Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Movies Everybody Else Loves But I Hate

As a cinema enthusiast, I often find myself exposed to movies of all sorts. There's usually a ton of movies that I find myself in the position of having to see simply because they're so iconic or so influential. Oftentimes that's justified, and the movie in question turns out to be really good. Once in a while, however, I find myself in the strange situation where I find myself hating a movie that everyone else seems to like.

Now, I know what you're thinking, and I've already discussed Godard in great detail, so I'm not going to put any of his movies here, nor am I going to discuss Solaris. However, there are still a number of other well-received movies that I can talk about, so let's get started.


I've already mentioned before that I'm a huge fan of John Carpenter, so it should come as extremely ironic that the only film of his I truly hate (I wasn't so keen on The Fog, but I did find a few redeeming features there) is the one every other die hard fan of his works maintains is his best. I wanted to like this movie when I saw it. I was big into the horror genre at that time and I was excited to see one of its greatest icons.

However, when I actually started watching the movie, I found it really failed to meet my expectations. Maybe its popularity got me a little too hyped, I don't know. What I do know is that when I saw it, I found most of the plot to be really predictable and it never really drew me into the world of its story. Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence did okay (though when you get down to it, all the latter really did was remind us that Michael Myers was a dangerous psychopath, which I think we could figure out by the fact that he was wielding a large knife and trying to kill teenagers), but I never found myself emotionally attached to the other girls and if anything wanted them to die since I knew it was going to happen so I just wanted it over with.

The part that finally drew the line for me, however, was the ending. Up until this point, the story has been reasonably grounded in reality, but then all of a sudden Michael Myers turns out to be invincible. Jamie Lee Curtis stabs him twice: once in the neck and again in the chest, and he just gets up like it was nothing. I talked about this on IMDB later on and fans of the movie explained that Michael Myers was supposed to be a metaphor for evil, but I feel like if that was the intention it could have been handled better. As it is, the supernatural components of his character seem to come straight out of nowhere with the only build-up being a frightened child screaming about "the boogeyman" (that doesn't count). Maybe if they'd kept it ambiguous, at least having Michael Myers getting a limp or something, it could have been a bit unnerving. As it stands, I just found the climax more confusing than scary.


This one, at least, I know I'm not alone on. I've talked to a bunch of people from the class in which I was forced to watch this movie and I have yet to meet anyone who actually enjoyed Jaques Tati's Playtime. There may have been one or two who appreciated it on a stylistic level but never anyone who tried to defend it as a masterpiece.

I've got nothing against French cinema, but this isn't one of the best works to come from France. When watching this film, I found that it felt like the kind old comedy I should be able to enjoy, but the jokes were at best poorly timed. While I'm not opposed to unconventional narratives, I felt the plot seemed more like a bunch of incoherent segments with only the most tangential connections, all of which seemed to keep going on far longer than they needed to and quickly wore out their welcome.

And what was up with those chairs? There's this weird running gag where Mr. Hulot keeps encountering these really strange chairs that make a WHOOSH noise if you scrunch the cushions on them. Throughout the first half of the movie he keeps bumping into people who like to scrunch the back cushion and show off the WHOOSH noise on these chairs. What is the joke? How is this supposed to be funny?

Inglorious Basterds

I've got nothing against Tarantino. In fact from a technical standpoint Inglorious Basterds was a pretty impressive movie. The acting was solid, there were some tense moments, and it takes talent to be able to make a film in three different languages, especially when very little of it is done in your native language.

My main issue with this movie is that it never seemed to fully understand what it was trying to do. I remember some of the people I talked to about this back in high school used to talk about it like it was some kind of comedy. Okay, fair enough, the Nazis did some horrible things and having experience in the Unterganging community I know some might get a great deal of enjoyment in seeing harm done to them. 

However, if that's the case, than why go does the film go out of its way to make almost every German who's on screen seem sympathetic, like that one guy who doesn't want his men to get hurt and pays for it by being bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat, or the guy in the bar who is just celebrating the birth of his son. It's kinda hard to enjoy seeing the Nazis being murdered when you make it clear they're not actually Nazis but ordinary German citizens pulled into the war against their will.

On the other hand, perhaps that's just it. Maybe the film is actually an anti-war story about how war isn't all black and white, showing that not all Germans at the time were bad and that even the supposed "Good Guys" committed horrible war crimes. This could also explain the attention to detail by going as far as to have most of the movie be in French or German.

However, if that's the case, then what was the point of killing Hitler? If it was supposed to be a dark comedy about killing Nazis I could understand, but if the goal was to emphasize a very real issue of war why suddenly take a turn like that? I mean, if they were just going to kill off Hitler what was the point of trying to authenticate everything? 

It's like if you decided to make a movie about the Titanic, went out of your way to ensure that everyone's accent was 100% accurate for the time period, and then had it end with the ship successfully maneuvering around the iceberg and arriving safely at New York. If you're not going to follow what happened, trying to authenticate everything seems kind of redundant, does it not?

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

I don't care if this was directed by the genius behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End, this movie was stupid and pointless. The plot is absurd and full of holes, not to mention too many unnecessary video game inside jokes.

The main character is at best an idiot and at worst a complete jerk. Seriously, he abruptly ditches the girl that genuinely loves him in favor of some purple-haired girl he doesn't know in a crowded public space with multiple witnesses. Yes, I know she was much younger than him (though there may be some creepy implications by the notion of a twenty something-year-old sleeping with a high school student), but did he really have to publicly humiliate her like that? 

That's not even getting into the guy's stupidity. I mean, disregarding the absurdity of why his girlfriends ex-boyfriends (and one girlfriend) care enough about who she's currently seeing to want them dead, what sane person would keep trying to romance her? The last "Evil Ex" even gives him a chance to get out and like the idiot he is he doesn't take it

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