We all have these. You know what I mean., Your mates love that movie. People never stop going on about it. Everywhere you go, you see the merchandise. Maybe a particular character, maybe a song, maybe a catchphrase, but its infiltrated the pop-culture lexicon and EVERYONE is going on about how great it is and you just wish they would all fall into a vat of rotten onions because the movie is utterly AWFUL and you can`t comprehend how anyone with a brain would judge it otherwise.
So here are four popular movies I hate. In no particular order. I should stress, because this is the internet and apparently people need reminding, this is my opinion. I’m not telling you that you`re wrong if you like these movies. You probably are a bit thick though.
And in a couple of weeks, you`ll be able to sneer right back at me and my terrible taste when I upload “Four Movies Everyone Hates That I Love”.
I used to love James Cameron. Aliens and Terminator were among the first 18-rated movies I saw as a kid and Cameron quickly supplanted Mr Spielberg as a less family-friendly and therefore “cooler” filmmaker. I fell out with him a little over Titanic, but with all the pre-release buzz around Avatar, I was hoping the dumb boat movie was merely a blip on an otherwise excellent CV. How wrong I was. Avatar is Cameron`s Phantom Menace, and here`s why.
First, let`s skip over some of the broader criticisms this movie gets – Space Pocahontas, too much CGI and the 3D gimmick. ALL of those things could have worked. But the film is buggered from the ground up with laughable dialogue, sledgehammer allegory, and a plot so predictable that you can set your watch to every major beat.
A film can live or die by its casting, and Avatar is no exception. Take our hero, Sam Borington. I can`t remember the character`s name, but he`s played by that guy who was boring in Terminator Salvation, and more boring in Clash Of The Titans. His digital double acts better than he does, and is certainly more expressive, though that might just have been limited technology. I like to imagine all the digital artists sitting around in a room agonising over his one facial expression.
“I`m sorry Mr Cameron, we`ve tried and tried, but we just cannot capture Sam Borington`s slightly pained expression, like he`s trying to work out who farted in a packed lift.”
Perhaps they got him in because his blank face was so easy to render.
In terms of his character, you know exactly what`s going to happen as soon as he puts the blue suit on, and that the words “I don`t know who I am any more” WILL escape from his elusive-fart-detecting-face by the end of the second act.
While we`re on about predictability, check out the bit where Uhura tells Sam Borington about the big scary dragon.
UHURA: That`s the big scary dragon. Nobody can catch it.
SAM BORINGTON: Really?
UHURA: Nope. No way. No siree, forget about it.
SAM BORINGTON: Wow.
UHURA: You do understand the concept right? Catch one of them? You`re havin a larf. No chance.
SAM BORINGTON RIDING THE BIG SCARY DRAGON WHILE THE THEME FROM “THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT” PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND.
When you`re signposting a plot point like this that will come into play later, you have to wrap it up in something so it`s not so patently fucking obvious that it`s going to come back. If I can use an example from the same director, take the power loader in Aliens. Before shit kicks off, Ripley is mooching about feeling useless on the ship and needs to prove she`s got something to offer. She gets in the loader and mucks in with the guys, showing the audience AND the other characters that she`s willing to get involved and isn’t just going to sit around like a wallflower. Because of this little character set-piece, we overlook the fact that the script is setting the loader up for later so it doesn’t seem cheap when she uses it to smack the piss out of the Alien Queen. Layers, see? Cameron made Aliens twenty years before Avatar, and either he`s got stupid and lazy or he thinks his audience`s I.Q.s just dropped sharply while he was away.
Cameron`s apparent belief that the intelligent audience he was writing for in 1986 has been replaced by gurgling, cow-eyed incontinents squelching in their own dumb effluence is cemented in the scene where the “Grr, Evil Corporate Guy” is ordering the mass destruction of Smurfland while indifferently munching on a doughnut. TAKE THAT, CAPITALISM!
