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.