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The Criticwire Survey: Childhood Favorites

The Criticwire Survey: Childhood Favorites

Every week, Criticwire asks film critics a question and brings you their responses in The Criticwire Survey. We also ask each member of the poll to pick the best film currently playing in theaters. The most popular choices can be found at the bottom of this post. But first, this week’s question:

Q: What beloved movie from your childhood holds up just as well today? And which one doesn’t?

The critics’ answers:

Alan ZilbermanBrightest Young Things/Tiny Mix Tapes:

“‘The Sword in the Stone‘ was my favorite movie when I was a kid, and it still holds up. I remember having ‘Ferngully: The Last Rainforest‘ on VHS, and that one has not aged well.”

Mark YoungSound on Sight/New York Movie Klub:

“Regarding which movie does hold up, the correct answer is and always will be ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?‘ Those special effects are simply mind-blowing when you consider the available technology at the time, and the themes of the story became even more impressive after I watched ‘Chinatown.’ On the flipside we have ‘Tron.’ Maybe you can make a ‘Star Wars’ type of sci-fi mysticism work inside a computer if your target audience is 6 years old, but as soon as they start using computers themselves, the bloom comes off of the rose in a major way.”

Cameron WilliamsGraffiti With Punctuation:

“The film that blew my mind as a kid was ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’ I’m in my late twenties now but ‘Raiders’ holds up impeccably well today. The spirit of adventure still remains intact and there is so much to love, but when I watch it today, it’s the stunt work of Vic Armstrong (Harrison Ford’s stunt double) that keeps the film’s timeless aesthetic in order. Movies are so overloaded with special effects now, but when I watch the truck chase scene toward the end of ‘Raiders’ I am in awe. Mid-chase Indy climbs under a truck moving a high speed, is dragged behind it and then climbs back onboard into the driver’s seat. Nothing ages because you’re watching a real person pull off something incredible and throughout the film those moments keep the wonder intact. ‘Masters of the Universe‘ was the He-Man film released in 1987 but it wasn’t until it hit VHS later on that it became a favorite in our household. It was one of the first films I’d seen as a kid that was an adaption of a known cartoon series I was familiar with. I recall being curious as to what Skeletor would look like because I couldn’t fathom how the filmmakers could make a skeleton looking guy work in a live-action film. Like all children, the film was played on loop with the rest of our family’s kid-friendly movie collection. I think it was the spectacle and seeing cartoon characters in the flesh that had me so transfixed. Watching the film as an adult is a humbling experience and it has aged quite badly. The excessive grunting of Dolph Lundgren, the wobbly special effects and the Earth bound teenage characters obsession with synthesizers firmly traps it in the 80s. Although I have been waiting for Skeletor to make good on his (now) 16 year-old promise to return from the abyss.”

Anne-Katrin TitzeEye For Film:

“‘The Court Jester,’ directed and written by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, was one of my favorites and I watched it every time I came across it. Danny Kaye (who is being celebrated in his centennial year) is pure genius with word, lute, golden pants, and sword. Basil Rathbone as the real Ravenhurst was my villain of choice. The superb dialogue and the comic timing still hold up very well. Why walk when you can leap? I wouldn’t disown any of my childhood movie loves.”

“‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure‘ is a movie I loved as a kid and remains one of my favorite comedies today. Tim Burton helped bring a very dark comedy element to Pee-wee’s world that made it more than a kid’s movie and is the reason I revisit it more often than almost any other movie. It was also the beginning of the Tim Burton/Danny Elfman partnership that created some really beautiful and enjoyable stuff. As a ten year old kid, my favorite actor was Wesley Snipes and my favorite film ‘Demolition Man.’ I have said the phrase ‘Exactamundo’ far too many times. It’s unfair to use this film as I haven’t seen it in more than ten years, but there is no way ‘Demolition Man’ holds up, is there?”

