Some movies do it for you, and some movies don’t.
But for me, at least, there’s a certain amount of guilt when I don’t love a movie that I’m supposed to. I’m really comfortable having never seen Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings. I feel really confident that, having booked a ticket in the nice theatre this Friday, and paying $22 to see Avengers: Age of Ultron in both 3D and VIP, I’m going to hate it. Just hate it. And that’s okay. What I don’t like is hating a ‘good’ movie. An Oscar-nominated movie. A critics’ darling. An intellectual two thumbs up. I feel so disappointed with myself if I just can’t muster the hurrah.
I didn’t like 12 Years A Slave. There, I said it. I thought it was derivative. I felt I’d seen it before, and better. I didn’t like The Hurt Locker. It was forgettable, and Jeremy Renner was regrettable. I didn’t enjoy There Will Be Blood, and that one hurt, because I’d considered myself a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson. There’s a good chance I didn’t fully follow it, or maybe I just need a second clear-headed chance (I needed that with Magnolia too) but it left such a bad taste in my mouth that so far I’ve been unable to even consider it. And, as you may have gleaned from the title, I did not like Silver Linings Playbook.
Well, maybe that’s a little blunt. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t hate any of those movies. I just fail to appreciate how so many can think so highly of them. Because they’re all in a little category I like to call “meh”. I would call Silver Linings an above-average romcom. It’s pretty conventional, sticks to the formula, with a parody of mental illness thrown in for kicks, but it feels exploitative at times, like they’re caricatures of ‘crazy’ rather than people who struggle with a disease. This movie is an ode to temporary solutions that at times seemed to embrace the formulaic approach and almost wink at the audience, and then settled in the end for just falling prey to it. The screwball vibe gets in the way of the love story, and you never get swept away by it. The family dysfunction was treated so casually that I never felt the movie took itself, or its subject matter, seriously.
I recently gave this movie a re-watch, because I was feeling generous, and because I (Heart) Huckabees is one of my favourites, but I didn’t connect with it any better the second time around. I might be induced to laugh along with, but not at, someone newly diagnosed, and just released from being institutionalized. I’ve been up close and personal with bipolar, and this just felt cartoonish to me. Plus, it feels irresponsible to suggest that bipolarism can be cured by falling in love, or that someone who is bipolar must end up with someone equally as ‘crazy.’
But anyway. This movie is old news. I don’t like it, and I don’t care who knows. I am a curmudgeon. I am an Asshole, dammit, and a curious one – do you have a movie that you hate but everyone else loves? Do you feel weird or guilty about disagreeing with critics? How often does The Academy get stuff wrong?