Saturday’s Six: Movies I Can’t Believe Everyone Likes

You know how it is: You, the best judge of good and bad movies in the whole darn universe, is just appalled at how tacky, horrible, screwed-up, boring and lame a particular blockbuster is.  The only problem is that you seem to be the cheese — you stand alone.  Everyone else loves it, with the abiding love of a mother to her firstborn, or perhaps a little boy’s finger to his nose.

It drives you insane, just knowing that you’re surrounded by these… yokels with such askew tastes!  Why can’t most people see the truth like you can?

This happens to me all the time.  So here are my six movies that I can’t believe everyone loves.  And God help you if you’re one of them.

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Now, I realize that there are plenty of folks out there who cared not one whit for this movie, but last summer it seemed like everyone I encountered was all bubbly and enthusiastic for Michael Bay’s latest cinematic noisefest.  They couldn’t quite explain why — because there was no rational explanation — and they seemed to have complete blinders on as to what makes a movie good or bad.  I guess it’s first-hand proof that the majority of the public can be shocked and awed into submission in the theaters if the movie is loud enough, explodey enough and not too taxing on the noggin.

2. Chicago

I loved me some Moulin Rouge back in the day, and so when Chicago, the next big showtune flick, came out, I was there on day one.  And boy, it was just terrible — no memorable songs, a dull plot, and characters I just plain hated.  Yet everyone went ape for this movie, it was a big thing at the Oscars, and it ensured a successive string of sad, limp musicals (Nine, Mama Mia!).  I blame the public for not clubbing it over the head with a shovel and then leaving in a huff.

3. Avatar

I will have my last laugh at Avatar, oh yes I will.  It’s virtually guaranteed, and I’ll tell you why.  The single reason I’ve been able to deduce why crowds flocked to Dances with Smurfs in Space — other than alien bosoms — is the wow factor of seeing a lot of pretty pictures in 3D.  To me, it didn’t seem any more or less real than other CGI films I’ve seen, which left me with a plot that was rote and predictable, a main character who had absolutely no defining traits other than “handicapped”, and so much heavy-handed liberal guilt tripping that I’m surprised it didn’t run for president.

Avatar sucked.  It sucked so thoroughly that it lapped itself and fooled people into believing it was actually great.  And this is coming from a guy who adores 90% of James Cameron’s filmography.

4. Caddyshack

Oh yes, I’m going there.  I’m going to one of the most sacred, hallowed grounds of the previous generations, and I’m going to desecrate them with foul poetry.  That Caddyshack has a terrific cast of the best comedic talent the early 80’s held, I don’t doubt.  It even has some solid moments.  But on the whole, it’s a pretty routine comedy that’s hampered by Rodney Dangerfield’s love-it-or-leave-it (I’ll leave it) brand of boorish humor and too much slapstick that isn’t funny in the least.  It doesn’t deserve to be as revered as it has been, especially considering that far better comedies have been made before and since.

5. Twilight/New Moon/Eclipse

Here’s another series I know has a lot of haters, but whenever they come out, the noise of the Twilight fans drowns out even the loudest boos in the crowd.  What I don’t get is why the followers of Stephanie Meyer don’t ever question how inherently creepy and pathetic it is to fall in love with your stalker, a guy who has to physically restrain himself from killing you, and then become so utterly dependent on him that you cease to be an empowered individual.  I don’t understand why it’s okay for girls and women of all ages to ogle what is purely hunky eye candy, and yet they would hiss at guys doing the same if the situation was reversed.

These movies worked so hard to screw up so many people’s understanding of what proper relationships entail — and I know this because I’ve talked to quite a few girls who want exactly the “Bella experience” with a guy who looks great and has no other personality, and they don’t care about pesky things like being secure on your own and having standards (other than Adonis-like looks) in dating.  My eye twitches when I think about these films, so I’ll stop.

6. It’s a Wonderful Life

Now I have to wrap this up before Drew speeds over here and strangles me with his bare hands, but man oh man, I do loathe this film.  It probably has a lot to do with its oversaturation around Christmas time, as well as the fact that my parents made us watch it each and every year instead of cooler Christmas movies like Die Hard.  IAWL is a big fat nothing in my book — it doesn’t elicit feelings of any kind other than wanting to avoid it so I don’t waste my time — but I can’t understand why it’s so beloved and so embra… ACKK!  DREW!!   BAD DRWAAACKKK!!!

16 comments

  1. Great post! Even though I don’t agree with all of them, you are spot on about Avatar. Even more so than the liberal guilt trip and the obvious “trying to be subtle, but still hitting you over the head with a hammer” way it discusses corporate greed and being disconnected from reality, the story IS Pochahontas in space…horrible.

  2. Syp, I was with you all the way until It’s a Wonderful Life. I love the movie! Although, I was never tortured with it as a child. Sorry to hear about your harsh upbringing man. 🙂

  3. You leave Its a Wonderful Life alone Syp! I’m sorry you were tortured with it but that movie is a cinematic masterpiece and its universal love is well earned! .. In this one guy’s opinion!

  4. I’ll throw in a hearty Hear, Hear on Avatar and Transformers.

    The mass love for these two films comes across to me as nothing more than mass delusion or simply a love of glowy, shiny and explody thingys.

