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Films

General

  • Thanks to the Hollywood Hype Machine, Hollywood is littered with the dead careers of actors who were hyped up thanks to a memorable role or two, then quickly faded away once the Next Big Thing came along, forcing them to rely on their (rather meager, more often than not) acting talent to make it. By the end of their careers, moviegoers wish they'd just go away already. Rinse, wash, and repeat with the next hot new star. The lines outside casting agencies are so long that actors, especially those who rely more on their looks than their talent, are basically expendable in terms of hype burnout. To list them all would take a separate page -- and as a matter of fact, we have just that.
  • The entire spoof film genre, thanks to the works of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. Although the genre was already on life support before them [1], it's rare that a genre has been killed so spectacularly.
  • Disaster movies went through this twice. The first time was in the late '70s, when Hollywood started running out of ideas and people got bored with the increasingly cheesy special effects and formulaic plots. The advent of CGI led to a revival in The Nineties, until certain events made scenes of cataclysmic destruction rather insensitive, and the cheese and hokey plots once again caught up with the genre (The Core, anyone? How about 2012?). It remains to be seen if 3D technology will inspire a third boom, but if it does, it will most likely follow the same pattern as the last two.
  • Film serials and newsreels were pretty much wiped out by the rise of television.
  • Animation as a medium for serious film making was this for many decades in the west, a situation which has only recently begun to change. This is due predominantly to the dual killer-blow of the Hays Code and the Comics Code; prior to which animation was growing just as popular as live-action film making. The efforts of the Moral Guardians effectively destroyed the American animation industry, and what little was left became inoffensive cartoons aimed at children. Europe retained a substantial animation industry producing features for more grown-up audiences; but little of that was exported to the US, and what did get exported was typically relegated to the art-house scene. An attempt to break out of the Animation Age Ghetto began in the late 1960s, and received another boost in the 1980s, but like European films, never broke out of the art-house scene. It wasn't until the huge influx of Japanese animation in the 1990s that it began to be considered a serious medium again.
  • Oscar Bait movies in general seem prone to this trope, especially if a) they fail to win many awards, or b) they are believed to have "stolen" awards from more deserving films. If the former is the case, then they are typically forgotten by the next morning (has anyone even watched The Cider House Rules or Chocolat in the past five years?), while if it's the latter, then they often earn a massive Hatedom from fans of the movie that is perceived as having been snubbed. While many of them are good movies in their own right, more often than not, they straddle the line between touchingly sentimental and maudlin Narm. The fact that it's almost impossible for comedies or niche genres like sci-fi or fantasy to win Oscars only reinforces this. Some specific examples can be found below.
  • 3D seems to be going through this trope for the third time. The anaglyph format became popular in the 50's, but gained a substantial Hatedom for the rather uncomfortable viewing experience and it mostly being used in gimmicky BMovies. This, along side the expensiveness of the process, killed it off until the 60's, with the advent of the single-strip process. While lasting much longer, it was killed by the very same Gimmick films and uncomfortable viewing experience. 3D since then was relegated to IMAX documentaries and theme park attractions(where the experience was more comfortable to view), when the RealD system became popular. A string of box office and critical hits such as Avatar, Coraline and Up helped make 3D even more popular. However, the over-saturation of films such as Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender (films that were quickly converted into 3D without a care in the world just to make a quick buck) and the rather high price of admission compared to 2D films have put them into sharp decline, most of them declaring that it's a studio's way of grabbing more cash out of our wallets. The rise of theatrical re-releases (something that became less common with the advent of video formats) post-converted into 3D couldn't have helped.
  • BMovies: also known as Low Budget Flicks or just Schlock flicks. Originally, a B movie was the bottom half of a double feature, with the main feature as the "A movie". After double features went out of style, the term remained to refer to films that were made with low production values and may have been exploitation. For many, the "B" means "Bad", but not all B-movies neccesarily are low quality, careless productions. A large number of these movies were produced very cheaply during the Drive-In Movie era which lasted from the mid 1950s to the late 1980s in some areas. Presumably, these films were produced with the foreknowledge that drive in movie patrons would likely not be paying full attention to the screen. The dissapearance of the drive-ins and discount movie theaters along with the rise of major Cineplexes caused low budget B-movies to be produced a lot less frequently. Today, low budget movies are usually arthouse films that despite their budget, are considered serious attempts at filmmaking. Some of the most prolific B-movie schlockmeisters include Roger Corman, Ed Wood, Menahem Golan, Godfrey Ho, and Fred Olen Ray. Notable B-Movie genres include Sword and Sandal,Hong Kong Dub Kung-fu movies, SpaghettiWesterns, Slasher Horror Films, Kaiju, Star Wars ripoffs, and Blaxploitation films. Many of these genres still survive in modern form, however, but they are either contrived Tounge-In-Cheek homages (Quentin Tarantino) or genuine attempts to produce expensive high quality films with serious production values (Peter Jackson, Michael Bay, Joss Whedon).

