The Unpopular Opinions of a Film Addict

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This type of content is very popular (!) on YouTube channels, and I thought I would take it on WordPress for a (hopefully) fun article. Hey, I’m not claiming that I’m reinventing the wheel and that nobody has ever done that on their blog before (actually, I’m sure tons of people have) but, in my case, it’s not something I came across so often on other people’s film blogs.

We all have our tastes, what we like and what we don’t like. There’s always THIS film that pretty much everyone loves, but there’s alien who doesn’t (therefore that taste becomes an “unpopular opinion”). And I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my unpopular opinions regarding my taste in films. So, things that I don’t like that everybody likes or things that I like that nobody likes. You get the idea. I use the not very recherché term “thing” because it won’t only concern films but also actors, concepts and all sort of things related to cinema.

I put all this in a very random order (more likely what comes first to my head) because I don’t think it’s something you can rank. Of course, these opinions (tastes) concern only me and if you like something that I don’t like that’s perfectly fine and to your advantage because I think it’s better to love than to hate.

Ok, here we go!

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1- I REALLY don’t mind the pairing of Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper in Love in the Afternoon (Billy Wilder, 1957).

I feel this is probably THE unpopular opinion par excellence. Most people have admitted to feeling a bit cringy at the idea that Audrey Hepburn (who was then in her twenties) and Gary Cooper (who was then in his fifties) play lovebirds with such a huge age gap in one of Wilder’s most underrated films. While I get why this would make some people uncomfortable, I think I’ve always seen beyond that. I remember, the first time I watch it with my parents, we did observe that there was a considerable age difference between the twos, but it was precisely more and observation rather than a critic. Like, “oh, that’s interesting”. We moved on to watch the film and appreciated it. Simple as that. And to me, this age gap sort of makes sense with the story and the characters Cooper and Hepburn respectively play. I mean, Frank Flanagan is that playboy who has a considerable background of life adventures and experiences. To me, it makes more sense if he’s in his 50s than if he’s in his 20s. Meanwhile, Hepburn plays that young lady who precisely had a pretty quiet life so far and who has a lot ahead of her to discover. Once again, I’m not saying that the story would have made no sense whatsoever if there was a smaller age gap between them, but it would have been a bit less credible unless you agree to make concessions and change a lot of things in the screenplay.

And well, it’s Gary Cooper, damn it!

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2- I prefer Cape Fear‘s remake by Martin Scorsese (1991) than the original version by J. Lee Thompson (1962).

Don’t get me wrong, the original is a brilliant piece of film and, objectively, perhaps a better product overall (and it was quite ahead of its time) but there’s an intensity in the remake one that I quite like, and that is not so present in the original.

3- I’m not that much a fan of Meryl Streep’s performance in Sophie’s Choice (Alan J. Pakula, 1982).

Now, I know some of you will probably be willing to throw rocks at me. Understandable. But the thing is, I’m overall not THAT much a fan of Meryl Streep. I mean, I recognize she has talents, and she’s a very versatile actress, but she’s never been a favourite you know. I chose Sophie’s Choice (ha.ha) as a particular case because people often consider it to be one of her best performances. And I know what I will say will probably sound terrible but her character mostly… annoys me… I know it’s terrible because it’s a character that goes through a lot but yeah… Anyway, I saw this film a long time ago, so maybe if I give it another try, I’ll learn to appreciate Streep’s performance better.

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4- I prefer Fred MacMurray’s in comedic roles than dramatic roles.

I’m not sure if that counts as an “unpopular opinion”, but I’ve often heard here and there that dramas like Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) allowed MacMurray to develop his skills as an actor and be considered a serious actor and so forth. Na, I don’t like him much in these roles, and because the first films I saw with him were generally dramas, he had never really been a favourite of mine. And then, not a long time ago (last Spring). I watched him in Hands Across the Table (Mitchell Leisen, 1935) and Alice Adams (George Stevens, 1935), and my opinion of him changed for the best. Anyway, I might prefer a comic and smiling Fred MacMurray! So, if you have other great comedies with Fred MacMurray to recommend to me, don’t hesitate to write them in the comments! PS: I’ve seen The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960) (which is a dramatic comedy) and I love that film, but I don’t really like MacMurray in it. He’s not funny anyway. And this directly leads me to my next unpopular opinion:

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Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray in a fun scene from Hands Across the Table!

