Top 5 Movies Made Too Soon
In cinema, life has always been an inspiration for art. Some of the most compelling, gut-wrenching, and heart-breaking movies stem from true stories of the human experience. But between the poorly received and reviewed Steve Jobs biopic and the news of a Boston Marathon bombing movie reportedly on it’s way, it certainly raises the following question: When it comes to biopics, and event/disaster movies, how soon is too soon?
To answer that question, we’ve examined a few movies that were released with remarkable haste after the actual events from which the film was based.
Were they done right, wrong, and did the movie stand the test of time? The verdict is yours.
5 Movies That Were Made Too Soon
1. “Zero Dark Thirty” 2012.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
How soon after real life related events: 19 months.
“Zero Dark Thirty” chronicles the manhunt for Osama bin Laden that ended when the Al Qaeda leader was killed in 2011 during a military raid on his secret compound in Pakistan. Although the movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, and was favored by many critics, “Zero Dark Thirty” also received it’s fair share of criticism for sensationalizing torture, and glorifying modern warfare.
The sensitive subject matter sparked much controversy regarding the political implications of the film, the depiction of the subject matter, and whether or not Bigelow and/or screenwriter Mark Boal had access to classified government documents.
Could the movie have benefited from a few more years between it’s release and the death of Osama bin Laden? Considering the topic at hand, It’s difficult to say. But it’s clear some just weren’t ready for “Zero Dark Thirty” in 2012.
2. “W.” 2008.
Directed by Oliver Stone.
How soon after real life events: Controversial – 0 months.
Usually presidential biopics are released long after the completion of the subject’s time in the White House. This one hit theaters while the subject was still in office.
Oliver Stone’s “W.” is based on the life of former President George W. Bush, spanning his college years at Yale University, to the start of his presidency, which lasted from 2001-2009. The movie was released in 2008 and opened to mixed reviews. In a review published in The New Yorker, David Denby wrote, “W. feels poorly timed: too late to have any effect on the public, most of whom long ago checked out on the President, and too early to provide more than a schematic interpretation of who he is.”
The Bush administration never officially commented on the film.
3. “Jobs” 2013.
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern.
How soon after real life related events: 2 years.
Steve Jobs biopic “Jobs,” was released in 2013, just two years after the innovator, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Apple passed away in 2011 from complications stemming from pancreatic cancer. The screenplay, penned by Matt Whiteley, spent more time chronicling Apple events than it did developing characters (including the main character), resulting in what felt like a superficial rush-job, and an inadequate homage to the late Steve Jobs. “Jobs” has a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a rating of 5.5/10 on IMDB.
Another movie based on Steve Jobs is already in the works, this time with a script from Aaron Sorkin, and producers Scott Rudin, Mark Gordon and Guymon Casady attached. Considering the combination of more time, and Sorkin on board, we’re optimistic the next cinematic tribute to Steve Jobs will be much better than the last.
4. “Selena” 1997.
Directed by Gregory Nava.
How soon after real life related events: 2 years.
Fans were shocked when Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, was shot at the age of 23 by friend and fan club president Yolanda Saldivar in 1995. But it wasn’t long before they got to see their idol again on the big screen. “Selena” went into production in September 1996, and was released on March 21, 1997, just 10 days before the two year anniversary of the singer’s untimely death.
Although released incredibly soon, “Selena” was generally received favorably amongst critics, and gave Jennifer Lopez her breakout role as the ill-fated singer, in what Roger Ebert called a “star-making performance.”
5. “All The President’s Men” 1976.
Directed by Alan J. Pakula.
How soon after real life events: 2 years.
The last film on our list proves that sometimes “too soon” can be “just right.”
Alan J. Pakula’s “All The President’s Men” performed award season alchemy by turning headlines into Academy Awards. The movie tells the real-life story of the two reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal during Richard Nixon’s presidency, and ends with a montage of headlines, and Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
Although it was released in 1976 just two years after the final scene, “All The President’s Men” was regarded to be pretty historically accurate, grossed over $70,000,000 dollars at the domestic box office, went on to win three Academy Awards, and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2010.