Strange Confessions: Three Movies I HATED and One That Redeemed a Name

Strange Confessions: There are three movies I absolutely hate. If I can use the immortal words of Roger Ebert, “I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie.” Although, none of these movies are “North” of which Mr. Ebert spoke of and which I have never seen, the reasons I hate these movies are vastly different.

Before I got married and was blessed with kids, I was a Movie guy. I watched all sorts of movies. I had access to movie rental places, the library, great movie theaters, including an independent theater where you could rent all sorts of odd stuff. I wanted to be a director or writer, someone involved in the creation of film, revealing your vision: be it funny or serious, fantasy or reality, scary or light hearted, strange or sensical, family or mature, dark or light… I watched them all. Now, there are lots of movies I don’t particularly care for, but I always appreciated what the creators were trying to do, even when they failed.

About twenty years ago, I noticed that independent film started to get more dark, more challenging, more disgusting, and more revealing. I chose not to watch a lot of the movies that were coming out. Of course that was around the time I was changing, because I had Christ in my heart. Even though my tastes were changing, I still believe film was getting worse. It has even gotten into the television. There is not much on television I can watch with my kids. Oh for the days of “The Cosby Show”.

The first movie I really hated, was the first one I never finished watching because it made me so angry. It was “The Accused” with Jodie Foster. The movie came out in 1988, but I didn’t see it until years later. After seeing her in “Silence of the Lambs”, “Maverick” and “Nell”, I wanted to see Jodie in some previous work. She is a superb actress and I wanted to see more. But, “The Accused” was so horrid, and awful that I couldn’t even finish watching it. Yes, it was displaying the evil in the hearts of men, but it was just too much for me at the time. Men committing acts of heinous evil and others standing around, not doing a thing about it, some even cheering them on. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I think that is what disturbed me the most: the fact that when you are younger you believe in the goodness, the rightness of men, sure they do evil things once in a while, but, we are all good, and we just have to be getting better, but then, one day, you realize that it is not true. Men are evil through and through. I reached that point while watching this movie. I hated men… no, I hated sin. Hate what it makes men do, to ourselves, to each other. I hate sin, and this movie made me realize this. It should have made me get up and do something about it, but it didn’t then, not until years later. But, I hated this film.

The second movie I really hated was “Natural Born Killers”. This film made me realize that Oliver Stone is an idiot. No, scratch that. That the whole Hollywood establishment has some major idiots infiltrating all aspects of filmdom, and Oliver Stone is one of the biggest. I remember seeing his justification for this film as farce, as satire. I look at the film, then look at his comments, then look at his film, and I think, “What in the world is he thinking?” He couldn’t possibly believe what he says. Either he believes what he is saying and has a mixed up viewpoint of what satire is, or he is completely insane. Today I believe it is a little of both. He has no idea what true art is, or the idea of what responsibility means. To him, his craft is all about agenda, and he has revealed himself to be the irresponsible lout that he has always been. I’m not alone in my assessment, why here is what John Grisham had to say about this film, this culture. Stone glorified the violence he was portraying and in my ignorance of accepting all film, this one made me see the ugliness that was hypocrisy, idiocy, and the agendaism that comes out of many of the films of today. I hated this film, but appreciated the way it made me more discerning in what I chose to watch.

The third movie I hate was almost the downfall of my appreciation for cinema altogether. This movie was THE most hated film on my list. If there was a scale of movies I disliked from 1 to 10, 1-5 being not liked for any number of reasons, 6 being hated, and 10 being the most hated, this movie would receive a 12. This movie was lauded across the board for its visual beauty, for its artistic ambition, its enduring power, its primal, mystical and childlike fantasy style for adults. It received a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. Thankfully, there are a whopping 9 critics out of 202 on that site who didn’t appreciate its art enough to be able to recommend it. Here are a couple of the reviewers snippets who might agree with my assessment: “…a maze of naive politics and gruesome brutality. It’s no more about Franco’s Spain than a can of Franco-American spaghetti is about Italian food.” says one. Another says: ” but the whole is such a dingy downer that despite the fine performances on display, it is impossible to recommend it.” This movie is “Pan’s Labyrinth”. I wanted to like this movie, I really did. The trailers were awesome, the creatures like nothing seen before, a story seemingly dark and mysterious to draw me into it’s world of fantasy. But, alas and alack! This movie had such a slap in your face political agenda that I could not get past. And, grim?! You bet it was. It was so dark and dingy and incomprehensible, except for the part that you are supposed to hate the self-loathing fascist, and love the lovable forest dwelling communists. It absolutely drove me nuts! I can never, for the life of me, understand how I finished watching this movie, other that hoping against hope, that it would all make sense in the end. That there would be sense made. That the world presented was actually topsy-turvy, and the director was playing with us, making us think one thing and in reality hiding another until the end.

I came home from that film, and threw my television out the window, burned all my DVDs and VHS tapes, shredded all my books on film and my screenplays, sledge-hammered my players and computers, destroyed all that reminded me of the legacy that was my life of film appreciation; for it was all for naught. Well… maybe I didn’t take such drastic action, but I did in my mind. For the longest time I hated new movies, had suspicions of all film and their inciting agendas. I hated Guillermo del Toro. Even when I gained back my bearings and could enjoy movies again, I hated seeing his name. Even some of the creepier productions that he presented, that I thought I might like, I disdained. Because it was del Toro. When there was rumor that Peter Jackson was going to allow del Toro to direct The Hobbit, I cringed with aversion. Eventually my derision for him cooled, and his name going with things didn’t rise within me the hatred I remember. But, I never watched again anything that had his name attached. Until last night…

Once I saw previews for Pacific Rim, it intrigued me. Then I saw who was the director. I was interested, but I wasn’t going to watch it. I saw more previews for it and also read the reviews: it only received a 72% from RT, but that is pretty good for a giant robots verses giant monsters movie I must say. It has been at the Redbox for some time, and I resisted for a while, and I was getting to the point that I really wanted to see it, sort of. So, I casually rented it. I’ve got to say, Guillermo has redeemed himself a bit in my eyes with that movie. It was a lot of fun. He also did a great job of giving it the feel of the old Godzilla movies, but obviously in a more modern view. Some of the things that has bugged me lately about this type of film, has been that the director has taken themselves way too seriously with it, and Guillermo didn’t. In fact, my two favorite characters, harkened back to those old Japanese films, where the slightly-off doctors take insane risks and get all the answers the world needs to succeed, and they were interesting and very funny too.  The action was well done, and I kept wondering how they did it all. The story was contrived, but who cares? There is a giant robot fighting a giant monster out there! Guillermo obviously had a lot of respect for those old films and did a great job honoring them. It isn’t one of my top films of the year, but in terms of an oft-hated name redeeming themselves in my eyes, this one is tops. Kudos to you, Guillermo. Well done.

~Stranger

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Posted on November 23, 2013, in Movie Reviews, Strange Confessions, Strange Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Good analysis; thanks for sharing. I haven’t watched nearly as many movies as you, but on my worst list is Casino; only went because of free tix. Bad taste in mouth forever.

    • Yeah, thanks for reading “DV” if that is your real name. I’ve had my troubled share of Scorsese films, it’s a bit hit and miss with me. But “Shutter Island” was one of my current favorite of his, that was a time I was going through a Dennis Lehane period. Check it, yo!

      • I am really DV, a living, thinking human…unless you want to start a Turing test with me and try to prove that I am really a robot, acutally an AI, with human intelligence. Wait, that sounds like a movie… Tired, need a nap…

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