Thursday, November 03, 2005

"You had best stay away when the pushers come to shove"

I've been thinking for a bit about whether or not to give in to the sporadic trend of weekly post topics with guest editors, and I decided that I should at least try it out, for the month of November. It can't hurt, and might help if I'm feeling overwhelmed with my other writing.

So in contemplating the possibilities, I stumbled on a variation on a theme. Most people watch movies and can talk about the ones they've seen with some interest and opinion...but we already have a "favorite movie" column on the block. So I decided that I would like to hear what movies people disliked or hated the most.

Since I stole this idea almost wholesale from Lord Bargain, I asked him if he would honor my blog with his presence...and he agreed.

So, without further ado...


The movie I disliked the most. Where to begin? I have been fortunate enough to see a lot of films in my life, and, on the whole, I have enjoyed the vast majority of them. My mentality is such that I tend to get something out of most of the films that I see, so in fact it is pretty rare that I see a film which leaves me with nothing positive to report.

Yes, I have seen films that were rubbish. The most useless film I have ever seen was "TeenWolf, Too". This involved swapping Michael J Fox for Jason Bateman (as "Family Ties" did, oddly), replacing basketball with boxing but then regurgitating the exact same premise and script. So what you got was fundamentally a shit version of "TeenWolf", which, let's be fair, isn't on anyone's favourites list as it is.

I came very close to walking out of one of the Home Alone sequels also, for much the same reason. "Oh No!" say the parents, "we seem to have lost our son again!!!" Because that happens all the time to rich families, doesn't it? Why didn't they call the bloody Social Services in after the first one, then we may have been spared a load of sentimental old drivel as that irritating blonde-haird smackhead raked in millions of dollars of good peoples' money.

However, these are not necessarily the films I disliked the most. They were clearly the worst films in terms of quality or entertainment, but it is difficult to hate them becuase they are so insipid.

So, in order to think of the film I disliked the most, I have had to think of those films, supposedly "great" films, that I have seen that I just thought were total arse. So, from that point of view, films on that list include the ridiculously contrived cobbled together nonsense of "Pulp Fiction" (saved my a couple of god pieces of dialogue) and "Citizen Kane" which was so dull I only made it half way though before the coma enveloped me.

However, there is one film which I thought was so godforsakenly dreadful that there was absolutely no hesitation in it being the film I disliked the most. And, comically, according to the IMDB website poll, it is the Worlds 35th favourite movie ever.

Even better. A higher pedestal from which to knock it. Ladies and Gentlemen, the object of my wrath is Fight Club.

I have seen this film once. I watched it on BBC2 one Saturday night as I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. It finished, and I could not believe I had invested two hours of my life in such a nihilistic plot-free wankfest. I had been keen to see it, bearing in mind that I had absolutely loved David Fincher's previous two films. "Se7en" was fantastic, and I also really liked the under-rated "The Game" with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Plus, everyone had told me it was good.

The big problem with "Fight Club" is that it is one of those stupid films that people tell you that you have to "get". I am an intelligent human being, and I pretty much leave it to the director and the actors to explain it well enough that I "get" it. The fact I didn't, clearly, "get" it means whether it was rubbishly executed, or, more likely, that there was nothing to "get".

It was an excuse for a load of self-indulgence and then a load of people to get together, decide it was "cool" and then patronise and berate anyone who wasn't "in" this gang. The plot and satire dried up before half-way, and that simply left showing a load of sweaty half-naked blokes beating the living crap out of one another for an hour.

Oh - and here's the really clever bit - Edward Norton and Brad Pitt are the same person! Of course they are! What genius! How did I not see that coming?!!

It has to be, without exception, the worst plot revelation I have ever seen. It didn't make me want to see the whole thing again from the start out of curiosity; indeed it made me want to switch the film off there and then and not watch the rest of it as it was so unbelievably ludicrous. It was hailed as being one of the most thought-provoking movies of its generation, which I suppose I will grant if the thoughts are: "how long is left?", "what bra size is Meat Loaf?" and "how unlikely is it I will miss anything of note if I make a cup of tea now?"

