Friday, October 21, 2011

movies everyone loves that i "don't get"

I'm not saying you're stupid for liking any of these movies. I'm saying I wished I understood them. I'm also not going to lie: This is one of my poorer articles, but I am really really trying to keep the "at least 1 article a month" thing going. Now on with it.

1. The Big Lebowski
The Cohen brothers are okay. I liked The Ladykillers, but I haven't seen No Country For Old Men or True Grit. I did see Burn After Reading, and honestly while I "got" it, I really thought it was unremarkable. Except the dildo chair. That shit was awesome. The Big Lebowski is kind of like the Cohens' Clerks, by which I mean it's their most revered in series of movies that, among college students, are generally praised. The Cohens kind of have this reputation among college students, like being a fan of theirs is requisite if you want to be friends with anyone. It usually goes something like "Aww dude, you've never seen Fargo? We gotta fix this now" and then your next 2 hours are robbed from you.

I eagerly rented this movie and sat through it because I kind of thought the Cohens were like Kevin Smith or Quentin Tarantino: Directors working within the system but still doing it "their way" with an indie mentality and love for film, not money. I popped it in, waited for it to start, then proceeded to wait for it to start for about two hours until Sam Elliot narrated the conclusion. Now, if I wasn't missing anything when I watched Burn After Reading, the "point" was about how often times the innocent suffer for the selfishness of others, and the guilty get off scott free; our system of popular morals, ethics and accountability makes it possible for one person to do loads of harm without even trying. When I watched The Big Lebowski, I really couldn't find a point. It's what one episode of the Simpsons referred to as "just a bunch of stuff that happened." Even if this is just one of those movies where there really isn't a point, and it's just kind of a mindless ride, I've still seen way better movies in that category. The Dude has kind of become a legendary figure among my peers, like Bob Marley or something. Go to any dorm room and you'll invariably see a poster of Che, Bob Marley or The Dude.

Make sense, damnit!
I communicated my dislike for this film to a friend of mine with a degree of concern for my own ability to find things funny. My general question was "I didn't like this movie. Did I miss something?" and he responded that I was supposed to have been high (and that, incidentally, I needed to be shot). I'll probably never get high, and if I do I'm gonna spend it watching Dora the Explorer, so ... I guess this one is lost.

2. The Hangover
I don't hate this movie. I just thought it was okay. Good even. I got a few laughs, but what doesn't make any sense to me (and is the source of my need to retaliate against it) is how it became everybody's favorite movie overnight (I wrote this months ago. It was more true then -Ed.). Yes, I know it's not literally everybody's favorite movie, but if you browse just about anyone's Facebook profile for their favorite movies, 100 times out of 100 The Hangover is listed. I sat through and watched this movie, genuinely enjoying it to a certain degree, walking out satisfied. Mike Tyson was spoiled for me, but it didn't really hurt it. I might be stepping on the general population's toes with this, but I thought the humor was pretty standard and at times cheap.

Again, there's really not a lot of hate for me to lay on the movie, it's just that it's mega, mega, meeegggaaaa popular and I don't really understand why. It was good, I can honestly say that, but what the hell? That scene with the satchel is a pretty good example. Zach Galafianakis is a comedian whose standup I enjoy. I liked his Comedy Central Presents so much that I deliberately memorized the spelling of his last name, and this was before the movie came out. But this character he plays and its comedic style look and feel geared towards teenage girls. The hair shake is way too overstated and its way too obvious that he's wearing a tight shirt because it looks funny. He doesn't look like an eccentric character who wears tight shirts and is funny because of it. He looks like a comedian wearing a tight shirt because he's trying to make people laugh. Oh, and people: stop saying ruh-tard.

3. Seth Rogen. Just ... Seth Rogen
Okay, now him I don't like.

You can't see it, but one of my eyes is twitching
He's capable of making an okay joke from time to time. What I genuinely can not stand is how he's somehow made a bajillion dollar career out of being fat, smoking pot and laying on a couch. I know, like fifty guys who can do that and they're not rich. You know what, that's not even the point. I could not care less what kind of money he's making. What bothers me is the level of fame and acclaim he's gotten to, like he's one of the "greats" now, like a modern-day Chevy Chase or Bill Murray. I just don't think he's anywhere near being "that good". ... Will Hunting.

I recently watched Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a movie from Kevin Smith's catalog that I had neglected for years. It was good, and he was pretty good in it. But that was because it was a movie that did not exploit the style that he's so well known for. He played a human and not a stock stoner or fat guy. Like Will Ferrell, he makes decent movies from time to time, but has a "go-to" character that he plays in every other movie. I think the big misconception that causes me to be annoyed by him is that he is a comedic actor. Press material for movies he's in, as well as people I know, treat him like he's a great comedic actor, and he's really not. The jokes I see him make are usually short and nothing special. His strength is really with dramatic performances, like what you can see in parts of Zack and Miri or Knocked up. But because he's fat and fuzzy, peoples' minds go directly to 'funny'.

4. Blade Runner

I had high hope for this one. Like the Terminator and Aliens, it kind of has a reputation among the great 80s sci-fi action movies, but one for the "thinking man". I have a big enough ego to consider myself one of those, and was excited for the prospect of "Terminator but smarter". Turns out Terminator(!) is "Terminator but smarter" and this movie is "Terminator for people with a degree in film studies". If you've ever heard a friend of yours dissecting whether Inception takes place entirely in a dream, this movie is for him.

You don't know deep about how deep this deeping deep is.

Now, maybe I was unfair to it by going in expecting more gun- and/or swordfights, but how could you not expect me to think that with a movie called Bladerunner? This movie focused way more on just trying to make me bored. Like, really I feel like that was the point: I'm supposed to feel bored because the main character is such a disaffected sourpuss, and his demeanor is part of what they were trying to say about what it is to be human, how much of humanity is biological, whether it's possible to create artificial humanity and all that other stuff that is usually explored in cyberpunk anime. Well, congratulations Ridley Scott. I felt bored.

I can genuinely say most of these movies were "not bad". Like I've stated, my senses simply be defective and that's the reason I don't like them all that much. Or maybe there's a chance these things aren't actually funny or great. My guess? Half and half. As I was writing this I felt like I was hating on some of these movies more than I had a right to. You decide.

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