Patch Adams: Melinda Sue Gordon
February 14, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Patch Adams

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
Wide Release Date
12/25/98
performer
Monica Potter, Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman
director
Tom Shadyac
distributor
Universal
author
Steve Oedekerk
genre
Comedy, Biography, Drama

Why has ”sentimental” become a four-letter word?

I know there are ”good” sentimental films like E.T. and ”bad” sentimental films like Patch Adams, but I don’t know why this is so. Why has ”sentimental” become a four-letter word? — Greg Bavaria
There’s nothing wrong with honestly earned feeling — some of my favorite movies of all time are sentimental spectaculars from the 1940s, including Casablanca, Brief Encounter, and Now, Voyager. It’s the five-letter condition called S-A-P-P-Y that has become the bane of too many cynically sentimental films. E.T. beautifully expresses a universal desire for connection. Patch Adams intrusively insists that an obnoxious doctor played by a voraciously needy Robin Williams is lovable.

What movie did you dread reviewing, only to discover it was actually great? — Gary Crowl
Dread is too strong a word — I save that feeling for releases with Pokémon in the title. But some great movies are preceded by billows of bad buzz. Titanic is the most titanic recent example, but for me The Aviator is also a triumph of art over skepticism.

(Got a movie-related question for Lisa or Owen? Post it here.)

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