The hubby and I usually watch at least one movie every week-end, sometimes two. Picking out the good ones is very demanding, and often we end up with films that are only just barely watchable. IMDB is a good source of information on the films, but it’s not always enough. After recurring trial and error, we have learned to avoid certain types of films right off the bat.
- Feel-good movies. By a feel-good movie I mean the sort of “life-affirming” films where the only thing that is affirmed is your deep desire to strangulate the actors by your bare hands. These movies pretend to know your fears, your prejudices, your deepest desires. They have as little edge as the Mickey Mouse clubhouse. Recognize them from continuous up-lifting messages, characters who initially have a bad relationship which gradually improves albeit not without a crisis, and a naïve plot where you can always, always guess what happens next.
- Genocide films. A genocide film is a concept that my husband and I use to refer to any film that leaves you with the same feeling as reading about a genocide in the news does: angry, forlorn, depressed and powerless. After a genocide film, you don’t just suspect but you know for a fact that the world sucks and most people are evil. Many of the movies in this category are excellent films, which is exactly what makes you feel their effects even more. These movies were made for one of two purposes: either to raise consciousness about some important issue, or as a deliberate attempt to ruin your Saturday night. Prime examples: Lily 4-ever, Hotel Rwanda.
- Romantic comedies. Sorry, ladies, but most movies in this genre are just Bridget Jones but without the redeeming cleverness and the Jane Austen influences. Most romantic comedies have a shallow plot and, if possible, even shallower characters. Rom coms are emotion porn for females. “No! I don’t want character development or a decent plot! All I want is a big ring and for him to propose on his knees!” I rest my diamond case.
- Horror films. I used to have a thing for horror films when I was younger. Stupidly I was convinced that I should learn to watch them without feeling afraid. I failed at this character building attempt, but kept watching the occasional horror film and entertained myself with recalling the scariest bits in the deep of the night. That is, until my husband once said during The Orphanage while I was quavering behind a pillow: “Why are we watching this? You don’t enjoy this, I don’t enjoy this. Why don’t we just turn it off?” So we did, permanently.
- Comedies that are built exclusively around bodily functions. The pet expressions in this genre rhyme with art and sick. Which brings me to my next point:
- Films that were designed to win at Cannes, but failed. One of the most salient shortcomings of this genre is the misuse of the pregnant pause. It’s not supposed to last for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes the pregnant pause would already have had the twins and put down the deposit for a condo. Silence is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for art.
I’m not saying there aren’t any good movies within these genres. There can be some real gems, but beware, finding them is fraught with difficulty and usually results in excruciatingly boring movie nights.
And of course I have to say that if you really love rom coms or horror films, don’t feel offended by my rant, just watch them. I guess someone has to.