Iconic but awful

The original Dune definitely. Some bits are done are really well and really catch the atmosphere of the book, other bits are just eighties cheese (with some “WTF David Lynch, where did they come from you weirdo!?” moments thrown in).

Starship Troopers is 100% iconic but truly awful, I get it yeah, its a parody of the fascist-y themes in the novel, but seriously you have a parody of authoritarian militarism without turning into a particularly cheesy episode of Beverly Hills 90210.

The Blair Witch Project
It didn’t invent the found footage subgenre, and it’s essentially unwatchable.

Comparing episodic tv from 50 years ago to the Sopranos is totally out of context. Old tv can’t hold up, because it wasn’t made to be iconic. It’s the memories that are iconic and those are the province of the original viewers.

Um. You’re welcome.

Also like almost all the output of Arnie in the 1980s (the remainder being stuff that is just awful, but not iconic, and Terminator):

  • Predator
  • Commando
  • Running Man
  • Total Recall
  • Conan the Barbarian

My perspective comes from reading the story long before I saw the movie (and I first saw it in August, so didn’t think of it as a Christmas movie). In the story, George is just a lowly bank clerk who thinks he’s accomplished nothing with his life. He learns that just being there made all the difference for the community. Also, Mary is married to an abusive husband. The message is that everyone is important even if they don’t realize it.

Capra took this and grafted on American Madness, which is about a bank president who makes loans to people who normally wouldn’t qualify. When there’s a run on the bank, his friends step up and give him the money he needs to end the run.

The first part of IAWL is fairly good. Yes, George is a doormat, but there’s plenty of good scenes with his history and his romancing Mary. But ultimately that’s winning the skirmish and losing the war. It’s hard to believe George would become suicidal given how he acts up to that point.

Once Clarence shows up, though, George is painfully slow on the uptake. Yes, it’s a fantastic situation, but George can’t seem to grasp what’s going on, even when he is given plenty of evidence. It gets tedious to see the same thing over and over. It’s only when he realizes Mary was an old maid* that he begins to get it.

*not likely, especially since she had a boyfriend before George who would have married her if George hadn’t come along. It’s also interesting to see the implication that being single is somehow worse than being married to an abusive husband, but I suspect that was smoothing over a potential problem with the Hayes Office.

Add me to those who feel Avatar is a very meh movie, unobtainium aside, I was able to anticipate major plot points way before they occurred. Now I don’t expect movies to exactly surprise me, but at least not telegraph what is going to happen so obviously or ahead of time. If it had not been 3D, I doubt I would have enjoyed it at all.


To be fair, I hated that one when it was new. That’s just a bad episode in any time. The Other Waldo Pepper’s take is the only way it makes sense.

They were running out of ideas by then. It’s one thing to make something think time has passed and they had amnesia - 36 Hours is a great film! But the way of this episode? Ridiculousness!

I pretty much hated any episode where the con revolved around the mark falling for Casey. It didn’t help that I found her unattractive (now if they sent Leslie Ann Warren after me, well…), but it revealed the fault of that aspect of any con - what if the guy’s just not interested? But they always were, and that took me out of half the episodes in that season.

Roadhouse is certainly stupid, but it isn’t awful. It’s wonderful, but you have to be ok with stupid.

The problem with Network is that 45 years ago it was shocking. Now it’s reality. It’s not funny because it’s true.

I’d put IAWL in the category of “good movie about a bad person”, like GWTW or The Godfather. George is a doormat, and yet also, in a small way, a bully. If I lived in Bedford Falls, I’d think he was a loser. But I like the movie because gosh darnit, it’s Jimmy Stewart! :slight_smile:

George Bailey is Ron Howard’s character Steve in American Graffiti. Steve was going to go to college, do big things. Then he got saddled with that wet noodle Laurie, so he stays in Modesto and sells insurance. probably had an affair with his secretary, and Laurie took Valium and drank all day. Be happy we got IAWL, and not that depresssing sequel to AG.

Avatar almost strikes me as anti-iconic (which is maybe iconic in its own way). It came out, everyone went to see it, you had silly news articles about people going insane with grief that they couldn’t live on Pandora then it completely fell off everyone’s radar. Outside of threads about movies, like this, I never see it referenced, quoted, meme’d, on a t-shirt or any signs that people remember it existed. For the past umpteen years, if anyone says “Avatar”, there’s a 98% chance they’re talking about the Airbender anime thing and not the bajillion dollar earning, tech-breaking film. It’s a weird rise and fall and I guess testament to how forgettable the movie really was.

I would ask about Our Town in this thread. I wouldn’t say it is “awful”, but I really don’t think it’s anywhere as good as its reputation (every night, somewhere, Our Town is being performed, or so they say).

It’s actually kind of empty. And the third act, while poignant, is also kind of trite and simplistic.

Did it get its Pulitzer because it was so groundbreaking? The minimal sets, the “metatheater”? Or am I just missing something?

It was an excellent show until Leonard Freeman died and Lord took control of the show. He rewrote scripts on the fly and made himself the centerpiece of almost every scene. The first 5 seasons were very good and stand up to this day. The action, the scenery and the writing were excellent. But the show is best enjoyed in its unedited form.

I will check that out. Thank you :slight_smile:

That’s one of the iconic moments. The bit where he puts on the sunglasses is another.

Proof that we are all individuals, etc, etc. I unabashedly love Avatar. :stuck_out_tongue:


Definitely agreed. Given how taken people were with it at its release, it was amazing just how quickly it vanished from the public consciousness. As already noted, I suspect it was a matter of it being visually breathtaking, while not actually being a great movie.

It likely didn’t help that the sequels, which were announced soon after the original movie’s release in 2009, are still in production, and the first of the sequels is still not planned until late 2022.

An Avatar-based attraction opened at Disney World in Florida in 2017 (eight years after the movie), though I don’t know how popular of an attraction it is.

We watched 5-0 every year religiously, All 12 seasons!* I remember TV Guide every year giving its predictions for the new season and returning shows. “Hawaii 5-0 is tired”, they’d say, every year, from about season 6 or 7 on. We didn’t know what they were talking about.

We’ve been watching some random season 4-8 episodes, and many hold up.

I can’t believe that abomination of a reboot is up to its tenth season already!

* Yet, somehow, to this day, I’ve never seen the episode where [SPOILER ALERT] Chin Ho Kelly is killed. I had a conflict the day it was first broadcast, and still haven’t seen it.

I agree with you. The second half of the series was good but a bit uneven. I think the departures of Kono and Ben hurt the show too.

Indeed. Quite surprised people mentioned Avatar since the only thing iconic about it is the visuals (I made sure to see it in IMAX 3D which was jaw on the floor level incredible visuals). Most people clowned on the story at the time - live action Ferngully was mentioned a bunch.

Even back then (and I think I saw it three times in the theater), I called it “Dances With Aliens.”

Its a Wonderful Life, instead of showing George unrealistically as the one man who could make a difference by staying and saving the town, better a realistic depiction of what he’d become if he had been able to leave for a life of foreign adventure: dead with his trousers around his ankles, rats chewing his penis and cheeks in an alley in Havana or Singapore.