“I can vividly remember being mesmerized by the creatures of ‘The Dark Crystal‘ at a young age. Naturally, my first reaction as a wee one was fear as going from singing frogs to Skeksis was something of a shock for a Muppet devotee but I also remember being enraptured by the idea that a fantasy world could be so detailed and created with such craftsmanship as to honestly cause tension and invoke nightmares. It opened the door to a young viewer to experience a lot of other fantasy — the bridge from ‘The Muppet Show’ to so much great genre work — along with just realizing the commitment it takes to bring a vision like that to the big screen. I was so apprehensive for so long that ‘The Dark Crystal’ wouldn’t hold up under adult criticism that I actually put off watching it again for decades until a DVD release of a collector’s edition a few years ago. From the very opening scenes, I knew this one had held up. It’s still a magical piece of work. On the other side of the spectrum, one that immediately comes to mind is a fantasy flick from the other end of that decade (and it makes me want to revisit ‘Legend,’ ‘Labyrinth,’ and ‘Ladyhawke’ just to check their ‘hold up’ status). I popped in a copy of ‘Willow‘ recently, buoyed by memories of a teenager who enjoyed the action-adventure. I must have been very forgiving given my (yes, I’ll admit it) D&D playing at the time and general love for the genre because the film has not held up at all. It’s horrendously paced (the opening scenes in ‘Willow”s village feel like they go on in real time), poorly written, and really quite boring. Was it never really that good or has it just not held up? Probably a bit of both.”

“‘Monster Squad‘ holds up surprisingly well. While other kids were obsessed with ‘The Goonies,’ I was running around yelling about Wolfman’s nards. I find the film is still enjoyable today and surprisingly scary for a movie aimed at kids. As for a movie that doesn’t hold up well: ‘The Dark Crystal.’ I can’t believe I was ever able to sit through that.”

“Few movies bring together my child and adult selves quite like ‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.’ I revisit it every so often, and it’s always so funny, joyous, quotable, and tightly structured. No nostalgia required! John Landis’s ‘The Stupids,’ meanwhile… well, I still enjoy it more than most, but I can’t deny that its luster has faded somewhat since the days when my siblings and I would watch it ad nauseum on VHS.”

“For my podcast, I often end up revisiting nostalgic childhood touchstones. Sometimes, these Disney movies hold up poorly or only moderately. One I was fairly nervous to rewatch was ‘The Rocketeer,’ a film I dearly adored when it opened in July of 1991, the summer before I turned 7. I hadn’t seen ‘The Rocketeer’ in many years, and feared I’d think it particularly wanting as an adult. So I was pleasantly surprised that it remains a rollicking bit of old-fashioned entertainment. Here is an unironic throwback to the gee-whiz, anything-can-be-done attitude of the 1930s, a film with a good-hearted, square-jawed hero, the stunning girl he loves but is shy around, and a sniveling villain with outsized henchmen straight out of a pulp comic. ‘The Rocketeer’ is now a bit of a relic, a cult film with a passionate if tiny fanbase, but it’s a sweet, sincere, and exciting adventure. And it’s got one hell of a theme song. In terms of movies that don’t hold up as well, I’m going with ‘Home Alone.’ I’m aware this is still a huge movie for many people around my age. When I was younger, I enjoyed it, but now, I get bothered by what I perceive as a smug, mean-spirited tone, and an excessively precocious performance from Macaulay Culkin. Just not my cup of Christmas cheer.”

“The movie from my childhood I best remember is also the one that holds up the best. ‘The Court Jester‘ isn’t just a wide-screen Danny Kaye period-piece parody-musical with Danny Kaye in what may be his finest hour. It has songs, romance, swordfights, fast-talk comedy, hypnotism, acrobatic little people, Angela Lansbury and Glynis Johns as competing dames with Basil Rathbone as the reptilian bad guy and 12 pounds of plot in an 8-pound sack. It is pure storytelling delight, and it was much beloved by my late mother, who knew the film (including Sylvia Fine’s substantial contributions in word and music and sensibility) and its bits down to the cadence of each line. I loved it then; I love it now not merely because it’s such an immensely fun film, but, rather, that it became part of my very idea of what ‘fun’ is. 

As for the film from my youth that holds up the least well, I might be thinking of it moreso now thanks to last week’s news, but ‘Valley of Gwangi,’ when I was twelve, was a strong contender for Greatest Film Ever Made Status, because it had cowboys and dinosaurs and Ray Harryhausen stop-motion combining both. In my adulthood, it has Ray Harryhausen stop-motion sequences (including a ghastly diving-horse gag) and James Franciscus being kind of a jerk. If anyone wanted to make billions of dollars at the global box office — or at least have my best wishes for good luck, which is not at all the same thing — they could remake ‘Valley of Gwangi.’ But ‘Land of the Lost’ and ‘Cowboys and Aliens’ make that prospect unlikely.”