5- I don’t really like Double Indemnity.

I hesitated to include this one because its nothing new (I mean, it’s not the first time I mention my lack of interest for Double Indemnity) but since we were talking about MacMurray… I sincerely would like to love this film and, honestly, I’ve tried. But it just doesn’t work for me. It’s a shame because I love Billy Wilder and I love films noir. But yeah, Fred MacMurray annoys me, Barbara Stanwyck and her wig annoy me (despite being a favourite of mine. Babs, not the wig), so I guess it doesn’t help. Maybe one day I’ll give it another chance again because I have the DVD at home (I bought it because I was sure that I was going to like it. Mistake). I do love the score by Miklós Rózsa and Edward G. Robinson’s performance tho. Oh, and Quebec Drive: that was cool!

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6- I don’t mind wooden acting.

I know a lot of people say that, for example, Grace Kelly was not that much a good actress. Of course, I disagree as she’s my favourite actress (along with Audrey Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman)! And one of the reasons is that she was too “wooden”. She even said it herself about her performance in High Noon (Fred Zinnemann, 1952) (she was quite a modest person). While I do agree that wooden acting lacks a bit of “pep!” at times, sometimes, it works better in some situation as it appears more natural than a more theatrical type of acting. A wooden Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950) would have been weird because Norma Desmond is so larger than life. However, but we don’t need an overly theatrical Grace Kelly as Amy Kane, right? One must take the type of role and the type of story into consideration. And there’s a certain actress whose acting I precisely have difficulty to fully appreciate because she’s often very theatrical when it isn’t necessary.

7- Criterion should release a Carry On box set.

I have the feeling that it’s not an idea that has often been suggested, mostly because Carry Ons, in opposition to most films that are part of the Criterion Collection, aren’t considered masterpieces (they are entertainment at its most primitive form). However, in my opinion, they were culturally significant, and I’m sure many other Carry On fans like me would love to see some of these films get the Criterion treatment! Carry on Criterion!

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Jim Dale and Barbara Windsor in Carry On Again Doctor (Gerald Thomas, 1969)

8- Sandra Dee was a fairly good actress.

She’s always been a favourite of mine, and I find her very easy to like. And, while I recognize that she was not THE actress who revolutionized acting, I believe she deserves more credits that just being labelled as the cute girl next door. Her performance in A Summer Place (Delmer Daves, 1959) shows a lot of strength. Furthermore, her first role as the youngest Leslie siblings in Until They Sail (Robert Wise, 1957) is one that, in my opinion, is difficult not to like. Her dynamism in this film is contagious, and she shows great chemistry with all her on-screen partners.

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Sandra Dee, Jean Simmons and Joan Fontaine in Until They Sail

9- Eli Wallach could be sexy.

Ok, I know that one sounds a bit random. Most of us will probably think of Eli as “the ugly” in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966) (and, in this case, the sexy one is Clint Eastwood. Well, according to “standard” tastes) and he is not the actor you would label as handsome or sexy. But have you seen him in Baby Doll (Elia Kazan, 1956)? Eli Wallach, in this film, is the living proof that charisma is sexitude. We could apply this concept to a lot of other actors/actresses who weren’t necessarily conventional beauties.

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Carroll Baker and Eli Wallach in Baby Doll

10- Charters & Caldicott (Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne) were perhaps the best on-screen pair.

