My Blockbuster Busts
A while back I wrote a post about certain contrary, non-conformist traits of mine. In general I tend towards the middle-ground both on controversial issues and matters of taste, and am neither a knee-jerk follower of trends, nor a reflexive iconoclast. But there are cases where I do buck the consensus.
I've been thinking about this topic in reference to movies, following my participation in a recent lively discussion on Psychotoddler's blog about movie sequels. I do usually at least somewhat like most popular movies, or at least understand what others see in them. And of course I've seen my fair share of broadly-panned clinkers over the years. But there have also been films that I remember absolutely detesting, or finding completely pointless and dull, yet feeling like I was the only one in the group (or world) that had that view. So here's a list of ten blockbusters that just plain went bust for me:
1) The Color Purple: Slow, convoluted, people behaving in ways that made no sense. Couldn't wait for it to end. Couldn't believe it was done by the same Spielberg that gave us Jaws, Indiana Jones, and ET. And to think that purple actually is my favorite color.
2) Forrest Gump: I was thoroughly disgusted by the early scene with his mother and the school principal, and it went downhill for me from there. How is it supposed to be inspiring that a mentally challenged individual utterly lucks into fame? What is the moral here?
3) Grease: OK, some of the music was catchy, and there were a few cute jokes. But the ending turned me off so badly that it honestly ruined the entire movie for me - and this when I was still only a teenager myself. MAD magazine's parody summed it up perfectly, in having Sandy say "To get a guy, you have to become a slut! What a great lesson for America's youth!" Not.
4) 2001: My dad dragged me to it when I was seven. Thought I was so bored and confused because I was too young to get it. Since then, I read the book, and saw it again as an adult. No change. Close the pod doors, HAL.
5) The Graduate: Someone please explain to me why all of humanity idolizes this movie? Other than being Dustin Hoffman's debut, and a nice S&G song or two, it did nothing for me except counteract insomnia. Maybe if I were born ten years earlier, I'd "get" it. Or maybe not.
6) Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory: No, not the vile remake with Johnny Depp, I'm talking about the revered original of my youth. Not sure I can explain this one. I wanted to like it. It's certainly the type of movie I usually adore. But something about it just turned me off as a kid, and never went away. Maybe I was traumatized by the oompa-loompas (shudder).
7) Home Alone: This one I can explain. Some of my favorite movies feature violence, others comedy. But the two don't mix well for me; I don't enjoy stories where people get hurt, over and over, for comedic value (Three Stooges excepted!). I can take it in small doses, but not as the main plot of a movie.
8) Dances With Wolves: Possibly the dullest movie I ever saw, yet still managed to be offensive too. That's a good trick. The epitome of pretentious. Goodfellas lost out on Best Picture/Director to this??
The last two are a slightly different category: hugely popular films that I found just OK:
9) Titanic: Highest grossing movie of all time, by a wide margin. Supposed to appeal to everyone since it's a love story and a disaster film. Well yeah, but it's a mediocre love story and a mediocre disaster film melded together. Spend the same time watching The Towering Inferno followed by Crossing Delancey, and you'll be ahead on both counts.
10) Lord of the Rings: OK, to be fair, I admit that my expectations for this probably never could have been met. And it did have great special effects and battle scenes, I'll give you that. But Jackson just plain changed too many plot points and characterizations, gratuitously, for me to fully enjoy this series. If he had brought in Christopher Tolkien as a creative consultant, similar to J K Rowling's role for the Harry Potter movies, I think it would have made a big difference. But we'll never know.
I showed you mine, now show me yours!