December 29, 2007

Do you love a movie that everyone else hated?

In the first post of the day today, I condemned a movie about Heaven:
This was an early CGI film that was enough to make me never want to see another CGI film. And I only saw the trailer for it.

That made Blake write:
Ann Althouse casually dissed one of my favorite movies on her blog, which provoked in me a great idea for a forum topic/series of blog posts: Movies I loved that everyone else hated....

So, why do I like ["What Dreams May Come"]? ... [T]he "Hell" that Annie (Annabella Sciorra) goes to isn't a place she's assigned to by some bureaucratic angels, it's a place she herself has created through her grief. In other words, Heaven and Hell are made of the same stuff, just not by the same people. It also seems to be far, far away from Heaven, which reminds me of St. Augustine's notion that "Evil is distance from God".
The post inspires a comment from Trooper York:
The reason why people hate this movie can be spelled out in two words: Robin Williams. I have some rules in life: Never play cards with any man named "Doc." Never eat at any place called "Mom's." And never, never, no matter what else you do in your whole life, never go to see a movie starring Robin Williams.
Okay, so we've really got 3 topics here now, don't we?

1. Movies you love that everyone else hated.

2. Movies you're willing to condemn with confidence based on the trailer.

3. Rules for life movies.
I'll start:
1. Pecker.

2. Already answered. But it's my reaction to most trailers. Sometimes the feeling is so strong, I feel compelled to try to help people by saying something out loud — "There's no way that's a good movie" or perhaps a subtly vocalized "Ugh!"

3. Any movie with Claude Rains is worth watching. (A rule best demonstrated by "Deception." Sample line that is incredibly cool because it is said by Claude Rains: "Like all women: white as a sheet at the sight of a couple of scratches... but calm and smiling as a hospital nurse in the presence of a mortal wound... Good night!")

59 comments:

Blake said...

Well, I've already done, but:

1. Plan 9 from Outer Space. I loved that before it was fashionable.

2. There are some trailers that are so long and shown so repeatedly, I develop an aversion to the movie. I'm having a hard time thinking of any right now, since I show up ten minutes late to the movies any more. My Summer of Love is one. It took me months to work up to seeing Everything is Illuminate because of the trailer, which had a full blast replaying of a snippet of How It Ends.

This was so bad, it made it hard to watch Little Miss Sunshine, which used the theme as the basis for its soundtrack.

3. I'll watch anything written by Ed Wood. Even when it's an interminable strip movie like Orgy of the Dead. Just for lines like, "To love the cat is to BE the cat." I don't drink, but when I read an Ed Wood book, I think I can kind of get the feel for the DTs.

But, as I said, my tastes are not entirely mainstream.

Revenant said...

(1): "Joe vs. the Volcano", "The Stupids" (what can I say, I thought it was a good adaptation of the kids' books), and my true shame, "Doom Generation".

(2): "Fight Club". The trailer made it look like "Bloodsport 2: The Legend Continues", but the actual movie was weird and great.

(3): "Say Anything"! All high school seniors should watch this movie.

Synova said...

I like movies but in a rather passive fashion. Consequently I don't pay that much attention.

1. Turning it around, a movie I thought was bad and that "everyone" of my computer geek acquaintances "loved" was Final Fantasy. They're all like, oooo... look at the CGI, and I'm like, dudes, the plot sucked.

2. The new Batman.

3. Rules... avoid any movie that is gushed over because of importance or meaning.

ricpic said...

I love a movie that practically nobody else has ever seen: Marathon by the Iranian filmmaker Amir Naderi.
It's a movie about obsession. A young woman is obsessed with solving crossword puzzles, her life revolves around doing them. And she needs the background roar of the NYC subway against/in which to concentrate. She sets herself the test of completing 75 puzzles in a marathon 24 hour session riding the subway. That's the film. It's mesmerizing, don't ask me why.
Marathon is available on Netflix.

Ann Althouse said...

Revenant said... "(2): "Fight Club". The trailer made it look like "Bloodsport 2: The Legend Continues", but the actual movie was weird and great."

