Another film that’s probably on the line when it comes to defining it as a ‘classic’ film – personally though, I don’t go a Christmas without watching this. And boy – Bill Murray makes a great asshole. It’s funny how likable he is no matter how unlikable he’s supposed to be.
Despite this, the critics freaking hated it. Like, really hated it. Variety called it an “appallingly unfunny comedy”, USA Today said it was a “monumental mess”, and the Los Angeles Times found it “as funny as a mugging.” Jesus. Most of the reviews seemed to think of it as some kind of ‘mess.’ As if the plot was somehow muddled.
Here’s a theory – perhaps everyone had been gauging this film all wrong when it first came out. Perhaps they expected it to be a true adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” If that were the case than it’s easy to imagine why critics hated it.
7. Now Voyager
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if an old black & white film is actually good in the way it’s often hard to tell if an elderly person is actually wise. Old people can be dumb too right? It would be prejudiced to think otherwise. And in that respect, old films can be bad as well. That being said – Now Voyager is not considered to be a bad film in the least, and has contributed quite a lot to the genre of romance, however it’s easy to see how time had a factor in this. Firstly – it’s a genre that not everyone enjoys and secondly it’s sappy as all hell. That’s why this 1942 review from the New York Times isn’t all that surprising:
“Now Voyager, either because of the Hays office or its own spurious logic, endlessly complicates an essentially simple theme. For all its emotional hair-splitting, it fails to resolve its problems as truthfully as it pretends. In fact, a little more truth would have made the film a good deal shorter.”
No, it’s not exactly a declaration of hate – and the film did get a few nominations that year and even won for its score – but it also didn’t seem to wow anyone. As the review goes on to say, the film “stars out bravely” but ends “exactly where it started – and after two lachrymose hours.” Which is a nice way of saying that it was really emotional and had no payoff.