Why I Hate Stanley Kubrick's Movies

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Opticreep, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. Opticreep

    Opticreep Guest

    I know Mr.Kubrick is "supposed" to be one of the greatest directors of
    his era. And so, every few months I rent a Stanley Kubrick movie to
    see what the hype is all about. I keep renting one Kubrick DVD after
    another, in the hope that one day his movies will "click" with me and
    I'll understand what he's all about. And after watching about half a
    dozen of his films in the past few years... I can say for certain I
    don't like the guy. In fact, I'd go as far as to say I HATE stanley
    Kubrick's movies.

    Stanley Kubrick movies give me a feeling that's itching on the back of
    my mind... they almost always make me feel lousy and unsettled.
    Please do not confuse "unsettled" to mean his movies make me feel
    "thoughtful" or "shocked". His movies, while having a distinct
    artistic merit, are just never enjoyable for me. I am almost always
    sorry I ever spent 2 hours watching his work. There is a strange
    quality about all his movies that have always bothered me. For a long
    time, I never could quite put a finger on it. Until now.

    Watching "Eyes Wide Shut" finally opened my eyes to the reason why I
    have always disliked Stanley Kubrick. That man detests his audience.
    If Baz Luhrmann takes pleasure in showering his audience with an
    optical feast over the entire color spectrum... Kubrick enjoys prying
    his audience's eyes open and forcing onto them the ugliest, most
    miserable side of human existence.

    Kubrick seems to have a simmering hatred for humanity in general, and
    it shows in the way he makes his movies. It's not necessarily the
    storyline, nor the dialogue, nor the screenplay. But it's somehow
    there --- it's what I call the "Kubrick Touch". If Alfred Hitchcock
    can make any scene into a stylish thriller, Kubrick could make any
    scene into a long, depressing testament on the miserable state of
    humanity. The point is driven across from his movie straight to my
    mind, and I always (momentarily) feel a little less optimistic about
    life after watching a Kubrick film. I can't pinpoint it, but it's
    there... I guess that's why I have to admit he's a genius at what he

    This quality is present in almost all his films. Eyes Wide Shut. The
    Shining. Full Metal Jacket. Clockwork Orange. Even Space Odyssey
    2001. Yes, I said "Space Odyssey 2001". That movie has always
    depressed the hell out of me, and I never could figure out why...
    until I realized many years later that it was Kubrick who directed it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2018
    Opticreep, Nov 26, 2003
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  2. Opticreep

    WareWolf Guest

    Well, there is "Spartacus" , but even that ends on a down note.

    IMO, Kubrick is lionized mostly for his technical prowess, the visual
    beauty and innovation of his filmmaking. Stuff like the handheld cameras
    in "Dr. Strangelove" , the low-light photography in "Barry Lyndon" and
    of course the groundbreaking FX in "2001."

    But yeah, he's a cold-hearted bastard. He was an idol of mine when I
    was studying film in college, but now, not so much.

    WareWolf, Nov 26, 2003
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  3. Opticreep

    Nikoli Yetti Guest

    Your post pretty much captures the way I feel as well. Very well written
    post. I would also add that I feel that Kubrick goes for the shock value to
    sell his movies.
    Nikoli Yetti, Nov 26, 2003
  4. Opticreep

    Mark W Guest

    Well, after a while you'll have seen all his films and then you won't need
    to worry about Kubrick any more.
    Mark W, Nov 26, 2003
  5. Opticreep

    Zinema Guest

    I think the biggest fans of Kubrick's films are other filmmakers. The
    artistry, the craftsmanship, the meticulous perfectionism...these traits are
    all things that other filmmakers aspire to, traits that Kubrick mastered fairly
    early on in his mostly uncompromised career ("Fear and Desire" and "Spartacus"

    Of course, I think general audiences and film critics can connect with his work
    too, but perhaps not with the same widespread religious devotion found amongst
    other filmmakers.

    I agree that there's a underlying pessimism towards humanity in most of his
    films, but what's the problem with that? Kubrick wasn't a popcorn filmmaker
    with his sights set on the lowest common denominator. He had a specific vision
    often focused on the dark side of human nature, but quite often, those
    explorations were wrapped up in great beauty and rousing entertainment.

    Before you completely give up on Kubrick, give "Dr. Strangelove" a spin. Yes,
    it's also fairly pessmistic towards the future of humanity, but if you don't
    find it to be highly entertaining and thoroughly hilarious, then, yes, I would
    say Kubrick just ain't for you. Or maybe try "Paths of Glory," a truly
    harrowing war drama that has very strong emotional core -- something Kubrick
    detractors always complain was lacking in most of his films.

