Now that I'm older, I often find myself watching my favorite movies from childhood and having bizarre reactions like "Wait...do I actually hate this character?" or "Why am I rooting for these terrible people?" or "Sorry, Maverick, but Iceman actually makes a lot of good points here." In the hopes that some of you may be undergoing a similar crisis, here are 8 Great Movies That Bother Me Now That I'm Older.
A Point of Clarification: These are NOT movies that I used to love and now don't love (e.g., the Mallrats or Forrest Gumps of the world) or things I loved as a kid but realize now that they're dumb kid things (Ninja Turtles, He-Man, etc), they're movies that I grew up loving and still enjoy, but Adult-Me feels very differently about the people in them than High-School-Me and College-Me did, and I'm beginning to entertain the horrifying thought that Adult-Me is actually right. Onto the harrowing revelations:
Caddyshack remains one of the most quotable and watchable-at-any-time comedies ever, and I'll always have fond memories of loving it when I was little (then growing up and getting the other 97% of the jokes and loving it more), but I watched it about a month ago for the first time in a couple years, and a new thought popped into my head about five or six times: "Wow, Rodney Dangerfield's character is a complete fucking asshole."
Rodney's "New Money" Al Czervik character is portrayed as a down-to-earth wisecracker that the stuckup Bushwood regulars just can't tolerate, but in reality, ANY RATIONAL HUMAN would be instantly and justifiably mad at him: he shows up, distracts the other golfers, insults the food at the clubhouse, insults everyone on the dancefloor, completely unnecessarily lays into Judge Smails' wife -- "Hey baby, you must've been something before electricity - wanna make $14 the hard way?" -- then unapologetically destroys Smails' yacht along with about 7 other vehicles. Yes, the Bushwood regulars are haughty, exclusionary racists, but if a friend of mine said or did anything that Rodney does in this movie, let alone all of them in rapid succession, I'd be completely correct for not wanting to hang out with them.
Also it's a little weird that Danny has sex with Lacey while his girlfriend might be pregnant and we're supposed to be cool with that, but whaaatever. Hey look Bill Murray!
2. Animal House
Another quotable comedy classic that's now completely ruined for me because I can't watch it without getting mad for two adultey reasons:
1) The guys in Delta House are completely wasting their parents' money. Granted, college in the 60s cost like $27, but $27 back then was literally one million dollars so GO TO FRIGGIN CLASS, D-DAY.
2) How hard is it to PASS college?? Not to do well, not to excel in a particular competitive major, but to maintain a GPA over TWO? Granted I'm biased, because I was an exceptionally diligent student myself (I obviously had to be to land a job where I Photoshop doobies into Bullwinkle's mouth), but still, I don't care how hard you're partying, it is not that difficult to show up in a stupid English class and talk about how the title of BookyBook is thematically sardonic. You don't even have to double-check the definition of those words, just type them and you'll get a C in college. Trust me. Do it now. Did you just graduate? See?
Ghostbusters is still one of my Top-10 movies of all time, but think about this situation for a second: In real life, if four guys tried to convince the mayor of New York that the number of translucent specters in Manhattan was on the rise, and a different guy from an environmental agency was like "We should probably look into what these dudes wearing nuclear-accelerator backpacks firing lasers at hotels are actually doing," the mayor would be an insane moron to listen to the Ghostbusters, and we'd all be insane morons by extension for rooting for them.
I'm not saying that I can't suspend some disbelief in the interests of an obviously very serious film, I just feel bad that "Dickless" gets laughed out of the room for acting how ANY OF US would act if we heard about real-life Ghostbusters. Also it's weird that Possessed Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver fuck. That's all. Moving along.
Obviously Rent wasn't originally a film, but I instantly loved the Broadway production when I saw it in high school, bought the soundtrack at the theater, and to this day can still sing every part verbatim (if you feel like this fact instantly invalidates this entire article, then I don't blame you. I SUPER don't blame you. I do whatever the total opposite of 'blame' you is. High-five you? I high-five you.)
By the time the Rent movie came out in 2005, though, I was already living in New York, and the East Village and Lower East Side had already been massively gentrified, so the Benny character's 1994 spiel about building an "interactive studio with condos on the top" and letting his friends live there for free didn't sound like some sterile, anti-Bohemian temptation from "The Man" so much as just an INCREDIBLY generous and forward-thinking business opportunity.