“It would have to be ‘Toy Story,’ which still holds up wonderfully. On the other end of the spectrum, I haven’t revisited but my best guess would be that ‘Dunston Checks In‘ and ‘Baby’s Day Out‘ don’t have the same rewatchability factor.”

“When I was a kid I was obsessed with both ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Return to Oz,’ the quasi-sequel starring Fairuza Balk. The former obviously holds up, but my choice is for ‘Return to Oz.’ Even when I was a kid I thought it was fascinating and kind of dark, but I rewatched it a few months ago (20 years removed) and was astonished at how much of a punch it still packed. A forgotten classic. The one that probably doesn’t hold up is ‘Dirty Dancing,’ which I was also obsessed with. I remember thinking it was so sultry and sexy (I had a crush on Patrick Swayze, obviously). Now It’d probably just seem really cheesy.”

“I have to say I enjoy most of the films from my childhood still, so I must abstain from singling out anything there. Especially since I was a product of the VHS era and grew up with ‘Star Wars’ and ‘E.T.’ in the home it is hard to compete with the greatness of those films. I also think that enjoying a film in any capacity, whether it’s on nostalgia alone, is a valid enough reason to say it holds up. One that certainly does not stand up on recent viewing is ‘Batman Returns.’ I was so angry re-watching it, I always held it as the better of the two Burton films and I quickly found myself regretting ever holding that position. The film doesn’t care about Bruce/Batman at all and there isn’t really a coherent plot to hold on to. Sure the villains are kind of fun, but I think they blinded me (along with all those cute penguins!) to how terrible the film was in the decade plus gap between viewings.”

“‘Back to the Future‘ still holds up for me today as much as it did when I was a kid. The movie still fills me with wonder and awe and the idea that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. A movie that doesn’t work so much for me as an adult is ‘The Goonies.’ It’s chock full of pacing issues and lack of momentum. It’s a very goofy movie for me now. A better movie with almost the same premise that works for me as an adult is ‘The Monster Squad.'”

“My family is full of animal lovers, something encouraged by living in San Diego where we frequently visited the world-class San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Safari Park. I also grew up in a household ruled by Disney and loved cartoons. The beloved movies from my childhood would be ‘Old Yeller‘ and ‘Bambi.’ I still tear up during the last moments of ‘Old Yeller’ despite the acting that mark the movie as family entertainment. ‘Old Yeller’ was based on a 1956 novel by Fred Gipson. Since then I’ve been faced with the hard decision of putting a dog down, luckily not by shooting it myself. ‘Bambi’ was also a mixture of childish fun and sorrow. The animators on ‘Bambi’ studied the structure and movement of animals and used Tyrus Wong’s impressionistic backgrounds which had more detail in the center to draw attention to the center of the action. ‘Bambi’ lost money during its original release, but when it was re-released in 1947, it found its audience. This animated feature showed that cartoons can portray tragedy with such emotional impact that I still ache when I think of the death of Bambi’s mother. After seeing ‘Bambi,’ I went on to read the 1923 book (first published in English in 1928) ‘Bambi, A Life in the Woods’ which is more heartbreaking than the animated movie. Throughout my childhood I was always interested in animal stories and today in my art, I prefer animals as motifs and subject matter. 

The movie that doesn’t hold up as well would be Disney’s 1950 animated feature ‘Cinderella.’ As a child the thought of a magic fairy godmother who could sweep away your problems and find you a husband save you from your (step)mother and (step)siblings seems ideal when you’re under 10 and still think marriage is about dressing up, playing house and a chaste kiss. It would be wonderful if I could train house mice to make me ballroom gowns, too, and ride in a coach that was once a pumpkin. While I still have affection for pumpkins, I no longer have the same affection for Cinderella. Since I was a child, I learned that the Cinderella syndrome is a term used to refer to parasites, the Cinderella effect refers to the theory that stepparents tend to be more abusive toward their stepchildren and Cinderella complex refers to women who are afraid of independence and want to be taken care of by others, usually a man. As an adult, the concepts of aristocracy and people being better by birthright are the distasteful foundation of social Darwinism. Now that the Disney princess has become a commercial brand, I find ‘Cinderella’ part of a crass and less than magical movement.”