    P.S.: It's "2001: A Space Odyssey," not "Space Odyssey 2001."
    Zinema, Nov 26, 2003
  6. Opticreep

    mc Guest

    I think you mean "went" for the shock value.

    mc, Nov 26, 2003
  7. Opticreep

    madkevin Guest


    Not to say you're wrong, as you're obviously entitled to your opinion, but I've
    always seen Kubrick as essentially a director of extremely black comedies. (Not
    for nothing did he work with two of the blackest comedic sensibilities during
    his career - Terry Southern and Jim Thompson.) Kubrick is also one of the most
    unflinching of directors when it comes to the examination of human faults - in
    Kubrick's universe, intelligence is a by-product of violence, love is distant,
    sex is clinical, and people generally behave as poorly as possible in every
    circumstance. Not exactly a fun night out if you're not in the mood.

    Interestingly, the older I get the more I respect the misanthrope directors like
    De Palma (when he isn't doing Hollywood action pictures), Kubrick and
    Cronenberg, all of whom share a similar darkly-comic streak. Or, perhaps, it's
    that for whatever their faults, they make (or made) pictures for adults, which
    is far too rare a commodity these days.

    Kevin "I Can Walk!" Cogliano
    madkevin, Nov 26, 2003
  8. Opticreep

    Toureiro Guest

    I think Kubrick didnĀ“t made his films to make you (or anyone) feel good, but
    to think about the aspects of things, under a dark tone. Maybe not
    entertainment, but art.
    So, following your thoughts, you also must HATE Blade Runner(dir. cut),
    Brazil, 1984, Bitter Moon, Hamlet or any other work with some misery and
    unhappy ending.

    I know Mr.Kubrick is "supposed" to be one of the greatest directors of
    his era. And so, every few months I rent a Stanley Kubrick movie toures.
    Toureiro, Nov 26, 2003
  9. Back to the original poster -

    The reason the he/she 'hates' Stanley Kubrick is because Kubrick's film
    makes them feel stupid.
    RufusTFirefly, Nov 26, 2003
  10. Opticreep

    Opticreep Guest

    No, absolutely not. I actually prefer dark movies to feel-good ones.
    However, Stanley Kubrick movies aren't simply dark movies. Whenever I
    watch Kubrick's films, I always get this feeling that the director
    detests his audience. And his distaste for them (us!) shows in his

    It's kind of hard to explain. Whenever I watch a typical "dark" movie
    like "Blade Runner Director's Cut" or "Godfather Part II", I feel that
    its solemn mood enhances the film's point. With a Kubrick movie, I
    feel like Kubrick is leering at me from behind the screen, and
    pointing his finger at me.
    Opticreep, Nov 26, 2003
  11. Opticreep

    WareWolf Guest

    Opticreep wrote in rec.arts.movies.current-films :
    Well, that's just silly.

    WareWolf, Nov 26, 2003
  12. OFF TOPIC. Besides, Kubrick doesn't hate humanity. Nobody who knew him
    personally or studied his life would believe that.

    "Get rid of the Range Rover. You are not responsible for patrolling
    Australia's Dingo Barrier Fence, nor do you work the Savannah, capturing
    and tagging wildebeests."
    --Michael J. Nelson

    Grand Inquisitor
    Grand Inquisitor, Nov 26, 2003
  13. Opticreep

    Mike1 Guest

    So you're basically like a drunk guy who repeatedly holds a cigarette
    lighter to his arm and pulls it away, going "Ow!....Ow!....Ow!".


    Reply to [email protected]@@usfamily.net sans two @@, or your reply won't reach me.

    "An election is nothing more than an advance auction of stolen goods."
    -- Ambrose Bierce
    Mike1, Nov 27, 2003
  14. Opticreep

    Steve Carras Guest

    Too bad, since I have EYES WIDE SHUT and it is a DAMN MESMERIZING
    film.Tom Cruise looks great in it (and I DO NOT mean in a GAY way..).
    Vinessa (40 DAYS and 40 NIGHTS) Shaw who played the hooker (Domino,
    though her name's only uttered afte the fact) was great and I loved
    the eerie orgy house (VERY spooky in the daytime when Cruise rturns to
    it only for a creepy old man to give him a uh, note....)
    Steve Carras, Nov 27, 2003
  15. Opticreep

    ff-paramedic Guest

    Kudos. I think you nailed that one right on the head. I am glad someone else
    out there feels like I do with regard to Mr. Kubrick's works.

    ff-paramedic, Nov 27, 2003
  16. Opticreep

    JAM Guest

    I agree with every word you wrote. One line you wrote, "Kubrick seems to
    have a simmering hatred for humanity in general, and it shows in the way he
    makes his movies," really stands out to me. The way he has his characters
    interact with one another and the way they deliver their dialogue is
    unnatural. That adds to the depressing nature of his work.