So, sorry to anyone who loved this movie, and there are no doubt lots of you out there. I'd rather punch my own lights out that sit through it again.

So there it is...What do you think, all? Was this a controversial choice? I was just personally pleased that someone else shared my dislike of Pulp Fiction that I almost didn't read the rest of review. Still nicely done.

I haven't yet heard back from my potential guest for next week, so I'll leave you hanging...

Have a great Friday night all. My evening, I'll be at an art opening - in a dive bar!


Aravis said...

I never watched that movie and, if I were ever to have been tempted, I wouldn't be now. Fabulous job LB and Spin! :0)

Hyde said...

Okay... I have to come back tomorrow and re-read this post to comment in a better state.

But seriously: "sweaty half-naked blokes beating the living crap out of one another for an hour."

That's enough to sell any movie to me.



SwissToni said...


Ok. You are clearly allowed to dislike any film you like, and you are not the first person I have met who absolutely hated this film. Fine.

What I will not stand for though is the absolute dismissal of 'Fight Club' as a "plot-free wankfest", and the insinuation that somehow anyone who tells you that they thought it was a great film is only pretending for the sake of being pretentious. I was absolutely blown away by this film the first time I saw it, and it still has that effect on me every single time that I see it. It is without a shadow of a doubt one of the best films that I have ever seen, certainly in my top 5.

You are entitled to like and dislike what you like, but don't be getting on your high horse about other people liking it- inverse bloody snobbery, that's what it is.

And yes, I am fully aware that I am in the glassiest of glass houses to be throwing stones, but Westlife *are* shit. Fact.


Alecya Giovanni said...

erm, I liked FC. I thought it was hilarious.

However, Lord B's commentary was so amusing, I'll forgive him.

If its any consolation, Pulp fiction is my least favorite Taratino movie. I am a big fan of his.


Bee said...

I've never seen Fight Club, but then I don't enjoy watching people punching each other, so I've never been all that compelled to see it anyway.

This "worst movie" thing is a great idea, Spin!

the urban fox said...

Oh dear. Citizen Kane and Fight Club would be in my 'favourite films of all time' list, were I inclined to make one. Yin and yang indeed.

red one said...

Spin - what a great idea this is.

Lord B - I haven't seen it, but I enjopyed you venting your spleen all over it enormously.

And I have to say that this: sweaty half-naked blokes beating the living crap out of one another for an hour sounds highly missable. I don't understand how people can watch boxing either.


Hyde said...

I like watching boxing. I think I'd like actually boxing even better. I tried to learn last winter, but couldn't fit it into my schedule when spring hit...

Oh, and in regards to Fight Club-- it's not just any "bloke," it's Brad Pitt!

Ka said...

Trust Lord B to be provocative.

I happen to LOVE Fight Club. I happen to think it's brilliant. I happen to think that Edward Norton shirtless is about the bestest thing ever. I happen to think that Edward Norton is my future husband, once we get through the technicalities of meeting, dating and falling in love.

But I'll give you that it knows how clever it is, which was exactly my problem with movies like Magnolia and Adaptation. Wouldn't it be great for once to have a movie with substance that doesn't go around screaming, "Look at me, I'm deep and meaningful!"?

Flash said...

Oh Lordy B!

I, for years, never had any intentions of watching Fight Club because "sweaty half-naked blokes beating the living crap out of one another for an hour" did not sound like my mug of gold blend at all.
On a visit home one time, my Mum gave me the video of it. She'd not watched it but thought I might like it.
It sat in my video cabinet for about a year before I begrudgedly decided to give it a go.

I thought it was spectacular. It blew me away. It was not at all like I was expecting & loving it was made all the way sweeter due to my pre-conceived ideas being shattered.

Though I respect your opinion, I personally have to implore anyone who hasn't seen it to remedy that situation & to not listen to the big doofus (or to me either, just see it).

It's my 2nd favourite film with no spaceships in, ever.

Lord Bargain said...

it's a proper "love it or hate it" this, isn't it?

cack cack cack.