Yes, I hated the movie based on the trailer. But then I was in a multiplex and checked out a little of it (while waiting for my movie to start). I thought it looked great, so I went back and saw it and loved it.

Blake said...

ricpic,

FWIW, I wanted to see that movie--I remember it being advertised--but it played for a week at the most, rather far from here.

Pete Fanning said...

A couple.....

"Wing Commander"....guilty pleasure I guess...

"One Hour Photo"...it was a great small film and one of Robin William's best performances in my opinion....

"1941"....yes....Spielberg does comedy...but I still can't get Belushi's Wild Bill Kelso out of my head....

ricpic said...

Blake,

Yes, it was here and gone in a trice. I happened to have a couple of hours to kill on an afternoon when I also happened to be in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood replete with so called arthouses. I passed one showing Marathon and went in on pure impulse. Otherwise I never would've seen it.

Pal2Pal said...

I avoid all movies starring either Sean Connery or Alec Baldwin.

I rarely go to the movies and wait until they hit my cable, so I don't pay much attention to trailers.

A movie on my top 10 list is "Jumpin' Jack Flash," a choice that others seem to diss.

John Kindley said...

This isn't quite responsive to the question, but three movies that I thought were outstanding that everyone else didn't necessarily hate but haven't gotten the credit or fame I think they deserve are Rob Roy (better than Braveheart), Frailty (better than Memento), and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (better than The Exorcist). On the other hand, I was recently disappointed by No Country for Old Men. It wasn't bad, but the glowing reviews it received led me to expect a lot more. Fargo was much better.

Annapolis was a movie whose trailer just about made me gag. I couldn't even bear to watch it when it was on cable, even though I attended Annapolis for 2.5 years and you'd think I'd have some interest in how they portrayed it in the movie.

Jennifer said...

1. Punch-Drunk Love. Just about everyone I know thought it was stupid, but I loved it.

2. The Hottie and the Nottie (That's cheating, though, because anybody could condemn it with confidence based on the trailer.)

3. Don't let yourself get "typed". By Netflix or anybody else. Tricking Netflix is harder than everyone else.

Moose said...

I loved "What Dreams May Come" in spite of Robin Williams and because of one thing.

His dog. His dog in Heaven.

Can't help it. I'm a sucker...

Jb said...

1.) the "Josie and the Pussycats" movie. I apologize for nothing.

2.) Any horror movie staring nameless actor specifically marketed for the age 14-22 demographic and which features a plot dependent on some recent trend or fad and are usually painful derivatives of the playful Kevin Williamson movies of similar ilk made in the '90s. For example, I can say without reservation that "One Missed Call" blows goats on a truly horrifying scale.

3.) There are good movie, there are bad movies, and then there are Gene Hackman movies.

Trooper York said...

Professor, a Claude Raines film for you to get from Netflix:
The Man Who Reclaimed His Head
1934. Despite the title, it is not a horror movie but a political one about editorials (easily morphed into blogging) and is a really interesting flick. I promise that it is not the Ted Williams story.

PatCA said...

1. Stuart Saves His Family, with Al Franken. I also like One from the Heart, by FF Coppola.

2. Trailer hate: The Guardian with Costner and Ashton Kuchner. Hollywood finally finds a branch of the military they like, the Coast Guard!

3. Never see a movie that the ads promise will be a blockbuster.

chuck b. said...

1. The Cruise (well, one other friend of mine liked it as much as I did, and then the rest of my friends who saw it hated it. It's on DVD, finally.) I also really enjoyed A Scanner Darkly, but I don't know if anyone else liked/hated it.

2. The Bucket List. Hollywood loves to make black men and white men bestest buddies. Such facile pandering...to what end, I don't know. I can't stand it. Also, I am totally OVER Jack Nicholson.

3. I guess I don't have any rules. Except that I also hate, Hate, HATE Robin Williams movies.

Ralph said...

1. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. But apparently enough people liked it that they made a sequel ten years later.

