Once, I felt an ounce of social pressure to watch a movie.
I know, right? But my wife and I had resisted the temptation to watch Titanic for years on the grounds that it sounded like an idiotic, thoughtless movie that confused lust with love – and we felt somewhat sure we already knew that the boat sank.
But so many of the people in our social orbit had watched the movie that we began to feel sadly…disconnected…from our culture. We thought, if everyone in our culture loves this movie, how bad could it be, really? So we gave in and watched it on our VCR. (Kids, a VCR is an ancient device that involves hired monkeys throwing stones at a wall to create moving pictures. No one has them anymore except people who collect parachute pants and Bee Gees albums. Please, please don’t ask about those).
And guess what? Titanic turned out to be an idiotic, thoughtless movie that confused lust with love…aaaaaand the boat sank. (Titanic is like the NASCAR of the movie world. If your sport is only interesting when people wreck their cars, that can’t be a good sign. Well, literally the only part of this movie that I liked was the cool cinematography of a boat sinking. Thumbs down, waaaaaaayyy down.).
So that was the last time Kathrene and I ever watched anything to feel more “connected” with our culture. We felt then and feel now that if our culture was really that dumb, we’ll just be happy on our own, thank you very much.
So that brings us to today’s offering, where, with shocking hubris, I continue to tell you about movies that I actually haven’t seen. Go find a blog that does that!
Here, we go back to the 2012-2013 era:
1. Prometheus. This is how you know you’ve totally screwed up the big-market potential for a movie: You make a space-adventure flick about trying to discover the origins of life on our planet, and Luke Conway doesn’t watch it. I absolutely love this kind of movie – I’m a sci-fi nut – but they made it in the R range for violence and gore, and that turned me off so much that I avoided it. Pity! I use this movie in my classes as an example of why Hollywood should not get a free pass in the whole “they just give us what we want” debate – in actual fact, by all accounts, had they made this a PG-13 movie, it might have been the one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. As it stands, it was merely the 24th highest-grossing movie in the year they made it (2012), taking in less money than generally-less-heralded but kid-friendly movies like Madagascar 3 (10th), The Lorax (11th), Wreck-It Ralph (12th), Ice Age: Continental Drift (16th),and Hotel Transylvania (19th). Imagine if they had made it a cleaner movie like, say, The Hunger Games (which finished 3rd in 2012)? In other words, they lost millions and millions and millions of dollars to add more violence and gore to the movie. Is it really that they are giving us what we want – or are they possibly, just maybe, giving us what they want?
2. Twighlight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Romantic vampires? This movie franchise accomplished a nearly-impossible feat: It combined two different genres of movies that are each horrid on their own (romance and vampires). Please. You don’t make either brussel sprouts or light beer any better by making “Brussel sprouts light beer.”
3. Dr. Suess’ the Lorax. I like Dr. Suess, and I like kids’ animated movies, but when I read about this movie, it seemed both incredibly boring and uninspiring, so I gave it a pass. And I’m sleeping fine at night, thank you.
4. The Amazing Spider Man. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to make one of the most beloved good superheroes of all time into a teenage punk and expect me to watch it. It’s like they made Captain America side with the Nazis after a night of drunken revelry. So, guys, make Peter Parker back into Peter Parker and then get back to me (which, by the way, they did for the second instantiation of this franchise).
5. Les Miserables. This is – by far – my favorite musical/play of all time for live theater, and yet I didn’t watch this because I simply could not imagine Hugh Jackman…singing. Gross.
Worst of the Rest:
6. The Lone Ranger. 7. Fast and Furious 6.