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YMMV / Valley of the Dolls

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  • Acceptable Targets:
  • Critic-Proof: Both the book and the film were trashed by critics, but the book became a best seller and the film was the fifth highest grossing of its year.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the 1967 Film of the Book, Jennifer North — who commits suicide by overdose rather than undergo a mastectomy — is portrayed by Sharon Tate, who would wind up dead at the hands of the Manson Family just two years later.
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    • Jennifer is also viewed entirely around how she looks, something Sharon too experienced in her career. After her death, Roman Polanski famously said that people were always talking about her beauty - but never about how good she was as an actress.
    • Also, seeing Neely O'Hara's stay in the sanitarium and her subsequent breakdown is very difficult to watch considering Patty Duke's public struggles with mental illness and bipolar disorder. Additionally, there is also her drug usage and alcoholism that she struggled with throughout the movie and her likely Downer Ending at the end, which was inspired by Judy Garland and her own struggles, who died of a drug overdose two years after the movie premiered.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Sparkle, Neely, sparkle" is the line that has really endured over time.
  • Narm:
    • A good portion of the hammy melodramatic acting brings this out halfway through.
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    • The film's compression of the timeline results in this. The book covered twenty years, but the film is clearly much shorter (Neely is said to be 26 when she's fired from a film). It makes it even funnier to think that all this life changing drama is unfolding in such a short time frame.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Richard Dreyfuss makes his film debut as a stagehand.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The book was considered quite scandalous and risque at the time, but over the years as more works have gone further on Horrible Hollywood, it's hard to believe what made it so shocking. It's been called the Fifty Shades of Grey of its day.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The film's hammy acting and heavy-handed melodrama make for plenty of unintentional laughs.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The theme song of the film by Dionne Warwick sounds rather similar to the You Only Live Twice self-titled theme song by Nancy Sinatra.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
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    • Sharon Tate imbues Jennifer with such sincere emotion and vulnerability that she's quite The Woobie.
    • Lee Grant, who played Miriam, also took the film incredibly seriously at the time. The director commended her on one scene where she had to get emotional. It was filmed on a Friday and they had to finish it on Monday, and she brought the same emotion as she had before.
  • Values Dissonance: Nowadays, hearing the characters casually throwing around words like "fag" and "faggot" is rather unnerving and controversial, even if back then it was considered a common insult along the lines of calling someone "stupid". It's even ironic considering its LGBT Fanbase.
  • Values Resonance: The book and film's focus on the abuse of women in the entertainment industry, and the struggles that come with being a performer are all still quite relevant today.
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