In an earlier post, I talked about the films and TV shows that I’ve been meaning to watch and review, but haven’t gotten around to yet. And then we have our on-going series “Oh, the Bad Movies You’ll Watch,” which is mostly curated by Trystan and Kendra, and deals with films they’ve attempted to watch but gave up on. But now we have arrived here, wherein I list the films and TV shows that I have no desire to watch what so ever. You’re welcome to try to convince me otherwise in the comments, of course.
Movies About the American Civil War
I really don’t like 1860s costuming to begin with, and American Civil War films are always about dudes fighting dudes in mud and shit and whatever. And on the rare occasion where the plot focuses on women, they’re all wearing sackcloth and ashes because they’re also either boldly nursing soldiers at the front, or they’re living in near poverty due to rationing. Yawn.
Movies About World War II
See above for all of the reasons I don’t like films about World War II. That said, of all the WW2 films out there (and there are, like, eighty million) I did like Hope and Glory (1987) a whole lot. Mostly because it was from the point of view of a kid living through the Blitz and how his family survived it.
Movies About Tragic Queer Love Stories
I just want one, ONE, happily-ever-after queer romance costume flick. Is that so much to ask? Why do they all have to either die tragically, or one of the couple freaks out and flees to heteronormativity, leaving the other one totally crushed? If you’ve found a happily ever after queer historical flick, let me know. I want to know they exist. [Editor’s Note: Check out our Top Five Historical Costume Movies About Queer People for some frock flicks where LGBTQ people are the main characters, and they don’t die or otherwise have a miserable ending! Also, our more recent review of the delightful Mystère à la Tour Eiffel.]
Movies About the Wild West
So. Much. Dirt.
Movies About Early America
Guns. And uniforms. If that is totally your thing, rock the fuck on with your bad self. I’ll be over here watching Jane Austen films as an antidote.
What types of period films do you hate watching? Let us know in the comments!
Agree completely in all categories, with the exception of the war at home during WWII. In general, I’m just not terribly interested in testosterone-laden battle scenes, and I’m tired of the stories being all about the men, which wartime movies generally are. And if they do have women, they’re love interests, prostitutes, or damsels in peril. Yawn.
Exactly what I was about to say. There are some excellent WWII films which focus on civilians not to mention TV series. Atonement, The English Patient, and in TV two of my favourite series are set during WWII, Fortunes of War and Jewel in the Crown, and Goodnight Sweetheart deserves an honourary mention.
Foyle’s War 4 Eva
The only Civil War movie I say you need to watch if you haven’t already is Gone With the Wind. Don’t blame you for skipping the rest.
Wild west – just because they’re fun – Antonio Banderas’ Zorro movies. Or does Spanish California not count as wild west?
While I like some WWII movies I can understand you’re dislike of them, especially costumewise.
The Merchant Ivory film ‘Maurice’ was a queer love film with a happy ending. I love that movie and the ending.
I love that one! It’s in my Top 5, absolutely :)
I really enjoyed ‘Viola di Mare’ [Purple Sea] Take a look http://www.afterellen.com/movies/85351-review-of-viola-di-mare-purple-sea
I know I keep showing up to stan for Black Sails, but the queer characters have an 80% happy ever after rate, which is better than the rest of the characters. And the costumes do get a bit better from s1.
Is there going to be another off topic thread? I thought the one was good, but if it was a regularly scheduled thing it would be nice. And I just saw the Downton Abby exhibition and have some Thoughts.
After Snark Week (which is next week)! So probably once a month, but we’re still trying to figure out where to put the open thread in our schedule. Glad people like it tho.
Next week – woohoo! Be still my beating heart!
I mostly agree, but I can think of a couple of exceptions. The one that immediately springs to mind in Westerns us Tombstones. Kate, Doc Holiday’s mistress, and Josie, Wyatt Earp’s love interest both have some fabulous bustle gowns. In fact, replicating one of Kate’s has been on my historical sewing to do list for a while.
