You Can’t Please Everyone – The Graduate

One star Amazon reviews of classic movies, music and literature. Today we take a look at The Graduate:

Let me see if I get this right about this “classic” film of the 60′s. Boy graduates from College, then has a torrid, sordid affair with his Dad’s best Friend/Business Partner’s Wife.
He then goes thru a phase of alienation with his parents. Then he breaks off the affair with Ms. Robinson in order to stop the marriage of her daughter. So that he can run off with her. There by by ruining Dad’s business and a marriage.
But on the plus side it has a great musical score. It sounds a lot like something out of Larry Springer to me. But then I could be wrong!

I was 21 when this came out, it was pointless then and still is.
Hoffman was no actor and still is not.

I don’t understand why everyone likes this movie so much. To me, it is absolutely the worse film i have ever seen. We saw it in my film study class and i just couldn’t even stand to look at the screen after a while. it is extremely boring, the script is the kind of funny that you get, but don’t feel like laughing at, the music is okay, but can’t salvage the movie, and the directing is just asking for people to fall asleep. i’m not someone who goes for meaningless movies, quite the contrary. however, i don’t see any meaning or symbolism in this movie at all, i think it looks like something that is a very bad, first attempt at filming. i could probably do better in my backyard with a camera. don’t watch it, it’ll be the worse, most boring time of your entire life! i wouldn’t even give it any stars, i’d give it negative stars if that was a choice!

I had heard a lot of things before even seeing this film, but I’d never really heard the plot so I was surprised how drawn out, and well, just pointless it all weas. Yeah I never was interested in the Ms. Robinson/Benjamin relationship, but I had at least assumed that it would not start in the first tenth of the film. The movie felt arduously lengthy because everything was rushed. Now that paradox was the only problem, because in general the movie just made too little sense.

Hoffman’s character for instance goes through this ‘Ferris Buehler’ transformation (another movie I disliked), and well where did that come from? The first few minutes he seems happy and is smiling, and then he’s upset because well he graduated college, apparently the worst thing in the world, only to still be surrounded by his rich family and friends that could, and would, support him in life. Yes, class struggles are hard especially when you’re on the top.

Oh, and Benjamin’s stalker tactics with Elaine would land him in jail, and not to the ultimate end of the story (which looks more like a Pacino clip from Scarface.)

Lastly, enough about the plot and let’s talk soundtrack music. You know what? I really love Simon and Garfunkel music, but I also like soundtracks that do not play three songs three times each. They say this music was etched into the mind of America, and there is a reason for that! Simply put, that is all the music you hear, and by the end of it you do not know what is worse: the constant replaying of songs, or the story component of the film.

Don’t waste your time or your money to buy or rent this movie because it is of little value and little relevance. I watched this for the second time thinking I missed something when I watched when I was younger and it was even worse. I kept looking at the back of the DVD cover the whole time I watched the movie and tried to figure where the NY Times came up with “funny, outrageous, and touching.” What’s funny,outrageous, and touching was that once upon a time, a year before I was born, people actually thought this was a good movie. I can forgive you if you liked it back then, but grow up for heaven’s sakes and admit your mistakes, fast forward to the year 2006 and you find this movie not only boring but shallow. I’d much rather be tortured with reruns of “Footloose” than this movie.

Ben is weak, immature, a stalker, lazy, has bad taste in woman and at 21 is unable to tell his parents no when they ask him to wear a scuba suit for their family friends. Wow! Revolutionary film-making…not!

Ben treats Elaine like crap on their first date and when Elaine asks to leave they make up and fall in love in like 30 seconds. What whiney Elaine sees in Ben is not clear in the movie and what he sees in her is not clear either. All the parents are cartoonish (however, not even a good cartoon today would have such over the board one-dimensional characters as these were) with no depth or realism infused into their characters.

If you have a brain and like to watch movies that stimulates or if you’re just into good stories don’t buy the Hollywood self-love hype and don’t buy this DVD. For good laughs, watch the movie and then read all the reviews of this movie on-line. It’s like all movie reviewers have an evangelical duty to promote this movie. Good riddance.

