notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Where's the Love?

Who knew that hate would prove to be so popular? Is this a meme yet?

Sorry - I'm not actually on a high horse about this. I find it fascinating to see which movies are despised by individuals, especially when many of those movies are almost universally praised. In fact, I think it's fair to say that the overwhelming theme in all these lists is one of anti-hype.

Let's recap some of the films mentioned so far: Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Reservoir Dogs, Requiem for a Dream, Casablanca, In the Company of Men, Kids, Citizen Kane, Love Story, Natural Born Killers, Se7en, Forrest Gump...and the beat goes on.

Now let's look at a list of some movies currently playing in theaters: Saw II, The Legend of Zorro, Dreamer, Prime, Zathura, Must Love Dogs, Get Rich or Die Tryin'...

I'll take the first batch anyday.

Often, our likes and dislikes are formed, not based on the merits of a movie, but in reaction to the opinions of others. The rebels among us relish the opportunity to draw a line in the sand and proclaim loudly, "you are all mad!" Furthermore, we often define ourselves in the negative: I am NOT that, therefore I AM this. Nobody has a strong opinion about the movies in that second list, so they make poor definers.

Now, since I count myself among that rebel crowd, I'd like to propose a rebellion against all these hate lists (which, I realize, are themselves rebellions against all the best of lists). Below, I list the top ten movies that are commonly hated on by everyone and their mother, but that I happen to like. While there are thousands of bad 'b' movies, I'm limiting my list to those movies that are both widely recognized, and widely regarded as trash. In no particular order:

Last Action Hero C'mon, it isn't THAT bad.

Waterworld
Same as above.

Hudson Hawk
Stupid, yes, but also a whole lot of fun. And no one can say that it takes itself seriously.

Crash
The 1996 David Cronenberg film. It's beautiful, haunting, challenging...and yet despised by everyone I've ever met.

Return of the Jedi OK, so maybe no one hates this movie, but it sure is hip to hate the Ewoks. Well, I like 'em. They're cute.

Dune The David Lynch version. I've never read the books, so I can't speak to the quality of adaptation, but I think it's a pretty interesting movie. Besides, Lynch wasn't given the control he needed to make the film he wanted to make, so let's all just lay off a little, OK?

Plan 9 From Outer Space, Showgirls, etc. Any movie that people continue to watch and talk about is not as bad as we all like to believe. At least they aren't boring, which I consider to be the cardinal sin of filmmaking.

Movies starring pretty boy actors I've listened to many intelligent people blanketly dismiss anything starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg. ALL of these actors have made some excellent decisions in their careers, and they are all solid performers. Please stop being lazy cultural consumers. Mainstream is not always bad.

Natural Born Killers Lots of people hate this one, and I understand why. Still, it deserved to be discussed more seriously than it was. Everyone criticizes Oliver Stone for being heavy handed, and that's certainly fair, but he's one of the only American filmmakers to have made a career of adressing societal problems. Sometimes you have to be over the top to get anyone to pay attention. He's not one of my favorites either (he's got nowhere near the talent of his foreign equivilants), but I'm glad he's out there.

The Village It may be the worst of Syamalan's work, but it is still head and shoulders more interesting, entertaining, and genuine than most movies getting the greenlight these days. Plus, I'm not at all happy about this whole anti-Shyamalan bandwagon.

Man, I hate people.