The funniest thing about Avatar however is that after its release, the internet was alight with reports about real people who were going to counselling because they were having trouble re-adjusting to reality after seeing this movie. Really. All these people should be herded into a shipping container full of wasps and dropped into the Mariana Trench. Gimps.
And the graphics, while pretty, will age badly. I like to think Avatar is the 21st century Tron – people go nuts about the technology at the time, but give it twenty years and it`s a laughing stock, as people realise that behind the bells and whistles there is absolutely nothing of value. Terrible movie.
THE LION KING
Well, here we go! This is where you’re all going to hate me. How dare I attack such a beloved movie! Why, it was the first movie you saw in the cinema with your dear old Aunt Flo, who sadly is no longer with us, so you have very fond personal memories of that experience!
It’s a remake of Bambi. It is. Young, big eyed anthropomorphised animal without a care in the world makes lots of kooky fluffy friends, loses a parent in a life-changing tragedy, goes into exile and then and has to come back as an adult and reclaim his birthright. Look at it, it’s the same sodding film just given some 90s spit and polish and shoved out again in the hope that nobody notices.
“It`s not a remake of Bambi, you fool. If you must know, it`s actually based on Shakespeare`s Hamlet, so I think the joke`s on you!”
Get stuffed. I’ll go one more. It`s not only a remake of Bambi, it’s an almost carbon-copy of the Osama Tezuka anime series “Kimba The White Lion”, a show which Disney were denied the rights to shortly before production proper began on The Lion King. The estate of Tezuka didn’t sue for infringement after the fact, but did politely request that Disney acknowledge Tezuka’s work in the credits. Disney gave them the finger and skipped off to rip off some other foreign story.
So before we`ve even looked at the film, it’s a remake, a ripoff, and made by amoral thieving bastards. Hamlet indeed. Eat some wasps. Actually, go on, I`ll indulge you. They probably ripped off Hamlet as well because the fucking copyright had lapsed.
What of the movie itself? I’ll not deny it’s pretty. Good production values, nice animation save the abundance of Disney Chins. But the other things I hate –
You know. Those huge exaggerated chin movements some Disney characters have. Look like their jaw is being blown about in a wind tunnel. It’s mainly a flaw with 90s Disney, look at Gaston in Beauty And The Beast for the prime example. I suppose this is an attempt to give facial animation more depth, but it just makes the characters look like they`re wearing articulated Bo Selecta masks. In The Lion King unfortunately, presumably due to the designs of the lions, almost every character has a severe case of Disney Chin.
Chinny flippin` reck-on
Pet hate, don`t worry about it.
But anyway, the other things I hate range far and wide. The film sets “the circle of life” as its frame of reference and then promptly violates it by having the lions hang out with food. That fucking bird would have been down Mufasa’s neck before it could say; “I’ve concentrated mainly on calculus”, and Ren and Stimpy would have been reduced to steaming, bone-strewn turds before the end of that fucking “Hakuna Matata” montage. Stop insulting kids’ intelligence by pretending that nature is anything other than chaos, violence and murder (thanks to Werner Herzog for that line). If Simba really did survive to adulthood eating bugs, he would have been as scraggy and pathetic as the lions at Chester Zoo and even camp Jeremy’s Iron would have had his throat out the minute he poked his malnourished fizzog back into the pridelands.
Also, did they have to pick the most annoying child actor they could find for Simba and get him to do his Michael Jackson impression that he had doubtless been practising with a hairbrush in front of a mirror for WEEKS while his gurning parents rubbed their paycheck-anticipating hands together behind him?
Other things of note include the Jim Crows from Dumbo, here cleverly repainted to look like hyenas. Hire black actors to play a race of savage, unintelligent and treacherous creatures? Not cool Disney. Didn`t you learn anything from “Song Of The South”? You`ll be giving us a black heroine who won`t shut up about Gumbo next.
And while we`re on the subject of discrimination, is it OK to have the villain so obviously, limp-wristedly camp?
