10 Movies That Are Only Considered Good Because Of Nostalgia, According To Reddit


Even though this summer’s big releases promise to transport audiences back to another era in Blonde and Don’t Worry Darling, both use their darker themes to avoid ever relying on nostalgia to win over the viewer. Not every movie has managed to avoid this accusation, with some arguing that movies like The Artist and Ready Player One would be a lot lower-rated if not for it.

Meanwhile, there are tons of movies from the 80s and 90s that are widely considered classics but simply don’t hold up once nostalgia is put aside. From Space Jam to Tim Burton’s Batman, Reddit thinks these movies need to be re-evaluated with rose-tinted glasses taken off.


10/10 Ready Player One (2018)

Whilst Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of the popular Young Adult novel was well-liked by critics when it was released, a lot of the conversation surrounding the movie was about its countless popular culture references, particularly to 80s classics like The Shining and Back to the Future.

That’s why Redditor nonoguy received agreement simply for putting forward “Ready Player One” as something only considered good because of nostalgia. Some criticized the movie for being a lot less interested in its characters than overwhelming the audience with references, so it’s no surprise many think it’s a prime example.

9/10 Space Jam (1996)

Though critical reception towards Space Jam was initially mixed, it became an instant classic thanks to its over-the-top humor and clever use of pop culture icons which was appreciated by its young target audience. With the sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy being critically panned last year, it’s only strengthened many people’s fond memories of the original.

Redditor TaylorDangerTorres thinks that those people might be surprised if they rewatched it though, calling it “all celebrity cameos and crappy animation.” Many forget that the movie began life as a commercial and, with its abundance of slap-stick humor and reliance on celebrities, arguably panders to its audience just as much as its much-hated sequel.

8/10 American Graffiti (1973)

Everyone knows about the massive success George Lucas found directing Star Wars but people may be less familiar with his earlier comedy-drama American Grafitti. Produced on a relatively small budget, its 60s coming-of-age story resonated with audiences and meant the movie made a huge profit.

Redditor 200balloons is cynical about why that is, calling it “the movie version of the jukebox stage musical,” and describing it as “pandering & mostly pointless.” Whilst critics were mostly impressed by its touching portrayal of teen attitudes at the time, the focus on old-fashioned cars and music does a lot to define the movie’s nostalgic tone.

7/10 A Christmas Story (1983)

It’s possible to argue that every Christmas movie relies on nostalgia to an extent, generally appealing to the audience’s childhood memories of the season. Redditor kingofthejungle223 thinks this is particularly true in the case of A Christmas Story as it’s even presented as a series of loosely-connected childhood anecdotes.

Although the movie is a seasonal fixture, they argue that it’s so reliant on its sentimental presentation that “you never had to look at the film to know exactly how it wanted you to feel” and that it only works as “background noise.” Indeed, the warmth of nostalgia is usually the main thing viewers take away from the movie but fans would point out that its comedy isn’t without some bite too.

6/10 The Goonies (1985)

Initially receiving moderately positive reviews, it’s only in the years since its release that The Goonies came to gain the cult classic status it still holds today. Redditor VariableSlothrop thinks that nostalgia is the reason why people’s views on the movie have become more positive over time, calling the adventure movie “outright bad.”

The Goonies presents its whacky plot of kids searching for pirate treasure with a sentimental Spielbergian twinkle and that’s likely a part of why the movie is considered alongside other classics like E.T. despite not holding up as a cinematic spectacle. Despite that, the movie has no shortage of fans who believe there’s a real heart behind its story of childhood friendship.

5/10 Event Horizon (1997)

Although the idea that Event Horizon‘s strong opening ultimately gives way to a gory mess of a movie isn’t exactly new, with critics expressing this exact sentiment when it was released, it’s a view that’s gotten less popular as the movie has gained a cult following on home media.

Redditor HugoStiglit thinks that’s because “a big chunk of its fanbase saw it in theatres when they were teenagers” when the simple appeal of over-the-top horror might have had a stronger draw and influenced their overall view of the movie. Meanwhile, those who never had that initial experience when they were younger often come to the same conclusion as the critics.

4/10 Superman (1978)

Whilst many are nostalgic for the Christopher Reeve era of Superman, not everyone looks back on this time as fondly as others. Redditor weaksaucedude thinks “Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman” as a whole is only considered good because of nostalgia, and points out how “He killed Zod with a smile on his face.”

This is particularly notable because Henry Cavill’s Superman was criticized for killing Zod when the primary difference is that Reeve’s more one-dimensional version of the hero didn’t have the emotional turmoil after. The cheesiness of this era produced some Superman movies that are perfect for kids but it’s unlikely to have the same appeal to an adult who’s never seen them before.

3/10 The Artist (2011)

Some movie fans might consider it sacrilege to say that The Artist has nothing to offer aside from nostalgia given that the movie received universal acclaim and swept up at the Oscars but one Redditor believes that to be the case. They consider its use of the black-and-white silent movie format a “gimmick” and think “it pales in comparison to actual silent movies from that era.”

The Artist has frequently been called a love letter to classic cinema and the dazzling performances of its cast were deservedly lauded, but it’s worth noting that fans of the movie talk a lot more about its style rather than its substance. Without these sentimental stylistic elements, it’s debatable whether it would have been a fraction as successful.

2/10 Casper (1995)

A family comedy with some surprisingly dark elements, Casper won over tons of kids to the friendly ghost thanks to some great performances and delightful visual effects. Nearly 30 years on, it’s no surprise the movie is still treasured by those who first saw it when they were kids.

For those without fond memories of watching the movie the first time, like one Redditor who put forward “The movie: Casper” as their suggestion for a movie that’s clouded by nostalgia, its flaws might be a lot more noticeable. Casper‘s sappy story and those effects that haven’t aged too well are harder to ignore with a more objective view.

1/10 Batman Returns (1989)

With so many superhero movies being made in recent years, ensuring at least some of them are instant classics, it’s easy to forget that comic book movie fans once had to rely on blockbusters like Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Perhaps it’s the lack of choice that explains why so many rated the ridiculously over-the-top Batman and Batman: Returns highly.

Redditor MikeArrow admits that they love it too as “a childhood favorite” but admits that, on a more realistic level, “there’s a lot of oddball stuff in there that makes me scratch my head.” With some truly absurd performances and incredibly cheesy lines in there, some nostalgia is required to get past its eccentricity.

NEXT: 15 Frustrating Movie Cliches That Need To End, According To Reddit


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