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Cameron H.

The Graduate

Is The Graduate AFI worthy?  

17 members have voted

  1. 1. Is The Graduate AFI worthy?

    • It makes the grade.
      13
    • It missed the bus.
      4


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1 hour ago, taylorannephoto said:

I forgot that I wanted to mention that I haven't seen this movie in quite some time, definitely it was before the Me Too movement started, and at the time I loooved this movie. Legit understood the hype and why it was one of the most talked about, and most quoted movies of our time, but now thinking back on it I really don't think this holds up as well under a new societal light. Even when I loved it at the time (genuinely think I saw this in college and it's already been 8 years since then) I can't say that I really thought about it much at all after about a year out from seeing it. It's one of those movies that I think you see and may fall in love with and then just like Elaine and Ben in the back of that bus you kinda lose that excitement and stop smiling about it.

What was interesting for me is that I kind of expected to have this reaction (the movie was great in its time, doesn't hold up as well), but after watching it again this week, instead I thought: "Holy crap, this is great!" I'm not sure if you revisited it again recently, but I'd be curious of your take.

I found myself liking the movie more than expected, because this time I could also see how the film was being critical of Benjamin as much as anyone, and actually WAS fairly conscious of the societal issues that still plague us. This time I left with more of a feeling that The Graduate is evergreen. Individual people might fall in and out of favor with it, but it won't stop being picked up and appreciated by new generations.

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1 hour ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

What was interesting for me is that I kind of expected to have this reaction (the movie was great in its time, doesn't hold up as well), but after watching it again this week, instead I thought: "Holy crap, this is great!" I'm not sure if you revisited it again recently, but I'd be curious of your take.

I found myself liking the movie more than expected, because this time I could also see how the film was being critical of Benjamin as much as anyone, and actually WAS fairly conscious of the societal issues that still plague us. This time I left with more of a feeling that The Graduate is evergreen. Individual people might fall in and out of favor with it, but it won't stop being picked up and appreciated by new generations.

I wanted to say the same thing. I hadn’t seen it in a long time and I actually raised my rating of it. At least a part of that was due to its present day relevance. I also agree that I noticed the movie being more critical of Benjamin, and that’s something I responded to as well.  

What I also liked was it made its point while still being entertaining. It never felt preachy or pedantic and left plenty of room for interpretation.

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I may be wrong but I believe Burt Ward (Robin from the Adam West Batman show) was being considered for the Dustin Hoffman role. I believe Burt couldn’t get out of his Batman contract to do the movie. 

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3 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

What was interesting for me is that I kind of expected to have this reaction (the movie was great in its time, doesn't hold up as well), but after watching it again this week, instead I thought: "Holy crap, this is great!" I'm not sure if you revisited it again recently, but I'd be curious of your take.

I found myself liking the movie more than expected, because this time I could also see how the film was being critical of Benjamin as much as anyone, and actually WAS fairly conscious of the societal issues that still plague us. This time I left with more of a feeling that The Graduate is evergreen. Individual people might fall in and out of favor with it, but it won't stop being picked up and appreciated by new generations.

You're probably right and I'm just too outside of my viewing of the movie to recall my true feelings about it. Just listening to the clips from the show definitely brought some feelings back, but I couldn't tell if that was the movie or my love for Simon & Garfunkel lol.

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3 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

What was interesting for me is that I kind of expected to have this reaction (the movie was great in its time, doesn't hold up as well), but after watching it again this week, instead I thought: "Holy crap, this is great!" I'm not sure if you revisited it again recently, but I'd be curious of your take.

I found myself liking the movie more than expected, because this time I could also see how the film was being critical of Benjamin as much as anyone, and actually WAS fairly conscious of the societal issues that still plague us. This time I left with more of a feeling that The Graduate is evergreen. Individual people might fall in and out of favor with it, but it won't stop being picked up and appreciated by new generations.

I hadn't seen this since I was in high school. I also probably would have been very welcoming of a Mrs. Robinson to put my thoughts in perspective. To be honest, I didn't like the movie much back then. A lotr probably sailed over my head but I had a very "that's it?" kind of reaction to this classic.

I expected to like it a lot this time and it fell kind of flat. I can see the quality. I can understand it all intellectually but it didn't grab me emotionally. I never laughed. I wasn't ever moved by anything. It was just there despite the quality of everything.

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26 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

You're probably right and I'm just too outside of my viewing of the movie to recall my true feelings about it. Just listening to the clips from the show definitely brought some feelings back, but I couldn't tell if that was the movie or my love for Simon & Garfunkel lol.

I love Simon & Garfunkel too! Do you have a favorite song?

