Movie Likes & Dislikes
Remember when Amelie Poulain got bothered by the way drivers in movies looked at their passengers without watching the road? I have that problem with so many scenes in films. I don’t mind if a film doesn’t quite make sense (I’ve seen ‘Bullitt’ at least a dozen times and still don’t quite get the plot) but it’s the everyday things we do and which are imperfectly reflected in movies that bother me.
It disturbs me when someone throws money at the lead character, and it goes all over the floor. Do they manage to pick it all up? (It happens a lot in ‘Breaking Bad’). Or when someone jumps out of a car when they haven’t finished parking it properly.
I can’t help it, I have a tidy mind. I hate it when actors take a shower or bath and don’t wash off all the soap when they get out (Fellini’s ‘Amarcord’ is the master movie for this sin), or when they part-shave and the phone rings, and they wipe the rest off with a towel. Do they go back and finish shaving after?
The lead gets or gives an address over the phone – it’s always half an address, never complete. Wouldn’t they say ‘You can’t miss it, it’s opposite Prontoprint, next to a Nando’s’? And half the time they don’t even specify when they’re going to be there.
You’d think after a half a life spent watching movies for work, I’d be cynical about what’s up there on the screen, but no. I still hate it when happy couples have horrible on-screen arguments. I hate/love sad endings. Sidney Sheinberg famously wrecked the movie ‘Brazil’ by ending it at the false happy ending two thirds of the way through, but part of me wants the film to end there too because Sam is happy. I could barely watch ‘(500) Days Of Summer’ because we’re told at the beginning that it’s not a love story. My partner couldn’t watch the French comedy ‘La Maison Du Bonheur’ because the couple’s house sale fell through. It’s only a movie!
I never liked scenes in American films where kids drove to school because the concept was completely alien to me, or where people had conversations in office bathrooms because nobody I’d ever met did that. I still get spooked when kids called their fathers ‘Sir’ and still find it weird when parents admonish their sons for having a beer at sixteen. They’re old enough to marry, for God’s sake.
But the thing that bothers me most is that speech. You know, the one where someone goes on about how you can live life to the full and achieve anything if you just dare to dream and be free. There’s nothing wrong with the sentiment (although it should have clauses built in about being non-caucasian and/or working class) but to say it aloud to someone? Isn’t that the most sardonic thing you can do?
I like back-projection in old movies. Sometimes the staginess actually enhances the film, as in Hitchcock’s ‘Family Plot’. And in the early Lars Von Trier film ‘Europa’, the director plays with the idea, sometimes featuring the back-projection in black and white while the foreground’s in colour. A similar trick is used in ‘The Nasty Girl’.
I like nearly all road movies, from ‘Detour’ to ‘Vanishing Point’, ‘Easy Rider’, ‘Wrong Turn’ and ‘Highway To Hell’. Science fiction films that are actually set in space, constructed around ideas and not explosions. Utterly mad one-off horror movies, from ‘Squirm’ to ‘Blue Sunshine’ (both from Jeff Lieberman) and ‘Anatomie’ (both 1 and 2), grand slapstick movies like ‘The Great Race’, wit (what was the last really witty film you saw?) and comedies that don’t have anyone called Seth or Josh in.
A friend of mine who works at Paramount is depressed by the idea that their company’s biggest film this year is ‘Transformers 4’. I miss the showing of world movies in London’s cinemas, which has all but died out, and I still search for good low budget B movies, even though many of them insist on using bad CGI. The last one I watched was ‘The Human Race’, in which a one-legged runner must compete to survive in an alien sports arena – at least it had an idea, which is more than can be said for ‘Transformers 4’!
Please feel free to add any personal movie likes/dislikes.