Saturday, June 05, 2004

movies i hate

someone said something to me once that really pissed me off. he said, "it sure seems like you like a lot of crappy movies," (i'm paraphrasing, but the term "crappy movies" was definitely in there). of course, i got defensive...but i think that's what he was going for.

i guess if i was to look at it from someone else's perspective, that guy may be "right". see, i was at a job interview for a movie rental place not too long ago, and there were 2 "scenario" questions during the course of the interview. this is where the interviewer wants you to put yourself into a certain scenario and gauge your reaction against a range of things that he/she wants to hear.

the first scenario was easy, "put yourself in a situation where someone comes into the store and is thinking about renting a particular movie which you happen to have enjoyed. this person asks you whether or not you think they should rent the movie. what would you say?" i like a lot of movies, so that was easy.

scenario 2 was just the opposite, "think of a movie you hated." i froze. i just couldn't think of one. why is that? there are plenty of movies that i hate(d). true, i like a lot of them, but i'm not above seeing a movie and wishing i had that time back.

for this reason, here, now, is a list of movies i've hated (in some cases, i am listing only the title of a series of movies, if i hate all the movies in a given series). now, this list is by no means meant to be exhaustive. i've even included the name of a genre (no more than 1 at this writing). i obviously haven't seen all movies in the genre listed, but all the ones that i have seen have caused me to wish i was, instead, having every hair on my body torn out one at a time.

i make sweeping generalizations from time to time. but, for practical reasons, i have tried to make sure that my list is not characterized by sweeping generalizations (except the whole genre thing).

of course, i am listing only movies i have seen all/part of. i don't recall ever renting/paying to see a movie and stoping in the middle of the movie (unless i was with others and they left me no choice... i.e. it would have been stopped by a general but not unanymous decision), so for the most part these will be movies that i've seen all of.

with some of the items on the list, it may be the case that it was on TV and i decided not to suffer the duration, but these are mainly ones viewed in the context of "we're watching a movie now". at the top of the list i provide the date because occasionally i may be thinking and remember another that's not on the list.

perhaps a future post may contain the names of 3 movies that i love and why.

so, if you don't like that the name of a particular movie or series is on my with it! we live in a day and age when it's apparently no longer considered fashionable to be too concerned about the p.c. of one's opinions about film:

(July 19/04)
1. Star Wars
2. James Bond
3. Freddie Got Fingered (and i like tom green)
4. Bridges of Madison County
5. The Horse (Hoarse) Whisperer
6. Somewhere in Africa
7. Love Story
8. Dirty Dancing
9. Clockwork Orange
10. musicals
11. The Man Who Wasn't There
12. Citizen Kane
13. Casablanca
14. A River Runs Through It
15. Love Story (as bile rises in my throat)
(to be cont'd...)


Blogger Snard said...

Did you ever see that horrible HORRIBLE movie AI?! God!!! The first two hours were decent enough, but it was like speilberg didn't know how to end it so it just sort of wandered around for an additional hour and 20 minutes with no clear reason like a lost toddler. I wanted my 3 and a half hours of life back after that one.

Kudos on the musicals too. It's just not normal for a conversation to launch into song and dance.

6/19/2004 2:13 PM  
Blogger johnny m said...

i hear you on AI, but i think i liked enough of it to keep it off the "most hated" list. the point about musicals is definitely hitting the nail on the head. it's exactly the same point i made to my wife recently. damn unnatural songs...

6/19/2004 6:19 PM  
Blogger youtoo said...

I wouldn't say I hated star wars but I will say I don't get the facination with it. It is OK. And considerign the era in which the 4-6 were created they must be give some props for the special effects and production values althuogh Mark Hamil's acting performance in unforgivable. Yet Stars 1-2 have no excuse for being as sucky as they are. Hey George Lucus hire a screenwriter!!!

I must disagree with you on the musical front. I would agree generally that the musical medium does not translate tot he sceen as welkl as the stage but Moulin Rouge and Chicago were excellent films with very tight stories fully developed facinating characters and loads of social commentary woven in. They are great movies that I fully enjoyed.