I know a lot of people will choose a pair like Loy-Powell or Hepburn-Tracy if asked this question, but there’s something unique about Charters & Caldicott. Ok, I might be a bit influenced by my love for The Lady Vanishes (Alfred Hitchcock, 1938) and British cinema, but think about it: Charters & Caldicott (first introduced in The Lady Vanishes) became so popular among audiences that they appeared as Charters & Caldicott in three other films that were not sequels to The Lady Vanishes. It was not just Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne; it was Charters and Caldicott, the two chaps obsessed with cricket. Those films were Night Train to Munich (Carol Reed, 1940), Crook’s Tour (John Baxter, 1941) and Millions Like Us (Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder, 1943). BBC even produced a short Charters & Caldicott TV series in the 80s, but these were (obviously) not embodied by Wayne and Radford anymore. Both character actors also appeared together in other films including the excellent Dead of Night (1945), in the sequence directed by Charles Crichton and, while they play different roles, they very much could have been Charters & Caldicott again. I mean, it would have worked perfectly. Just add a few cricket humour here and there.

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I’ll stop to ten unpopular opinions for now! I’m sure more ideas will come to my mind eventually, but that could be for a second part!

Of course, I’d be curious to know some of YOUR unpopular opinions regarding films, and if you are a blogger yourself, I would love it if you wrote your own article to express these! 🙂

See you!

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21 thoughts on “The Unpopular Opinions of a Film Addict

  1. I like Fred MacMurray in the Disney movies he did, like Flubber and The Absent Minded Professor. He’s such a perfect Dad in those, that the Apartment and Double Indemnity were rather a shock for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This article is fun.

    Age gaps don’t bother very often. I don’t think of actors having ages, but age ranges.

    Regarding Meryl in Sophie’s Choice: one of my younger sisters got the giggles watching this at the theatre because all of a sudden she pictured Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, and Tim Conway as the leads doing one of their classic movie spoofs on The Carol Burnett Show.

    Launder and Gilliat wanted to do more with Charters and Caldicott and I certainly wish those opportunities had come about.

    We part ways on Cape Fear as I find the original deeply intense and the remake too over-the-top to be so.

    I think too many times fans will use the description of “wooden” where it is not warranted. Someone has to play subtle and normal.

    I appreciate Fred MacMurray’s abilities in all types of films but I do agree that he had a special way with comedy. Recommendations: The Egg and I, The Gilded Lily, No Time for Love, Too Many Husbands, Take a Letter, Darling, The Shaggy Dog, and The Absent-Minded Professor. I would also recommend one drama, if not yet seen, because I think you would enjoy the mid-century vibe of Woman’s World.

    – Caftan Woman

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing, it’s always interesting to read informed and honest opinions that buck the mainstream. It’s good to shake things up and clear out the cobwebs of complacency.

    This brought a few thoughts to mind:
    1. One old/young entanglement that I’ve never really liked was Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits. It’s a great film, but the romantic attraction of Wallach and Gable towards Monroe always felt creepy to me, and now even more so in the “MeToo” era.
    2. I didn’t mind Fred MacMurray in drama, and his weak-willed character in Double Indemnity worked for me. However, one actor I never enjoyed in drama was Dick Powell. His boyish good looks worked better in musical/comedy films, most memorably in Busby Berkley musicals. I didn’t find him believable as a tough guy.
    3. I agree that wooden acting is ok if it’s done in the context of a wooden character. However, I don’t think Grace Kelly was the right choice for High Noon because of her delicate beauty; I think a plain and sturdy actress like Marjorie Main would have been a more realistic choice for a Quaker wife.
    4. I agree about the Carry On box set. Criterion doesn’t only release serious films, and this would be a fun addition to their catalog,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Double Indemnity and Sandra Dee. I think Doctor, You’ve Got to Be Kidding (despite the awful name) is a pretty good film, largely because of her performance. I’m also a fan of If a Man Answers. I wish I could see it again for the first time so the jokes would be fresh.

    I would tweak the Eli Wallach comment. I don’t think he was exactly sexy in Baby Doll. He is incredibly charismatic there, and I would put that performance as one of my top 100 or so of all time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I guess we share some unpopular opinions. I am not a great fan of Meryl Streep either and I have a major soft spot for Sandra Dee. She was cute, but also rather adept as a dramatic actress. Audrey Hepburn tended to be cast opposite men decades older than her in most films. And the one I have always had the biggest problem with is Bogart and herself in Sabrina. I just can’t believe the two of them together and find it very distracting.

