At the WSJ, James Piereson argues for the superiority of Columbia's Core Curriculum over Harvard's (via the Spectrum).
I would tend to agree (though there may be a natural bias here in favoring the curriculum I have taught - i.e. Columbia's - over the one foisted upon me - i.e. Harvard's). In my ideal university, there's no set of core requirements, but if you're going to have a core, Columbia's is superior to Harvard's - it's intellectually consistent, there is a true rationale that can be articulated and defended, where Harvard's is an inconsistent hodgepodge....
The thing that irked me most as an undergraduate was that one so often seemed to be getting a watered-down version of the real thing - it was not possible to take a 'real' history department course to fill either one of the "Historical Studies A and B" requirements, for instance, one instead had to take classes specially designated for the core. This is why I prefer a distribution requirement system to a separate "core" - you ended up with huge lecture courses rather than being able to take, say, an upper-level seminar instead (I would like to think I could be trusted to get the basics on my own!).
That said, I suppose it is appropriate that some celebrity profs should teach absolutely huge lectures that anyone can take (I took Stephen Jay Gould's class for instance, I don't enjoy that sort of lecture because I would so much rather take in the information much faster and more efficiently by eye rather than ear, but I had a good discussion section leader for that class and it wasn't altogether a waste of time).
Some of the most boring classes I ever took were core classes (I will not name the professors, but they included classes on linguistics, Bach and World War I - in each case the discussion section leader was also quite poor - indeed, in the case of the WWI TA, she seemed to know virtually nothing about the subject, I felt I would have been better qualified to teach it myself as a college sophomore - I am sure I was a very annoying person for her to have in that class!).
On the other hand, there were some gems in Harvard's core too: I would have been quite unlikely to take the course on Political Obligation taught by Judith Shklar if it hadn't been for the "moral reasoning" requirement, and it was a fantastically good one; also very good was the course on the history of the development of the European state taught by Stanley Hoffman, Peter Hall and Tom Ertman (but in that case I also had Hall for my discussion section leader, and he was spectacularly good - the course must have been an earlier version of this).
I suppose when it comes down to it, I strongly prefer the seminar to the lecture as a format in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, and that was one of the shortcomings for me as a student in Harvard's core - if I want information to be imparted to me, or to get some sense of the basic methodology in a discipline, I would much rather read a book...
In the end, after three years teaching Literature Humanities at Columbia, I felt that I probably wouldn't do it again (and I did those three years due to the carrot-stick incentives that Columbia offers junior faculty); I love the format (the same group of first-year students for two hours twice a week over an entire year - you really get to see high-school students transform into fully-fledged independent college students, intellectually speaking!), but I felt that it was incredibly weird to be spending all my time teaching literature without access to the two things I most often rely upon in my departmental teaching, namely close reading (most texts are read in translation) and historical and cultural contexts (not the point of Lit Hum, and pretty much impossible to conjure up given multi-thousand-year curriculum).
The fall semester curriculum is built pretty tightly around the ancient Greeks, and works fairly well; the spring semester is a somewhat more ideologically loaded survey of "great books" across 2000 years, and seems to me significantly less satisfying to teach.
In short, my own version of a class like that would operate on the principle that I could do much more with a much narrower field of inquiry - give me a whole semester on Shakespeare, say, and I will be able to cultivate the same kinds of thinking that Lit Hum is supposed to encourage, only with a much more satisfying specificity.