The men’s costumes are also well done and seem to be pretty accurate . It’s interesting to see the difference between the the town men and the cowboys.
Also, it’s just a fantastic movie and the entire cast is awesome. It’s one of my all time favorite movies.
I don’t agree. Completely. I honestly don’t care what the genre is about (except for horror films), as long as I enjoy the story.
Yeah, me too. I also had a period in my tweens when I was All About Military History so some of my favorite movies are in these genres. (Gettysburg! Also, interestingly, a movie where the director’s cut is not a good idea.)
if you ever want to give WWII another try, I recommend La Vita e Bella/Life is beautiful. An Italian film about a man who wants to protect his little son from harm in a concentration camp, against all the odds. Not that interesting costume-wise, but the story is lovely. Keep tissues ready
Otherwise, I could not agree more with this article, thanks for a fun read!
Life is Beautiful is a hilarious and beautiful film.
Here’s a question that visitors at my very Rev War-centric museum often ask me: why aren’t there more movies about this time period? And I add, why aren’t there good ones? It really shouldn’t be that hard to make good films about early America, but there’s a long litany of complete disasters in that exact category.
Does Mrs Henderson Presents count as a war movie? I like it very much. Gorgeous frocks. I don’t mind the war(s) being something that happens to happen, but not the battle field end stuff. But also, only done well. Oh, and that strange British movie about the entertainment troupe directed by terry Gilliam.
Reading this, i realize that films center in the American Civil War or the American Revolution barely focus or talk about the women’s roles despite countless reports and stories of women partaking int he war and helping each sides. Every school textbooks and most history teacher i know mentioned this, but Hollywood don’t. I agree with you that it’s so tiring seeing them focusing on men soldiers with guns when we had women contributing behind the walls.
Regarding the topic on genre we dislike, i know this would some people mad, but personally any tv shows, films, and even historical fictions sets in the Tudor era overstay their welcome for me. I don’t need to be hammer again in the last 15 years that Henry VIII has 6 wives, Anne Boleyn is not a witch and they had Mary of Scots. Just give me something new, anything! How about the Stuart era, early Plantagenets, or even maybe move to somewhere that is not England? Just please don’t drag me back to the 1500s!
I love the Tudor era and I agree with you. It is getting played out. Victoria too. I would love to see something different.
I agree entirely. Much though I too enjoy the Tudor period lately it has been “done to death”. All historical periods have something of interest. Pity most are overlooked.
And when they do give us a different period, it’s dreck like White Princess.
I like World War II movies like Mrs. Miniver and the Best Years of our Lives, and even some fighting ones like Hell is For Heros and The Great Escape. There are some good ones out there. I even like a couple of Westerns.
Definitely The Great Escape. Because David McCallum.
The older I get, the less patience I have for “historically accurate” pieces with an all white-cast save slaves, voiceless extras or those in need of White Saviors. “Historically accurate” with scare quotes is also used to justify eliminating queer and disabled people, much of the 99% and dubious treatment of women, if they’re shown to exist.
Mostly agree, but I have to put in a plug for WWII film “Their Finest [Hour and a Half].” And it has Bill Nighy,
I loved ‘Their Finest’! Beautiful and fun movie set at the home front with fantastic insight into the production teams and war departments creating the British films designed to raise the spirits and the war effort. Great from so many levels.
I have to say I hate all those too, although there may well be decent films (especially WWII-themed) that exist but which I still don’t want to watch. My days of voluntarily watching stories where folks get tragically killed or maimed are over, I hope–I’m too emotional or too curmugeonly or something to tolerate unnecessary angst.