7/04/2004 1:31 PM  
Blogger johnny m said...

see now, you don't want to get me started on star wars "episodes 4-6". pardon my spanish, but give me a freaking break!!!! george lucas doesn't fool me with his "episode" numbers. guess what people? star wars, the movie, that was the FIRST ONE! the ones that followed (can't remember if empire was 2nd or return was 2nd)...anyway, those were 2 and 3. phantom menace was 4, attack was 5, and this next load of poop will be 6. shoot, there i go again (note to self: don't rant in comments section...)

7/06/2004 8:41 AM  
Blogger johnny m said...

also, about musicals, the point is not whether or not they are well made or have good social commentary. when it comes to that particular genre, everything is out the window as soon as people start musical conversations. it's unnatural. we speak in language, we sing songs, and never the 'twain should meet. it's wrong.

7/06/2004 9:20 AM  
Blogger indiefaith said...

well johnny you found enough of a button to get me to bite. "we speak in language, we sing songs, and never the 'twain should meet." did i get that right? i was personally unaware that songs transferred meaning through some other medium than language. i am intrigued, do tell (rant) more . . .

7/10/2004 12:14 AM  
Blogger johnny m said...

well, indie, it certainly seems as though you've intentionally misinterpreted my earlier comments just to elicit a response. unless, of course, you are really that clueless. though the LYRICS of songs are written in language, they are not songs without the MUSIC! unless you are cosmo kramer, you know that nowhere in the world do people naturally converse in song. don't get me wrong, as evidenced by a later post (hip hop confessions), clearly music has it's place in society. but it's NOT in conversation. care to goad me more?!

7/12/2004 12:44 PM  
Blogger indiefaith said...

alright, so what bothers you is the fact the genre of "musicals" is too far removed from the way said situations transpire. in that case i am surprised that you enjoy movies. they must be hard to watch with all the music in the background (i know i don't remember ominous [spelling?] music being cued up the last time i turned the corner down a back alley). in addition that god-like perspective we get in movies must drive you crazy. boy i wish i could see the world that way. oh, am i ranting?

7/15/2004 7:16 PM  
Blogger johnny m said...

alright! it seems as though you can't stay on one point of debate long enough.

look, there's a very important difference between music conveying something in a film situation that words can't express and someone SINGING the things that SPEAKING can't express. if you can't find a way to say it, i sure as hell am not going to understand the sentiments any better if you SING the words to me.

score and outright sing-song dialogue are two very different animals. i'm not saying it's UNREALISTIC, like you're saying the 3rd person (or even first person) perspective that many stories are written in are, i'm saying it's UNNATURAL, like trying to accelerate your car's velocity by slamming on the brakes.

and are you so misinformed as to not know the difference, in film, between dialogue and musical score?! the score isn't PART of the dialogue, nor is the music in the score played, heard, or acknowledged by any of the CHARACTERS (unless we're talking parody), like in musicals. score isn't obtrusive, like songs in musicals.

score, when done correctly, is seamlessly interwoven into the story of a movie such that it's one of the colors on the palate, additional to dialogue. it's a necessary element that is noticeable when missing. think about the last time you were watching one of your favorite, non-musical oriented, movies...did you think to yourself, "wow, that was a great line of dialogue...but if only it was improved by being SUNG! oh, now that would have truly reached me."

it's not "too far removed from the way said situations transpire", it's NOT EVEN ON THE SAME PLANET. it's not removed, it's not even from the same family. so you can take your sing-songy conversation and CRAM IT WITH WALNUTS!

got any other arguments for me to exhaust?

7/20/2004 12:44 AM  
Blogger indiefaith said...

well ranted.

7/20/2004 11:01 PM  
Blogger johnny m said...

thank you for playing.

7/25/2004 8:40 PM  
Blogger Aslan said...

As the person who set off this blog, i would like to add my comments. I think alot of movies are crap, because they are weak on one level or another. They are either poorly put together, have a bad story plot, are so unbeleivable far from reality that it hurts, predictable, undeveloped characters, and the list goes on. I realize however that some of the movies that I would put on my list as favorites have some of these flaws. For example i like the star wars movies, the original 3 (and i know this can cause some of you to be upset, and ask why they are 4,5,6 if they were the first three, but we can talk about that another day). I think some of this stems from watching them as a youth and growing up playing with star wars toys at friends houses and such, and the affection for it grew as i did. However i will continue with my rant.
I would like to ask why you are watching movies? Is it to be entertained? This is a fine reason to be watching a movie but then lets see it as entertainment and leave it at that. Also as you had mentioned in another blog you are from within the church community, and if we are doing things like watching movies, and such for pure entertainment, it makes me think of Nirvana and how he sings in his "here we are now entertain us" and that is what people are doing, that are proving crap just to fill our time because that's all we are asking them to do. As someone within the church should you not be craving something more than just being entertained. ( Now i realize this rant can go from here into many directions, but lets keep it focused)
To be fair I will include some movies that I like, and leave them out there to be pondered and responed to. As well as i will try to explain why i like them.

