There are a lot of bad movies made every year. Somewhere in Hollywood, Taylor Kitsch just nodded his head sadly while the bank repossessed his car. But while most bad movies are obviously awful and righteously condemned the same day that they’re released, others start out as classics and then just age really, really poorly, like a fine wine turning to vinegar or in this case like a fine wine turning into an awful movie that will make you curse the gods of time. Who knows why it happens? Sometimes it’s the production values, sometimes the acting and sometimes the movie just ends up being so hilariously dated that it’s impossible to ever take it seriously after a few years go by. But no matter the reason, the one thing that these nine movies all have in common is that they all aged terribly. Prepare to have your cherished childhood memories shattered.
Photo credit: YouTube/Orion Pictures
Caddyshack is a classic. You’re absolutely right. So just calm down, no one’s denying that. It broke new ground in the comedy world by allowing its stars to pretty much just make shit up as they went along and do what they do best without getting in their way. The only problem with that is that after a while those jokes started to seem a little stale, probably because they’ve been beaten to dust in the years since. I mean, an animatronic gopher? Come on. And while the ad-libbed comedy that presumably felt so fresh and wild back then gets staler with each passing year all you’re left with is a ridiculous and boring plot about some asshole who needs to win a golf tournament to win a scholarship. Honestly, the funniest thing about Caddyshack these days is the almost unbelievably bad acting from the supporting cast.
Photo credit: YouTube/Orion Pictures
Really, you could pick any movie from that early ‘90s Gen-X era here because none of them hold up well at all. I picked Reality Bites because it seems to be the most clichéd and ridiculous one of them all, like a bad Real World season made into a movie. All of the characters are basically self-absorbed assholes whining and complaining about their various over-privileged white people problems and blah blah blah, who cares, you know? It is just so unmistakably ‘90s that it is impossible to watch without being distracted by the obviously dated fashion and lingo. I mean, even the name of the movie itself is dated and corny. Reality bites? Come on.
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Speaking of movies about over-privileged white people problems, American Beauty is basically White People Problems: The Movie. It's themes of suburban angst seem so ridiculously trite and stale today, largely because the theme of the entire movie has been beaten to death in the years since. This is a movie that’s pivotal scene involves a depressed dude filming a plastic bag as it floats around and tries to pretend it is some sort of deep statement about beauty and alienation and whatever utterly banal pretentious horseshit you can think of. I tried watching this not that long ago with someone who had never seen it and by the end I found myself apologizing for making them sit through it. Honestly, you’d be shocked at how terrible this is now.
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Matthew Broderick saves the world from nuclear war by forcing a supercomputer to play tic-tac-toe against itself. Just read that sentence again. Also, the “supercomputer” seems to be little more than a souped up Atari with a phone modem attached to it. As far as Matthew Broderick goes, the only thing that’s aged worse in his life is Sarah Jessica Parker and at least she doesn’t talk to him with a creepy robot voice like some sort of disembodied Stephen Hawking. Or maybe she does, who knows? But what I do know is that WarGames is just ridiculous and pretty much unwatchable these days.
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Most of the comedies from the late ‘70s/early ‘80s have aged pretty badly, but none worse than Meatballs. If you can even make it through the first twenty minutes of this piece of shit without trying to slit your own wrists than you have the patience of a saint. If it’s not the almost unbelievably horrible acting that does it or the stunningly unfunny “comedy,” the incessant and obnoxious theme song that plays over and over and over again will do the trick. Like Caddyshack, the one bright spot is Bill Murray, who does his best, but even he isn’t strong enough to keep this turd from sinking to the bottom of the bowl. Also, when it comes to being dated, this movie just can’t be beat. I mean, Bill Murray is wearing bellbottoms. Bellbottoms!
Photo credit: YouTube/Paramount Pictures
Almost all of the classic ‘80s horror movies have aged terribly but the worst of the bunch is probably Friday the 13th, which is just so ridiculously cliché ridden and campy that it’s hard to take it seriously, which would be fine except it’s supposed to be, you know, scary instead of funny. But really, the whole horror genre suffered from the same thing and was eventually pretty much completely killed off until Scream helped push the reset button by explicitly mocking the clichés and tropes that Friday the 13th embodies perhaps more than any other film. And Scream was released 17 years ago and has become ridiculous and clichéd and dated in its own right. So basically at this point Friday the 13th is so clichéd that even pointing out it’s clichéd has become clichéd. Or something. It’s like post-post modernism, only with slashed teenagers having sex in the woods. Seriously, I need to stop thinking about this because my head is starting to hurt.
Photo credit: YouTube/Paramount Pictures
Alright, now settle down. I see you with trembling fingers over your keyboard all ready to tell me how I’m just a big jerk who doesn’t get it and blah blah blah. But look, here’s the deal. I love Star Wars. But I love it because someone showed it to me as a little kid. I grew up with it, it’s always been there and, well, I can’t help it. But if you show this today to an adult who’s never seen it before I guarantee you they will laugh at it like it’s Flash Gordon or something. I mean look at it objectively. The once vaunted special effects are corny as hell – even as a kid I didn’t understand why people said the effects were mindblowing – the hairstyles and costumes scream ‘70s and oh yeah, one of the major characters is basically a giant space dog. Oh, and Mark Hamill is maybe the whiniest, most obnoxious “hero” you’ll ever see. Now feel free to resume your hate-filled commenting.
Photo credit: YouTube/20th Century Fox
Go ahead and pop one of these beloved classics into the Blu-ray player. Just do it and then prepare to be shocked at the incredible amount of casual racism on display. Whether it’s the crows in Dumbo, the Indians in Peter Pan or anything from The Jungle Book, you’ll be wondering how in the hell any of these ever got made. There is simply no way you could get away with this shit these days. Watch them with your kids and prepare to spend half the time explaining why something isn’t okay and the rest wondering if the next scene will involve a Klansman showing up to burst into song.
Photo credit: YouTube/Buena Vista
One day you will feel a nostalgic yearning and you will pick up an old copy of your favorite movie from when you were a kid and you’ll sit down with a smile on your face waiting for the magic to happen. Don’t do this. Don’t ever, ever do this. Just trust me. I tried this and I learned The Neverending Story literally never ends. And if it does, I can’t sit through it long enough to find out. Don’t make the same mistake. For the love of God, don’t make the same mistake.
Photo credit: YouTube/Warner Bros.