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The Mary Poppins Test

Tuesday 19 November 2013, 21:46

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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I love Mary Poppins and I don’t really understand anyone who doesn’t. Is there a film for you that can decide whether or not you can be friends with someone or not?

Related content:

Top Ten Reasons To Love Mary Poppins

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Railway Children.
    Btw, I played Bert in Primary & Secondary School productions. Then again at Uni.
    If Nimoy is Spock, I am Bert.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Dougal and the Blue Cat.
    I don't mind people having never seen it, but when people just dismiss it outright it feels as if my entire childhood has been dismissed.

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    Comment number 3.

    a lot of people i know say - lebowski is the ultimate friend blocker

    i have found over the years that mine is - The Beach

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    Comment number 4.

    No, of course not.

    It's unbelievably childish to think that if someone doesn't like the same things as you, you shouldn't be friends with them!

    Anyone who thinks like that is a massive baby...

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    Comment number 5.

    Well i'm rather fond of an adventure. Some suggest the film is based loosely on the 1980s computer game Donkey Kong. A gallant hero sets out to rescue a beautiful princess from an evil villain...nothing more. However, The Princess Bride is a beautiful thing. It may not be my favourite film of all time, but how anyone is not charmed by it baffles me. It's not happened yet, but....

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    Comment number 6.

    Trainspotting. For the simple reason that it's been my favourite film for years and I think anyone who didn't like it would probably find me insufferable.

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    Comment number 7.

    Any Ray Harryhausen film but especially Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans. All that creativity, love and magic that he put into his work. It's all there on screen If you can't appreciate that then jog on!
    Also, and quite topically, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Don't find it funny? Auvoir!

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    Comment number 8.

    Like porkchopexpress mentioned, I too think its childish for a friendship to whither due to liking and disliking something. Isn't having opposing views, and engaging in friendly debates, a small, but wonderful, part of friendship?

    My friends and I always have banters on what films we like and dislike, and why. For example one we had is whether or not The Third Man is the antidote to the saccharine offerings of Casablanca. With another friend I had a banter on which film established the neo noir sub genre. Another topic: Which is better Psycho or Peeping Tom? And yet another one; who is the best Bond, and why.

    Seriously, Mary Poppins?! You would not be friends with someone who dislikes this film? This coming from a man who claimed that to cut down The Good, The Bad & The Ugly would be beneficial!

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    Comment number 9.

    Mary Poppins was my favourite film for my whole childhood. So it was with some trepidation that I put it on for my two and a half year old daughter on a wet Sunday afternoon recently. I think I would have found a way to move on and repair our relationship had she not liked it. Thankfully she sat through almost the whole film happy (I had forgotten that it's 2 hours 15 mins) and when it finished said 'I want to watch it again.'

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 10.

    Yep I've got one:

    Goodfellas!

    I can accept people people not liking it but what I simply cannot accept is anyone involved in film appreciation of any kind not to admit that Goodfellas was the film that defined the entirety of 90s cinema and consequently every film made after that.

    Just look at the how films were in the 80s - great sure but there was a gaping whole left from the 70s golden age that only a master from that period like Scorsese could do something about.

    You look at Goodfellas: it's pacing, it's structure, it's sheer genius in telling a story from the point of one character but at the same time being an a lesson in how to put an ensemble on screen.

    I have no reservations in saying that Goodfellas was truly ahead of it's time - the Academy could not comprehend the fact that this movie was redesigning the American filmmaking landscape so vividly and drastically that we continue to take Goodfellas for granted!

    What followed: well films like Pup Fiction, and Silence of the Lambs, Fight Club, Boogie Nights (and in turn the career of the modern master PT Anderson) to name just a few.

    You look at the way Goodfellas is cut: bang, bang wallop... to the detail. The camera flies wherever the hell it pleases and cuts straight to the point.

    Scorsese even throws the directing over to Pesci for the now legendary "Funny how?" scene (how's that for collaborating with actors?)

    In essence Scorsese shows what a grand master of expressionist painting would do if he lived long enough to get his hands on celluloid.


    Every time I watch this movie I'm gobsmacked by how many films since it has inspired on a countless filmmaking levels.

    The Oscar for The Departed was not for the that movie - it was a sorry from Oscar for the greatest mistake he ever made (Dances with Kevin Costner).

    Goodfellas - the Godfather of every movie made in the decades that followed.


    I'm done!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 11.

    Mark, didn't you occasionally say exactly the same thing about Punch Drunk Love? Do you still hold it in the same regard or has time lessened its impact on you? For what it's worth, I feel similarly about Paul Thomas Anderson's previous film, Magnolia. Absolutely love it and have never quite understood why it's so divisive - some people really seem to hate it with a passion. Have tried to steer clear of watching it with friends for fear that they'd have the same reaction!

    For what it's worth, I'd have deep concerns about anyone who disliked North By Northwest or Groundhog Day. Oh, and This is Spinal Tap of course.

