10 Movies That Have Aged Horrendously
We all have our favourite movies, but did you know that they’re not always the perfect gems you thought they are?
When it comes to certain films, often classic and critically acclaimed ones, there’s a growing list that have aged incredibly poorly and can be seen as a problem by today’s standards.
So sit back and prepare to have some of the films you hold dear ripped apart and repeatedly stomped on.
Rocky, the tale of an underdog rising to the top of the boxing world, is a great movie. It’s also laced with toxicity towards women – namely, Adrian. The attitudes regarding Balboa’s wife-to-be don’t bode well; notably, when our hero invites her back to his home and quite literally pins her against the wall, against her will, and forces himself upon her.
There’s also the overt disdain her older brother Paulie holds, as he verbally abuses Adrian and even gets violent when he is unable to control and keep her all for himself – especially the part where he cries over his adult sister no longer being a virgin. Incestuously creepy behaviour.
The Greatest Showman (2017)
Having become something of a cult phenomenon over recent years, Hugh Jackman’s P.T. Barnum was actually a rather ruthless and unpleasant individual. Setting aside the undisputed brilliance of the film’s soundtrack, there is much to be frowned at when it comes to the story he and his co-stars tell.
For instance, Barnum’s main goal, at first at least, is to exploit a group of misaligned and tortured individuals for personal gain. Re-branding his newly assembled ‘gang of freaks’ for monetary gain, he fictionalises and renames some to appear even more fearsome, he continually insults, uses and throws them away at his convenience. Barnum eventually learns his lesson, but he’s not the perfect guy we might think.
Love Actually (2003)
Where do we start with this one? You can quite literally take your pick at the moments this once charming Christmas flick crumples me into a cringe-induced coma, whether it’s the incredibly bitchy fat-shaming of Martine McCutcheon’s ‘chubby girl’ character with ‘thighs the size of tree trunks’, Colin Firth’s befuddling attempt to charm as he describes himself as a ‘spaz’ while pursuing a woman he cannot communicate with and makes no attempt to value her as a person. Or whether we focus on Andrew Lincoln’s now notorious creepiness as he pesters his best friend’s new wife. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without this problematic film.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
There were always raised eyebrows when Hollywood heavyweight Scarlett Johansson was announced to front this classic Japanese anime that is clearly dripping in Asian culture and history. Yet in typically tone deaf fashion, the production’s focal point was whitewashed and ended up dividing many viewers in the process.
Created in manga form by Japanese icon Masamune Shirow, brought to the big screen as an anime movie in 1988 from Japanese director Mamoru Oshii, containing a distinctly Japanese aesthetic and future, characters and lead; it seemed an open goal to cast a Japanese actress. But when has the movie industry ever swayed towards logic?
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
Back in the ‘90s, when the trans community had virtually no voice or representation or understanding in mainstream film, it became most apparent in this plot twist used for deeply offensive, transphobic ‘comedic’ purposes. With its villain outed as a trans woman, Ace (Jim Carrey) is immediately horrified at the memory of kissing her, so he vomits, as Einhorn is revealed to have escaped from a mental hospital after suffering a breakdown from losing the Super Bowl before transitioning.
The idea that Einhorn transitioned to deceive and for nefarious purposes is absurd. It frames her as a man pretending to be a woman. At one point Ace publicly strips her down to her underwear in front of a disgusted crowd, in order to expose her ‘trans agenda’, as his sexual harassment and assault is applauded. Trans misogyny is randomly rife here as a plot device and is particularly uncomfortable to watch.
Me Before You (2016)
Who doesn’t adore Emilia Clarke? The sad truth is this sickly sweet novel adaptation is one of the most horrendous romcoms ever made. There’s so much packed in to make you wince and grimace in unwatchable discomfort, yet the most damaging take away is the entire flipping plot.
Not only is it increasingly distasteful to see able-bodied actors mimic the physical characteristics of a disabled person, but when said paralysed character (played here by Sam Claflin) opts to kill himself rather than live in a wheelchair, it puts a horrendous and troubling message out there.
Regardless of growing disdain for the ‘worst’ Chris in Hollywood, we need to talk about Pratt’s character’s lack of consent in this sci-fi drama opposite Jennifer Lawrence.
The only snag here is the entire movie premise, when Jim (Pratt) wakes up a century too early from his sleep chamber in deep space, develops an unhealthy obsession with Lawrence’s Aurora, then decides to wake her, lie about it and condemn her to live out her days alone with him as he manipulates her into falling in love. Despite Jim being the bad guy here, he ends up getting mad at Aurora’s reaction to the orchestrated death sentence. Go figure.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
A hit comedy this may have been, but it’s aged horrifically. Not only is the title problematic in that its sole purpose is to shame adult virgins, no doubt triggering anxiety or trauma for many people (by choice or otherwise), it’s also extremely homophobic in parts. In one mortifying scene, co-stars Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen indulge in a ‘You know how I know you’re gay?’ back and forth, as if jokes about being gay is acceptable and we should all laugh at it, rather than acknowledge how wildly homophobic the digs are. And how dare it mock adult toy collectors, too!
The actual film itself may not be a cause for concern, but its off-camera controversies most certainly are.
Released during a global pandemic and failing to make a fraction of its predicted box office earnings is the least of Disney’s issues, after lead actress Liu Yifei publicly declared her support for the Hong Kong police that had been violently assaulting unarmed protesters in an ongoing reign of terror. Later, people then discovered the production had proudly filmed in the province where Uighur Muslims had been forced into internment camps and thanked the Chinese government for its participation. Yikes.
The Prom (2020)
Even in December of 2020, and with the progressive powerhouse of Netflix as its backing, it appears Hollywood is still at it with its representation of gay people.
James Corden (a notably straight, and somewhat unfunny man) embodies the most stereotypically flamboyant depiction of a gay man you could possibly conjure. It ticks every single box for how gay men have been derogatorily characterised for entertainment and comedic purposes over decades. Camping it up is one thing but the first five minutes of this will have you mortified at how Corden approaches the characterisation of ‘gay bloke in musical’. Ew.
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