" remains one of my favorite film moments to this day. I actually saw a ballet version of Moulin Rouge a couple months ago and it was such, such a pleasure.
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Jay Lake: graffiti-rose
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-04-15 13:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:graffiti-rose
Oh, yeah. I'd forgotten about Moulin Rouge. I had almost exactly your same reaction to the movie initially, and avoided it. Then when someone finally made me sit still and actually watch the movie, I had your same reaction then, as well.

Also, that movie is the closest I've ever come to the feeling of dropping acid while stone cold sober.
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willyumtx
User: willyumtx
Date: 2012-04-16 18:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's such a wonderful piece. Saw it three times in the theater release. So made up for you two. :-)

And have a copy on DVD.
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User: nicosian
Date: 2012-04-15 14:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm a sleep deprived posting maniac.

Ok..

My tic? much like yours to some extent. I just get to things on my own time.

( parents also forbid us from going to theatres, so I never got the habit of going. G only. Once a year. Not that it stopped me. I write horror. Sorry mom! well. except not sorry. She's just forbidden from reading my work now. its better that way.:D)
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Ramblin_Phyl
User: ramblin_phyl
Date: 2012-04-15 14:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Friday night I watched "Brother Where Art Thou" from beginning to end for the first time. I'd heard much of the music (we have the CD) but for some reason it came on at an inconvenient time, or I wasn't in the mood, or I thought I'd find it boring.

I finally did it. TCM broadcast it with story notes -- I could see how segments reflected the Odyssey and snippets about the actors and...and... And now I don't know why I denied myself of this pleasure for so long.

I have yet to watch Alien. I don't do horror.
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nojay
User: nojay
Date: 2012-04-15 15:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I suggest, if you haven't already seen it, "Tremors". It's a sort-of haunted-house mystery with a hidden danger threatening an amorphous group of people cut-off from rescue but it's both funny and also thought-provoking since the main characters don't panic, flail around or otherwise act like a stupid bunch of frat kids and scream queens being stalked by a shadowy murderer as in so many other movies of that ilk.
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willyumtx
User: willyumtx
Date: 2012-04-16 18:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And it has Kevin Bacon!
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-04-15 17:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I share that tic. Nonetheless, I got drug along to see Alien fairly early in its run. I was a legislative intern in Salem at the time, and several public power lobbyists/legislative assistants had gotten hooked on getting absolutely ripped before going to see it at a matinee. They saw it as an extended metaphor for a battle over some esoteric public power vs investor-owned-utility war they were engaged in at the time.

I never quite saw the logic of it, but I wasn't engaged in that particular political fight. Nonetheless, they seemed to find it quite cathartic (yes, political activists get weird toward the end of a legislative session. This was but one example of the bad craziness).
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elusivem
User: elusivem
Date: 2012-04-15 17:08 (UTC)
Subject: Aliens and Regrets
Alien was a movie that changes my life in in a small but important way. I went to see it begrudgingly. Until Alien, I would without discussion pass on any movie (or situation) that remotely appeared to be scary, intense or gory. I wanted only happy feel good experiences. I did see The Karate Kid four or five times and it made me feel good every time. The feeling, however, only lasted just for the moment. Alien made me feel alive and left me wanting more. Not wanting more guts or scary stuff. I wanted more new life experiences - especially shared experiences that helped me connect with others.

A very recent circumstance has me thinking that it was a significant mistake to fake my way through books like Great Expectations and Catcher in the Rye during school. It is a good thing I saw Alien - one less regret.
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User: swan_tower
Date: 2012-04-15 20:03 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Aliens and Regrets
Keyword:Maleficent
A very recent circumstance has me thinking that it was a significant mistake to fake my way through books like Great Expectations and Catcher in the Rye during school.

Maybe, maybe not. There are any number of things from my high school reading list that I think highly of now -- but that's because I'm a different person than I was when they forced me to read the things. It's entirely possible, of course, that you feel those books would have been excellent for you then. But a lot of stuff improves with age, too.

As for the original question: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. I don't know what it was about the title that convinced me this was Not My Kind of Book when I was in elementary school, but I had totally the wrong impression of the thing. I eventually snapped up and read The Secret of NIMH, though . . . which was a movie tie-in edition of the same book, under the film title. Felt pretty silly when I figured it out.
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Twilight: FilmReel
User: twilight2000
Date: 2012-04-15 17:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:FilmReel
Heh - I avoided ET as well as Star Wars (the first one) for a full year exactly because of the hype that made me run screaming from any theatre. Missed Karate Kid for the same reason as you too - it was better than I expected when I finally got around to it, but not nearly as good as Star Wars :>.

Alien? Still haven't seen it as I Don't Do Bugs - and I've been warned it's a Bug Movie. For the same reason, I missed Men in Black (but have since seen it and LOVE it & the sequel ;>) and all the Mummy movies.

I never saw Hudson Hawk in the theatre - it's hardly going to Change Your Life - but it's a hell of a fun couple of hours with Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello and Andie McDowell in their primes. It's a caper movie and the bad guy (you know it from the first time you see him) is Coburn at his best ;>.

