How often does it happen? You’re sitting somewhere with friends or co-workers and the topic of conversation turns to movies. Pretty soon, everyone is talking about their favorites, fondly recalling scenes, quoting memorable dialogue, while you sit there, mouth shut. You have nothing to say. Actually, you do have something to say, but it’s probably something along the lines of “You‘ve gotta be kidding me. That movie was crap.”
I’m sure we all have our “reverse favorites”, those flicks everyone else just seems to adore that you dislike (and, eventually, grow to hate because people kept telling you how fantastic they are). Well, hat follows is my list of The Top 10 Movies Everyone Else Loved That I Absolutely Hated:
Little Miss Sunshine: Yes, call me heartless (many of my co-workers did) but I hated this movie and still don’t understand it’s appeal. Carl argues that it’s touching and heartfelt. I counter it’s awkward and downright bizarre. The kid is supposed to be an adorable social outcast but her behavior goes beyond anti-social well into psychologically aberrant territory. And given her support system, it’s no wonder. Ultimately, a movie about a mentally challenged family played for laughs.
Spiderman 2: Don’t even try to convince me that this movie was good, much less better than the original. From Aunt May’s laughably rambling monologue to our hero’s Christ-like body surf down a subway car, what this movie misses in plausibility it makes up for in a complete lack of subtlety. Also, who knew that one could snuff out an overloading nuclear reactor by simply dropping it into a large body of water. Hunh.
Seven: A nasty little movie that essentially contradicts it’s own internal logic in order to deliver it’s “shock” ending. Throughout the movie, the serial killer dispatches of his victims thematically. Each, in his mind, is guilty of one of the 7 Deadly Sins and is murdered accordingly. An obese man (gluttony) is forced to eat until his stomach ruptures. A model (pride) has her nose cut off and is driven to suicide rather than live with her disfigurement. A lawyer (greed) bleeds to death after being forced to hack off a pound of his own flesh. All well and good until the end of the movie when he murders the detective’s wife. And despite the arguments that, by so doing, he becomes his own victim (envy) in driving the detective to kill him (thus making the detective wrath), there’s still the fact that he broke his own M.O. and logic by murdering a perfectly innocent pregnant woman to get there. A morally bereft movie that opened the door to the hollow and vile likes of the Saw series.
Brazil: A big budget wank whose out-of-nowhere twist doesn’t surprise as much it sucker-punches you in the gut. Enjoying the movie so far? Well then enjoy THIS, bitch!
Moulin Rouge: I picked this one up for my mom because she enjoys musicals. Well, she didn’t enjoy this one – and neither the hell did I. In fact, my mother found it embarrassingly cheesy. Seriously, if MY mother says something is cheesy, then you can bet your ass that it’s an affront to the very term. People talk about the wonderful musical numbers (I’d argue that a couple of 50 year old guys singing Like A Virgin is an acquired taste), but nobody ever mentions the pat plot and atrocious dialogue. I hated this movie so much, it actually makes me mad to think about it.
Death Proof: I’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino. Still, as much as I love Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, I really, REALLY hated Death Proof. Remarkably, more offensive than the misogynist terror and violence are the movie’s frustratingly tedious, self-indulgent streams of dialogue.
The Usual Suspects: Yes, I guessed the twist (the fumbling with the lighter gave it away), but that’s not why I hated this movie – although, in retrospect, had I not guessed the ending and been surprised it may have mitigated my overwhelmingly negative response. The problem I had with this movie was that, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter what any of these people did. They were screwed from the get-go. Whether they tried to flee, completed the assigned mission, or were merely peripheral to the scheme, there was absolutely no hope for any of them. As a result, the movie was, for me, more a filmic exercise than a dramatic work.
Austin Powers: Goldmember: Really, in all fairness, I could include all three movies in the series (well, maybe not the first one because I stopped watching halfway through) but I go with Goldmember because it’s the one that I hear quoted so often. Yeah, I get it. It’s supposed to be stupid, sexist, and racist because it’s, uh, making fun of stupid, sexist, racist movies. Sure, but if you’re aiming for satire, I’d argue you have to be at least somewhat clever. Really, just a hodgepodge of moronic scenes played for forced laughs.
Scarface: Yes, the overwhelming favorite of adolescent boys – and grown men with all of the emotional depth and intellect of adolescent boys. Pacino’s performance is spectacularly overwrought (egads, that Cuban accent!) but, in retrospect, positively restrained when compared to his later works (Scent of a Woman anyone?).
Six Degrees of Separation: Plagued by the sort of stilted dialogue and affected “playing to the cheap seats” performances that typify most theatrical productions, this one had me stepping out into the lobby for occasional “breathers”. A perfect argument for why plays belong on the stage and not on the big screen.
I’m sure there are plenty of you who’ll vehemently disagree with some (if not all) of my choices. Would love to hear your argument for the defense. Or some of your Movies Everyone Else Loved But You Hated.