(Not listed in an order)
Star Wars
Remember the Titans
Life of David Gale
When We were kings
Ali, I am the greatest (not the will smith movie, that was terrible)
Shawshank Redemption
Indiana Jones the first and the last in the trilogy
Back to the future (the first one, but I would buy the trilogy)
Perfect Storm
Monster (although I would never buy this movie)
The Passion

Looking forward to hearing your respone.

8/23/2004 2:47 PM  
Blogger johnny m said...

your comments have that tinge of arrogance that made me write this rant in the first place. i am most definitely not watching movies just to be entertained. in fact, in the priority list, entertainment is likely 3rd or 4th when it comes to movies.

but you seem to be assuming that someone who watches movies for more than just entertainment would unquestionably believe that, for that reason, the majority of what is released is garbage. actually, the reason that i like the movies you think are a waste of time is because they serve as more than just entertainment. the main problem is that you are a little short-sighted and can't see past your surface-level quibbles with the filmmakers long enough to see that the meaning that can easily be derived from those movies is more important that "that character isn't developed enough", or "that's just too unbelievable."

first of all, it's believable if you take 2 seconds to remember that it's a movie. second of all, there is only so much character development that you can expect in a 2 hour period. sometimes it's more important to look past your ideas of what a "good" movie is to see that there are some really important points being made. for instance, i'm not a huge fan of "pay it forward", but it says things about morality that most people don't believe anymore.

i don't have a problem with many of the movies on your list. i'm personally on the fence about "david gale", but i think it's ridiculous for you to put it on your list, given the many flaws in the movie that have been identified by industry professionals. i won't likely see "perfect storm" because i haven't seen one movie that takes place "on the sea" that i've ever liked. i haven't seen "monster" yet, but i definitely intend to.

and i just don't care for indiana jones, i don't really see the appeal. i'm surprised you like it, what with your talk about weak movies, underdeveloped characters (or no character development at all), and predictability. how can you seriously put that one on the list?! maybe it's just one of those things that you still hold affection for because it's part of movies you grew up with (?).

beyond that, i think i agree with many of the movies on your list. maybe my taste in movies isn't as crappy as you originally thought...

8/25/2004 8:04 PM  
Blogger Aslan said...

Interestingly enough after reading your rant i do have a new respect for your opinion about movies. I see that you are looking past the crap and getting something deeper out of it, or at least that is what you seem to be leading me to beleive.

You did make the point that you agreed with me that based on what is was saying most movies were crap. After that I was intersted in to what else you had to say, in explaining the not crap part.

I would have to say that yes in most movies there are probably things that you could pull out of them that are positive. However again as a church insider this seems to be the norm, take something that in some way has some good message, but it otherwise junk, and make a sermon out of it. But that's completely taking things out of context.

I am honestly trying to see things from your perspective, i think of you as an intelligent person , who i could learn from, and have respect for, but yeah maybe it's my ignorance in the culture, but apparently I seem to be missing alot of what is happening on the silver screen

8/26/2004 12:41 AM  
Blogger johnny m said...

aslan: perhaps your self-admitted "ignorance" stems more from a disinterest in culture. believe it or not, i respect that (i do still ask you what you thought about certain movies). you clearly have your own goals and expectations in approaching the movies.

i would not necessarily ask you to change that, but i believe that my point of view on this has benefited me by allowing me to enjoy movies more than when i was only watching to be entertained.

before i get into that, i think i should point out that i may not have made myself entirely clear in my response to your first comment. i don't necessarily "agree" with you. i am well aware of the fact that any movie will have its flaws. that was all i was trying to say. what i tried to say, after that, was that i also believe movies have strengths that you are not interested enough in overlooking their flaws in order to see.

