Yentl: Everett Collection
Lisa Schwarzbaum
April 18, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Which movie affected you but otherwise has little merit?

I have found that the reason I treasure certain movies has little to do with their quality, and more to do with the time in my life I first saw them. What movie has greatly affected you but otherwise has little merit? — Diane Bradley
If I tell you this, promise to keep it a secret: I sobbed my eyeballs out through Yentl back in 1983, and I still can’t sit through the schmaltz aria ”Papa, Can You Hear Me?” without blubbering. With all due respect to the magic of Barbra Streisand, I suspect that the movie’s rather debatable merits are overshadowed by intense, unresolved emotions left over from when I was beaten out for a speed-reading medal in Hebrew school by a boy whose prayer recitation clocked in a half second faster than mine. (Also — again, this is between you and me — I think I had a crush on Mandy Patinkin at the time.) Other movies that undo me, for reasons too personal to reveal: anything starring Glenda Jackson from the 1970s, and Joseph Losey’s The Boy With Green Hair.

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