8 Films that Seemed Good When We Were Young and Impressionable

American Beauty

(1999) dir. Sam Mendes

The Academy Award winner American Beauty is generally well-liked by many and obviously received stellar reviews upon its release. But the fact is, it hasn’t aged very well. The floating bag sequence seems a little ridiculous, and as I saw more and more films, I realized that suburban malaise and strife is a common theme that goes back as far as the technicolor melodramas of Douglas Sirk from the ’50s. Not to mention that compared to Todd Solondz’s films Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) and especially Happiness (1998), American Beauty seems tame by comparison. It’s not that Mendes’ film is bad – it’s just that it’s not as great as we thought it was.

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Dan Hoffman

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