Incidentally, the appeal of the half nakedness of Brad Pitt and Ed Norton I do sort of see. Shame it wasn't in a film with any redeeming qualities at all, however.

I would echo Flash's sentiments though, if you haven't seen it, do so. You will either absolutely love it (like ST) or absolutely despise it (like me).

Pynchon said...

With respect, obviously a loony... But I did enjoy the anti "Fight Club" write up.

I loved it. My Brother and Middle Sister hated it.

Dan said...

So you hated Fight Club? You've got a lot of company. It's definitely not a movie (or a book) for everyone and I know plenty of people whom I thought would like who ended up hating it.

But don't confuse things...the movie isn't about fighting at all (though there is quite a bit of that). One of the most memorable lines for me is Ed Norton's lament: "Get married? I'm a thirty-year old boy. I can't get married!" When I saw this, I was a long way away from thirty but the sentiment rang very true to me.

As a guy, I have to put up with a lot of expectations from my parents, other guys, society in general, etc. At the time this film came out, I was 23 and I was looking at myself very critically because I felt like I was letting everyone down. I wasn't in school, I wasn't dating anyone, I had just recently moved out of my childhood home, my job sucked and I was all-around miserable.

Seeing the movie was a eye-opener. No, I didn't start beating the crap out of people, I just realized that I wasn't alone in feeling alone. I wasn't the only person who looked at my life so far and the life that seemed to be on it's way and saw no hope on the horizon. And sometimes just knowing that you're not alone can make a world of difference.

What did I do about it? Not much at first, but within two years of seeing that film I started studying Japanese and then went there for a visit. And that experience led me to my current state of delirious happiness.

PS: Revealing major plot points in a review (positive or negative) is not cool.

Mr Mystic said...

I hate having to explain reasons why I like or dislike a movie, But you have obviously missed the point of fight club. For anyone who has not seen it watch it and make up your own mind. As for pulp fiction it is a piece of Pop American culture in the extreme and I loved it.

spinsterwitch said...

I do love a good controversy.

I have to admit, I liked Fight Club. I didn't love it, but it intrigued me.

Dan - I wouldn't worry too much about LB's "reveal" of the plot. If someone hasn't seen it for 6 years, it probably doesn't matter too much that the "secret" is known. After all, I went to see Crying Game already knowing what I wasn't supposed to know.

Aravis said...

Nope, I still have no desire to see it. Brad Pitt is not a selling point for me either, so I think I'll continue to give it a pass.

Lord Bargain said...

" have obviously missed the point of Fight Club..." is *precisely* one of the reasons why I dislike this movie so much. It's the best example I know of a film where if you don't like it, those that do look down their nose at you as if you are some sort of under-species.

I'm an intelligent human with a degree, so I reckon I'd get the point, were there a point to get, whether or not I agreed with it.

ho hum.

and the plot spoiler? I thought long and hard about putting that in, but on the basis that it was the biggest issue I had with this film, I couldn't very well leave it out, could I?

P'tit-Loup said...

Sorry I jump on this controversy a little late, but what plot spoiler? That was obvious from the moment you see the "shadow" of Brad by the copy machine. Sorry, thumbs down for me too. And while I enjoyed the acting in Pulp Fiction, Uma in particular, the rest either bored me or grossed me out. Not a favorite of mine either. But usually, Hollywood does not produce winners in my mind for the most part.

the urban fox said...

Fight Club, to me, is the male equivalent of a feminist film, if that makes sense. As an examination of what it means to be male in Western late capitalist society, and its attendant disadvantages and disaffections, it is pretty much peerless. Also its sharp observations on the power dynamic between the working majority vs the privileged minority etc.

That said, it's also just a great tightly-paced story with a good plot twist.

SwissToni said...

this film also inspired a great scene in 'spaced'..... picture the scene - a basement room full of topless men:

"There are 2 rules to Robot Club. Number one. You do not talk about robot club. Number two. No smoking."


I love this film. Feel free to hate it if you want, but don't hate it blindly. It's so not about people beating the crap out of each other in car parks.

I like Citizen Kane too, for reference, and I thought Pulp Fiction was alright but overrated.