Superman Then and Now (and lackluster L&H material)

Then and Now

Armchair SquidSuze of Subliminal Coffee, Nicki Elson, and Nancy Mock are hosting a Then and Now blogfest, posing the following questions:

The greatest films stand the test of time, speaking to us in different ways at various life stages.  Is there a movie that was a part of your life when you were younger that you see differently now? Like fine wine, has it improved with age or did it die in the bottle? Has maturity brought you new insights you missed in your youth? We want to know all about it!

I’m sure this confession will make most people cringe, but I used to love Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. It was seriously my favorite Superman movie when I was a kid, and I never understood why so many people bashed it and held it up as the worst Superman movie.

When I saw it again when I was older (can’t remember if I were a twentysomething or just in my very late teens), after not having seen it in awhile, I was absolutely horrified and appalled at just how awful it was. I couldn’t even believe I’d loved it so much, and for so long.  I finally understood why so many people hated it so much. As a kid, I loved how it was about world peace, and thought it was awesome how Superman threw all the weapons into the Sun. As an adult, it just struck me as a bad storyline, bad acting, bad lines, bad special effects, you name it.

****************

My regular readers may remember how much I adore Laurel and Hardy, and how much they’ve meant to me since my difficult junior year of high school. However…

A couple of Laurel and Hardy shorts I loved as a teenager didn’t do anything for me when I revisited them after getting the awesome boxed set from England (back when Hallmark was holding all their sound-era stuff from Hal Roach Studios hostage). I suddenly no longer found Times Two or The Laurel and Hardy Murder Mystery too funny at all, and The Chimp was no longer that side-splittingly hilarious. (I’m so glad Hollywood stopped having actors dressing in primate costumes, while everyone acts so scared of what’s so obviously a person in a gorilla or chimp suit.) I now understand why these shorts aren’t rated so highly.

Their 1944 film Nothing But Trouble likewise no longer amuses me. I loved it when I first saw it, but now I agree it’s pretty awful. Their post-Hal Roach films are really hit and miss, and in general much lower quality overall (for reasons too long to get into here). This is one of those misses. It’s just sad and embarrassing to watch. At least they had far more hits than misses over their entire career, and recouped their popularity in the Fifties with successful tours of English dancehalls.

I still love them in spite of some missteps, though, and I’m proud to have taken part of my Hebrew name as a tribute to Stan. I’d planned to only have the name Chana Esther, but ended up taking the triple name Chana Esther Dafna. Dafna is Hebrew for “laurel,” and one of the reasons I chose that name was because of Stan.

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13 comments on “Superman Then and Now (and lackluster L&H material)

  1. Suze says:

    🙂 Did you watch the first and second Superman installments? I remember reading an interview with C. Reeve in which he refused to even comment on Superman IV.

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  2. stephie5741 says:

    Even the first Superman…watching it now, you realize the acting wasn’t so good…

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  3. Lesson – never go back and watch something as an adult that you loved as a kid. You’re right, usually you’ll be disappointed.

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  4. Superman has always been iffy for me. I’ve never made it all the way through even the first movie.

    I love your story about your Hebrew name.

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    • Suze says:

      ‘Superman has always been iffy for me. I’ve never made it all the way through even the first movie.’

      !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Sacrilege.

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  5. Chrys Fey says:

    I agree with Stephanie that even the first one doesn’t seem as good as it used to be. Superman is still my favorite superhero though. 🙂

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  6. Stephanie Scott says:

    I watched all the Superman movies at some point as a kid and I also don’t remember Superman IV being awful until I was much older and could more readily understand movie criticism.

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  7. Susan Gourley says:

    I remember really liking the first Superman movie with C. Reeves in it. He was just so darn cute. It was downhill from there. I barely remember what four was about.

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  8. angryparsnip says:

    I remember the TV series so any Superman movie is just over the top for me.

    cheers, parsnip

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  9. Arlee Bird says:

    I must have missed Superman IV–don’t remember any of that. I loved the first couple installments though.

    Loved Laurel and Hardy when I was a kid. Haven’t seen them much in recent years. Humor was definitely different back then. I still think W.C.Fields is hilarious.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  10. Nicki Elson says:

    Well, then, I guess I’ll count myself lucky that I never even knew that Superman film existed. Glad you’ll forgive L&H their missteps — they deserved to have a few.

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  11. Morgan Shamy says:

    I wonder how I would react seeing them again!!!! I probably shouldn’t! LOL! 😉

    (And thank you for your kind words on my blog, Carrie-Anne… they certainly mean a lot. Thanks) 🙂

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  12. Nancy Mock says:

    I loved the first two Superman movies, but I don’t think I ever saw IV. I looked through the images of it on Google… doesn’t look familiar. Sounds like I am not missing much! 🙂
    The one Laurel and Hardy movie I have watched a lot is “March of the Wooden Soldiers” which I do like – it was on tv every year at Christmastime. It has their slapstick and banter, and is pretty fun. I haven’t seen the ones you mention, and it’s too bad that they don’t hold up because I do think of them as a classic comedic duo.

    Thanks for sharing these on our Bloghop!
    Nancy at Hungry Enough To Eat Six

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