    You also wrote, "There is a strange quality about all his movies that have
    always bothered me. For a long time, I never could quite put a finger on
    it. Until now." You mentioned that you finally put your finger on it after
    you saw Eyes Wide Shut. For me it was his last work, A.I.: Artificial
    Intelligence, which, of all people, Spielberg finished for him. I saw the
    Kubrick style all throughout that film, and it depressed me, as did A
    Clockwork Orange. It made me decide that I will never watch or buy another
    Kubrick film ever. The only film that I own of Kubrick's is 2001: A Space
    Odyssey. That one has the least amount of dialogue in it, but is not a nice
    film There is coldness and loneliness in it, just like in A.I.. That
    coldness and loneliness that seems to be a part of all his movies is a
    reflection of how he lived and saw the world. It is really too bad that
    someone with his artistic cinematographic genius was so negative. I also
    think the pace of his movies is so slow.
    JAM, Nov 27, 2003
  17. Opticreep

    Riffraff Guest

    It may indeed play much better (for you) as "a stylish, futuristic thriller replete
    with 40's 'noir touches (such as the "Private-eye thinks to himself" narration",
    but it doesn't change the fact that the theatrical-release is a hacked version
    put out by the studio after they took the film away from the director, which is
    precisely the reason the movie bombed in it's initial release.

    The studio, not the director, is responsible for the horrible narration, the happy
    ending, and the unfinished effects seen in the film. Had the studio refrained
    from interferring with Ridley Scott, the movie would have come out to much
    better reviews and would have done much better in the theatres. History has
    proven time and again that when studios interfere with directors, the product
    they end up with is crap compared to the original vision of the director.

    The theatrical release (in my opinion, as well as most of the BR fans I know)
    is pretty worthless and an abomination. Although the so-called "Diirector's
    Cut" is not perfect, it goes a long way to presenting the original vision of the
    director and is much more satisfactory as a story than the theatrical release
    with it's horribly tacked on happy ending.

    Assuming all the legal troubles get worked out, it will be a virtual godsend
    to BR fans when the 3-disc special edition comes out with the original
    unedited version that reflects Ridley Scott's original vision. Only then will BR
    fans have the real version of Blade Runner.

    Then again, that's just my opinion....

    Riffraff, Nov 28, 2003
  18. Opticreep

    KPR Guest

    "Hatred" is such a strong word, yet it still admits great passion for
    its subject. Stanley was just a man who was disgusted with the sordid
    underbelly of mankind, that, as the years go by, grows larger and larger
    - the belly is taking over the entire organism. But lucky Stanley, that
    he had the wherewithal to be able to live as far away and insulated from
    mankind. (Would that I could!) Watch the documentary on him that has
    been shown in the past few years. He was a warm and gentle man, yet
    extremely demanding when it came to his work. (BTW, if you can't stand
    Stanley, stay away from "Atlas Shrugged". It's full of human beings who
    demand the greatness of human beings. You'd hate it.)

    Stanley chose to train his lens on what upset him about mankind. As
    Lenny Bruce said, we need the guy who shows us where we're blowing it.
    But it seems like I'm listening to the target of one of Howard Beale's
    best rants -- "Just leave us to our wall-to-wall carpeting and our
    steel-belted radials!" We want a happy-face pasted on everything, just
    leave us ALONE. Well, the world is an ugly place. And Stanley chose
    not to be quiet about it.

    Stanley was a genius and a visionary. And mankind should treasure his
    work all the more for his passing.

    KPR, Nov 29, 2003
  19. Opticreep

    Hank Guest

    I feel much the same way about David Lynch and his trash.
    Hank, Nov 30, 2003
  20. Opticreep

    Mark Spatny Guest

    I couldn't agree with you more. My friends and coworkers are always
    going on and on about how brilliant his movies are, how I just HAVE to
    love The Shining and Full Metal Jacket. And I always come away from
    these movies wishing I could have the two hours back I just wasted on
    them. It doesn't matter that there is so much technical excellence in
    his movies, if I come away from them wishing I hadn't wasted my time
    watching them.
    Mark Spatny, Nov 30, 2003
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