Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Too many times have I seen films that seem to be overtly trying for a time period. An obvious example would be The Wedding Singer (1998), which screams everything obvious and horrible about the 80s (granted, this was kind of the point and what added humor to the movie).
Perhaps a better comparison to Chinatown is 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom which also takes place in the 30s. Temple of Doom tries so hard to look 30s glamor at the beginning, that it in fact just looks 80s. I guess in this case the movie showcases the view of historicity that texts (films, etc.) are more representative of their own time period than the period they are trying to tell about. An interesting concept, but I find it annoyingly distracting when a time period is aimed for SO MUCH.
Honestly, there is no excuse for that harpy Willie and her ruby red dress.
Here, I'll give you subtle costuming from Chinatown to wash your brain of that travesty:
Anyway, what do you think? Do you have any movies that bother you because they are TOO costume-y?
Also, I find 70s and 90s "period films" to be the most timeless looking (based on a quick top-of-my-brain assessment that included Little Women and The Godfather). Is that totally off-base?