Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Top 10 Movies I Hate That Everyone Else Loves

It's time to commit critical suicide as I explain why I dislike some of the most popular movies of all time.

Being a critic is an entirely subjective profession. You can sit four people in front of the same movie, and all of them will walk out of it with a different perspective and a different opinion about the movie they've just seen. That's one of the many reasons why I love being a film critic; I can discuss and analyze with everyone my own views about a film and discuss what worked and what didn't in a movie. I can talk about awesome moments in bad movies, and boring moments in great ones, but the discussion is always something to look forward to.

And then there are those movies that have become so popular and so massive where if you dislike it, there's something wrong with you. Hating, or even disliking, one of these movies is so unheard of that your opinion of the person instantly degrades. It's like you have this great friend who you've known for years, but you discover that they actually enjoy eating kittens. Yeah, you could still be friends with them, but you're not going to look at them the same way when you both are talking about sweet, succulent kittens.

And so that's what this list aims to cover. I will be talking about the 10 movies that I hate that everyone else loves. I may be insane for hating, or at least disliking, these movies, but no matter how many times I hear or see them, I just can't bring myself to enjoy them. If you like these movies, there's nothing wrong with you! Enjoy them for me! In order to be placed on this list, it's a barometer, measured by me, or how much I dislike a movie to its overall popularity. So if people are in love with a movie that I'm alright with, it probably won't rank higher than a movie that I absolutely hate. Get your pitchforks ready, because I'm about to be burned at the stake for this list.

#10: Patch Adams (1998)
Robin Williams holds a unique place in my generation. A lot of my friends grew up watching his movies and loving nearly every role he's played, and with good reason. I think Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire are still very good movies that I remember watching when I was a kid. I never saw Patch Adams growing up, but after watching it for the first time after he died, I just think that this movie is a serious stinker. It's bland feel-good schmaltz that rivals the generic tropes of a Nicholas Sparks movie.

There are a good amount of people that say this movie is good because of Robin William's performance, and saying that he's bad in this movie would be a lie, but he's a bit too energetic and hectic in this movie. There's a difference between being excited with a purpose and being excited because that's how this character should be. One implies that there's a reason why he's so happy and excited, and the other means that he's excited and personable because that's just how he's written.

It's a shame too, because this is a pretty interesting story, major historical inaccuracies aside. Told with a bit more subtlety, and this movie could have been a fairly good Robin William's movie. But I think his death may have elevated this movie to a standard that it probably shouldn't be at, and even some Robin Williams fans aren't too crazy about Patch Adams, so it sits comfortably at number 10 for me.

#9: Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Even as a kid I knew this movie was dumb. I didn't get any of the humor, any of the jokes, I thought the acting was weird, but at its very core, it just wasn't funny. I did not laugh even once at this movie, even though people were quoting it like nobody's business. Back in the day, if you disliked this movie, then you were crazy and just didn't get it. Nowadays, I don't think that's the case anymore. 

Bring up Napoleon Dynamite to anyone and the general reaction now is "Oh yeah, I remember that! It was alright." And that's it. There's no real fondness towards it and I think that over a decade later, it's still just this weird little comedy that somehow got popular. I have no idea how that's the case, but it happened! There's so little for me to say about a movie that's alright that I know people hold fondly besides asking them to watch it again and see if it still holds up. If it does, then you just rediscovered a cinematic classic! If not, then tell me what the deal with all of the tater tots is. 

#8: Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986)
Seeing as how it's the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, I thought that I should probably include a Star Trek movie on this list. The trouble was, I liked the ones that everyone likes and dislike the ones everyone dislikes. Except for IV, aka, the one with the space whales.

I can get behind a goofy premise for a Star Trek movie. I rolled with the crew of the Enterprise trying to find God in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (no seriously, they're looking for God in that one), but I couldn't get behind seeing an entire movie about seeing the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise traveling back in time to the 1980's to save humpback whales. I know that the franchise can be goofy at times and does have the potential for humor, none of it sat well with me watching The Voyage Home.

The film was written with a strong environmental message as its theme, which is fine, but there are a lot of times when the message of "Save the whales" is a bit too on the nose. It takes me out whenever I see Spock and Kirk talk about how the whales were never meant to die, how could humanity do that,  and other little bits that don't seem like much, but just rub me the wrong way. Also, when the previous two films in the series dealt with a unfrozen dictator from the 20th century waging war against Kirk, the death of Spock, as well as his subsequent revival, only for it to be followed by a comedy where the crew of the Enterprise interact with 1980's culture? It just pales in comparison.

I know that there are a good amount of people that do enjoy this movie, but I can't say I'm one of them. Still, it's better than Insurrection.

