Friday, July 30, 2010

A Rant About Movies

I like all sorts of movies. I like the really foofy, Oscar-baiting stuff. I like the High-Brow comedies and even some of the poop-humor ones. I like a good romcom, I like the indies, and sometimes I love movies that are about nothing but shit exploding. That makes it kind of hard for me to pin-point exactly what sort of movies I like when someone asks (and then they regret asking, because I never give a straight answer), because I just know I like movies.

Then there's the movies I just don't like. It's not just the obviously bad ones, like Transformers or anything that Martin Lawrence has ever done. Sometimes it's the critically-acclaimed, almost-universally loved movies that I despise. And sometimes I don't even have a rational explanation for why I don't like them. Maybe it's because I dislike a character, or an actor, or the soundtrack or because that one guy in the second scene looked like smelled of cabbage.

This is a really long-winded way of getting to the point of this post, which is that a couple of days ago my favorite Movie and Pop-Culture website, Pajiba, posted a list of "Ten Classic Films Overly Judgmental People Will Cut You For Hating". You can see it here. The basic idea is that these are movies that the so-called Movie Snobs (at Pajiba and elsewhere) will defend to the death. Mention that you dislike them and you're in for a lecture.

That's not often the case for me. If anything, I'll judge you and rant and you for liking a certain movie.

Anyway, I think it's a really great list and it started a pretty long, contentious discussion in the comments, where I, as usual, ranted about how much I hated some of the movies on the list and others to boot. And because I'm a narcissistic fool who likes to rant about her own opinions to a length not allowed or tolerated in the comments section of a blog (where my comments might get lost in the flood) I wanted to bring the list over to my blog and tell you how I feel about each of the movies on the list. Some people did that in the comments but I'd rather not take up half the page on Pajiba (I mean, it's my JOB to read the comments and not even I can get through some of the really long ones).

Apart from the narcissism, I'd just like to have this post so I can refer to it when anyone gets confused over my taste in movies. That, and you guys know I love to rant. I try to edit myself and fail miserably.

See? I can't shut the hell up. Anyway, these will be my mini-reviews of the movies on the list. The ones I've seen, anyway.

Let's start:

10. The Hours
Here's one where I just don't understand how anyone could get worked up about it one way or the other. I liked it, I think. It had some beautiful moments (the scene where Julianne Moore's character imagines she's drowning was specially poignant) and the acting was flawless. But it was boring in spots, and definitely depressing. It's the kind of movie that makes you angsty because you can't really understand why all these people are miserable. It helps if you've read the book (which I reviewed here) because I think you get a better grasp of what the connections are between the characters and their stories. I just didn't think it was all that spectacular a film, and I certainly don't think that Nicole Kidman deserved the Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf. It was...fine, helped along by a stupid nose prosthesis, but you know they only gave her the award to make up for not giving it to her for Moulin Rouge (her best performance to date, I think). The thing is that I can totally see some of the film snobs out there ranting about the beautiful silences and quiet suffering and whatever. I just know it was kind of boring and forgettable. Film snobs are so full of shit sometimes.

9. The Warriors
Haven't seen it. I didn't even know it existed until it showed up on this list, and I still have no idea what it's about (Dustin reviewed it but I normally don't read reviews of movies I've never seen). Next!

8. The English Patient
I had no idea about this, but apparently this is one of the most viciously hated movies of all time. At least, every single time it's mentioned on Pajiba you'll be sure to hear someone saying how much they hate it. To them I say really? Listen, I love that movie. Loved it. Have loved it since the first time I saw it and I fell in love with Naveen Andrews and Juliette Binoche and I sobbed towards the end. I loved the music, I loved the story, I thought it was one of the most gorgeous movies ever photographed. But I can see why people wouldn't like it. They think it's too long (so was Avatar and that was a piece of shit!) and the characters were unlikable (some of them were). I can see why you didn't like it. But hate it? I didn't even think enough people had seen it! I wonder if part of the dislike comes from just the sort of people who will yell at you for not liking it. Me, I'm just surprised, not personally offended. I think that, in general, people tend to react negatively to something that is praised by the critics with big foofy words, and then they watched it and didn't like. Because they feel (rightly, perhaps) that the critics are calling them stupid. I just think that, like the movie snobs, some critics are full of crap and they'll like anything that looks snooty. But I do think that this movie has a lot of merit, just maybe not as much as some of the critics are willing to lather onto it. It's not Gone With the Wind, for crying out loud.

Also, Ralph Fiennes is insanely hot in it. What? I can't have my moment of gooberdom in all the huffiness?

