Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Films I Hate (That You Love)

19 December 2007

Today is December 19th. It was ten years ago today that TITANIC was released in theatres. I saw it that fateful night (Mr. James Cameron being one of my favourites--if not favourite--directors), with a group of friends and, oddly enough, one of my teachers.

He and I had both followed TITANIC's extremely troubled production and were curious about the film. I hoped it would do well, since so many had predicted it would fail (do you remember how much it had going against it, such as its length, its lack of stars, that it was supposed to be a chick flick, the fact it was opening against James Bond, that it was a period piece by an Action director, that people were talking about the budget a lot more than the story, etc.?), and the talk in the industry was that Cameron was a giant arse who deserved what was coming to him.

I did enjoy the film, more or less, but it wasn't the sweeping and/or overwhelming emotional experience for me it was for others.* I found the TITANIC phenomenon to be fascinating, though, as it made more and more money and gained more and more fans. And as it did those things, I saw an interesting thing happen: many, many people turned on TITANIC like a South American dog, deciding that it was a) overrated, b) poorly done, or c) Evil.

I can certainly accept people that think it's a), or even b), but the whole c) thing was just sad. Still is.

Tyranist never saw TITANIC. It was one of those that he gave the Klingon dishonour backturn to, and became one of its outspoken critics . . . or, more accurately, haters. He's done that with a number of films that he's happy to remind me of.

So, because TITANIC came out a decade ago, I thought about what movies I hate that you probably love. Strangely, I couldn't come up with a lot. I figured tyranist would be happy to send me his list, and in less than five minutes, there were five on their way back to me.

Tyranist's list:
1. Titanic
2. Forrest Gump
3. Schindler's List
4. Pulp Fiction
5. Apocalypse Now

My list, though, has been longer in coming. I hate a lot of films, sure, but usually they're movies you either also despise or were smart enough not to see. I could put last year's ERAGON on the list, but I haven't seen that one, and would probably only be citing it because I hated the book. I'm really trying here.

So far, I can come up with:

2. SHREK**

I'm finding myself stuck now. For a long time, I really resented THE MATRIX, and maybe went as far as hating it in late 1999/early 2000. But then the sequels came out, which were inferior (particularly the third one) that it sort of made me appreciate the original more than I had before. I no longer hate the film and can't list it here.

Tyranist's mention of SCHINDLER'S LIST is another good example of a movie I will never watch again, but I don't hate it. I think it's extremely well-made, but found it extraordinarily painful to sit through. Which was probably the point.

I don't hate BATMAN BEGINS, but I don't lavish it with accolytic praise and adulation like most people. Same with THE MATRIX. I feel about NAPOLEON DYNAMITE the way tyranist does about TITANIC GUMP, but I haven't seen it, so I can't very well list it. Seems like there's a Ridley Scott film I'm really not a fan of, but I can't think of it now (I hate LEGEND, but it's not a film everyone else loves). This is really difficult, you know?

4. ELF

I had listed FARGO as my number four, but when I thought of ELF, which I went to first-run on the glowing recommendation of people I respected, despite not having much cash at the time, it had to be on my list. I dislike FARGO, but I hate ELF.

I had listed BOOGIE NIGHTS as my number five, but it's one of those films that was quite possibly well-made, but just not made for me.*** I feel a shivery kind of loathing for all Paul Thomas Anderson's films, and might've listed MAGNOLIA too, but it's got those awesome Aimee Mann songs, so that has to disqualify that one.

Mentioning THE MATRIX a minute ago, though, reminds me of a flick I do hate: EQUILIBRIUM. It had something of a great premise, and had the awesome Sean Bean in it, but the unnecessarily tacked-on MATRIX fighting sequences really bothered me, and the brain-crampingly stupid ending made me long for films where it turns out it was all a dream. But what pushed it over the edge into hatred for me was when I heard people claim it was better than THE MATRIX. You don't usually hear people say BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS is better than STAR WARS, or ALLIGATOR is better than JAWS, or SPECIES is better than ALIEN, no matter how good those knock-offs were.


This is the hardest Top Five I've had to compile. I'm sure the next one (maybe movies I love that everyone else hates?) will be easier.

Rish "The Ebersisk" Outfield

*Particularly my sister, who did all but change her last name to DiCaprio after seeing it.

**But even SHREK I don't actually hate; I just resent the hell out of it.

***Plus, it's got Heather Graham naked in it, so it can't be that bad.

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