After Cinematical's new "Movies I Will Never See" series elicited a strong variety of reactions – both positive and negative - from readers, it occurred to us that there's a huge, untapped reservoir of existing films that we have actually seen, and it would probably be at least as interesting, if not more so, to go back and see how well they held up in the years since their release. These may be acclaimed classics that audiences simply haven't revisited on a regular basis, or condemned failures that might deserve a second look; but setting a statute of limitations of five years or more old (meaning before '04), we're going back to see how good are the bad movies, and how bad are the good ones - in other words testing their shelf life.
After last week's look at Titanic, it seemed somewhat appropriate to revisit other noteworthy Oscar winners. But while there were certainly a wealth of questionably worthy titles celebrated in the Academy's history, one in particular seemed especially ripe for consideration: American Beauty, Sam Mendes' directorial debut. Perhaps it's because so many movies followed its lead in deconstructing suburbia, or perhaps it's just because it's been ten years, but Mendes' film doesn't seem as relevant, important, or even as good as it once was – which is why we recently popped it in the DVD player for another look.