So, the Lion King. It`s a remake, it`s plagiarised, it`s racist, homophobic, tells kids lies about nature and is full of fucking annoying chins. And I don`t care if it was the first film you saw in the cinema with dear departed Aunt Flo. It sucks, you suck and Aunt Flo sucks. Cocks. In Hell.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD
I really hate this one. Really. It makes me want to eat a vat of prunes and then pebbledash everyone involved. Unfortunately that includes Edgar Wright, who at one point was my favourite director.
Edgar Wright rose to prominence in the late 90s with a beloved sitcom called “Spaced”, the success of which allowed him (and collaborators Simon (“Scotty”) Pegg and Nick (“execrable sitcom Hyperdrive”) Frost) to launch a movie career. You might have seen some of their stuff, it`s ace.
Great films eh? Apart from this one.
Let`s get the positive stuff out of the way. It`s very stylish, pacy, shot with panache, colourful and kinetic. Occasionally funny. Some good dialogue, mainly from Keiran Culkin`s dependable gay best mate (I mean Keiran Culkin playing a gay best mate of Scott`s, not just some gay guy who happened to be best buds with Kieran Culkin).
So what`s my problem? Well, the entire message, the very ethos of the movie, is utterly insulting.
Scott is a loser, and very much of the generation who are now hurtling into their thirties, a generation raised on movies, TV, video games and comics. Scott sees everything through a pop culture filter – power ups, extra lives, superpowers and so on. And he`s able to use all of these things to triumph.
Well, I say triumph but let`s be honest, there are NO obstacles for him to overcome as a protagonist. None. Nothing. If this movie was a game, it would be set to easy mode.
So Scott meets a hot girl at a party and gets off with her because that`s what hot girls do with loser manchildren in movies like this. Then she tells him he has to fight and defeat all her exes before they can be together.
Which he does.
I`m serious, that`s all there is to it.
He wins all the fights effortlessly. Not through ingenuity, seeking the wisdom of a mentor, a montage, or any of the other things a protagonist generally has to do in order to grow as a character, get a new outlook and overcome adversity to complete his journey as a changed man. He is a nerdy loser who lives in a fantasy world at the beginning of the movie and he has not changed one iota by the end. He does not grow. He does not re-evaluate his ideals. He. Does. Not. Learn. Anything.
I cannot root for a protagonist who gets everything on a plate.
I shouldn`t have to explain that this is from a storytelling point of view, vastly incompetent, and from a social point of view, pretty misleading for its target audience. The film is nothing but lifestyle-affirming bullshit for career losers, it`s “Sex And The City” for the lifelong nerdlinger. It says; “It`s OK! Stay in the basement, keep playing with kids toys you kooky little adorable geek, you! Wow that hot girl`s going to come over later, right? What? She left you? Don`t worry, it wasn`t because you are a spoddy minger with a replica tricorder and dubious personal hygiene, it`s because of that switch in the back of her head! Nah, she didn`t leave you for that handsome, well-adjusted member of society through any fault of yours, it`s just that she, like all women, simply has no will of her own!”
That is simply not true. You lied to me, movie. YOU LIED.
STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH
Whooooah nelly! I thought this blog was about movies you hate but everyone loves? Surely nobody likes the Star Wars prequels?
So we thought. But there has been an awakening. Have you felt it? Every generation has a legend…
…and the generation who are now hitting their mid-to-late-twenties are displaying a distressing trend. Inexplicably, incredibly, some of them are asserting that; “The prequels aren’t as bad as everyone says.”
Well, I can sort of see where you`re coming from with Episode One, but you can`t deny that Episode Three is a great film.
Dude the lightsaber fights are so much better in the prequels, in the originals they`re so boring LOL
Lets get something out of the way. Jar-Jar. Midichlorians. Too much CGI. The biggest criticisms of the prequels, and like the broader criticisms of Avatar, ALL of these things could have been made to work. None of these things are the real reasons the prequels suck.