#7: Mad Max (1979)
With the advent of Mad Max: Fury Road, I instantly felt the need to watch the other movies in the series. I mean, if Fury Road was this awesome, then all of the other movies must be that great, right? And to an extent, yes, I think the original Mad Max movies are great movies. Except for the first one. The original Mad Max is a slow, boring, and especially dull movie to sit through.

That isn't to say that it's instantly dull because it doesn't have Lord Humongous, a Thunderdome, or Immortan Joe. Instead, this is a dull movie because there's no real apocalypse. Mad Max is more interested in showing us how Max went, well, mad. Instead, there's just a huge disconnect between everything on screen and the reality of the situation. Despite this movie not looking like a post apocalyptic thriller, this is still meant to be a mid apocalyptic thriller. I know the budgets are budgets and that Mad Max was technically a low-rent Indie project, but it's still hard to believe no matter how you spin it.

Mel Gibson as Max Rockitansky is fine in the other movies, but here he's just... dull. Even the villain, Toecutter, seems to be a bit on the blaise side and is crazy for the sake of crazy. You can make the argument that characters like Immortan Joe (played by the same actor funnily enough), has a clear motivation and desire for his actions. Furiosa took his property, he is the king of his own world, and any action against him is an action against his rule. With Toecutter, none of the depth is present.

I get the impression that reading the script is infinitely better than watching the movie. I read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia just to familiarize myself with the plot, but the more I read, the more I kept thinking to myself "This is awesome! Why didn't they make THIS movie?" Easy come, easy go, but the original Mad Max really hasn't aged that well.

#6: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
And here's where all of the hate comes in!

My Neighbor Totoro is an aimless movie. I don't think that anyone can disagree on that. It's a surrealist animated movie where nothing significant happens, but that doesn't have to be bad. There are a lot of great movies like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas where the entire point is pretty much to sit back and watch several random and crazy events pan out. Where My Neighbor Totoro falls flat though is that there isn't any real point to it.

In aimless movies like these, the aimlessness usually has a point. There's a reason we're just watching random events occur one after the other. In here, the only reason why we're watching Totoro and his friends play with two girls is because it's cute. It's just meant to cute, charming, and whimsical. It's a Miyazaki film aimed at children, so why not just be cute and fun once in a while? The problem with tat is that Miyazaki films that are aimed at children don't pander as much as My Neighbor Totoro does. Ponyo is cute and great for children while also featuring a strong moral about friendship and childhood innocence/love. In My Neighbor Totoro, cute things are cute because they're cute.

Though I hate to make this parallel, I think this is the same argument a lot of people have against A Troll In Central Park, the Don Bluth movie despised by everyone for how it belittles children with super cute imagery with no challenge or depth at all. I'm not saying that My Neighbor Totoro is as bad at A Troll In Central Park, hell I haven't even exposed myself to the noxious fumes of that movie, but it's the same argument I have against My Neighbor Totoro. Rewatch it sometime as see if it really holds up as well as you remember it.

#5: Iron Man 3 (2013)
No, I still haven't gotten over how much I dislike Iron Man 3!

To be fair, my hatred for this movie certainly has waned over the past couple of years. While I still definitely dislike the movie, I can say that it isn't the worse movie in the MCU (coughultroncough). However, when people rave about how great Iron Man 3 is, I still have to firmly say that I do not like it.

Now, as someone who gets a lot of flack for how much I dislike modern comic book movies, an argument that I've heard many times is that the movies aren't the comics. If something is different in the movie universe and the comic universe, that shouldn't matter because they're two separate things. And... I agree with that. Obviously, elements that work in one medium won't work well in another medium, but that isn't the problem. The problem is blatantly disregarding the comics and disgracing a character's legacy for the means of the plot. It's like why people hate Batman & Robin and Superman Returns; Mr. Freeze is not a one-liner spouting villain and Superman isn't a deadbeat dad. Regardless of whether or not these elements originated in the comics, they miss the point of what makes the characters themselves. In that same regard, the Mandarin isn't a worthless drunk actor who is actually working for a plain and bland pretty boy villain played by Guy Pearce. Something just doesn't add up there.

Add in several idiotic things that Tony Stark does, like blatantly tell the Mandarin where he lives and when the fight him on national television, and you get a movie that tries so hard to be good and just kinda falls flat on its face. It was still a good effort and I'll be the first one to say that it isn't the worst movie in the MCU, but it certainly isn't the best either.

#4: Phantom of the Opera (2004)
I get the feeling that Phantom isn't as well liked as it once was. The Schumacher musical has always had a lot of problems with it, completely independent of the original musical, but it seems like people are now starting to realize that maybe, just maybe, this movie is a complete train wreck.

All arguments begin and end with Gerard Butler and... no, that's really it. That's my entire argument. The Phantom, one of the most iconic characters in musical theatre history, is being played by Gerard Butler. Here's "Music of the Night". Listen to it, and I'll see you at #3.