2. American Psycho was much better than the trailer. The plot is rather similar to Fight Club's.

Caitlin said...

I've only recently been checking out this blog, and I was undecided, but your Claude Rains love has put you on the "must come back here" list, regardless.

As for movies, I pulled muscles laughing at the Cable Guy with Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick and Ben Stiller. No one else I know will admit to liking it. Upon repeated viewings, the preachiness gets to me, but it's still so hilarious.

I also love LadyHawke, despite the continuity issues (full moons, disco music, etc.). It's about people who turn into animals - who cares about continuity?

And pal2pal, "jumpin' jack flash" is great fun on a Saturday afternoon.

Blake said...

jb,

I also enjoy Josie and the Pussycats. Rachel Leigh Cook is impossibly pretty in that.

It does suffer from what I call the Buffy Factor, though.

Trooper,

Wow, there's a lot of anti-Robin Williams animosity out there, you're right! (I thought it was just me.)

Blake said...

chuckb,

Can't watch A Scanner Darkly. I'm a (heh) Dick fan, but that animation style is just plain ugly.

Freeman Hunt said...

(1) Vanilla Sky

(2) Chick flicks. By that I mean films calling themselves romantic comedies that are horrendous mutilations of the genre. You can usually spot them by their trailers. I hate them.

(3) It's already in my Blogger profile, but I'll watch anything with Stephen Chow or Anthony Wong in it. I'd probably watch anything with Kang-ho Song or Man Tat Ng too.

Ann Althouse said...

chuck b...."The Cruise (well, one other friend of mine liked it as much as I did, and then the rest of my friends who saw it hated it."

I loved "The Cruise." It is exactly in my zone. Show it as a triple feature with "Crumb" and "Grizzly Man."

George said...

Casino Royale (the 1967 version)

Peter Sellers, Daliah Lavi, William Holden, Joanna Pettit, David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Woody Allen, Ursula Andress, and a zillion starlet extras....

Burt Bacharach's 'The Look of Love'....

ridiculous plot and endless loopy dialogue.

When all that's left of a bomb victim is his toupee, it alone is buried. In a Scottish brogue Deborah Kerr says, "It was an hair-loom."

john marzan said...

1. Starship Troopers. Why do the critics hate!

2. Any of the current slasher/"horror" flicks aimed at dumb american teenagers. This one is too easy.

3. Lessons in watching movies.

Watch any film by Whit Stillman and Werner Herzog.

Blockbuster trilogy films usually end up disappointing you, like matrix 2 and 3, and pirates of the carribbean 2 and 3. the creators should have stopped with part 1.

Eli Blake said...

1. Duma, a movie about an orphan cheetah. It never even made it to VCR, but my daughter still thinks it's her favorite movie, and she only got to see it once.

2. The Shaggy Dog (the one last year with Tim Allen). The trailer showed a grown man running over a little old lady with a walker. As soon as I saw that I told my kids that not only was that tasteless, but it was sick. So we never saw that movie.

3. John Marzan is usually, but not always right. Godfather II was better even than Godfather I (though the third movie would have been better left in the can.) And Star Wars II is generally considered the best of the original trilogy (though all were good movies-- one reason why there was another trilogy later on). Indiana Jones had two good movies too (though the middle one was a big-time dud.) This week we saw National Treasure II and it was worth seeing. So if you think you want to see a movie, GO FOR IT, regardless of what your friends or the critics are saying.

Christy said...

1. Loved Hudson Hawk
2. Every movie trailer, with the single exception of the new Katherine Heigl bridesmaid movie, previewed before The Golden Compass this week. A kid's movie and the previews were all nasty scary things. The killer cell phone movie; the hacker/killer/stalker of Diane Lane movie; the new Rambo and all manner of unenticing trailers.
3. I avoid like the plague any movie designed to enlighten or educate me.

john marzan said...

the godfather, starwars and indy jones trilogy are from the 70s-80s, and i love them all.

the godfather series is not something i would call a summer blockbuster trilogy.

the ones i hate are the current ones, including the recent star wars ep. 1 , 2, 3.

let's pray indy 4 doesn't suck.