7. New World
I didn't even think anyone had seen this movie, let alone loved it. All I remember of it is that Colin Ferrell was John Smith and he met Pocahontas and they looked at each other in a swamp for AGES and then the music was all plinky and they looked at each other some more and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Good God that movie was boring. It was pretty, but, dammit, pretty don't make something interesting (Helloooo, Stephanie Meyer!). I think I was so bored after the Swamp of Longing Stares and Sleepy Voiceovers About Nature and Love that I dozed off halfway through. Next thing I knew Christian Bale was there for some reason. And not even that could keep me interested. It's one of those movies that the Snobs will tell you is poignant and moving and whatever. I just thought it was excruciatingly boring. The girl who played Pocahontas was pretty, though. Though...wasn't she like 15 and Colin Farrell was 30 or something? GROSS.

6. Atonement
Oh, lord, this movie. I remember it clearly: it was Oscar time a couple of years ago, and this movie came out and NO ONE would shut the hell up about it. I couldn't watch it because I was still in Honduras, land of the shittiest movie theaters in the world. But the more I saw of it the less interested I became. It looked like all of the other dark-brooding-woe-to-all-oh-the-futility-of-life-and-love World War Whatever movies that have ever come before it. Pretty, sad, well acted. Oscar bait. And then I watched it and that's exactly what it was. I didn't hate it, it just left me blank. I liked that one scene where they panned over the beach with the soldiers and the bombs, but why was the camera covered in soot? And then the ending just made me angry and I hated it so much that I forgot everything else about the movie except the anger. Like I said in my review of There Will be Blood, I'm not gonna buy your Bleakness, no matter how pretty the package it's in. All I got from it was that England during World War Whatever was a horrible, bleak place and so are most movies revolving around it.

5. No Country for Old Men
This is one where I will cut you if you tell me you hated it. I'll understand not liking it just because it's not your sort of movie. But if you even bring up that you thought it was boring or that you hated the ending, I will lose my shit. That movie was nothing short of brilliant. I think I was gripping the arms of my seat the whole way through it, and every time Javier Bardem's character showed up I got the shivers. It was that powerful. I've never seen anything quite like it- a movie about killers with almost no dialogue, no ridiculous grandiose moments of gun fighting and entire scenes where it's all about silence and jumping at the slightest sounds. It was brilliant. I remember I couldn't stop thinking about it for days afterwards, and I think it was because it was so realistic that I expected Anton Chigurh and his hairdo of doom to come after me any second. And it wasn't just Javier Bardem--every performance in that movie was outstanding. So if you seriously hate it, get out of my face. You don't deserve good movies.

4. Breakfast at Tiffany's
Never seen it, but I had no idea people disliked it. I thought it was one of those movies that everyone loved or hadn't seen. You know, how so many people think Audrey Hepburn can do no wrong. From what I gathered in the comments, it seems like most people hate it because of Mickey Rourke. He plays an "Asian"? God that sounds weird. I need to watch it.

3. There Will Be Blood
I said all I needed to say about this movie here. To recap: I can see why it's a well-acclaimed movie. Flawless acting (Daniel Day Lewis gave one of the best performances of all time). Harrowing story. But it was bleak as all hell and the music gave me a migraine that lasted for days. But I know from experience, people will cut you for hating it.

2. 2001: Space Odyssey
There's three things I know for sure about this movie:
1) I don't really like Stanley Kubrick. I think Dr Strangelove is hilarious and that The Shining is bizarre, but that's about it. His style just doesn't work for me.
2) I have never been able to stay awake during this movie.
3) 99% of the people I know who have seen it have hated it. That includes movie snobs.

I don't think I'll ever get through it. I have zero interest in doing so.

1. Lost in Translation
Or as I know it: That. Fucking. Movie.
I hated it. HATED IT. Every single thing about that movie filled me with rage. Pure, seething rage. Not just dislike or indifference. Rage. Even Bill Murray, because I felt so betrayed that this man that I LOVE could be in something so horrible.

Listen, no, SHUT UP. That movie is fucking TERRIBLE. To start, it's mind-numbingly boring and shot as if Sophia Coppola had fallen asleep at the camera and as if it was always 6 o'clock in Tokyo. Then the characters are horrible people who are lucky enough to find themselves in one of the craziest places in the world and decide to spend their time in their hotel rooms complaining about how boring their lives are. FUCKING GET UP AND DO SOMETHING. And that doesn't include going to a Japanese bar and seeing how quirky they are. You are the worst fucking tourists in the WORLD. Then there's the fact that NOTHING HAPPENS and I'm supposed to take a lesson from it and identify with these fucktards and their woeful lives of absurd privilege that still makes them miserable? NO! And don't even dare to tell that I just didn't get it because THERE WAS NOTHING TO GET. Sophia Coppolla is a fucking TERRIBLE director and writer, and Scarlett Johansson has about as much charisma and acting ability as a goddamn rock in the desert. That movie is insulting to the Japanese, to Americans, to women, to men, to travelers and to intelligent people everywhere. It's a pretentious, empty shell of a movie shot through a blue-filter because it MEANS SOMETHING. Fuck you, Sophia Coppolla. Take your Nepotism and shove it down your throat. Shame on you, Bill Murray. SHAME ON YOU.

