Silver Linings Playbook, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate the Movie that Everyone Else Loves

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.

12 Years a Slave film stillI 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 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. silverliningsThe 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?

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23 thoughts on “Silver Linings Playbook, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Hate the Movie that Everyone Else Loves

  1. Andrew

    I know how you feel, but don’t feel bad about it. I disagree with AMPAS all the time, and with the general public like, always. We all have our own cinematic taste, and we should be proud of that. I mean, I found 12 Years a Slave overrated and stale, Silver Linings Playbook enjoyable fluff and The Hurt Locker self-righteous and meandering, so you’re not the only one.

    And I didn’t hate any of those films either…but they aren’t great films!

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  2. Angie

    I disagree with you to a point. The acting is pretty good. The back and forth between the actors was compelling, but I agree there is too much distance between the characters and the film. We’re supposed to find them charming and quirky not ill. The scene fight scene with BC and RD took it to a different level, but judging by the story book ending, they didn’t want to take it far enough.

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  3. Wednesday's Child

    The Oscars pick mediocre films to laud all the time. Look at Crash, the 2006 Best Picture winner. What a maudlin piece of crap that was. Funnily enough, though, the movie I got the most shaming for disliking (as a person who blogs about horror and other genre fare) was Death Proof. I was piled on on Facebook by male readers who thought I should love it because I am a woman and therefore feminism.

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  4. Brittani

    I know that feeling for sure. When everyone praises a movie and I get high hopes for it, then it just sucks and I almost feel bad for saying it because everyone else under the sun liked it.

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  5. FrugalHausfrau

    Thanks for stopping by my blog; I had to click back and I’m so glad I did! The number of movies I hate that everyone else loves is a huge list, mostly for the reasons you stated! Ok, so maybe I don’t “hate” them all, but if I put effort, money and most of all TIME into a movie, I feel cheated. I should walk out of more movies, but then there’s always that feeling that it might redeem itself or just that feeling that I paid, and a feeling of concern over those I’m with and thinking it would be rude and awkward for them.

    A Beautiful Mind was a fave, in spite of the actor, but there really wasn’t a “cure.” I get annoyed when love is the “cure” for mental illness, especially so many movies/shows about kids with autism. In the end, there’s always connection, a smile, leading one to believe that everything is going to be ok, that headway is being made, everything is “paying off” – all the struggle, all the patience. With a bit of thought it’s easy to realize that these themes about mental illness aren’t much different than suggesting a woman who is being abused, with enough love, patience and perseverance can “cure” the mentally ill abuser. But then that’s not so pretty or heartwarming, is it?

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  6. In My Cluttered Attic

    Ah the Academy has been out of touch with the public and their taste in movies for quite some time now. I never feel guilty disagreeing with a critic, mostly because I’m one of theirs. As for movies I hate that everyone else loves. When you say everyone, are those the non-paying critics, or the spending their hard earned cash public? :O)

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  7. Jordan Dodd

    I think the better question is, when does the Academy get it -right-?

    Julianne Moore won for Still Alice… she was twice as good in maps to the Stars
    Gyllenhaal somehow didn’t even get a mention
    Budapest Hotel (the best of the year IMO) didn’t win shit, at least I don’t think it did
    It or Whiplash were far better than Birdman, which becomes more pretentious the more I think about it.

    As for this movie, I don’t think you’re in the wrong. I have no idea why critics like this movie – it uses mental illness as a gimmick for a bog standard rom com. And it portrays the mental illness horribly, almost in an offensive way.

    Heh and I’m sure I’ll hate Ultron too. That’s why I’m not watching it ;D ;P too much other stuff is being released down here atm

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  8. Indah Susanti

    In answering your questions…
    Do you have a movie that you hate but everyone else loves? Do you feel weird or guilty about disagreeing with critics?
    Yes I do, and sometimes I do feel weird when disagreeing with majority. There were two Oscar winning movies that I could not watch the whole movie. I left the cinema at the middle of the movies since I did not enjoy the movie at all..

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