Windbag said...

1. Rhinestone. Had just moved to NC from NY and identified with Stallone in a major way. 20+ years later, I have season tickets to Dollywood. Go figure.

2. Any horror picture.

3. See anything with Jeff Daniels in it, yes, including Dumb and Dumber.

Moose said...

OMG.

I didn't think anyone had the guts to admit having seen "Vanilla Sky", not to mention liking it.

My hat is off to you sir/madam. You truly drank too much in the 80's...

LoafingOaf said...

Movies you love that everyone else hated


Freddy Got Fingered
Teenage Caveman (2002/Dir. Larry Clark)

LoafingOaf said...

1. Pecker.

Heck, I even bought the soundtrack.

Freeman Hunt said...

I didn't think anyone had the guts to admit having seen "Vanilla Sky", not to mention liking it.

Heh.

My hat is off to you sir/madam. You truly drank too much in the 80's...

I hope not. I would have been a bit young to take to the bottle.

Blake said...

Ann,

High praise for The Cruise which I'd never even heard of till now. It's now on my must-see.

Rev, John M,

The original Star Wars trilogy was revolutionary, not good. Just like the prequels, they're filled with bad dialogue, bad acting (often from good actors), and--for God's sake--the third one is packed with muppets, the CGI of the early '80s. Empire is good, I think primarily because it had a real writer (Leigh Brackett).

The "sequels suck" dialogue is (amusingly) played out in (the rather weak) Scream 2. Aliens and Terminator 2 are picked out as better sequels. But The Bride of Frankenstein is generally regarded to be superior to the original. Toy Story 2 is at least as good as the original. Road Warrior is far superior to Mad Max as is Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

And of course, series don't necessarily follow any such rules. Andy Hardy Meets Debutante is my favorite of the series, and I think it's the seventh. Of the original Bond series, before the current reboot, would many place "Dr. No" as the best?

Ron said...

1.) Adventures of Ford Fairlane.
The Dice Man is an obnoxious jerk, but a funny obbnoxious jerk!

2.) I thought the Henry Fool trailer really sucked, but the film turned out all right!

3.) Dr. Strangelove sums up the Human Condition better than Hamlet! Life is a rule-driven black comedy where the people in charge are naive or inept or both, insane people eventually determine our fates, being crazy and determined is better than being smart and good, people blather on about nonsense at the worst possible times, we'll screw over the entire human race over sex or perceived slights, and the Apotheosis of Western Culture is riding a nuke to its detonation while waving a cowboy hat!

rightwingprof said...

The Hurt Principle.

Modern Otter said...

Revenant mentioned the first one that came to mind for me: Joe vs. the Volcano. It seems to have become Tom Hanks' The Horn Blows at Midnight (which, come to think of it, wasn't so bad either, as I recall it).

michael farris said...

1. Too many to name, okay a few:
Cannibal Holocaust, The
Green Ray, Africa Addio, The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies, High Heels, Andrei Rubleev

2. Any trailer with trailer voice man, heard in fulsome fettle here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqYiSlkvRuw&feature=related
(the movie was pretty good, but I hate trailer-voice man or any trailer that uses phrases like
"It was a time of X (or It was a X time); Sometimes ...; There will be ...; or "will make you believe X"

3. Watch anything and everything, including things you think you'll hate until you start to develop your own aesthetic (and still try to watch some things that you suspect you'll hate, you never know ...)

Three movies I haven't seen (at least in their entirety) but really want to:

Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny,
That french movie that's nothing but the director reading the script outloud to Gerard Depardieu, what's it called again?
The Sand Piper

RMc said...

1. Date With An Angel, an obscure comedy about an angel (the lovely Emannuel Beart) who falls to earth and attracts the attentions of Jim, played by soap start Michael Knight. This annoys his girlfriend (Phoebe Cates), who in one memorable scene comes after Jim with a shotgun, while wearing her panties outside her jeans.