even you should admit that a lot of movies (not all) do not have all flaws. some may have a few plot holes and are somewhat lacking in character development (to use some of your examples). but does this mean there are no strengths? it is in the strengths that i appreciate them and choose to overlook (but not be completely unaware of) what i consider small flaws (like weighing pros and cons).

in response to your thoughts about "churchies" who take an out-of-context biblical truth for a sermon illustration, i completely agree that such an attitude is wildly inappropriate. there is little that makes me rant more than the way the Church has handled movies and the interpretation of movies in the past.

i'll try to get to the point. i believe that movies belong in the category of "artistic expression", just like music, poetry, painting, etc. for this reason, i believe there is a lot to interpreting a movie (some movies are an exception to this...e.g. charlie's angels). but i do not believe that this means it's appropriate to "pull out" positive lessons.

in my experience, if people are interested in putting some thought into what they have seen in most movies, there won't be any need to take away from a movie what's not actually there. most writers, directors, and actors make movies with some sort of meaning. what we have to ask ourselves is "what is the intended meaning?" and "can that meaning be applied in other ways?" (i think that there are many other important questions to ask after being exposed to movies and other art, but this comment is getting way too long...)

the ball is now in your court...

8/28/2004 12:34 AM  
Blogger Aslan said...

"What is the intended meaing"
Oh how I love this one. This is one of my favorite topics to debate, and i didn't even manipulate you to this point.
Unless you sit down and talk to the artist of the piece, and specifiaclly ask them, and they tell you, you have no bloddy idea what the intended meaning of a piece of art is.
Every person has their own world view, and someone else cannot understand their world view or their expression of that without some information from the artist.

Look how many different ideas people have come up with what Tolkien was trying to say in his stories. Maybe he just wanted to write a story to enteratin his children, people have taken it to mean all kinds of things, be them positive or negative. They are still taken completely out of context.

So you say, let's seperate the piece and let it stand on it's own, to be evaluated. BOOOOO! That is an even more ridiculus idea. A creation cannot be seperated from it's creator. Every creation has part of the creator in it.

Someone cannot judge art on it's intended meaning unless you know 100% what that is, as defined by the artist/creator.

8/28/2004 3:55 AM  
Blogger johnny m said...

as is usually the source of my frustration with some of the things you say, you completely miss the point.

you can't guess at the intended meaning of a piece? "some information from the artist"? hello! we have the work that they have poured themself into! there's your information.

and i was just waiting for you to bring up the tolkien example. a lot of people, who are still alive mind you, knew tolkien and interacted with him to some extent. i hate to burst your "maybe tolkien was just an entertainer" bubble, but there is no chance in hell that the reason he wrote LOTR was just to entertain the kiddies!

he has actually discussed a very little bit of a tiny square of the intended meaning of those books in interviews he gave, and entertaining kids was obviously not one of the main reasons he wrote it. of course, the books can work that way, but how can someone be content to just think that they were just stories, given the very clear depth that the stories were written with?

also, i think your above comments illustrate the need for both of us to be careful with paraphrasing each others' words. i didn't say to "let the piece stand on its be evaluated." i was talking about interpretation. there's a difference.

evaluation is often a futile attempt to put some sort of universal value on a piece. that is not what good interpretation does. good interpretation takes what is in front of us and tries to understand how the elements come together to suggest what the intended meaning may be.

and, incidentally, i would never suggest seperating a piece from its creator. but i believe it's possible to seperate a piece from its intended meaning (whatever that may be) in order to see if it has some sort of use other than that which the artist had in mind (which is also one process of interpretation).

art is not sacred. there may be uses for it that an artist didn't think about or realize. and, if you want to talk about something ridiculous, what's ridiculous is trying to impose some sort of rule on art that says "there is only one meaning, and only one use". since when is art so rigid?

you seem to be confusing interpretation with some sort of pageant-like judging. i'm not talking about seeing a movie and saying "7.5", which is a little shallow. but there's a gem of agreement between you and me, here. anyone who says something like "lord of the rings means 'this'" is being a little too rigid themselves. actually, maybe that's a little like saying "art can only be 'this'". so by saying that "nobody really knows the meaning" and then saying "art is only what it's meant by the artist to be, and only the artist can know what that is" aren't you contradicting yourself a little?

and you don't need to know 100% what the intended meaning was in order for a piece of art to have some application. otherwise, it's just useless entertainment. i don't need to see something only to think "gee, that seemed really good, but i guess i'll never know."

