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Comments by YACCS
Monday, November 21, 2005

10 movies you hate

Best movie to not win Oscar since 1979

Amy Konig and Atrios are kicking around 10 movies they hate, so why not join in?

10 Movies I HATE

I tend to be far more interested in solutions than problems. I’d rather write about or teach what I love than what I hate. I get irritated with critiques that don’t deign to imagine an alternative. I loathe writing the parts of essays that summarize why what everyone else has said is wrong; I want to hurry up and get to the part where I say my own fresh and optimistic ideas. And I generally find something redeeming even in films that I’m suspicious of (see review of Lost in Translation in the Fall issue of Film Quarterly).

But yes, I do walk out of movies sometimes. I get ticked off when I feel like a film is wasting my time and money. I get my knickers in a twist when something is truly offensive — and by ‘offensive’ I don’t mean explicit, immoral, violent, not PC, cruel and inhuman, etc. I love John Waters, who embraces the explicit and the immoral, and offends in a sweetly delicious way. I think that violence and nihilism can wake people up, and can be moving or even funny (Tarantino, or the final show-down in A History of Violence). Margaret Cho is certainly not PC but I love her; she’s funny as hell. And yeah, I thought Der Untergang (the Hitler bunker movie) was probably irresponsible, but not because it portrayed Hitler as ‘human’ or because it made us ‘sympathize with Nazis’ (I think it’s far more irresponsible to portray dictators or perpetrators of genocide as unimaginable inhuman monsters, because real humans did and still do these things). I’m not even above stupid potty humor and the like; hell, sometimes I am below it.

So when I say these films offended me or that I hated them, it’s not because I have made some blanket moral judgment about what is acceptable and what is not. I’ll readily admit that some of the films here are probably ‘good’ in the sense of well-made or succeeding in their intended effect. What I’m interested in, though, is the capacity of a film to evoke a clear and strong negative reaction: a visceral, face-souring, passionately negative reaction. Much ink has been shed trying to answer the question of why people love what they love, why they love the way they love. This is the beginning of an attempt to think through the reverse. Which is equally interesting and particular to individuals, if not more so. There are plenty of advertisements and stuff out there that tell us what we ought to like and desire and even fetishize; there are less guidelines for what to despise. On second thought, we do get plenty of direction from mass culture about what/whom we’re supposed to feel repulsed by (homeless people, queers, the physically disfigured, etc.). But there are also categories of things that have that certain je ne sais quoi, that we are simply repelled by for very primal and often inexplicable reasons. I find this category of things fascinating, in the same way that I find fascinating the things that people are inexplicably terrified by, that I wrote about in my ‘little nightmares’ column in h2so4.

Plus, it’s just plain exhausting trying to say productive, generous, and constructive things all the time. I have to do this all the time in my job, being diplomatic and constructive. Sometimes, don’t you just want to pan and shred and tear shit up and express your loathing without offering a single constructive suggestion for how to piece it all back together? It is a truism of anarchy that every act of destruction is also an act of creation. The philosopher Henri Bergson saw negation as more positive than positing. Trashing can clear the mind and cleanse the soul. But enough justification. Shred away, my lovely bitches…

10) The Deer Hunter

While it got the home scenes right, it just lies about Vietnam in such a way that it's vile and dishonest.Russian Roulette as a game? Jesus.

9) Blue Velvet

Self-indulgent bullshit

8) High Noon

A sheriff begging for help and running from a couple of guys and being saved by his wife? Jesus.

7) The Man who Shot Liberty Valence

Jimmy Stewart plays against type as a meek sheriff lawyer. In his Anthony Mann westerns, he's a PSTD, borderline psycho. Stewart didn't make war movies, but he said a lot in those post war Westerns. In real life, it would have been Wayne needing help, not Stewart

6) Object of my Affections

It's not really homophobic to have Jennifer Anniston chase a gay man to be her partner. Nope. It's not like he's hiding his sexual preference

5)The Color Purple

My mother overheard two white women saying, as she left the the theater "it's not what we did, it's what they did to themselves.

4) Working Girl

Look, people do not dress like hookers in a Manhattan office, OK

3) Remains of the Day

Cowardice drips from this movie like a leaky faucet. It's just too English for me

2) The English Patient

The so-called hero ran the Nazi version of the Long Range Desert Group. The movie butychers history in an amazing and annoying way

1) Gone with the Wind

Everything to hate in one movie. Best scene, Tara Atlanta burning to the fucking ground. Getting upset about that would be like getting upset about the destruction of Berlin in 1945. Even Birth of a nation is less offensive because it's up front in it's racism

posted by Steve @ 4:06:00 AM

4:06:00 AM

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