2. Too many to list. But here's a reverse example: the upcoming Meet The Spartans (a parody of 300, it seems). The trailer made me laugh out loud, ever though I know all the good jokes are in the preview and the rest of the movie is garbage.

3. Movies with stupid names (such as Slappy and the Stinkers) are almost always bad. Exception: To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar, which features the double handicap of Patrick Swayze in a dress (!!), is actually a sweet and funny movie. (And Newmar does show up, at the very end.)

RMc said...

1. Date With An Angel, an obscure comedy about an angel (the lovely Emannuel Beart) who falls to earth and attracts the attentions of Jim, played by soap star Michael Knight. This annoys his girlfriend (Phoebe Cates), who in one memorable scene comes after Jim with a shotgun, while wearing her panties outside her jeans.

2. Too many to list. But here's a reverse example: the upcoming Meet The Spartans (a parody of 300, it seems). The trailer made me laugh out loud, ever though I know all the good jokes are in the preview and the rest of the movie is garbage.
3. Movies with stupid names (such as Slappy and the Stinkers) are almost always bad. Exception: To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar, which features the double handicap of Patrick Swayze in a dress (!!), is actually a sweet and funny movie. (And Newmar does show up, at the very end.)

Henry said...

1. Magnolia. The frogs are perfect.

2. Beowulf. I know Beowulf and that is no Beowulf.

3. 50 minutes is the maximum amount of time for sitting in front of a television. Out of the theatre, miniseries beat out movies.

Pogo said...

I have watched The Chocolate War many times now. The soundtrack alone is wonderful (Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel), but the story by the late Robert Cormier is stunning.

Wings of Desire is pure poetry, and the unexpected appearance of Peter Falk into this German language film is perfect.

Waking the Dead is a good and sad film, where Billy Crudup is running for congress in 1981, and begins to see fleeting glimpses of Jennifer Connelly, the radical girl he met in 1972, who was killed in a terrorist bombing in Minneapolis. Is she really alive? Great use of Joni Mitchell tunes, too.

PatCA said...

I also like Vanilla Sky, a lot!

Another movie I loved the first time I saw it was Billy Jack.

Let the mocking commence. You can join all my friends from college who have never ceased reminding me of this horrible, sophomoric lapse in judgment.

michael farris said...

The first Billy Jack actually had a lot going for it as (not overly) politicised early 70's film. It was messy but original and energetic.

The Trial of Billy Jack on the other hand was a giant pile of horseshit that at 16 I was embarrassed to be watching.

former law student said...

I can't think of any 1s or 2s right now, but I discovered years ago that my taste corresponded to Roger Ebert's. So, although it's been difficult in recent years as he's battled illness, "go see anything Ebert likes" has been a rule of thumb for me.

The Robin Williams' dissing prompted me to look up his films on IMDb -- could he be that bad? While he does have a strong affinity for the bathetic (Patch Adams; Jacob the Liar) and rank crap (Toys), I did like Popeye (hey, maybe that's my No. 1), Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning Vietnam, and even The Birdcage.

michael farris said...

I find Robin Williams okay in straight drama (Night listener) and often brilliant when creepy (One hour photo). It's only when he's bound and determined to uplift the audience like some late model Greer Garson that he becomes insufferable.

Eugene said...

I second Joe vs. the Volcano and Say Anything. I add: Cat People (both versions) and Black Hole (yes, the Disney flick).

Trooper York said...

Dude his performance in Patch Adams was cited in the Supreme Court briefs in support of the death penalty. Justice Stevens was momentarily swayed and if Justice Scalia could only have cited Jacob the Liar it would have been a done deal.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

1. Anything by P.T. Anderson. Half my friends have an eternal grudge against me for making them watch Boogie Nights and the other half have joined me in my love of P.T.'s films (Hard 8, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood).

Also, the Evil Dead series.

2. The upcoming Vantage Point looks insufferably bad from the trailer.

I also saw one the other day ... Stop-Loss? Something about Iraq and how evil the Army is. Looked awful.

And The Bucket List.

