A Bloody Good Time 05.03.12: The Worst Kinds Of Movie Opinions
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
Last week I gave a brief history of Edgar Allan Poe in film. Here’s what you said in reply.
cdunc83 wrote: Nice column. Full Moon’s The Pit and the Pendulum is my favorite adaptation as well. It’s just well done, good cast, dark humor, great characters, and just a fun movie. Couple others left off the list: Two Evil Eyes (Loved Argento’s portion of the film!), Fulci’s The Black Cat, and Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key. Vice is my favorite Martino giallo.
Well there’s a lot of them out there that it’s hard to name them all, but Two Evil Eyes not being included is a little embarrassing.
AndrewCrow suggested: For next week’s “bad movie fans” (which I’m assuming you mean “bad movieGOERS”) be sure to focus on the people that spoiled YOU-KNOW-FUCKING-WHO from Zombieland.
Yeah I mean those types of people, among others. I guess “armchair critics” would also be a good term. Maybe internet movie fans, since that’s where most of them are? I don’t know. Bad movie audiences implies something else.
LitasRevenge replied: Was it just me, or did Vincent Price seem to always have the knack for portraying the dark, and menacing roles very well? Just seemed like something he was born to do. Everything from Dr.Phibes, to House on Haunted Hill, and these Poe works adapted to film, and even to modern day works like Edward Scissorhands. It’s almost as if He was a modern day film essence of what Poe was trying to portray, and he is the penultimate of the seedy and unknown that can captivate the masses.
Not only was he creepy and menacing, but he was really charming too. Even when playing a villain there’s something very likable about him.
411’s own Tony Acero said: One question I’ve answered numerous times is one about inspiration. “Who inspires you as a writer.” Considering I’ve read Stephen King’s work for the better part of half my life, people that know me assume it’d immediately be him, but there’s just something about Poe that digs deeper. Not to knock King, because I love him, but Poe reached into the fears of humans and blasted them on paper without any remorse. His mind – whether it was full of opiates or not – was warped, and his writing corners, cramped. He didn’t create new worlds, he simply turned the lights off in the world we already know. As a writer, I’ll surely always have a soft spot for Poe.
Like I said, Poe seemed to have more of a knack for relating human fears. King was good at that too, Cujo is first and foremost about a mother fighting to save her child, but Poe was the best.
This week’s column was inspired by the release of the awesome Cabin in the Woods. After I saw it I loved it, and wanted to see how many people thought the same. Critics appreciated it, most fans did, but there were a few that I found irritating. Not the people who didn’t like it, mind you. Those people are entitled to their opinions. So if they didn’t think it was “scary” or “funny” and didn’t like it as a result, I’ll let them do what they want. No, there were people on there who said that “if you like this you’re stupid”, or “it’s a fact that this is bad”. Things like that.
This got me thinking. What are the worst types of people who give their quick thoughts on films? The worst types of movie watchers are the ones who are obnoxious, and those people are like that for different reasons. I have ten reasons here, not in any real order, of why certain people can be incredibly annoying while offering their ten cents on whatever the latest movie is.
A couple of notes. First of all, this can apply to any genre. I’m sure a movie opinion of each and every one of these types will come out after the release of The Avengers. It’s a big movie and everyone will have their own idea of what it should be and how it would be better to them. I’m just going to use horror examples because that’s the name of the game here at A Bloody Good Time. Secondly, everyone has been guilty of at least one of these at one point or another. Some of us would like to think we’re more mature than the typical Youtube poster, but we each have a movie that we loathe or love. For example, I can’t fathom how anyone could possibly not like John Carpenter’s Halloween. I just can’t process the fact that there is someone that doesn’t recognize how good it is. So we’re all guilty of it.
People who insult others for their opinion of a movie
It’s this type of person that inspired this very edition of the column. Whether it’s good or bad, some people like to think that name-calling is the best way to get their opinions across. If you like this movie and not that movie, you are beneath them. Some people not only bashed Cabin in the Woods upon its release, but turned their venom towards all Joss Whedon fans and called them stupid and accused them of blindly praising anything the man does. Are there people like that? Probably. But isn’t it more likely that they were just genuinely entertained by the movie and want to defend it from hateful people like you?
These people exist mostly on the Internet. You don’t really see this type of person in actual social circles, unless they’re just an asshole. The internet gives us all a degree of anonymity when we type our knee-jerk reactions and there are some who use that as free reign for being jerks. Look, I’ve bashed Twilight to no end on this column, and think it’s absolutely terrible. But I try my best not to insult Twilight fans. Sure, they like something I don’t, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less of a human being. You know, with feelings and what not? No movie is worth getting so passionate about that you have to tear somebody down for disagreeing with you.