#3: Maleficent (2014)

The fact that I have to explain why I hate Maleficent still is a perplexing one. I have to explain, but I feel dirty for trying to do so.

I, like many other people, couldn't wait to see this movie when it first came out. Maleficent was one of my favorite Disney villains, and the fact that she was being played by Angelina Jolie made me want to scream out in joy, confirming that this movie would be fantastic.

What I got instead was a movie that showed her being drugged, raped, then set out on a path of revenge against her former lover lover and rapist, only to forgive him in the end.

Ummmmm..... can anyone tell me why people love this movie? It's dark, needlessly depressing and graphic, and absolutely misses the point of Maleficent as a character. She's the epitome of evil, an evil fairy who curses Aurora to die because she wasn't invited to a birthday party! That's how evil she is! Instead, she was merely made evil by humans and lost her right to be a fairy, so she'll curse Aurora, except she'll try and take away the curse because she wants to be a mother and she grows to love Aurora by watching her from afar, and oh dear God I'm getting sad again that this movie exists.

There was so much that could have gone right with this movie, but instead it just made me feels dirty and sick watching this with friends. How yo can take a beautiful ballet with some truly enjoyable characters and suck the life out of them like this is beyond me. How people can still enjoy this movie is even more worrisome to me, because I hate to hear when people enjoy it. Please, leave a comment below if you like this movie, because I am genuinely interested!

#2: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
I genuinely do not understand why The Hunger Games is one of the biggest franchises in the world. I saw the original movie, and it was just okay. Not great, but not bad. By the time Mockingjay Part 2 came out, all of my friends were crying that this was the end of the series and that it was one of the their favorite movie franchises of all time, right up there with Harry Potter. With such a heavy claim behidn it, I decided to sit down and watch Catching Fire, the movie that cemented how good the series was. It stood toe-to-toe with Frozen when it released, which is no easy feat.

So... why is this still a huge franchise?

The majority of the movie was spent following Katniss around in District 13 in her quest for a personality, I mean to... be an icon for the people? When the government didn't like the fact that she was inspiring people by doing nothing, they decided to hold and All-Star Hunger Game tournament. This was it! Some of the best survivalists and champions from previous games all killing each other in a crazy fight to the death. There was one person that had razor sharp teeth, another guy who carried around a mute woman the whole time, super technicians that could manipulate the environment around them... and nothing happens. Sure, there are some fights and some tense moments, but the movie is more interested in... actually, I don't know what Catching Fire was trying to do. I get the feeling that Catching Fire was trying to say and do something important, but instead I was more confused at what was happening. Throwing in a major twist at the end didn't help much at all either.

I get the feeling that Catching Fire was probably trying to set up way too much for the finale, Mockingjay. It was all about getting certain pieces in place, establishing a rebellion, and getting the sides set for an action packed ending. Well none of that seemed to work in the movie's favor and it instead opted to waste all of the potential that it had on lame set up and seeing interesting people talk about uninteresting things. I hope all of you Hunger Games fans enjoy Catching Fire, cause you can have all the love for it that you want.

#1: Finding Nemo (2003)

I know, I know. How could such a beloved movie possibly be at number 1? Why would I hate such a childhood classic so much to put it above movies that I actively hate and dislike? WHY? WHY???

Well, let me just say that I don't hate Finding Nemo. I don't like it, but I certainly don't hate it. It's just that whenever I hear about this movie or see this movie, I just tend to roll my eyes at it. I love Pixar, but I'm aware that Pixar has a certain formula they love to use. Two unlikely friends go on a journey of self discovery together in order for them to gain a better understanding of each other as well as themselves. Toy Story, Brave, Inside Out, Up, all of these movies have elements of these tropes inside of them. It's coded into their DNA.

Fidning Nemo is so by the books that I can't get any amusement out of it. Whenever I watch it, I just think that I've seen these character a million times doing the exact same thing, except somehow Finding Nemo is even more unremarkable than the last time I saw it. Dory is one of the most annoying characters that I've ever seen. I don't find her endearing, I don't find her cute, I don't find her lovable, I just find her annoying. The fact that I'm going to have to put up with another movie centered around her is enough for me to start worrying for my own sanity. Marlin is bland and stays a stick in the mud the entire movie despite what his character goes through. Yes, the character may be a changed man, but his personality is still dry, boring, and uninteresting. The side characters are fun, like Bruce and Gil, but they can't save a movie this predictable.

I get that a lot of people grew up watching Finding Nemo and it's arguably the most timeless movie Pixar has ever made, but when you compare it to raw emotion of Up, the intelligence of Inside Out, and the heart of Toy Story, Finding Nemo just isn't that strong. People adore this movie, and good for them, but this is one of the weakest Pixar movies by far. It's not as bad as Cars 2, but it's so unremarkable that it has to be number 1 on my list.

And don't worry; next week, it'll be time for the OTHER list. Stay tuned.

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