    I’d say the same for Twilight, but really it’s just a teen fad thing. Sorta like the boy band of the moment.

    Caddyshack on the other hand, I have a soft heart for. It’s like any B-movie, it’s bad enough that the cheese itself is entertaining. Plus, you know: Bill Murray. A man whom, when inserted into any movie, somehow gives it this extra little chuckle. He could just stand there and I don’t know why, I’d smile. I’ll even say the sacred Ghostbusters would not have worked without him.

    I don’t think you can effectively roast It’s a Wonderful Life. Whether you like it or not, its impact on other films has been enormous.

  5. Great post all across the board. I finally saw “caddyshack” a few months ago and I was beyond disappointed.

    It’s difficult NOT to bash the “Twilight” series. A central part of the story is a 100 year old man in the body of a teen-aged boy falling in love with a 17 year old girl… He’s not only an abusive stalker, but a pedophile. Great lesson to teach the young people.

    I’ve railed against “Avatar” far too many times so I’ll leave that one alone.

  6. “and so much heavy-handed liberal guilt tripping that I’m surprised it didn’t run for president.”

    Best. Sentence. Ever.

  7. *returns from the backyard with a dirty shovel*

    You’re all welcome. Caddyshack is debatable, but a man who doesn’t like It’s A Wonderful Life does not deserve to run a movie website.

  8. I can’t get why people are going nuts over this 3D stuff to be honest.
    It’s only ever been used as a gimick. Back in 1998 I went to Universal Studios in Florida and experienced the Terminator 2 3D ‘thing’. It was part 3D movie, part live action, and it was fun. But even back then all the 3D ever did was “ooooh… explosion throws debris at you” or “Terminator points his gun at you! YOU! sitting in the audience!”, and it’s not changed one iota, because that’s pretty much all they know how to use it for.

    Except Hubble 3D. Hubble 3D is the only thing so far that validates 3D filming. See it in IMAX too.

  9. I have to admit, I actually like Avatar. I can’t argue with the faults you found, but I had a blast seeing it, and the 3D aspect was executed really well. I also don’t regret seeing Transformers (not *too* much, at least), or Chicago. Heck, I’ve even sat through the Twilight series (OK, a few good moments notwithstanding, those hardly needed to be made). I enjoyed Caddyshack, even though I can only barely tolerate that much Rodney. I’ve never seen It’s a Wonderful Life, so I won’t comment on that one.

    One film I feel must go on this list, however, is There Will Be Blood. Anyone who sat through this and thought anything other than “when will this bastard die already so I can finally go home?” might be in a coma, in my opinion.

    3D is a gimmick, and is the movie industry’s latest attempt to remain relevant in the face of current home-theater technologies. Avatar used it fairly well, but all the flicks coming out lately in 3D just make me shake my head.

    • I hear ya, man. The first time I saw Avatar was an absolute revelation – I walked out of the theater with a huge grin on my face and a feeling of lingering euphoria that lasted almost a whole hour. It’s gotten a little more prosaic on later viewings, of course, but I don’t care what people say – any movie that can make me feel like THAT is NOT a piece of overrated crap, derivative or not. My taste is not THAT bad.
      Really, I can only agree with about half this list, and that’s the half I haven’t seen – i.e, Transformers, Twilight and Caddyshack. The others I’ve seen, and what can I say? I like ’em. Chicago has good songs and beautiful women, and It’s a Wonderful Life may be somewhat overrated, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a bad movie – it’s got good acting and a nice message. Personally, I’d rather believe that if everybody likes something, there must be SOMETHING to like about it, even if I personally don’t get it.
      And yeah, 3D is a passing thing, I hope. I mean, it’s just an illusion of added depth, it’s not a game-changer, and it doesn’t work for everyone – I get a headache just reading a 3D comic book; I hate to think what my head would feel like after watching something like Avatar in 3D.

      • Arrr, the way ye be reasonin’, tobacco an’ t’ magic powder o’ glutamate be as fine as Avatarrr! I be heartily agrein’, me matey!

  10. I love “Wonderful Life,” but if you don’t go in for the sentiment, it’s probably not going to be your cup of tea.

    I also love “Chicago,” but I’m a musical-a-holic. (And for the record, I actually agree with Justin on “Mamma Mia!” Even I’m not that girlie. Haven’t seen “Nine” yet.)

    Will agree with “Caddyshack.” Fun in spots, but not the great comedy it’s been praised as.

    Haven’t seen the others. I’ve passed “Transformers” onto my brother and nephew’s generations. If they want to bake their brains with Michael Bay and his explosions, that’s on them. “Twilight” is, as mentioned, a teen girl fad…and even if it wasn’t, I’m not into romance. “Avatar” just plain isn’t of interest. I’m not the world’s biggest sci-fi fan, and with the closest movie theater a half-hour away, the 3-D thing is lost on me.

  11. For those of us who think It’s a Wonderful Life should be taken in by the Film Anti-Preservation League, this review courtesy of The Agony Booth makes a strong case. It also makes an interesting point on how Mr. Potter is not the true villain of the film.

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