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    Comment number 12.

    As long as the discourse is healthy and based in a mutual respect for the medium, why not be at least open to the idea someone may not like a particular movie?

    I remember when one of my sisters broke up with her at the time boyfriend, she came around and snuggled into my sofa for the night and we had popcorn, chips and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on screen. I love the movie - I think it's a masterpiece. My sister thought it was a little stupid. "Why are they barely acting?" she said, unaware that wild modern gesticulation isn't the same thing. "And why is it in black and white? Didn't she do Cleopatra in colour?" To which I said - at the time, colour film was expensive. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was low-budget; therefore, the film was black and white to cut costs. She didn't seem to realise that. "Oh... well, it's kind of awesome that Elizabeth Taylor did some indie stuff..."

    And I smiled. Talking about a movie is educational. And it was interesting to get a different viewpoint on something I loved; it didn't make me love the film any less. But you know, to see it through another persons eyes can be interesting. And because I adore my sister, I didn't take offence to a second of her questioning. She may not be sold on the movie; but I respect her opinion, and at least she sat down on that night and we watched it and talked about it (and about how relationships self-destruct. Kind of fitting!).

    I think it's healthy to hear criticism as long as it isn't completely trashy and loaded to only provoke an argument. Similarly, the same is true of an ultimatum; the general rule I have to an ultimatum is at that point, you walk away. Because it only instigates an argument. And that's kind of silly as well.

    And fyi, I don't think I've ever sat down and watched Mary Poppins in one sitting, I've only ever caught snippets of it. It's nice. But I'm in my 30's now and I'm slightly of the feeling that it'll never really sit in my heart the way Bedknobs and Broomsticks will, which I did watch when younger. It's not that I dislike the movie at all. Nor would I ever question anyone who did like it.

    Actually, let's flipside the argument for you Mark; would you want anything to do with someone who liked the Transformers movies? Who respected your opinion and thoughts on the movie but genuinely enjoyed the movies for whatever reason?

    We're talking from the point of view of classic movies. Which slightly loads the argument. Is it possible to be friends with someone who, let's say, like one of my friends - paid to go see Sex and the City 2 (and liked it!)?

    I mean, I had that kind of scrunched-up face of, "Whyyyyyyyy?!", but you know... we're all different. She's still a very dear friend of mine. I mean come on... I bought Britney's "Toxic" when it came out on CD.

    I cannot claim to be perfect.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 13.

    I have often said that if someone does not like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, then it is impossible for us to be good friends.

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    Comment number 14.

    The classic Mumblecore movie Quiet City is the one film I treasure.

    Children of men and Seven Samurai are great but Quiet City is the only movie I go back to time and time again to see and I afterwards I always feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 15.

    You can tell a lot about people by the films they like.

    When they The Amazing Spiderman is better than The Dark Knight Rise you just know your not going to hit it off.

    For me its down to where you sit with Star Wars, the originals or the prequels. Don't get me wrong I'll be your friend if you don't like either but if your answer is 'The Prequels' that's it.

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    Comment number 16.

    For me, it would have to be the Jimmy Stewart movie You Can't Take It With You. I stumbled across a used copy of it back when I was in high school and it quickly became a family favorite. I still remember the suspicion with which we regarded my future brother-in-law when, while visiting our family, he declined our invitation to watch it with us, saying he "didn't much like black and white movies." We forgave him. Eventually.

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    Comment number 17.

    I can't say it would stop a friendship, but if I ever hear someone say they don't like The Breakfast Club (My favourite film of all time), then I am rather puzzled as I don't quite see what there is to dislike about it, and I know that a person who doesn't like it is someone I probably don't want to talk to. Still, each to their own

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    Comment number 18.

    I'm surprised I'm the first to say it on here: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Many a girlfriend has fallen by the wayside when they didn't see the brilliance of Ep. V. Equally, I have run a mile from girls who consider Dirty Dancing or Pretty Woman cinematic masterpieces.

    Also, ashamed to admit it, but I've never seen Mary Poppins. If it's on at xmas I'll watch it.

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    Comment number 19.

    This is an odd one, as I have a rather avant garde film taste (favourite directors are Lynch, Gilliam, PT Anderson and Nolan) so I can't really judge a friendship upon whether someone likes Lost Highway or Tideland. However, I have a real soft spot for The Breakfast Club. It isn't a favourite film, however if they could not find something to like in a story I'm sure we have all got some empathy with, then that may be a bit of a deal breaker for me. Have never found anyone yet though.

    PS, this piece has made me find Mary Poppins on Netflix, not watched it for nearly 20 years!!!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 20.

    Drive by Nicolas Winding Refn is a film I have a lot of respect and love but those who despie it can go to hell.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

This twice-weekly video blog is the place where he airs his personal views on the things that most fire him up about cinema - and invites you to give your own opinions.

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