Thomas Wictor

Things I hate in movies

Things I hate in movies

I’m a film fanatic. Medication and movies helped me defeat lifelong insomnia. Every night I fall asleep watching a DVD. My TV is now strictly a screen for watching films. I haven’t seen a TV show in three years. For some reason people tell me I need to start streaming movies and store them on my hard drive.

Having experienced two catastrophic hard drive crashes, my response is, “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?”

Besides, I like DVD boxes and inserts. I like having shelves and shelves stuffed full of DVDs. My plan is to keep buying them until I have a big enough library to last the rest of my life.

As much as I love movies, certain aspects of them drive me crazy. Here’s what I really hate in movies.

Ten dollops of crap

10. Screaming instead of acting. There are lots of different ways to show emotion. Raising your voice isn’t the only one. Rod Steiger as the priest in The Amityville Horror, bellowing behind his altar as he watches a statue of a cherub crumble, is too mortifying to ever view again.

9. Sad-sack music that instructs me when to cry. I’ve got eyes and a brain. You don’t need to blubber, “The child is dead! Weep! Weep, I say! Have you no heart? Gladiator is the hands-down champion in this category. The yodeling version of Enya turned agony into gloppy farce.

8. Truckloads of profanity. I’m not offended; I’m bored. And it makes the characters uninteresting, especially when there’s no context. Sigourney Weaver screams a hilarious F-bomb in Galaxy Quest, but when Tim Allen is confronted with the gorignak rock-monster, he says, “Aw, darn.” It’s much funnier than any four-letter word. Balance is achieved.

7. Gratuitous female nudity. Robert Altman did it a lot in his later years. The most egregious case was Frances McDormand in Short Cuts. She walks by a doorway naked, just because. I have nothing against female nudity, but when it’s tossed in for no reason, I find it insulting. Everything doesn’t have to be porny.

6. Casting black actors in positions of authority to assuage white guilt. Every judge, police captain, CEO, army general, and spaceship skipper is now black, but to make sure that we whities don’t think they’re sellouts, they present themselves as extra-black by speaking nonstandard English. The otherwise great film Intolerable Cruelty has one such character, as does the horrific mess Prometheus.

5. An actor throwing back his head and howling, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” after a loss. Van Helsing puts a twist on it in that Hugh Jackman is a werewolf when he begins the howl, but then he turns into a sobbing human. It’s still rubbish.

4. Cheesy rock music played as male ass-kickers suit up for action. John Carpenter’s Vampires may be the best example, right from the beginning. It gets bonus points for cringe-inducing dialog: “Godspeed, man.”

3. Endlessly yapping villains bending your ear about trivia. Pulp Fiction made this mandatory, but it was played out immediately. I always fast forward through the pointless jabber. My DVD player has three fast-forward speeds, the first allowing me to hear the sped-up dialog. All this ridiculous chatter is bearable when the actors sound like they’re breathing helium.

2. Characters smugly dancing. This makes me want to throw a brick at the TV. The absolute worst is John Travolta in Michael. Since Saint Michael the Archangel is one of my heroes and the Angel of Death, seeing him presented as a vacuous, gluttonous, entirely human slob was too dumb to waste my time on. I turned it off after the dance scene. No idea how it ended. Hopefully he was run over with a steamroller.

1. Little kids advising adults on their love lives. Sleepless in Seattle is the grand prize winner. Personally, I find this extremely sinister and inappropriate. The reversal of roles—adults are childlike while children are wise “old souls”—is a recipe for societal implosion. It’s a removal of boundaries that will lead to only one nightmarish outcome.

Other stuff bugs me:

foul-mouthed old ladies;
stilted dialog that’s supposed to give you the chills (“I will crush you!”);
dogs lying down, covering their eyes, and whimpering cutely;
political jabs in non-political movies;
laugh or applause breaks;
billions of edits for no reason;
shaky cam;
greasy, warm, wet, smarmy schmaltz;
graphic violence indistinguishable from reality.

But the ten things I listed above can make me switch off the movie.

Life’s too short. There are thousands of films I want to see. I’m working through them one at a time.

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