Gladiator. Not a single surprise or line of unexpected dialogue in the whole flick. The first (and only) time I saw it, I was saying the lines to myself just before the actors did.
I agree about this and it’s kind of amazing. People still reference Titanic, especially the king of the world scene and that song, and DiCaprio and Winslet are still major stars, but Avatar? Nothing. And Sam Worthington still gets roles but he’s no A-Lister.
Some episodes from the first five seasons really stand out for me, like the one where the 18-year-old hooker (played by Joyce Boulifant) is tossed off a balcony, Tim O’Connell rappels down an elevator shaft during a heist, and Buddy Ebsen leads a gang of career criminals who spend stolen travelers’ checks while “on vacation” in Hawaii. Ones like these were excellent and deserve to be iconic.
Others, like any of the ones with “hippies,” “revolutionaries,” “drug pushers”—or, rather, what the writers and producers thought such people were like—all spouting “hip” dialogue, just make me laugh. It was supposed to be “relevant” and “now,” but seeing it 50 years later it’s all so contrived.
Another contrivance was having a one-off character who’s never been seen before but seems to be buddies with everyone at Five-0 and then turns out to be a dirty cop, psycho killer, or bunko artist. Or where a criminal (Cameron Mitchell) is so stupid he ditches his partner (Frank Gorshin) while he’s making a phone call (and is now free to ring the cops) and then tries to leave the islands by going to the airport, where a gang of con artists he just screwed (after giving them airline tickets) is waiting for him.
Honestly, episodes like these make me think they were hard pressed to come up with a script on that particular day.
(My favorites, though, are still the one with Hume Cronin is The Monopoly Thief and Slim Pickens heads a clan of hillbillies who murder people for the cash they have in the till. Stuff like that just doesn’t come along every day. It’s gold, Jerry, gold!)
It’s ok. It ain’ like they was kin or anything.
(somethings just stick with you all these decades!)
Hume Cronin! I’d remembered Ray Walston. Who says this place doesn’t fight ignorance anymore?
Reaching back: D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” and “Intolerance”.
Birth of a Nation for obvious reasons.
Intolerance for its confusing intercutting between multiple stories.
You might also want to consider Erich von Stroheim’s “Greed”, but the iconic status rests only on the statements of the few people who saw it before it was recut.
Glad to be of service!
I rewatched it recently with my GF and my daughter. We all enjoyed it - it’s simplistic, with a few bits that suddenly jump out at you, and I’m fairly sure some of the funny bits were always intended to be funny.
Of course the clothes and so on were bad - it was a B movie.
Continuing the “stripped” theme, sitcoms are even worse than scripted dramas. I mean, come on, who ever really thought Danny Thomas, Fred MacMurray, and Andy Griffith were funny? How many episodes of Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies can you watch without wanting to kill everyone in Hooterville (even, or especially, Lisa) or snap Granny’s neck?
I find I can’t watch most of the sitcoms I enjoyed back in the '80s anymore either. Three’s Company is, oddly enough, an exception (though I’ve seen every episode multiple times), but Benson? Soap? Family Ties? The Facts of Life? I don’t understand why. Maybe it’s because they were trying so hard to be funny? I just don’t know!
Green Acres was hilarious and I don’t know if I’ve seen an episode I didn’t like.
I’m going to nominate 1986’s The Highlander starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. For a movie I enjoyed so very much, it’s so bad in so many ways but Clancy Brown is always a delight.
I used to love Green Acres (especially Arnold the Pig, who could grunt in seven languages), but this time around I barely got past the first season. The level of stupidity amongst the townsfolk was just too much for me to bear. How many times can you watch Lisa ruin breakfast, Ebb misunderstand something, Hank Kimball babble incoherently, or Mr Haney screw Oliver Douglas out of a sawbuck before you say “ENOUGH!”?
It is basically a series of music videos with the super-deep narrative premise that there are immortal warriors beheading each other for a thrill. It’s not a ‘good’ movie in the sense of story or characterization, but Christopher Lambert playing a Scot while Sean Connery portrays a Spanish-Egyptian wielding a katana while Clancy Brown is a psychotic Bronze Age warrior who somehow wanders around New York City with a massive greatsword but doesn’t attract any police attention is basically the best RPG premise ever. It is no surprise that the film franchise, trying to hew to the supposed ‘mythology’ of the original film is terrible (although the depth and breadth to which it is astonishingly terrible is almost unfathomable) and the television show stemming from it created moderately entertaining ‘Nineties schlock by essentially ignoring the first film entirely.
Of course he and his show were. Dick Van Dyke too. There have been 10 or 12 sitcoms that are worth the time now. I agree about the later 70s and after.
Are you trying to binge them? They used to shoot 36 episodes of some shows a year. It was a whole different animal than say weeds with 10. Binging most old shows is just masochistic. How are they not going to be repetitive? They were successful based on being what they were. They would not have even run if they were about nuanced characters fascinating to us.
Now you’re just giving Satan ideas on how to program for you when (okay, we’ll be charitable and say “if”) you become a guest .
Andy Griffith proved he could be funny in No Time for Sergeants. On TV, he played a completely different character who was always the foil for the people around him. When the show was funny, it was because of townsfolk like Barney Fife and Gomer Pyle getting into and out of hilarious situations. It was seldom, if ever, funny again after they left the series.
(The same was true of Mary Tyler Moore. I have trouble thinking of any shows where I laughed at Mary herself. Normally it was because of the people around her.)
Dick van Dyke was and always will be a gem. If every sitcom had writers and a cast that good, each episode would be a treasure. (I can’t help wondering why you bring this up, though.)
I like to think I’ve already served my time in Hell.
Precisely my point. They lasted far longer than they should have. If they couldn’t offer something fresh every now and then, it’s better to go out on a high note than to keep recycling.
British TV understands this. The seasons (“series”) are usually short and shows are not flogged to death. The writers and cast of Dick van Dyke understood this too, which is why they decided to end the show after five years.
For 170 episodes if you’re CBS!
… And we all know what happened when Fred Silverman took over, don’t we? He may have had bargain-basement tastes in entertainment, but he at least put such past-their-prime series out of their misery.
Maybe because they felt they had to convey touching life lessons and make you care for the characters. No wonder Seinfeld struck a nerve in the 90s – its “no learning, no hugs” ethos was just what the sitcom world needed.