I watched The Graduate with my copy of the screenplay, which made this inexplicably revered movie seem even more inane. There’s far less here than meets the eye, even when Mrs. Robinson displays her shank. You’ve been told for so long The Graduate is such a gound-breaking, definitive movie that you don’t actually watch it critically anymore. In fact, Dustin Hoffman’s brooding, self-absorbed, anti-hero, victimized character can been seen as the starting point in the decline of American culture. From men who once tamed the wilderness (John Wayne) we have now, especially in the media but elsewhere, fully feminized, whiny guys. Look at your TV and it’s one Dustin Hoffman after another. And in its mocking, sneering contempt for mainstream America, this movie also broke ground in the snooty “Hollywood vs. America” mindset that makes so much media seem like a slap in your face. I love Sixties movies but this one’s bottom of the barrel. Wow, saying that really makes me a radical and counter-culture!!

I’m going through the list of AFI Top 100 movies, and for the most part it has been very enjoyable. I was pleasantly surprised with titles like “All About Eve”, “A Clockwork Orange”, and “On the Waterfront”. Even the movies I didn’t like weren’t terrible, just not my kind of films. When I got to “The Graduate”, my enthusiasm for this effort was stopped dead cold.

I did not like one thing about this movie. (Okay, Simon and Garfunkel’s music… fine.) What I saw was two of the most shallow, childish, and flat-out boring lead characters I’d ever seen in Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin. Mrs. Robinson also had the added bonus of being especially hateful without any specific motivation. Benjamin was not just too polite to tell her to get lost – he was spineless. A vindictive bat and a jellyfish… how did this seem like a good idea? Katherine Ross looks lovely as Elaine, but she’s barely one-dimensional. Maybe if Ben had been trying to get back at Mrs. Robinson, his interest in Elaine would have made some kind of sense. As it is, it seems like some third grade infatuation with the girl next door. Grow up, Ben…

The movie spirals from bad to worse after Ben goes to whatever college (Berkeley?) to “marry” Elaine. The events go from being contrived to nonsensical. How did Elaine and later her father find the house where Ben lived? Why did ANYBODY believe Mrs. Robinson as much as she lied and manipulated? And my favorite, why did Ben let his car run out of gas when he had just been at a gas station? I know why, because some writer thinks it would be funny if he ran to the church instead of drove. As for the ending… well, I was so glad the movie was over, I kinda liked it. Maybe because it reminded me of an episode on “The Simpsons”.

Had I been alive in 1967… I probably still wouldn’t have liked it. I might have understood the context better. This movie is really bad, and I hope it is a blip on the screen in the judgment of the voters for the AFI Top 100 list. Vote “Not Helpful” if you wish, but I’m usually positive about films in general. I just didn’t like “The Graduate”.

Comments

7 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Pinkerton,

    The last review in the article is spot on. None of the characters are likable. Benjamin essentially turns into a stalker, but is rewarded with the girl anyway. The soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkle is actually just the one song rehashed over and over. The movie had it’s moments, but it’s definitely not the major classic it is portrayed as.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Laura,

    Hoffman was no actor and still is not! What a great sentence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. 1984,

    I don’t understand the need many have for the characters to be likable. Who cares if they’re a-holes? Its fiction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. SCOTT CHEGG,

    Going to to try and post to see if I’m allowed to do so without being a pontificating/self-congratulatory quasi-intellectual.

    Fingers crossed, faith in this blog restored in three, two, one…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Stewmeat,

    welcome back YCPE!! I missed you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. abi,

    I choked on a piece of taffy while reading “Larry Springer.”

    This blog almost killed me.

    This is by far the funniest thing I’ve ever read. Ever. Thanks C.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Sheridan,

    The opinion of this person was no longer valid in the beginning of the second paragraph when he or she spelled the word “through” incorrectly.

    Larry Springer…. is this a joke?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2


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