“‘Star Wars’ is too easy and too obvious an answer, even if it was my most beloved childhood film by a country mile. For that reason, I’m going to pick something else, and that would be Peter Bogdanovich’s ‘Paper Moon.’ I watched the film incessantly on cable when I was a child. Aside from being entertaining, it was somewhat revelatory for me. ‘Paper Moon’ taught me that kids can be duplicitous, an idea that had never really occurred to my young mind. I just loved watching Tatum O’Neal conning all the adults with her ‘little miss innocent’ routine. The movie still maintains its power, although as an adult, I respond to different things in it, particularly the terse dynamic between the characters played by O’Neal and her father, Ryan. As for films that don’t hold up, one that comes to mind is ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ another cable staple when I was growing up. At the time, I loved the music (Beatles songs, naturally) and the cast (The Bee Gees, Steve Martin, George Burns, etc.). Upon rewatching the film for a book I wrote two years ago, I realized what a horribly misconceived mess it actually is. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ is awesomely terrible (there’s a where where Barry Gibb punches Alice Cooper!), but I had incorrectly remembered it as being fantastic. I should probably add that I didn’t have much interest in kids’ movies until I became an adult, hence my rather un-childlike choices. I am a cinematic Benjamin Button.”

“For no particular reason, I’ll take a sports related angle here. A childhood favorite that holds up decently well to me is actually ‘Little Giants,’ which was endlessly amusing as a kid (and nowadays I know features a sound mix from the perpetually Oscar nominated Greg P. Russell).  My family knew Ed O’Neil as Al Bundy, but I knew him as Kevin O’Shea. As for the film that hasn’t really held up as well, it’s either ‘Rookie of the Year‘ or ‘Little Big League.’ I mean, I still enjoy them both, but the disregard for the rules bug me more these days. For example, in ‘Rookie of the Year,’ why can Henry skip the draft?”

“This is a really great/tough question because there are plenty of films on each list. Plus, even the movies that ‘don’t hold up’ are still nostalgic, making it hard to admit their flaws. For example, ‘Rad’ is a terrible movie, but I still love it. ‘The Monster Squad,’ doesn’t quite hold up but I still love it. However, forcing myself to pick two, I’d say one that does hold up still is ‘The Last Starfighter.’ It’s such a simple, relatable story and the journey of the hero remains still perfect. One that doesn’t is ‘Cloak and Dagger.’ The whole imaginary friend thing is a total whiff in an online era, plus the specificity of early cartridge video games is funny, but totally dated and dumb now. Also, as much as you remember Dabney Coleman being great, he’s not great as an action hero.”

“‘Re-Animator.’ ‘Jurassic Park.'”

“It’s hard to remember when I first saw, say, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life‘ or ‘Duck Soup‘ or ‘Casablanca,’ but I know I was in grade school, and they hold up pretty well, so there.  As for regrets, well, I’ve had a few.  I’ll just name ‘The Green Slime‘ and ‘Ice Station Zebra,’ the latter of which I thought (along, apparently, with Howard Hughes) was the apex of Hollywood’s art. Of course, I was not quite 10 when I had that impression, and I didn’t own my own copy; perhaps if I’d watched it nonstop I’d’ve had have seen the light sooner.”

“I realize it’s a cliche because we all have fond childhood memories of it, but ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ It’s still so wondrous and delightful, dazzling and frightening. I still get choked up when I see Judy Garland sing ‘Over the Rainbow.’ I still get scared shitless when I see the flying monkeys. On the flip side, maybe I’ll choose something silly like ‘The Incredible Shrinking Woman.’ I saw it so many times as a kid and thought it was hilarious but now I realize that the effects look super dated and the message is heavy-handed. Watch, now I’ll have the Galaxy Glue jingle stuck in my head the rest of the day.”

“Both ‘The Terminator‘ movies are still great. Wait, why was I watching them at the age of five? I guess ‘Waterworld‘ turned out to be not particularly good. I was a huge ‘Waterworld’ fan as a child.”

