Any enthusiast has to draw the line somewhere. Some draw more lines than others, but it’s fair to say that all of us have certain personal leanings and/or vendettas when it comes to how we select our big screen entertainment.
A couple weeks ago, there was a tremendous amount of heated discussion on BAD regarding the pros and cons of CGI, in response to this good-natured trailer and this unexpectedly incendiary article. I was genuinely surprised at the number of people who raised their fists to defend Hollywood’s sewage geyser of digital puppetry. And as much as I enjoyed all of the impotent rage and verbal warfare that was inspired here, the divided reaction led me to think about things more broadly.
Don’t get me wrong. I still hate CGI with every fiber of my being, and will always consider it the #1 enemy of the modern movie experience. But we’re not here to discuss that again. What I started wondering was: If all these people don’t hate the same thing I hate so deeply, then what does make them furious? It stands to reason that even the most placated, Billington-esque viewer must have at least a handful of unacceptabilities that will keep them at bay; a sort of Bottom Five actors, filmmakers, genres, clichés or other factors that are just too excruciating to endure.
Your demon may be Sandra Bullock. Or digital 3D. Or anything that has fallen from the Coppola family tree in the last few decades. Some people are broadly allergic to musicals, or there’s always the slow-witted viewer who’s impatient with foreign films and/or unable to enjoy any movie from the pre-color era. Or maybe the thought of another masturbatorily masculine Robert Rodriguez frat boy fantasy makes you want to shove pencils in your eyeholes. Hey, I’m with you. And even if I’m not, let’s hear about it.
I humbly propose that we all join in a divisive bonding experiment in which we share our most vicious frustrations with the film industry. To kick off the avalanche of fury, here are five unforgivable evils that I feel need to be eradicated from the moviegoing landscape ASAP:
DOCUMENTARY-STYLE HORROR – If any film category characterizes the tragic state of modern genre film, it’s this. Years after the rightfully notorious Cannibal Holocaust, doc-style horror found strong footing with independent blockbuster The Blair Witch Project. Since then, first year film school students, entertainment moguls and audiences alike have increasingly embraced the absentee aesthetics of bargain fright. Not that there haven’t been some impressive accomplishments in the arena ([Rec]; Troll Hunter), but the lousy Cloverfield monster design has been reused more times than a cloth diaper in a hippie commune. Enough.
REMAKES – An old high school pal of mine is currently employed as a script reader for a major studio, and the one thing he’s learned is that no one in his company wants to read anything longer than a text message. He swears that most of the executives would much rather consider a remake or adaptation for the simple fact that they can assess an existing film rather than face the agony of reading words on paper. Remakes are convenient for Hollywood for several more reasons, none of them respectable: marketing a familiar concept/title is an easier task, there’s no cost in securing new rights, American literacy is at odds with subtitled foreign films like Let the Right One In or Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.
Unfortunately, it’s been a painfully long time since any remake has garnered the same respect and excitement from the public as the film it apes. Sure, in the ‘80s, goop-powered remakes of The Thing, The Blob and The Fly arguably managed to improve on their predecessors. But 2011 saw Jason Statham cast in a role originally played by Charles Bronson. Hilarious.
THE TERM “GRINDHOUSE” – This pointlessly fetishized catch phrase is the most useless, hollow expression since “mindfuck” met “buzzkill.” Who knows how some overpaid marketing analyst incorporated this into the national lexicon, but every sincere exploitation film fan or video store clerk has spent the last half decade hearing it dribble from the mouths of anyone describing a movie featuring a gun or a boob. I love ‘70s and ‘80s genre films as much as anyone, and have managed to live very happily without using this word once…unless I was specifically referring to the movie of the same name, which I maintain was as stylistically detached from ‘70s and ‘80s genre films as a Frasier marathon.
JUDD APATOW – I’ll admit it; Freaks & Geeks was a truly incredible TV series. Since then, the most knee-slapping joke from Apatow was when he released a movie poster that featured Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen above the words “funny people.”
MUMBLECORE – If you’re not familiar with this term, you live in a much better world than the rest of us. Mumblecore is a relatively young, born-dead genre primarily consisting of underfed New York and/or Portland hipsters whining about relationships while cashing checks from their parents so they can shop at IKEA. Here’s a fun game: Watch a Joe Swanberg movie and snap a Vampire Weekend LP in half every time someone uses the word “rad.” This so-called filmmaker released six movies last year. My dog released 417 turds, and I’d much rather watch those.
…Now, this is just a small sample of the dark corners of one person’s cinematic hell. This article could go on for miles, touching on my deep loathing for everything from Kevin Smith to Edward Norton to the inexplicable blind worship of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and on and on. If you disagree with anything above, the comments section below allows you to frown and whine and dribble venom all over your parents’ computer screen.
But much more importantly, please feel free to unleash YOUR Top Five (or Ten…or Thirty…) Movie-Related Hate-Makers. Tell us what makes you run screaming from a cineplex, or which painfully overhyped celebrities makes you fantasize about a patchwork quilt of human skin.
Don’t hold back. Foam. Gnash. RAAAAAGE.