DO NOT TRY ME ON THAT ONE. I will cut you.

Gah. Gaaaah. I hate that movie so much. FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE.


See? I'll get more shouty if you like a movie I hate than I would if you hated a movie I loved. Because...hell, I just won't understand it. I know everyone has a right to an opinion and different tastes and whatever and I can take it if you don't agree with me and my opinions aren't sacred or better than yours but sometimes you're just WRONG. That's just a scientific fact! Some things are just bad, people.


Now I'm all worked up because of that damned movie. I just don't think I've ever hated anything a movie so much, mostly because so many people claim to love it. I'm not ashamed to admit that I think those people are insane, or just pretending. YOU ARE INSANE AND YOU KNOW IT.

There's something wrong with me. First person to say "it's just MOVIES, gawd!" will get a deathly glare.

Anyway. The next day at Pajiba, Dustin posted the opposite of this list: Movies that, if you don't like them, will show people that you don't have a soul. That's a great one, and I'll rant about it tomorrow.

To end, here's a quick list of movies that I will judge you if you admit that you LOVE them. Not just liking, or being indifferent to them, or liking-them-even-if-you-know-they're-bad or just not hating them. I'm talking about real, unironic love, like listing them in your list of Favorites. This is important, because goodness knows I am guilty of liking some admittedly-terrible movies myself. Here's the list:

1) Sex and the City, 1 & 2
2) Twilight
3) The Da Vinci Code
4) The Notebook or anything else based on a Nicholas Sparks book
5) Crash


Let me amend that:

It's not that I'll lose respect for you or that our friendship will be broken forever or anything. Not even I take movies that seriously. It's just that I will never come to you for a movie recommendation, and I probably won't be participating in any Movie Nights with you, or any movie discussions. And since that's one of my favorite things to do , it will be a breach between us.

Notice that I changed Crash for Lost in Translation, because a lot of my friends love LIT and I've forgiven them for it because they have pretty great taste otherwise. Crash, though? That means you have no taste.


Sin said...

ah screw you dude, i like lost in translation. there, i fucking said it, what are you gonna do about it?!!?! i'll admit it has flaws but i'm in the camp of people that appreciate the quiet beauty. i'm gagging at using a term like "quiet beauty" but that's why i like it. there's just something very calming and non-confrontational about it.

i thought of this too late but i should have commented on pajiba that district 9 and children of men would belong on that list for me. they were ok movies but jesus, what is the big deal about them? actually, children of men wasnt even just all right, it was awful. great directing, horrible everywhere else.

do watch the warriors, it's extremely campy but i was really surprised i liked it.

anyway, LIT aside, i think our friendship will survive cause i agree with you on everything else (except i never saw new world or the hours or there will be blood). breakfast at tiffany's was all right, bit darker than i expected for that type of movie.

Sin said...

im gonna regret going there but i think maybe you really didnt get lost in translation. wait, wait, hear me out: they're not just tourists who are bored, they are displaced people living in a place where they dont want to live, but theyre also kind of in limbo because going back where they were is shitty too, but then they meet, and aha!, a silver lining. ok i regret going there but, as they say, just my $0.02 :)

Sin said...

im gonna regret going there but i think maybe you really didnt get lost in translation. wait, wait, hear me out: they're not just tourists who are bored, they are displaced people living in a place where they dont want to live, but theyre also kind of in limbo because going back where they were is shitty too, but then they meet, and aha!, a silver lining. ok i regret going there but, as they say, just my $0.02 :)

Figgylicious said...

Nah, our friendship won't be broken but I'll still think you're insane ;).

See I didn't get that at all. I think I disliked the characters so much that I felt zero sympathy for them, and I was so bored and annoyed by the movie that I didn't feel like it was trying to tell me anything. I get what she was TRYING to say, I just think she failed miserably at saying it.

JennTheYellowDart said...

TWILIGHT ROXXXXX!!!! LOL!!!!11!!!ONE!!!!UNO!!!!!!!!!

The Caustic Critic said...

Oh, The Hours. My friends dragged me to see that when I was in college because it had something to do with female oppression and art and blahddidy blah. After it was over, all I could say was "At least the bad movies I like have EXPLOSIONS and SEX in them."

Also, The Warriors and Breakfast at Tiffanys are both great as long as you look at them as fantasy movies, and not depictions of any real world. (In addition, make sure to fast-forward through the racist Mickey Rooney bits.)