“I think the film that holds up the most for me from when I was a kid is ‘Airplane!‘ The 12-year-old in me still snickers at all the double entendres. I saw ‘Airplane!’ three times in the theater as a kid so it was one of my favorites films and it had that smart-ass sense of humor that I still employ and enjoy today. I’ve not seen it lately but I still know all the jokes.”

“‘RoboCop‘ and ‘RoboCop 2,’ respectively.”

“My favorite childhood movie is ‘Breaking Away,’ which holds up beautifully. It was one of the first movies we taped on our new VCR in the early 1980s and my family watched it again and again. I have it on DVD now and rewatch it every couple of years or so. The story is simple and there are no surprises but the characters are real and delightful. Excellent performances. Also, I love the music. It’s still one of my favorite films, and why isn’t it on Blu-ray? On the other hand, I have no interest in revisiting another family favorite, ‘The Apple Dumpling Gang.’ Most of what I remember about it is unfunny and some of it makes me cringe, despite a stellar cast of character actors (Bill Bixby, Harry Morgan, Slim Pickens, David Wayne). I don’t think any of the Tim Conway/Don Knotts movies my family loved when I was growing up would hold up well, and I don’t want to spoil my childhood nostalgia by watching them again.”

“Tempted to answer ‘E.T.’ or ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ but of course they still hold up. A little more surprising was how good ‘Ghostbusters‘ was when I rewatched it a year or so ago. Sure the effects are dated, but Peter Venkman is timeless.”

“‘Ghostbusters.’ I also have actual proof the film appeals to the young of today as well.  Upon attending a screening at the historic Colonial theater a young boy a few rows ahead of me, after the streams were crossed, was heard saying ‘This is awesome.’ Appreciative laughter followed from the 20 and 30 somethings in attendance. For some reason I used to watch ‘Blown Away‘ a lot as a kid. And I mean a lot. I couldn’t see recommending it to anyone now for any reason.”

“Without a doubt ‘Jaws‘ still holds up and is as terrifying as it was when I first saw it in my youth. It made me afraid to go swimming in my grandmother’s in ground swimming pool then and I’d wager that it still could do they very same thing now. I may be joking a bit there, but seriously it’s still on point and still delivers on all counts. My controversial choice of a movie from my childhood that doesn’t hold up well today would be ‘Star Wars.’ Context is everything, and maybe I’m just fed up and fatigued already at all this Episode 8 talk, but something about it just doesn’t hold the same weight for me as it once did. I re-watched it a month or so ago and I was resolved to the fact that it can only really exist for me as an artifact of nostalgia at this point. All the magic is gone.”

“Obviously a lot of childhood favorites don’t stand up to adult eyes, but I’m going to take advantage of the fact that the question doesn’t specify a ‘children’s movie’ and pick ‘Fortress‘ as the one that still holds up fine. To be clear, this isn’t the Christopher Lambert sci-fi flick; this is the Australian survival movie about a group of kids and their teacher (Rachel Ward) trying to escape and survive a kidnapping. HBO used to air it all the time, and I watched it repeatedly. I recently picked it up on DVD and was extremely pleased to see that it remains an exciting little thriller anchored by a great lead performance and a killer ending. As for which one doesn’t hold up, I have to go with ‘The Blue Lagoon‘ (My parents often failed at monitoring my TV watching). I remember it being sexy and exciting, but now it just lays there, limp, forcing me to think of Brooke Shields’ ‘Suddenly Susan’ show. I’m team ‘Paradise’ all the way now.”

“I’ve got to say ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ I still get a kick out of Dorothy — and Toto, too. And those evil flying monkeys still chill, man, even after all these years. Watched it for years on B&W TV. Imagine my delight at age 11 to finally see it in a theater and realize that most of it is in color! As for fading in the stretch? If I never see ‘101 Dalmations‘ again, animated or otherwise, that’ll suit me just fine. Toxic cuteness.”

“‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home‘ is a masterpiece through and through. However ‘The Goonies,’ contrary to Cyndi Lauper, are NOT good enough.”

