Sunday, June 23, 2013

Question for the Week of June 17-23: Won't Watch Ever

I nearly had to declare the weekly Questions over. I haven't received any new requests in a while, and I have three draft entries that are stalled out (read: it'd take a while to finish them). But, as I was thinking about how I don't want to do any more "what's your favorite X" entries for a long time, it came to me:
What movies are on your personal "banned" list? What are you never going to watch?
Well, I think I've made clear a few times that I don't care about genre - romantic comedies, drama, horror, action - are all treated equally by me. I review movies about lifestyles that are not my own. I prefer reading subtitles for foreign works.

Sure, I've taken to claiming that I won't knowingly see depressing fare unless I have someone to hug afterwards (no, really, no Dancer in the Dark or Million Dollar Baby), but that rule actually has an exception. I'm an egalitarian, and so that attitude must extend to the films I see. A good review might even get me to watch movies by people I gave up on like Oliver Stone, Brian DePalma, and Takashi Miike.

All that aside, there are many films which I do not want to watch and will actively avoid seeing. Even for free, my time, patience, and interest is not infinite. Someone wants to pay me to do this? Fine. But if not, then never, because I will have to put my differences aside and be open-minded. Though I recently admitted that my film education is not complete, I have enough experience with movies to feel comfortable with these choices:

Irréversible - This movie is famous for many things: events apparently transpire backwards, so you see the end first, then the scene before the end, all the way up until you reach the ending of the film, which shows the chronological beginning of its events. Nifty as that is, people say that its central rape scene is brutal and awful, and I really, really, really hate those.

There's a reason I have a Sexual Violence tag on this site, to warn people that a movie has the sort of footage that can be extremely difficult to watch. Hell, it's actually happened to so many people in real life, and I don't think seeing it on-screen would be very... edifying for victims of same.

Also, it sounds as if there is a fight in the movie that might be as repugnant as the sex assault. Between the former and the latter, I am left with no compelling reason to watch this pic.

Rob Schneider films - They're not funny, he's not funny, and it sounds as if he's never been in a well-made movie ever. I could try to think of one, but I don't even want to look him up on IMDb or Wiki. You'll have to search for his name in that link I posted, but that one anecdote is worth it.

Michael Bay pictures - Save for the two that I saw with a friend because he was really down and very interested in them, I simply cannot imagine a set of circumstances that would make me want to see another one of his hollow and sexist ill-written blockbuster spectacle-fests. Along the exact same lines

Brett Ratner, Zack Snyder - Wow, Brett made me dislike him instantly with Rush Hour, wherein a high-pitched idiotic boy-man bigotedly shouts to the amazing, death-defying, ground-breaking, hard-working Jackie Chan, "DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?!?!" Meanwhile, with Zack: I was really looking forward to 300, and though it didn't ruin my date that night, I truly despised his efforts on that pic.

Truly, they each lost me at "hello," then. Nor can I forgive Ratner for an execrable third X-Men film.

Catherine Breillat's work - I read several reviews of Romance. I just think she has nothing to say that will have any interest or meaning to me. I dislike what I've heard so much that I know how to spell her name right on the first try. Oh, and on that note

September 11th films - I wrote this one up almost two years ago, and I stand by it. They've got nothing to say to me. Even movies that smell like they don't respect real life tragedies might get a knee jerk reaction from me.

Tyler Perry's "movies" - I hate audience-pandering, I hate low brow works with 0 aspirations, and I strongly dislike most all "dude dresses as a lady haha" pictures. Not only does his work generally hit all the points in that trifecta, but he represents one of many terrifying marketing trends, in this case, where the main films that are made for the African-American audience are (a) dumb and (b) low-quality. I cannot "ugh!" hard enough about the works of someone I've never seen.

Human Centipede and other "torture porn" - to say I despise empty attempts to shock people for the sake of shocking people is to not put it strongly enough. I saw Hostel, and that was enough. What a waste of celluloid! Even sub-B-grade schlock like 976-EVIL and Hellgate are fun to watch with friends.

Michael Haeneke's Funny Games - I don't care if we're talking the Austrian 1997 original, or when Haeneke picked up the spare to make his own English-language remake in 2007 (although I do think that idea is a little nifty). According to everything I've read, each movie is about a family subjected to terrifying tortures by two boys. These boys apparently look into the camera several times in each flick and say stuff like, "why are you watching this? Is this what you wanted? Are you getting off on this?"

F--k that noise, Mike - make your points, and don't make them like an ass.

Paul W.S. Anderson/Len Wiseman pictures - with the exception of Aliens versus Predator, all their films do look good. Both men are financially successful and are married to beautiful women. Kudos to them - I hope all that means my words aren't hurtful. Yet still, their works tend to be so dreadfully-lacking in the script and plotting departments that I simply can't stand them.

I haven't liked any of Wiseman's work that I've seen (specifically Underwear - sorry, I mean Underworld). PWSA has been making bad films since Mortal Kombat, and the only hit he's ever scored with me was the first Resident Evil - which I still think is a fine zombie movie that would've been better-received if its soundtrack didn't fall apart, gun-metal guitars in most every action sequence.

Theoretically? Maybe okay. In practice, it's more dumb icing on a stupid cake.

The sucktastic cinematic adventures of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the hacks behind Date Movie, Epic Movie, etc... I'm sorry to write the word in that previous sentence, but it sounds like they deliver bad jokes in a poor fashion, and bad humor is something I can't tolerate; it's not hard to deliver an okay joke, y'know? I loved the old parody films like The Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane!, and Leslie Nielsen's great The Naked Gun films (at least 1 and 2 & 1/2). I also strongly liked Hot Shots! and Top Secret! The reviews for Friedberg/Seltzer flicks are beyond-abysmal, and they seem to make money mostly in foreign markets.

That a genre could regularly produce so many gems and minor gems/decent pix in the past, only to then devolve into a steady stream of lifeless garbage is very saddening to me. It's even sadder that the romantic comedy has suffered a similarly catastrophic collapse, although the latter has shown some signs of life, mainly in the independent film industry. Which also leads me to

All those Jennifer Lopez, Diane Lane, Meg Ryan, and Kate Hudson pictures in which they are the leads - As much as I wish that women got more roles, and meatier roles, and more work as protagonists, these ladies tend to star in vapid, lifeless romantic comedies (the ones with Matthew McConaughey get an insta-ban, too) and vapid, poorly-written dramas and thrillers. All of these actresses are capable of fine work - what happened to the JLo of Out of Sight and U Turn? - but I value my time and money too much.

For at least two of those actresses, I would give them a shot as non-leads or in a comedy or period piece or something. Still, in those two genres the standards for what studios will put out has simply plummeted...

Horror film remakes - the link was to a Question post where I discuss movies I wouldn't mind seeing remade. However, it wasn't the first - much less the last - time that I talked about how much I can't stand the results when folks remake stuff like Nightmare on Elm Street, Last House on the Left, etc. They never have the bite, purpose, or style of their predecessors. The lack of novelty makes them always seem like a cash grab, and since so many are poorly-executed (ditto goes for sequels) one at that.

In fact, you can see that I have a lot of entries about remake-itis and sequel-itis, though those are just general aversions...

I'm pretty sure what I've written encompasses the types of movies that I refuse to go along with. Ugh, so much hurting, so much needless hurting! I'm off to go watch something decent after thinking about all that...

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