The Duchess (2008)
Oh, I was fully prepared to hate this one when it first came out. FULLY. First of all, it starred Keira Knightley, who at the time was being rammed down everyone’s throats as the “historical chick du jour” and who I think has the acting range of a puddle of stagnant water. Secondly, it looked like it was going to try to cash in on some of the hype from Marie Antoinette (2006), and I’m just not here for a blatant cash grab like that. I think I only watched this film because we recorded a podcast about it, but it didn’t take long before I was hooked.
The Three Musketeers (1993)
Of course there is no comparison to the 1973-1974 Three & Four Musketeers. There just isn’t. But that didn’t stop me from making my mind up as a 15-year-old that the 1993 iteration of the classic tale by Alexandre Dumas was going to flat-out suck. I ended up watching this many years after it came out and realized how good the film actually is. And the costumes … Well, they’re not the best, but if anything, that is proof that you can have mediocre costumes and historical mullets, but as long as the cast is having fun with the material, it’s a good time. I should really give this one the full Frock Flick treatment one of these days.
Lovecraft Country (2020)
You might be surprised to learn this, considering how I raved about the show at the time. But I was pretty skeptical that I would like it when it first came out. I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, and Lovecraft was an awful writer, so I really didn’t think I would connect with the story at all. Turns out I was way wrong, and I got sucked in immediately. I’m particularly sad that there won’t be a second season, so we will never get to find out how the story resolves.
The previews of the costumes when this show was being hyped were what had me really leery of it. They just looked so … costume-y. I was very skeptical that it would pass my exacting standards (LOL, “standards,” what are those?) but I knew this was going to be one of those hot new flicks that everyone in the historical costuming community would be talking about, so I steeled myself, expecting to hate it. Turns out I really liked Jenna Coleman as Victoria and even though Tom Hughes’ perpetually sullen Prince Albert was not my favorite thing ever, the rest of the cast were great and the storytelling was compelling enough to keep watching.
The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
Same thing happened with this one that happened with The Three Musketeers. I saw the 1970s version with Richard Chamberlain as a kid and decided that any other version that came after would just, by default, suck. So when director Kevin Reynolds released his take on Dumas, I was very prepared to just reject it out of hand. I can’t remember what convinced me to finally watch it … might have been a boyfriend who insisted it was really good, but I finally caved and was immediately sucked in.
To make matters worse, I went back and watched the Richard Chamberlain version as an adult and had to wonder if I was remembering a totally different film from the one that captured my imagination so fully in my youth. Guys, it’s bad.