“During my formative years I had two movies on VHS that were played in heavy rotation: ‘Aliens‘ and ‘Rapid Fire.’ ‘Aliens’ is still one of my favorite films. ‘Rapid Fire,’ well, ‘Rapid Fire’ still stars Brandon Lee and Powers Boothe.”

“‘Moon Over Parador‘ — just as enjoyable today as it was then. ‘Making Mr. Right‘ — Terrible. Oh so terrible.”

“Seeing ‘Star Wars‘ at the age of five was of course pretty revelatory. I left that screening obsessed not just with the ships and flashy lightsabers, but instead pestering my poor father with questions about the Force. Strip away the hype, the merch, and the years of people watching it more as an event than as a film, and I’d argue vehemently that Lucas made a damn good movie. There are these delicious moments of calm in the film that amaze years later, small twists that more bombastic latter Episodes and imitators neglected. Think of the scene where Han, Luke and Chewie are waiting for an elevator, our main characters’ consternation showing even through the bulky trooper costumes. They ride up to the detention block, facing the camera, and then walk the wrong way when the doors open. It’s a tiny moment, but for the open viewer it’s a delightfully cinematic one, simple and effective, a minor and welcome respite from the blasts of lasers that are to come. As for something I loved when I was a kid that’s now pretty terrible? That’s tough — obvious contenders, from ‘Condorman’ to ‘Black Hole,’ ‘Flash Gordon’ to ‘Tron’ still hold a soft spot for me. I’d probably have to pick 1978’s ‘Superman,’ where it’s no longer enough for me to simply believe a man can fly, where I’ve lost some of the wonder that that film first elicited in me seeing it in theaters. Then again, I’ve never rewatched some films like ‘Firefox’ since my childhood, works which at the time I completely loved yet on rewatch it’s likely they’ll be recognized as pretty horrendous.”

“‘E.T.‘ holds up. Its hardcore sentimentality works just as well now as when it came out — if not even better, thanks to the added layer of nostalgia. Every time I see the farewell scene, ‘I’ll be right there. Be good,’ I tear up. Manipulative? Hell yeah, in the very best way! At heart it’s a timeless fairy tale, which makes you bother very little about the fact that the special effects weren’t up to the standard of today. Movies that don’t hold up: a lot of comedies from the end of the ’70s and beginning of the ’80s. Humor just doesn’t age very well. Particularly I think about the movies starring Goldie Hawn, such as ‘Foul Play.’ Everyone loved it, everyone talked about it, everyone watched it, at least in Sweden, where I grew up. Now it just feels old in every possible way, particularly in its view on women. I can’t believe we put up with that once upon a time and didn’t react to it.”

“Absolutely still holding up is ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,’ which was the first movie I remember seeing in the theater. Today’s filmmakers who cram their kids’ movies with pop culture references and other of-the-now moments should take a lesson — the makers of ‘Wonka’ went out of their way not to ground the movie in too specific a place or time, and as such, it’s as brilliant now as when it was originally made. As for what doesn’t hold up: the curmudgeon in me wants to say ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ but I’m not in a brickbat-dodging mode, so I’ll go with ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,’ which now feels as bloated as any number of other post–’The Sound of Music’-als. Whimsy on a massive scale almost never works, unless you’re Terry Gilliam.”

“‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory‘ and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang‘ still hold up really well. Sorry I’m probably older than the rest of your ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ fan critics. Can’t think of any that don’t stand up cause I haven’t watched them. I know I’ll never be able to enjoy ‘Superdad‘ again after watching the Bob Crane movie ‘Auto Focus.'”

“Of all the wonderment I found as a young impressionable film fan in movies like ‘Back to the Future,’ ‘Predator,’ ‘Big Trouble In Little China,’ ‘Top Gun,’ etc. it is Joe Dante’s ‘Innerspace‘ that has held up the most in my eyes. Over more than 100 viewings it has not lost a step and remains a consistently fun, wild, and imaginative ride that gets better every time I see it. Even after all this time the story and its characters keep on giving as do the special effects (read: practical effects) and the simply sensational music by Jerry Goldsmith. Sounds cliche but they just don’t make movies like that anymore. On the flip side there are a number of films that don’t hold up. Thinking over this week’s question I had to admit that a lot of what I liked as a kid (and because of nostalgia still kind of enjoy) really is complete and utter crap. But sadly, of all the movies that lose their luster once the rose colored glasses are removed, I’m simply floored to find how far ‘The Lost Boys‘ has fallen from the pedestal I placed it on years ago.”