I also skipped "Evelyn" - an unexpectedly brilliant piece of work about an unemployed man in Ireland trying to keep his children and raise them in a time when the laws didn't allow that. Pierce Brosnan, Julianna Margulies & Aiden Quinn make a hell of a movie out of this one.
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spinflight
User: spinflight
Date: 2012-04-15 17:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I still haven't seen Top Gun and I keep bumping it downwards on my Netflix queue.

I just finished To Kill A Mockingbird and am halfway through The Diary of Anne Frank. For some reason my teachers never assigned them. It turns out they're pretty good. Who'da thunk it? ;)
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Renfield
User: cuddlycthulhu
Date: 2012-04-15 17:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The Usual Suspects. I only recently watched it. Why I missed it I have no idea.

If you haven't seen it yet, go see The Cabin in the Woods.
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User: kshandra
Date: 2012-04-15 19:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Comedy/Tragedy
And now that you've seen The Usual Suspects, you can watch someone ELSE watching it for the first time. Trust me, it's damned near as awesome as the movie itself. (My husband practically leaped off the couch screaming in the past five minutes; it was amazing.)
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Renfield
User: cuddlycthulhu
Date: 2012-04-16 03:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Something I'm looking forward to. I know my wife got a kick out of introducing me to the movie.
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e_bourne
User: e_bourne
Date: 2012-04-15 19:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have not seen Forest Gump, and I don't regret it. I haven't seen Avatar, and I might be sorry about that. The hype around Avatar really turned me off, but now, when i will no longer have a chance to see it in 3-D on a big screen (until it's tenth anniversary release) I wonder if that was an arrogant mistake on my part. Ah well.
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User: radiantlisa
Date: 2012-04-15 20:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I totally share this tic. I avoided the Harry Potter Books like the plague until a friend pressed the first one into my hands and said that she'd stop being my friend if I didn't read it.

Right now, I'm doing the avoidance thing with Hunger Games (both books and movie). And with Downton Abbey.
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Reynardo the Red
User: reynardo
Date: 2012-04-16 03:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When I saw the ads for Downton Abbey I thought it would be a cheesy Upstairs Downstairs - it's not. It's a rather nice insight into the difference between upper and lower class, and what happens when someone who's comfortably middle-class gets thrown into the upper without warning.

So I'd recommend watching the first episode. After all, it is the 100th anniversary of the setting of the first scenes :-)
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adelheid_p
User: adelheid_p
Date: 2012-04-15 20:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I have something like this. My mom used to make us read for 2 hours every day during the summer a book that she approved (or chose). And she didn't like science fiction. She also made us write book reports on the books. To this day, I have a hard time reading classics because of this. I did actually force myself to listen to an Audiovox recording of Pride and Prejudice because I'd started it twice and just couldn't get through the first chapters. It really made me angry and so I thought if someone were reading it who understood it enough to give it the right voice, I'd be able to get through it. And I listened while driving myself out to Chicago to visit my brother. And that worked. But, I don't love Jane Austen the way many people do, I do have a greater appreciation for her writing.

I don't regret the hours spent reading during those summers. I read Le Morte D'Arthur, Bullfinch's Mythology, Edgar Allan Poe (a collection of his works), The Nuremberg Trials, collections of Isaac Asimov's science writings on Chemistry and Physics and probably a few others that I don't recall now.
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Coyote
User: coyotegoth
Date: 2012-04-15 22:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm avoiding a certain George R R Martin series due to both overhyping on the part of others, and my refusal to start it until he finishes the last book.
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Reynardo the Red
User: reynardo
Date: 2012-04-16 05:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For years I avoided reading We of the Never Never because for some reason I thought it was a soppy romance with supernatural shadings.

It's not. It's the wonderful autobiography of a woman coping in the Outback in 1900 300 miles south of Darwin. When I started reading, I read the whole thing in one night, then stole the book from my parents so I could read it again.
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Msconduct
User: msconduct
Date: 2012-04-16 08:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh God, yes, absolutely. Haven't seen Hunger Games. Didn't see Avatar or Forrest Gump, ET, Alien or Close Encounters. And in my own little twist, I don't own and hope never to own an Apple product. In the words of wonderful NZ singer Gin Wigmore, "Everybody's doing it, so why the hell should I?".

Overlooked movies? Top of my list would be Saturday Night Fever. Dismissed as a silly disco movie, it's actually a pretty searing look at working class Brooklyn lives in the 70s. With really great dancing.
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willyumtx
User: willyumtx
Date: 2012-04-16 18:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I had never watched horror movies when Alien came out. So I didn't see it back then - sounded too scary and gory. But did see it eventually and it's rather well done.

As for books, go read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Do not read any reviews or find out about the plot before you try it. If you don't like it after the first ten pages, then you just don't. But it's far better if you just read it with no expectations or preconceptions.

Also, The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson is one of the best books I've read in years. You will have to get past the first chapter and possible revulsion of the main guy to understand the beauty of this work. It is amazing.
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