I dunno. I enjoyed “Glory,” the black Civil War version of the band-of-disparate-types-who- learn-to-be-brothers: Wise Older Man (Morgan F., naturally), Fiery Young Dude (Denzel W., I believe), Bespectacled Young Intellectual, etc. Very few females, of course. Still, lots of vivid performances, including Matthew Broderick doing a fine Abolitionist Who Sticks to His Principles, plus a ringer for Frederick Douglass. Anyone here have an opinion about the costuming? I thought it looked pretty authentic, in that nothing stuck out.
(My favorite Civil War movie is Keaton’s “The General.”)
Not a Civil War aficionado, but I think Glory is tremendous—just not so much as a costume flick.
I’m totally in except for the spaghetti movies which I like mostly for men outfits and the queer costume films-except the Danish girl;, which was boring in text and I could hardly hear whats his name speaking. That guy has some vocal problem. About another interesting queer movie try hedwig and the angry inch! It’s fun it’s queer it’s got the best music! Costumes are way more recent but still such good good good movie overall!
I’ll watch any genre provided the story is good, but costume wise, I agree with most of the above except for the Early American — I loved the costumes in The Patriot, and I also loved The Last of the Mahicans.
Westerns, I tend to hate because EVERYBODY DIES. It doesn’t matter what the western is about, or who is in it, or what the plot is, it’s one epic disaster after another followed by a grand shoot out where 98% of the characters die. So, no thanks.
2016 Park Chan Wook’s “The Handmaiden” is a gorgeous costume movie ,with lesbian protagonists and a 100% happy ending. It’s a twisty take on the “Fingersmith” novel by Sharah Waters.
Oh man, I had forgotten about Hope and Glory. I remember watching that as a child and being so confused by all the Britishisms. “What the heck is a googly?” Haven’t watched it since. And I also don’t care for most of the genres listed, although there are exceptions for all of them, of course. You will pry my copy of Silverado from my cold dead hands.
One world war II movie I love is twin sisters. Mostly because it’s not so much about the war but about the relationship between the titular sisters who have grown up separated in Germany and the Netherlands. It has plot points related to the war but it’s not the only thing going on, and there are a lot of women in it, starting with the protagonists.
If you are interested in movies that take place during the Civil War and focus on Women, I would strongly recommend Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled”. It is a mesmerizingly beautiful movie that focusses on female dynamics, male misogynist anxieties and repression.
I cannot recommend it enough
Oh dear, there are so many different types of film I cannot stand. Apologies for the rant you are about to receive.
I literally can’t with anything that’s supposed to be romantic (just) because it’s set in the past. These films often feel like the time period is an afterthought, and they might have set it to happen whenever for all the influence the period has on what goes on.
Also, anything where the women are portrayed as impossibly independent etc. without anyone around them remarking on it (negatively). I think we’ve all seen those films and TV shows that veer into straight up fantasy land, where only that one protagonist lady is somehow magically really smart, educated, wealthy in her own right, and does whatever scandalous stuff she pleases without any actual consequences or anyone even trying to stop her (apart from some comic relief character looking positively aghast at basically anything she says or does, you know, because it’s funny how in olden times everyone was all repressed and shocked by the sight of a lady’s wrist or whatever /sarcasm).
Basically I dislike anything that’s set in the past, but then somehow the era doesn’t really seem to matter at all to the story, and the characters go around doing stuff they really really wouldn’t have in those days. Some artistic license is obviously fine, but there’s only so much 20th century behaviour set in the 18th century (or whenever) I can take.
Book adaptations in general are fine, but if it means that a multifaceted story with many different levels gets dumbed down into nothing but a love story with some oldey-timey clothing, it makes me very sad because I’m never able to roll my eyes at those as hard as I feel like doing. It’s even worse if that love story wasn’t even the main storyline of the book they’re adapting…
I won’t watch any American war movies or really American period drama at all, hate the westerns, the pioneers etc and also won’t look at any time travel fantasy or horror ever. Plain old period drama, mostly British is my downfall. Some black and white Hollywood period movies are watchable for me when I find them, i.e The Heiress, Dragonwyck, etc