“The campy, gaudy and pop music-driven ‘Earth Girls are Easy‘ from 1989 has Geena Davis looking after three fur-covered aliens — eventually falling in love with one of them while they cruise the town. The trailer promises ridiculousness (and cheesiness), but when I rewatched it as an adult I found it to be high energy and good-hearted entertainment. The childhood movie that doesn’t hold up is ‘The Woman in Red‘ with Gene Wilder and Kelly LeBrock from 1984. I thought I was spying on sophisticated, adult entertainment but when I saw it years later it was just appalling. This spouse-cheating comedy is the apex of bad manners and curdling sex jokes.”

“A few years back I watched ‘The Bad News Bears‘ for the first time since practically memorizing it as a kid and was delighted to find a movie even tougher and funnier than I had remembered. On the other hand, every time ‘Caddyshack‘ is on cable I am stunned to realize that I have forgotten once again how much screen time is wasted in Michael O’Keefe.”

“‘Pork Chop Hill.’ I remember watching this anytime it was on TV and still am taken aback by it. Jerry Lewis was popular back then, but I can barely stand to watch them now.”

“‘The Wizard of Oz‘ perhaps holds up better than any other example, still having the ability to astound, to move, and to re-experience the magic of movie making and superb storytelling no matter how many times I’ve seen it. The flip side of the coin would have to be ‘Short Circuit,’ which is, frankly, a chore to sit through.”

“Nostalgia stinks. Revisit any of the following at your peril — ‘Labyrinth,’ ‘The Flight Of The Navigator,’ ‘Mac & Me,’ ‘The Wizard,’ ‘Willow.’ The list is endless. The ultimate victim of Post-Adulthood Sense Disorder (PASD) though, is probably ‘The Goonies.’ The one that holds up, and an exception to the rule, is ‘Ghostbusters.’ It’s just a versatile, great movie.”

“I have the same answer for both: ‘Grease 2.’ I had infamously bad taste as a kid, and grew up thinking the original ‘Grease’ was terrible and that sequel was far superior. After high school I learned the error of my ways and revisited ‘Grease 2’ with some embarrassment. But as bad as it is, wretched in some parts, it still has this uncanny ability to hit those inner veins of nostalgia. Especially ‘Cool Rider.’ I don’t separate the people into pro and anti ‘Grease 2’ camps like the guy who wanted a date with Drew Barrymore, but I still love its audacious badness.”

“The booby traps and slapstick of ‘Home Alone‘ were the main draw when I was six, but revisiting the film after my subsequent John Hughes education, I was treated to smart jokes and genuine heart that had previously flown over my head. Sure, the Micro Machine violence is still great (particularly Daniel Stern’s epic scream), but beyond the easy yuks is a solid story. Even the touching moments with Old Man Marley work — or should I say especially? As for one that doesn’t, I have a feeling that some of my former go-to sports movies like ‘Rookie of the Year,’ ‘Little Giants,’ and ‘The Mighty Ducks’ would seem dopey now, but I’ve somewhat purposefully abstained from finding out. I did, however, witness this regret secondhand when my Dad showed me one of his childhood favorites, ‘Summer of ’42.’ Throughout that corny movie, I kept wondering what about it had appealed to him as a kid. He must have been wondering the same thing; once it was over, he gave me a similar pained look to the one I was giving him and apologized for how bad it was.”

“‘Clash of the Titans‘ remains stop-motiontastic. ‘The Goonies‘ aren’t good enough.”

“Permit me to reword the first question as it probably should read: ‘what really good film did you accidentally like as a child?’ Like many Carter babies, the answer would have to be Kira Muratova’s late-Soviet masterpiece, ‘The Aesthenic Syndrome.’ Well, either that or Robert Zemeckis’s hidden gem, ‘Back to the Future.'”

The Best Movie Currently In Theaters on May 13th, 2013:
The Most Popular Response: Upstream Color
Other Titles Receiving Multiple Votes: The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Mud,” Something in the Air,” “Stories We Tell,” “Leviathan.”

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