Movies From The Last Few Years That I Wanted To Like But Didn’t – Part One of Three
Right off the bat, I don’t want the title of the article to be misleading. In my eyes, it’s a given that you want to like every movie you see. That’s the reason you pay money to go to the theater or take the time to rent and watch a movie. Sure there are some movies that you have low expectations (or no expectations) for and end up being pleasantly surprised. But what I am concerned about here are movies that I was looking forward to seeing and came away disappointed. These are, as the title states, movies that I wanted to like but ultimately didn’t (or I didn’t enjoy them nearly as much as I had hoped to).
This is an entirely subjective list. I understand that. I’ll say right off the top that these are not movies that I saw that were ruined by a particular experience taking place either – i.e., a bad movie-going experience where teens are talking all the time (one of the reasons I prefer to see films in an empty theater usually, and often by myself) or your dog just went to the vet and the bill was $1,000 and you tried to watch a movie to cheer up, unsuccessfully. These are simply movies that I wanted to be better.
I should also specify that these aren’t the worst movies I saw in a given year; these just didn’t live up to my expectations. There is a reason I have learned to temper my expectations for movies throughout the years, and it is because of film viewing experiences such as these. Note: Movies are from 2006-now.
Clerks II & The Fountain
Clerks II is kind of a given, considering the classic that Kevin Smith’s original Clerks is. As far as I am concerned, his whole career has been a struggle to live up to the expectations he set with that film. (That being said, while still a classic, even Clerks has its flaws upon repeated viewings). Still, the sequel was ridiculous and over-the-top where the poor acting stood out more. He should have went back to B&W film stock and shot that for $100,000 to force everyone to become more creative. I know that’s a tall task, but still, adding Rosario Dawson didn’t help. This was one of the worst movies I saw that year.
The Fountain suffers a similar fate for a different reason. While not an awful movie, director Darren Aronofsky was coming off his incredible Requiem For A Dream (6 years earlier, but still), and you had two reasonably big stars (Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz) and a big budget. I expected so much more from this bizarre fantasy film. It just didn’t do it for me (and I don’t think I am alone here). I actually started to rewatch this recently and just cut it off. It has a cool look, but its just weird and I don’t particularly care for Weisz so I just stopped it after about 45 minutes. Oh well. The Black Swan was at least a solid effort, if not a particular fit for my cup of tea.
Death Proof, Transformers & The Darjeeling Limited
Noticing a theme here already? I am. These are all movies from directors I like (or want to) and the movies failed to move me. Quentin Tarantino made three of my favorite films in years past with the triumvirate of Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. Then he wasted his (and my) time making this schlock. I know its supposed to look cheesy, and aside from the purposely edited film stock that made the film look like a true B-level movie, the acting and story were just weak.
This was a pointless exercise to me. I know that this is not the most popular opinion among film (nerds) fans and Tarantino backers, but I call people out when they deserve it. He redeemed himself with Inglourious Basterds – so, there.
Transformers is just devastating for personal reasons. Making it a kid’s film (robots hiding behind the house from parents? Really?) was tantamount to heresy for me. I need to see Megatron as a size defying Gun and not a plane. All of the robots had the exact same voice save for Peter Heller’s Optimus Prime. This made it hard to care about any of them much. Where was Starscreams’s high-pitched whine? I need it.
On the positive side, the effects were cool, but not enough to save the film for me. I can live with the human element (though its not easy), with the love story and all, but while most of my friends enjoyed it (the last time I saw a movie in a rather large group), I was not down. I have yet to see its sequel either. A robot crying? Are you fucking kidding me?!? Michael Bay should finally go darker with the last film (like Chris Nolan’s Batman/Dark Knight) and then we might have something to work with.
The Darjeeling Limited began to show Wes Anderson’s time in the spotlight was fading. I still enjoyed his previous effort, 2004’s Life Aquatic, and Rushmore and Royal Tenenbaums are great movies, but Darjeeling did little for me. You have the Wilson brothers and add in Jason Schwarztman, I expect so much more. One particular moment, a JSchwartz ad-libbed hand lick was the only redeeming thing in this movie. I was highly disappointed with the art-house hero on this one.
I was a little worried that the jury was out on Anderson, but he semi-redeemed himself with Fantastic Mr. Fox, and his latest effort Moonrise Kingdom, has seen him regain some prominence. Anderson needs to push himself a little more though to become a more interesting auteur. Wish I could say the same thing for M.Night Shyamalan, but the jury is no longer out on him. He just sucks now.
Part Two with the other movies will come soon enough. Stay tuned and share your comments on this so far. Thanks.