I regard Episodes One and Two as basically indefensible so I won`t waste my time pointing out what`s wrong with them here. If you really think they are good movies, all I can suggest is that you dropkick yourself into the nearest ceiling fan. However, as Episode Three seems to be the one these people are so keen to defend, I feel I need to rip it a new one. And since it`s a kids movie, and you were all kids when you saw it the first time and clearly haven`t progressed much since then, I`m going to be incredibly infantile.
Basically, everything about Episode Three is STUPID.
The Jedi can’t detect a Sith Lord in the senate? STUPID.
The Jedi can’t detect Anakin’s obvious turmoil/skirting the Dark Side? STUPID.
R2 can now fly, has a flamethrower and looks 100% more CGI than in the originals? STUPID.
The Jedi don`t know Anakin is sticking it to Padme despite it being patently fucking obvious to anyone with a fucking brain-stem? STUPID.
Obi Wan doesn’t work out until near the end of the movie that “Anakin is the father” despite Padme not having any other male friends? STUPID.
Two JEDI KNIGHTS accompany Mace Windu to confront Palpatine yet get offed with no effort whatsoever? STUPID.
General Grievous has FOUR lightsabers and can`t off Obi with one? STUPID.
Anakin accepts an order to murder pretty much everyone he’s ever known despite previously only wanting to keep Palpatine alive to save Padme? STUPID.
The senate accepts a guy who’s clearly a fuckin’ monster as the leader of the new empire? STUPID.
Palpatine tells Anakin to kill Dooku (his accomplice) and Dooku DOESN`T go, “Hey whoa now! Palpatine is a Sith Lord who is balls-deep in the senate, just so you know!”? STUPID
Yoda loses ONE FIGHT and ditches everyone to go and live as a hermit? STUPID.
The word “Younglings”? STUPID.
Obi Wan doesn’t have any reason to lie about remembering R2 in “Star Wars” (1977)? STUPID.
The final battle goes on for three fucking hours and ends with Anakin/Vader – one of the greatest cinematic villains of the 20th century – shouting “I hate you!” like a stroppy teen who`s just been sent to his room? STUPID.
That bit where Darth Vader – DARTH FUCKING VADER – made EVERYONE in the fucking cinema CRACK UP LAUGHING by going; “Nooooooooooooooooo!”?
The fact that there`s a growing revisionist view about these movies among people (usually nerdy guys) of a certain age, and this movie in particular, is rose tinted spectacles at their nostalgic finest. I`ve even seen some clearly insane gimps online going on about how the obviously vastly superior (though not perfect) Episode Seven doesn`t measure up to Episode Three despite all the evidence to the contrary. But come on, I was a huge Transformers fan as a kid, but now I look at those cartoons as what they were: cheap, carelessly made toy adverts (apart from the 1986 movie. Brutal. BRUTAL).
Ah! But you`re of the original trilogy generation! Everything you said about nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles can be applied to your love of the originals, so ner!
Not true. One of the great hallmarks of family entertainment is that you can watch it once as a kid and get one meaning, then come back twenty years later and discover layers of meaning you never knew existed when you were a sproglet (hey, “sproglet” sounds so much better than “youngling”). Kids who watch the original trilogy will marvel at the space battles, lightsabers and creatures, then come back as adults and feel the turmoil of a family torn apart, experience the sexual tension between Han and Leia, discover just how flipping amazing the dialogue in Empire Strikes Back is, clock the Nazi metaphor with the Empire, marvel at the hero’s journey Luke experiences, and appreciate the pioneering and ground breaking effects work. All you’ll get going back to the prequels after twenty years is some guff about trade blockades which made no sense when you were a kid and still makes no fucking sense now.
Liking the Star Wars prequels because you first saw them when you were nine years old?
Well, that`s it. I was going to do five but I got distracted by the potential fifth one actually being pretty good in hindsight. If you can guess what it was I`ll give you a Mars bar. It was another incredibly popular Disney movie, with an annoying song. So do you agree with my selections? Do you have any pet hate movies? Do you want to hurt me? Or do you just want to tell me I have too much time on my hands? Let me know what you think in the comments below! It`s OK, I have kevlar.