12 Once Popular Films That Haven’t Aged Well at All

American Pie
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.
In many ways, movies reflect the era that they were made. As technology advances and social norms change, it’s understandable that films made at an earlier time appear out of date and even cringe-worthy. An online community of movie buffs identified movies that were once popular among fans but have since poorly aged, and it’s easy to see why those films are so problematic now.

1. Manhattan (1979)

Manhattan (1979)
Image Credit: United Artists.
The premise of this movie centers on Allen’s character, a twice-divorced, 42-year-old comedy writer dating a 17-year-old high school student. Manhattan is one of Allen’s most acclaimed films. Still, it’s surprising that even in 1979, no one pointed out that a romantic relationship between a 42-year-old man and a girl 25 years his junior was wrong.

2. The Toy (1982)

The Toy (1982)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.
An unemployed writer desperate to earn enough money to stop his house from being foreclosed on agrees to be a living “toy” for a rich man’s lonely son to play with. The fact that the rich man and his son are white and the broke writer is Black, and the writer was purchased as if he were an object and not a human being was as terrible an idea then as it is today.

3. 16 Candles (1984)

16 Candles (1984)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.
Back in the day when the Brat Pack was running things in Hollywood, 16 Candles was a hit with movie fans and critics alike. Looking back at the film, there’s no way it could be made today without some significant editing.
The lone Asian character in the movie was portrayed stereotypically, and the implied assault of a young woman who passed out drunk are just a few examples of why this film didn’t age well.

4. Blame It on Rio (1984)

Blame It on Rio (1984)
Image Credit: 20th Century-Fox.
Two fathers, who are also old friends, and their teenage daughters go on a vacation to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While they are on their trip, one of the men secretly starts a romantic relationship with his friend’s daughter, who’s 17 years old. This wasn’t cute when Woody Allen did this five years earlier in Manhattan, and it shouldn’t have been acceptable in 1984.

5. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.
It’s hard to criticize such a beloved film franchise, but the criticism is warranted in this instance. The movie is set in India during British rule, and its portrayal of Indians is woefully inaccurate. Besides the fact that they do not eat chilled monkey brains and beetles, the movie heavily relies on the trope of the white savior rescuing helpless people of color.

6. Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985)
Image Credit: Orion Pictures.
This action movie wasn’t a success at the box office, but it has achieved a cult following in the years since its release. This movie aged badly because a non-Asian actor, Joel Grey, was cast to play Chiun, a Korean martial arts master. Having white actors perform in yellowface may have been relatively common in Hollywood, but it’s highly offensive.

7. Soul Man (1986)

Soul Man (1986)
Image Credit: New World Pictures.
When a young white man from an affluent family discovers his father won’t pay for him to go to Harvard Law School, he pretends to be Black to win a scholarship. His racial transformation required him to take excessive tanning pills to darken his skin. Anytime an actor performs in blackface, it’s always a bad look, even if the intent is to condemn the evils of racism.

8. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989)

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989)
Image Credit: Lauren Films.
Despite being a critical and overseas commercial success, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! sends the wrong messages from start to finish. A recently released psychiatric patient is obsessed with a former adult film actress and kidnaps her so she will fall in love with and marry him. Romanticizing kidnapping, abuse, and Stockholm syndrome is incredibly creepy.

9. American Pie (1999)

American Pie (1999)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.
While this movie has been depicted as a coming-of-age comedy, one scene isn’t remotely funny and would likely land someone in legal trouble if they tried it in real life. One of the main characters in the film sets up a webcam in a bedroom to secretly broadcast a female exchange student’s activities online without her knowledge. That’s just gross, period.

10. Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.
Jim Carrey is known for playing slapstick comedic roles. However, this attempt at using severe mental disorders as comic fodder fell flat with mental health advocates. While this movie was a box office success, it perpetuated harmful misconceptions about people diagnosed with schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

11. Shallow Hal (2001)

Shallow Hal (2001)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.
A single guy who laments being overlooked by women who look like models is hypnotized so that he can only see a person’s inner beauty and not how they look. As a result, he falls in love with a woman who weighs 300 pounds. This film is both fat-phobic and sexist, spotlighting women’s looks while not giving the same scrutiny to men’s looks.

12. Wedding Crashers (2005)

Wedding Crashers (2005)
Image Credit: New Line Cinema.
Two friends who work as divorce mediators make it a habit to crash the weddings of people they don’t know to meet and hook up with women. Setting aside the rudeness of crashing someone else’s wedding and reception, it’s pretty repulsive that these grown men resort to lies and trickery to get unsuspecting women to fall for them.

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Written by Stephanie Allen

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