3. Never watch a Tony Scott movie or a Uwe Boll movie.

Philip Seymour Hoffman makes any movie better.

Blake said...

I sense a kindred spirit in Michael Farris.

Uwe Boll! The most hated man in gaming. They tried to make his latest cinematic abomination (In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale) look like a real movie, and buried his name as far down as you can for a director.

Don't be fooled! Just because it has a real cast (Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Leelee Sobieski) doesn't mean it's a real movie!

Fred Drinkwater said...

Good: Robin Williams as the defrocked shrink in "Dead Again". Not credited, IIRC, which is probably the correct indicator for a good RW performance.

Freeman Hunt said...

Another movie I loved the first time I saw it was Billy Jack.

LOL I watched that for the first time yesterday. I can't say that I share the enthusiasm for Billy Jack, but I'm glad there's someone else who loves Vanilla Sky.

Revenant said...

I add: Cat People (both versions) and Black Hole (yes, the Disney flick).

The Black Hole was a great movie, in my opinion. What made it great, to me anyway, is that it was the last space-based science fiction movie to have the feel of a 50s/60s science fiction film (e.g. Forbidden Planet). Nearly everything since then has ripped off either Star Wars or Alien (or in rare cases 2001).

ron st.amant said...

1- Stay- Ryan Goslin, Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts...beautifully shot, acted, and structure...I was mesmerized the entire time.

2 & 3 Here's a rule of thumb...if a trailer for a comedy has 3 jokes in it, they are probably the only 3 jokes in the whole movie...so just don't pay the money- you've seen the film.

Generally I go to a film based on either the writer or director instead of the actors involved...it's been a good barometer for me.

Jeff said...

1 Roadhouse. It is such a cliche, but I'll watch it every time I see it on tv. "My way or the highway", indeed. Also, seconding Hudson Hawk.

2. Trailers that drip heartwarming. I think that's why I love the Shining remix.

3. I used to follow any movie by Tim Burton, but that has flagged for me since Willy Wonka.

Blake said...

Since Willy Wonka?

So...you're giving Sweeney Todd a miss? That would be his next movie (unless you count The Corpse Bride).

Which reminds, I'd recommend The Corpse Bride for someone who liked Nightmare Before Christmas. They're sort of companion pieces, though not as similar as the criticism would have of it.

Jeff said...

Corpse Bride was good and I love Nightmare before Christmas. I will probably catch Sweeny Todd on tv at some point. I've become disillusioned with Tim Burton over time. The manic joy of Pee-wee's Big Adventure or the style of Batman or Beetlejuice just doesn't seem to be there as much for me. Willy Wonka just seemed to look great but didn't have the heart of either the book or the original movie. I didn't find Johnny Depp channeling Michael Jackson much fun to watch.

Blake said...

Well, yeah.

With Tim Burton, you know what you're getting: Tim Burton. After 20 years, it's understandable that it might feel a bit stale. It was very fresh back in the '80s. Now, not so much.

But, by my rule, you can't complain, since you know exactly what you're gonna get. Know what I mean? It's like going to a Saw and complaining that it's too bloody.

"I thought that Burton fellow would use some colors other than black, white and red this time..."

Burton shouldn't do heroic stuff, in my opinion. The Batmans--especially the second one--emphasized the "everyone's a victim" philosophy. As did the Wonka movie.

No, no, no! Wonka's a heroic figure. Making him scarred by his past...No! But again, that's Burton. Can't complain. Be like complaining The Passion was too Jesus-y.

Sweeny Todd, being a tragic figure, will do well under his hand, I think.

Freeman Hunt said...

More rules (addendum to number three): Anything with John Wayne in it. Anything directed by James Cameron.

Directors are generally better indicators of good films, but there are certain actors that make even the bad films they star in extremely entertaining. (For what may be the best example, see Anthony Wong in Ebola Syndrome.) Therefore, most of my rules involves actors. Cameron gets a director rule because he's the only director I know of who has never made a bad film. He even made Pirhana II turn out alright.