People who write off a movie/sub-genre and don’t get it a chance
I wanted to just say, “those who call movies like Saw torture porn”, but that’s too narrow a term. They are included, however. There are some who don’t like certain types of horror movies, or a particular series in general, and refuse to even give a film that has anything to do with it a chance. Some people hate vampires, even Dracula. But what about something like Near Dark, which is pretty far removed from the classical vampire? Shouldn’t you at least give it a shot if it’s praised as one of the best of its type?
Then that brings is to “torture porn”. If you don’t want to watch a torture movie because you don’t think gore is necessary, or if you are just squeamish, that’s one thing. But if you dismissively claim that movies like Saw, or slashers like Friday the 13th have no value whatsoever then you’re mistaken. Maybe you won’t like the special effects work of Friday the 13th enough to give it a pass. Maybe you won’t appreciate the clever traps/plot twists of Saw. But at least sit down and watch them before you prematurely form your opinion. There are other types too, like those who claim that since a film likely will change (or did change) things from the book, that the movie version is crap. Those people seem to think that if a movie is not 100% as the author intended, then it’s not worth seeing. You have the book for that. Expect those types of fans when The Avengers comes out too, trust me.
People who write movie reviews with nothing but hyperbole
You know these people. “This is the worst movie ever”, or alternatively, “this is the best movie ever!” People who can’t just say a movie is great, or good, or terrible, or merely average. They have to have everything settled in the extreme. I understand how this makes me look, considering I write opinion lists every other week proclaiming something as the “best” of its kind. I didn’t say I was immune. But while this can and does refer to those who use that talk in general, this is also for those who make reactionary claims about a movie that has just come out.
Maybe you actually feel that this movie, indeed, is the best or worst movie you’ve ever seen. I know quite a few people that when the Halloween remake came out automatically wrote it off and declared it the worst ever. “Rob Zombie raped the franchise!”, etc. If Rob Zombie raped the franchise then so did Rick Rosenthal when he made Halloween: Resurrection and Dominique Othenin-Girard when he decided to add comical sound effects to bumbling cops in Halloween 5. It’s not the opinion here that’s wrong (opinions can’t be wrong), but the fact that the individual doesn’t seem to think about what they’re saying before they say it. How many “greatest” and “worst” movies can there be, exactly?
People who claim their opinion is fact
This is almost as bad as insulting someone for liking something, and in fact the two often go hand-in-hand. These people swear that just because they like or dislike something, that it means the movie itself is the cause and anyone who says different is just wrong. They can’t have a different take on it, because “my opinion is the only one that matters!” Look, you’re not as important as you think you are. You’re not the end-all, be-all of movie watching and what you say shouldn’t affect how other people view something.
Think about how divisive the Paranormal Activity movies are. “This movie is boring.” “No, you’re wrong. It’s building suspense.” “No, you’re wrong, it’s the scariest movie ever!” Can you imagine how boring cinema would be if every single movie was exactly how one person thought it should be? They’d all be uniformly the same, with nothing that makes them stand out. Sure, that individual would love it (and probably insult those who didn’t), but no one else is going to think so. It is not only possible to accept that someone may disagree with you, but preferable. That person isn’t wrong, and neither are you. But you’re being incredibly immature.
“Turn your brain off and enjoy it.”
These next six are sort of grouped in pairs in two, because one is the exact opposite of the other. Each option is an extreme on the scale. This one is for defenders of dumb movies who claim “It aint Shakespeare, just switch off your brain and enjoy it.” Why should I have to stop thinking about a film critically in order to enjoy it? Am I not allowed to have an opinion, but should stupidly drool and smile as the latest stupid movie is shoved on me?
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy dumb movies. I definitely do. You don’t get much dumber than the Godzilla series: men in rubber suits beating each other up. But I can recognize it as dumb, point out its flaws, and still like it for what it is. I didn’t have to “turn my brain off” to do it, I just had to love it in spite of its stupidity. The same thing applies to “so bad they’re good” movies. You can still enjoy a bad movie even if it is bad. There’s no rule saying otherwise. But don’t turn your brain off. You need it for vital functions.
“If you didn’t like it, you just didn’t get it.”
A lot of pretentious snobs (or people who think they’re pretentious snobs) like to use this one. These people like to feel superior when a smarter film comes around and see anyone that dislikes the film as stupid and they just need to watch it several times in order to fully digest it. Maybe read the book too, if there is one. The problem isn’t something to do with the movie, but something to do with them. Look, I’ve watched Scanners twice and outside of the head explosion, I just can’t get into it. That means that me and the movie aren’t clicking. It doesn’t mean there’s something there to get that I’m not seeing.
