With the last question, I asked you all to name an instance in which you felt a work you used to enjoy soured like old milk. This time, we will turn the question on its head and discuss which works have aged like fine wine.
Say you’ve bought into the hype surrounding a work and when you decide to see what all the fuss is about, you walk away from the experience disappointed. “How could so many esteemed critics give it such high praise?” you may ask yourself. Nonetheless, you have this inexplicable desire to try it out again. This time, you walk away slightly more impressed. Over time, you realize the critics were right all along and you find yourself praising it alongside them – a complete reversal from your original stance. Maybe you weren’t mature enough when you tried it out for the first time. Perhaps it takes multiple playthroughs/viewings/listens to fully appreciate. Either way, I’m confident we’ve all had this happen to us at least once.
With films, the best example I can think of is Drive. When I saw it back in 2011, I had no idea why so many critics considered it one of the greatest films of that year when I felt it really didn’t do anything special with the action-film template. Though I still wouldn’t exactly consider it one of my absolute favorites, I have warmed up to it over the years, and I’d say it’s worth a watch.
One of the greatest examples I think of in music concerns Captain Beefheart’s 1969 double LP, Trout Mask Replica. One music critic in particular considers it the greatest rock album ever recorded. When I tried it for myself, what I got was a chaotic, unlistenable mess that made me question what said critic was thinking. I would later do further research on the album, and to my surprise, I learned it was also a favorite of The Simpsons/Futurama creator, Matt Groening. It turned out that when he listened to it for the first time, he also detested it. It was only after subsequent attempts at listening to it that he realized how good it was. Thinking there was more to it than what my initial impression led me to believe, I gave it another chance.
I don’t think there’s really a specific way to “get it”, but after a few more tries, I began to appreciate just how avant-garde the music was. It really is one of the most unique (in the good sense) albums out there, and nobody since has come close to replicating its sound. To be fair, I don’t know how anyone could even if they tried. Nowadays, it ranks as one of my personal favorite albums of all time as well, and I have it to thank for encouraging me to try out more experimental music.
Admittedly, with video games, I haven’t had a particularly drastic instance of me growing to like a game I once hated. I have had instances where I thought worse of a game sometime after finishing it as my last question demonstrated, but I usually know where I stand once I see the credits roll. The closest example I can think of dates back to when I got into the Metal Gear series back in 2009. I had cleared the GameCube remake of Metal Gear Solid, The Twin Snakes, and wanted to play the (at the time) critically hyped Metal Gear Solid 4. I knew that it would require playing through Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3, so I bought all three games at once with the purpose of experiencing one right after the other. Though I was impressed with Metal Gear Solid 2 right away, I hit something of a wall in the form of Metal Gear Solid 3.
The outdoor level design and inferior technology to work with in-game meant I had to get used to a completely different style. Partly because of that and partly because I played on high difficulty setting, I was quite frustrated at the game when I started dying frequently. Once I finally got through it, I was free to play Metal Gear Solid 4, which I thought was better at first. However, once I played through Metal Gear Solid 3 again – this time without the pressure of trying to keep up with where the plot was going – I began to appreciate it more. Now, it’s one of my all-time favorites while I feel Metal Gear Solid 4, while still technically good, was massively overhyped.
Now that I’ve said my piece, it’s your turn now.
What is a work you used to dislike, but adore nowadays?