Specific

  • Upon its release in 1999, American Beauty was widely acclaimed as one of the finest achievements in American cinema, quickly shooting to the top of the IMDb list and sweeping the Oscars. Ten years later, while it's still ranked high on IMDB's top movie list, it appears to have been largely forgotten. This is mainly due to a mix of Hype Backlash, a long list of films that ripped off its suburban angst plot, and the fact that many of the once-taboo subjects that it touched upon (such as repressed homosexuality) have become passé.
  • The Last Picture Show was widely compared to Citizen Kane in its day. Today, it's remembered mainly for Cybill Shepherd's nude scenes.
  • One of the most famous examples of the aforementioned "Award Snub backlash": How Green Was My Valley. While hardly one of John Ford's best movies, it still maintains a good reputation among film geeks, and it was good enough to win Best Picture in 1942. The problem? Also up for Best Picture in 1942 were Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon, both widely regarded as among the greatest films ever made. As a result, Valley is best known today as "that movie that won Best Picture over Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon". Talk about your Hype Backlash!
  • Thanks to extreme Hype Backlash, The English Patient, a movie that won nine Academy Awards, is predominantly remembered today as the movie that Elaine bitched about on Seinfeld.
    • Also referenced in the comedy Yes, Dear as being a great movie "to put us to sleep." Like How Green Was My Valley with Citizen Kane, a large amount of this could be due to its overshadowing of Fargo, widely seen as a Magnum Opus for the Coen Brothers (and declared by esteemed film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert to be "the best film of 1996"). Yeowch.
  • Titanic was a huge critical and box office success on its release, taking eleven Academy Awards, a number so far only matched by Ben-Hur and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and becoming the highest grossing film of all time. Not even a year afterward, it suffered a massive backlash, with a sudden trend of people blindly bashing the film to high heaven, often bordering on Hate Dumb.
    • The Titanic backlash is starting to get its own backlash and it is becoming trendy to like it again. Lord knows what the success of Avatar is going to do Titanic's future status in pop culture. It is also helped that the hundredth anniversary of the real Titanic sinking is coming up. At the very least we can probably expect a theatrical re-release to mark the occasion, maybe even in 3-D.
  • When it was first released, Star Trek Insurrection, the ninth Star Trek film, had pretty positive reviews, with some reviewers even saying that it broke the "Trek movie curse" (even-numbered movies good, odd-numbered bad). But as time passed, with more viewers agreeing with the villains, and the whole Trek franchise gradually grinding to a standstill, it's now regarded as one of the weakest Trek films.
  • The popularity of Shrek in the early '00s was due to it being a fresh alternative to the animated films that were being released at the time, with its smartassed toilet humor, pop culture jokes and celebrity voice casting being incredibly fresh compared to the "animated musical" format of Renaissance-era Disney. However, Dreamworks Animation went on to recycle the Shrek formula for several years, and every animation studio that wasn't Pixar started copying it; by the time Shrek the Third came out in 2007 the gimmick had long worn out its welcome. In 2008 they released Kung Fu Panda, which ushered in a new era of DreamWorks animated films, featuring less reliance on pop culture jokes and more emphasis on story and characters (with tones and themes inspired by the very studio that Shrek was making fun of in the first place). While the popularity of the Renaissance-era Disney films has grown since the early part of the decade (thanks in part to films like 2009's The Princess and the Frog and 2010's Tangled taking their style directly from the era), and some people still admit to liking Shrek (or, at least, the first two films in the series), the "Shrek genre" of films is all but dead.
  • The Andy Hardy film series is an example from all the way back in the Golden Age of Hollywood. From 1937 to 1942, Metro Goldwyn Mayer produced 13 films of the series that were all enormously popular. They made a star out of Mickey Rooney, who was the biggest box office draw in the world for a time. They had broad appeal for the entire family, kids identifying with the exuburant Andy while the parents identified with the older, wiser Judge Hardy. Andy's temporary love interests for each film were promising young starlets, many of whom would become major stars in their own right thanks in part to their exposure in these films. They were even critically acclaimed at the time, winning a special Academy Award for "representing America", which might be the only time an Oscar ever went to an entire film series.