But the same thing happens with movies I like. Fans of Grindhouse blamed moviegoers for not getting the concept and walking out after the first movie, and others who didn’t see it (over Easter weekend, by the way) for the movie’s failure. Maybe it’s not the fault of the people watching but the fact that some people just don’t want to see two movies? Or possible the fact that it could have been better promoted as a double feature? I certainly didn’t have anyone at my theater telling customers that they were about to pay to see two movies for the price of one. It may help if you do that. The same thing happened with, Cabin in the Woods. That minority of people who didn’t like it was told that they just didn’t get it, and something was wrong with them. Look, I can’t understand why you wouldn’t like that movie (particularly with all the carnage), but if you didn’t, that’s because you found something to dislike.
“It’s old, so it sucks.”
I remember way back when I did my top twenty horror franchises that I declared Universal Horror, as a whole, to be my favorite. Some of the comments read: “those movies aren’t scary, they’re too old”. There are opinions like that which just make me sad. It usually happens with younger audiences but that isn’t always the case. There are some who will outright refuse to watch a movie if it was made before a certain date (like say, when they were born), or if it’s black and white. New is always better for those people, and that’s not always the case.
Are the Universal monsters scary? I think there are moments when they can be, but that’s not really the point. The point is you just dismiss an entire era of film-making because you weren’t alive when the movies are made. Aren’t you a movie fan? Shouldn’t you want to watch good movies regardless of when they were filmed? Just because Bela Lugosi is dead, it doesn’t mean he’s a worse actor than Robert Pattinson. Oh god…I just realized that there may be someone out there who thinks that. Hold me.
“They don’t make good movies anymore.”
Now we have the exact opposite. These are people who not only love the past, but assume that it’s the best time for movies and there is no way that anyone could ever make anything that’s good. They will dismiss all movies made after a certain time with a wanking motion and may only ever watch remakes/nostalgic films just to complain some more. They’ll call an homage film “derivative” and ignore anyone who says that a movie that came out this year can be good.
This may sound a little extreme, but I’ve talked to people like this. I’ve read opinions on forums of someone recommending something like Insidious and someone else exclaiming, “I liked it better when it was called Poltergeist. Why yes, it does borrow some from Poltergeist. That’s because the filmmakers loved that movie too and were influenced by it! Shouldn’t you actually see the movie before you assume that it will never be as good as anything that came out before 1980?
People who complain about spoilers for old movies
There are good reasons for throwing out spoiler warnings. If I were to talk about Cabin in the Woods, The Devil Inside or even something from last year like who the killer was in Scream 4, I’d throw up a nice spoiler warning so I wouldn’t ruin it for anyone. It gets a little different when you’re asking me not to talk about the Saw series (which has been over for two years and started in 2004), who the killers were in the original Scream or even worse, someone who actually doesn’t know how King Kong ends and will be pissed when you inform them that Kong dies at the end.
Did I just ruin the movie for you? It was made in 1933, get over it. I think it’s good to avoid spoilers for newer films, but at a certain point it becomes silly to avoid spoiling a film that’s been out long enough that you should have been able to watch it if you really wanted to. Maybe for an indie film that you never heard of it’s different, but not for a mainstream Hollywood release. Especially not a classic. I think even Zombieland‘s safe to spoil now, since everyone who was going to watch it has had a chance to anyway. Speaking of which….
People who spoil new movies
They can do it by accident while just talking about a movie, or they can do it on purpose just to be a dick, but either way, no one likes it when a movie that just came out is spoiled for them. For some people, it can actually ruin their enjoyment of a movie or make them not even want to see it anymore. If I had Cabin in the Woods spoiled for me, I don’t think I would have been as anxious to see it, good reviews be damned. Part of the fun of that movie is the ride, and if you ruin that ride then what’s the point. People want to see a movie on their own, they don’t want you telling them everything that happens.
As I mentioned, there are two types of people. The first just accidentally lets some details slip while either gushing about a movie or ripping it apart. In the case of the latter, they may consider the movie so awful that they’re doing you a favor by spoiling it anyway, and feel no remorse. But seriously, it’s not hard to say “spoilers” before you begin talking about a film’s ending. It’s just one word. The second type of people are the same type who (in a non-horror, non-film sample), spoiled “Snape Kills Dumbledore” all over the internet because they don’t like Harry Potter and don’t care if they ruined your day. They’re just jerks, and probably don’t have many friends anyway.
That’s it for me. What types of movie people anger you? Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, with the release of Dark Shadows (which will suck egregiously), I plan to look at the very best vampire films. I’m amazed that I never actually did this before (and I checked the archives). So we’re going to do that. I’m guessing the usual suspects will make the list, but you never know!
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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