I love “Leaves that are Green”

And “Richard Cory”

 

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Amy's hostility to the character of Benjamin seems odd, especially in the way she bends over backwards justifying Mrs. Robinson. To me it's a lot less creepy
for a twenty-year old to sleep with an older married woman and pursue that woman's daughter than it is for the middle aged woman to bed
down her husband's best friend's son, in order to train him be her sex idiot, with no interest or concern for his well being. Almost all the emotional drama which
unfolds is pretty much due to Mrs. Robinson's weird behavior. That said I agree with Amy's ambivalence about this movie; agree with her that Hoffmann was miscast in the role, but not because he isn't sexy enough to interest a woman such as Mrs Robinson--Amy's generalizations about the tastes of women will strike just about every listener as wrong because their life experience, the girls and women they've known tell them she's wrong--but for aesthetic reasons. In casting Hoffmann director Mike Nichols deliberately sentimentalizes the character and the situations. If the part had been played by the Robert Redford of The Candidate and especially Downhill Racer, he'd be a masculinely assured type on an equal footing with Mrs. Robinson. Under Redford's handsome toothy charm we'd sense an arrogance and self-serving entitlement which would give us an objective ironic view of his malaise and rebellion--we'd see that there was something destructive and blundering, as well as attractive, in Benjamin's behavior, and the effect would be bracing and, well, dramatic. Nichols, in casting Hoffmann, uses his comedy expertise to manipulate the audience, knowing that if the character is made a cuddly, lovable underdog an audience will root for him in these situations no matter how crazy they are: Nichols understands everybody identifies with a schmuck. Further the film sentimentalizes the Elaine character. Has anyone ever really known a girl so offended and put off by stripping, porn or graphic expressions of male lust that she cried over them?--used to signal to the audience and Benjamin what a poetic girlishly pure love object she is. Seen this trick a lot in movies but off screen I've never
come across such a girl--a little grossed out, ironically amused, curious, raunchily fascinated, yes, but crying, no way. Plus the film falls back on some pretty hoary melodramatic rhetoric, such as having Elaine's husband be a jerk so we won't care that she leaves him at the alter after marrying him! A hardly artistic touch. All the stuff Nichols did to the material, which is what made it so very successful with audiences, plays very oddly against what I expect was Buck Henry's and maybe novelist Charles Webb's attempt to mate racy subject matter with a kicky satire on suburbia and mass culture in the manner of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's masterpiece Lolita. Benjamin could almost be a weird combination of outsider Humbert Humbert and Dolores Haze. And there is a distinct family resemblance between Anne Bancroft's marvelous Mrs. Robinson and Shelly Winters' terrific Charlotte Haze. In Lolita, after an evening out, Charlotte brings Humbert home, pours some pink champagne, puts on campy cha-cha music and plays at being sophisticated as a means of fascinating a decidedly awkward and off-put Humbert. In The Graduate, Mrs Robinson brings Benjamin home, puts on some cheesy cocktail music, pours herself a drink and vamps world weariness to tempt the non-plussed young man into bed. Shelley Winters, underscoring what a predator Charlotte is, wears an aggressive, clingy leopard print dress, looking forward to all the animal print clothing Mrs. Robinson sports throughout The Graduate, yelling at the audience: "Careful, she's a man eater!"--something neither Paul nor Amy brought up by the way.  I think it mostly succeeds because of Anne Bancroft's wit and the sudden veneer of Rom-Comness being shorn off right at the end, though it doesn't really go with the way Nichols has done the rest of the movie, setting us up for all the great ironic post genre films of the 1970s that Amy doesn't like all that much,

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On 3/1/2019 at 5:18 PM, Cameron H. said:

I love Simon & Garfunkel too! Do you have a favorite song?

I love “Leaves that are Green”

Definitely "The Only Living Boy in New York"

 

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So much to add to what's being said, but always late to the game LOL

Just to add to the "why him" and presumption of motives for Mrs Robinson, I'd offer something regarding recent psychological studies regarding predatory behavior. These find that perpetrators are driven less by sexual attraction and more by the power dynamics. That tracks in Mrs Robinson's case, fictional as it is, in that she is/has been trapped into her marriage (and really, the whole "old world" the film is indicting) and finding some semblance of control by manipulating and maintaining the relationship with Benjamin. (Tangent- at least once later calling him Benjy as a diminutive)  The one time she can't control him starts as Benjamin demands a conversation, and that's the tipping point. In the last act, she tries the same tactics, with calling the police, the story of rape, etc., but Benjamin has overcome this. 

The theme of control defines Benjamin too, from the first shot of him on the belt, literally drifting through life at the pool, and then the (really terrible!) pursuit of Elaine. In fact, it's all about control. The only (?) reason that he wants Elaine is precisely *because* she is wrong, because she is the one thing that she's been told he *can't* have. All other aspects of his life don't seem to really be a choice, not even something like a career. The true choice is in not choosing, or better yet rejecting the false choices.  I guess Elaine kind of does that too, at the end.   

 

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