    Rooney took a break from the series in 1943 to work on other projects, made one final film in 1944, then went off to fight in World War II. Trouble began when he returned to make another Hardy film in 1946 after the war. It fizzled. In 1958, an attempt was made to revive the series with Andy as the head of his own family. The film bombed, viewed as too squeaky clean, conformist and old-fashioned even by the famously buttoned-up cultural standards of the '50s. As critics looked back on the Golden Age of Hollywood, they would find ways to appreciate many other films of that period, but the Andy Hardy films only received scorn and contempt due to a combination of Values Dissonance, their Totally Radical slang that made "totally radical" sound fresh and cool, and Rooney's ridiculous mugging.[2] These were some of the most popular films from the most popular studio of the most popular period of film history, when more people regularly went to the movies than at any time before or since. Today, they're forgotten or derided even by many Golden Age enthusiasts. Only seven of the 16 films were ever made available on VHS, and only four are on DVD -- one of them because it fell into the Public Domain due to MGM forgetting to renew its copyright, and the other three because they're the only three films of the series to co-star Judy Garland in a recurring role.
  • To go back even further, Harold Lloyd was one of the biggest stars of the Silent Age of Hollywood. During the '20s, he controlled most of his own productions and thrilled audiences with both his comedy and his elaborate stunts, which he did all by himself. He made more money than even Charlie Chaplin at his peak, and used it to build the Greenacres estate that helped set a standard for celebrity mansions in the Hollywood Hills. However, his career lost steam in the talkie era, forcing him into retirement by the end of the '30s. Furthermore, his refusal to reissue his films commercially[3], in theatres or on TV, prevented later audiences from being able to watch them and become fans, while Chaplin's works entered the Public Domain and his contemporary Buster Keaton made a comeback on television in the late '40s. Today, the only memory of him is "a nice DVD set that you can buy, at least, finally", while Chaplin and Keaton remain far better known today.
  • The Birth of a Nation was the first Epic Movie, the film that proved cinema to be a viable entertainment medium rather than a passing fad, and the pioneer of countless filmmaking techniques. Modern-day film scholars and critics are still more than willing to acknowledge this part of its legacy. However, to say that the film's writing and story has not aged well... well, there's a reason why it's only watched today by film students (for the technical/historical aspects) and by people studying the history of racism. A big, white-hooded, cross-burning reason.
  • Kevin Smith and his Jersey Trilogy movies somewhat glamourized and attempted to hipsterize the comic book Fan Boy. Kevin Smith's former status as a comic book guru now seems outdated and trite, especially since at this point in time, the only hardcore comic book readers left are nostalgic men over the age of 35. Along with their greying Generation X target audience, Smith and his cohorts have aged out of their Jay and Silent Bob roles. However, this has not stopped them from making a nostalgia-driven comeback in 2019 with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.

Notes

  1. ironically, thanks to the later works of the very people that had made it such a success in the first place, like Mel Brooks, the Wayans Brothers, and the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team
  2. Some of Rooney's films outside the series, particularly the ones that he did with Judy Garland, were much better appreciated, and Rooney has had a long, successful career, so he himself is not an example of this trope.
  3. The only screenings he allowed were to entertain sick children at Los Angeles-area hospitals.
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