    Hands Across the Table is one of my favorite under-rated comedies.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fun post! I especially agree with you about Eli Wallach. Occasionally there was this swarthy, smirky, sexy thing about him that I was not immune to. I feel the same way about today’s Michael Shannon (another extremely unpopular opinion, I’ve found).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great idea for an article. At some time I think I’ll pick this topic up. 🙂
    I too share a few of your opinions. And here are a few unpopular opinions of my own.

    1. About Meryl Streep, can’t stand her in anything. For me completely over-rated. The same goes for Katharine Hepburn. She comes on the screen, I run.

    2. About Cape Fear, can’t agree with you there because (more unpopular opinion) I don’t like Robert de Niro. He has the same mannerisms in every film and I found his Max Cady more annoying than scary. Mitchum on the other hand scared the hell out of me. He was sexy too.

    3. About the Carry On films, I can’t believe you sat through all of them and wrote about them. That alone is an achievement. 🙂 I can watch one, but that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I like Meryl Streep occasionally… I haven’t seen “Sophie’s Choice” so I can’t comment. However, I loved her in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

    Re: Audrey and the older men. I dislike Audrey with Gary Cooper in “Love in the Afternoon.” I actually just dislike the film. I’ve tried watching it multiple times and I just can’t. This film, and “Irma La Douce” are two rare Billy Wilder mis-steps for me. I do agree that Bogart was too old for Audrey in “Sabrina.” I love “Sabrina” too. However, I think it would have been better had they cast William Holden in Bogart’s part, and someone younger in Holden’s. However, even though Cary Grant is old enough to be Audrey’s father, I don’t find them weird in “Charade.” Same thing with Fred Astaire in “Funny Face.” Maybe it’s because Grant and Astaire exude youth, whereas Bogart looked world weary and tired in “Sabrina.”

    I love Fred MacMurray in his dark roles. I also love “Double Indemnity” in spite of Stanwyck’s wig. I agree that that wig is awful. I also love MacMurray in “The Apartment.” I don’t really care for him as much in his Disney films or on “My Three Sons.”

    I love the original “Cape Fear” much more than the remake. In my opinion, the only remake that comes close to the original is “The Simpsons” parody with Sideshow Bob in the Robert Mitchum part, and Bart Simpson in the Gregory Peck part. The original film is so intense. Robert Mitchum is such a creep, but hot at the same time. I think he was far more terrifying than Robert DeNiro, because it is conceivable that Mitchum could pick-up and seduce a woman only for her to discover she’s in trouble when it’s too late. DeNiro on the other hand, was a creep from the get go, and he was just gross. I will throw out he controversial opinion that I don’t care for many of Martin Scorsese’s films.

    I love Sandra Dee. “Gidget” is one of my absolute favorite films of all time. I’ve been known to watch it multiple times in a month. “That Funny Feeling” and “If a Man Answers” are also two of my favorites. Another great Dee film is “Take Her, She’s Mine,” co-starring James Stewart.

    Re: wooden acting. I like Grace Kelly. Her “woodenness” works because she’s so often cast as an ice queen type. I haven’t see “High Noon” yet. But I think Grace is one of the absolute best parts of “Rear Window.” She’s so gorgeous, has amazing costumes, and has such a screen presence that it’s hard to take your eyes off her when she’s on screen. It’s a shame that she became Princess Grace and abandoned her career after only 12 films. I think Kim Novak can seem wooden at times, and I also love her. She’s so gorgeous, but differs from her other blonde counterparts. Novak never plays the dumb blonde. I love that her characters are always strong-willed, but vulnerable. “Picnic” is one of my absolute favorite films.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, thank God someone agrees with me on Love in the Afternoon! Out of all the films with an older man who is paired with a younger woman, it seems that film always gets a snide comment. I really liked it and I didn’t find the age gap at all, especially since it was mentioned a couple of times in the film. What I do have an issue with is Audrey’s wardrobe and hair that made her seem younger than both her and her character. I mean, yeah.. she’s going to look a lot younger than her 50 something love interest when you put her in pigtails!! LOL other than that I thought it was a cute film that had a lot of charm from both characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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