Is it too "angry old man" of me to suggest that a person can write songs and take photographs while also having a job and not living in squalor? According to Rent, nope, greatness requires squalor. And really, when you think about Martin Scorsese still living without electricity and Thom Yorke constantly being unable to pay for his teas at the Life Cafe, it's a mantra that's truer now than ever.
No movie is so great that it deserves to have every frame preserved as 470 dorm room posters, but I've always found Scarface to be extremely entertaining, and when I watched it this month for the first time in years, it held up better than I expected (especially after being familiar with John Mulaney's painfully spot-on Scarface bit.)
One thing I couldn't reconcile in my older age, though, was the idea of Tony Montana being idolized as some awesome anti-hero who doesn't take shit and fights to the bitter end -- the opinion shared by High School Me and many other stupid people -- when in reality, he's a giant irredeemable prick who treats everyone like dogshit and should've gotten shot by every character in this movie 400 times including the entire film crew and the fountains in his dumbass prick-mansion.
Or, as Mulaney put it, "'The world is yours?' He couldn't handle part of Miami."
Ghost was never a great movie by any means, but it was nominated for FIVE (!!!) Oscars including Best Picture, and my hatred of it has gotten way more specific with age, so it technically qualifies for this list. I used to think it was a sappy but generally fine romantic film intended for aunts, but watching it as an adult who no longer believes that my dead parakeet is bathing in birdseed up in 'Keet Heaven, it's basically now a movie about an insane woman who thinks her dead husband is talking to her from beyond the grave despite the urgings of many considerate, skeptical friends around her (but she happens to be right so yay love!!!)
Here's a public service announcement to anyone who enjoys the movie Ghost: If a woman who looks like Whoopi Goldberg shows up at your house and claims she'll let your dead husband inhabit her body to have sex with you, and you agree because she slipped a penny under the door and how could she possibly have known about that, then guess what? You've just been tricked into having sex with a con artist who looks like Whoopi Goldberg! Bad news, unless you have a very specific fetish that I'm sure exists and if that's the case then good for you!
Also, why do ghosts in this world have to practice to be able to physically affect objects they touch like newspapers and photo frames, but they don't just fall through the floor? Other than those two flaws, everything else in this movie makes perfect sense.
7. Top Gun
Yes, we could debate this movie's actual-goodness until the cows come home and start inexplicably playing shirtless volleyball for like eight minutes, but cringeworthiness aside, Top Gun is the perfect example of a film where we're supposed to root for the rulebreakin', cocky rebel who doesn't PLAY BY THE BOOK. Unfortunately, as I've gotten older and dealt with more annoying co-workers, I've grown quite fond of 'The Book,' and would actually greatly prefer my fellow co-workers to do their jobs in a standard, orderly fashion, rather than to completely ignore the advice of their superiors (who in Maverick's case is Viper, the world's greatest living fighter pilot) and attempt to operate on some level of transcendent genius that's so effective, it manages to get a dude killed during a weaponless practice drill.
I know we're supposed to hate Iceman because he chews gum and talks real close to the camera and stuff, but pretty much everything he says about Maverick is completely right, no? That 'Maverick' guy truly is a... what's the right word for someone who refuses to play by the rules? Ah: Asshole.
8. Every High School Movie Where We're Supposed To Be Happy The Couple Ended Up Together
Can't Hardly Wait, Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, you name it: High school movies love the climactic final scene where the hapless guy finally lands the girl or vice versa, and we all come away feeling happy that the couple achieved some vague level of together-ness. The only problem is, having been through college myself, I now know what a nightmare it is to try to maintain a long-distance relationship when you're too young to know not to put DMB quotes in your AIM profile*, let alone to know what love is, and now these movies just make me sad. (* Kids still using AIM these days? Or they all just 'sexting' on the Tumble??)
Best-case-scenario, the couple breaks up, they experiment with other people in college, and realize they were destined for one another all along and get back together in early adulthood. Worst-case-scenario, they stay together the whole time they're in college then get married and never know what it's like to hook up with anyone else ever, and you don't want that (take it from me -- I hooked up with like, A COUPLE ladies in college! ;) ;) ;0 ) Also, to my friends who started dating someone in high school then married them, I'm not referring to you, you're all great!
So basically, every high school movie with a happy ending is secretly an even-worse tragedy that eventually happens offscreen.
You know, I'm glad that I'm able to look at things so logically in my older age! And here I was wondering I'd become some bitter old man.