9/01/2004 1:06 AM  
Blogger Aslan said...

You make some good pints as usual. And i will do my best not to paraphrase or misinterpret the intended meaning of what you wrote, but even if i did it would seem that i could still get something useful from that.....sure.
I wasn't suggesting giving art a rating system, i think that is a terrible idea. And you can't look at a creation such as a movie, and try to deduce things from it, even if the creator put tonnes of time and energy into it. I would like to see what you would deduce from some of my 'art' like my custom built bicycles which i have poured many hours into. You would have no idea of some of the significance, until you know me.
I think taking something from a peice even if it wasn't the creators intended meaning and going with it is stupid. That would annoy the hell out of me, if people were taking things from my work i never meant it to have.

9/01/2004 2:12 AM  
Blogger johnny m said...

clearly you just have a much more limited idea of what art is and is useful for. the point is not to "deduce" something from a movie and then say "this is what the director was trying to do". sometimes people create things and are so limited to "the box" that they can't see the amount of application it might have.

and, by the way, the apple is way better than the orange. get my drift? by comparing your bike art to film, you're comparing apples to oranges.

directors make film with the intention of sending a message and communicating something visually. that's the purpose many of them do it for. unless you create bike art for the purpose of saying something to people like me, you're right...there would be no point in me speculating. but because many filmmakers want me to get some kind of message, they put stuff in their film that sends that message and i have to get past my biases in order to get even a hint of what they were trying to say.

some art, like your bikes, is private and intended as therapy for the artist. some art, like many films, is made for the public and indended to get them to think. i would even go so far as to say that 90% of films made in north america and by north americans is in that second category.

so, to sum it up, i wouldn't take an application that likely wasn't intended and act like that was what the filmmaker was trying to say, but just because it wasn't necessarily an intended application of the films message doesn't mean it's useless. sometimes i don't give a rat's ass what the director was trying to say, because i feel certain aspects of their movie made good comments about certain things in our culture.

in other words, art has more than one use. if you have no use for what i'm talking about, i can respect that. but don't bother trying to tell me that it doesn't belong. because i'm pretty sure some filmmakers would take issue with you putting limits on what their art is useful for. i sure as hell know i wouldn't want anyone to tell me how to use my blog.

9/02/2004 10:04 PM  
Blogger johnny m said...

by the way, you couldn't possibly know the intended meaning of what i wrote, because you haven't talked to me enough! ;-)

9/02/2004 10:09 PM  
Blogger youtoo said...

* THis was originally one long response. I've broken it up for ease of reading. *

I am just going to throw my two cents in to this argument. An artist creates a piece of "art" and in one sense it can never be separted from the creator. The creator's imprint is built into the very nature of the peice of art. But once an artist shares their "art" with anyone other than themselves they have in turn released it and now people can interpret and get "stuff" or messages from it.

It is risky, and scary for an artist to release their art becasue there is no possible way to guarantee what will happen to it. How people will interpret it. Whether people will be encouraged from it or discouraged by it. A "christian artist" ( Lets not get in to the discussion here as to what makes or doesn't make something christian)must get to the point where he or she can give their piece of art as an offereing to GOd and Trust that GOd will use it ( or not use it)to further his kingdom and guide the eyes mind and the heart of those that experience it.

9/04/2004 1:13 AM  
Blogger youtoo said...

We are indeed God's art. He is our creator. and just like Aslan stated in an earlier post our Creator imporint is evident in us. But even God had to release his "art" in to the wolrd. He had to risk the possibility that it might deviate and pollute his intened message. We were created to love. Deep down that is wriitten on our DNA, yet look at how often we spread the message of hate or indiffeernce.

It Comes down to whether you believe art is alive or dead. The way I see it when you release a piece of art a movie, a story, a picture or a painting you are giving it life. It becomes a living breathing piece of art that can affect every person differently and yet equally owerfully. If Art is dead and it can only be what the creator meant it to be then I ask the question what is the point. I believe Art is flexible and alive. I'm just glad that God took to risk to release the piece of art which is me even though I sometimes communicate the wrong message I hope I more often than not I communicate the right message. Thank you GOd for taking that risk and not creating a dead pice of Art, a robot.

9/04/2004 1:14 AM  

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