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Old December 18th, 2014, 10:42 AM
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Default Movies I Like More Today Than When They Came Out

Many times, a movie you like ages, and you go back and watch it only to find that it doesn't hold your interest the way it did when you first viewed it. Not as often, though, a film that you didn't like the first time you watched it has become one of your favorites years later. At least, for me, I'm thinking of four films, some of them iconic, that I feel that way about.

The first that comes to mind is Blade Runner. I really wanted to like it when it came out, and I did like things about it, but I felt the film was boring, and I didn't connect on an emotional level with the plight of the Nexus 6 Replicants.

Today, I think the film is brilliant (and I like the Voice Over version--the one nobody else seems to like anymore).

Another film that wasn't as good as I wanted it to be back in the day is the first Conan The Barbarian film, from 1982, with Arnie as the savage warrior. I thought the film was OK but not great, though I was sure happy to see a "D&D movie" (as I called them back then) be taken seriously have have a respectable budget. Remember, around that time, there were all these low budget sword and sorcery films that came out, all of various quality. From a production standpoint, Conan was the only one in my mind that looked like a real movie and not some cheap knock off.

Today, my appreciation of Conan has grown--all aspects of the mighty barbarian, from Howard's brooding true savage to the more tame heroic Conan as the character is depicted in many books and comics.

I think the reason I didn't care too much for the 1982 Conan The Barbarian was that I didn't think that Arnie could act. I thought he was awful in the part, to the point where it was distracting. Today, though, I don't feel that way. Arnie's rough acting seems to "fit" the rough edges of the barbarian new to civilization. His expressions during a fight seem real and human, and I think he did a better job that Jason M.'s turn as the confident barbarian in the 2011 reboot. And, Arnie's accent even seems in place given that a barbarian from Cimmeria does have a thick accent when walking among the civilized folk of the Hyborian Age.

Today, 1982's Conan The Barbarian is one of my favorite films.

Believe it or not, I didn't fall in love with Raiders of the Lost Ark on my first view. The reason why was simple on this one. I went to see the film with a dude I just didn't like. He liked me and wanted to hang out and get to know my friends, and I just didn't like the guy. But, I was too polite to turn him down when he offered to go to the movies. He said he'd pay (hell, sounds like a "date", but it was just two dudes catching a flick), and it was one of those things where he said something like, "Hey, let's catch a flick sometime," and I said, "Sure, sounds good." I was thinking it would never happen, but then got cornered, "Hey man, that new film, Raiders of the Lost Ark is playing. Let's do that one." I wanted to see it, but it was a total mistake going with this dude. It totally distracted me from the film--I just didn't want to hang with this guy. And, it wasn't until, years later, after I'd seen the sequel, Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom (which I loved, as well), that I went back and saw the original movie.

Now, rightly, I consider Raiders one of the best films ever made. It just took me a while to get there.

One more--

Vanilla Sky, with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. I know why I didn't like this film at first. I can't stand films that start off one way, then throw you a curve ball that is so bent that it seems as if you are watching a completely different movie. I always feel as if it's not what I signed up for. A movie (usually through the previews) makes a promise to the viewer on what type of experience it is going to deliver. I'm not crazy about it when a film tries to change into something different from what was promised.

No Country For Old Men is like this.

Unfaithful, with Diane Lane, is like this.

And, Vanilla Sky is like this.

So, why do I like Vanilla Sky now? It's the performances. Cameron Diaz plays the heck out of a crazy chick. Kurt Russel is positively brilliant as the therapist. And, I fall in love with Penelope Cruz every time I see her jump up and down like a young girl when her "date" with Tom Cruise went so well.

It's not on the list for best films of all time, but I do truly enjoy Vanilla Sky, even with the quirky ending.

(And, before someone says it, yes, I do know that Vanilla Sky and Unfaithful are remakes of European films.)

Ya know, now that I think about it, there is one more film that fits in this category: One that I didn't like when I first saw it because it's a film that starts off telling one story then takes a complete right turn on you and becomes another film entirely. And that one is: Million Dollar Baby.

I was loving Million Dollar Baby until "the event" happens, then I felt robbed. I hated Clint Eastwood (the director) for doing that to me--getting me all invested in Hilary Swank's character and then pulling the rug out from under me.

But, again, after repeated viewings, I've come to except and celebrate Million Dollar Baby. And, again, it's because of the performances. Clint, Morgan Freeman, and Hilary are all AMAZING in that film. Hell, every actor in the piece is perfect for their role.

And, Hilary did, indeed, deserve her second Oscar for that performance.

Today, I love the film.
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