This year I met Ryan McNeil. from The Matinee, and within about a month of knowing him I coined a Twitter hashtag which has since taken on a bit of a life of its own. #ryaniswrong. I first used it in reference to Ryan’s negative opinion of Moneyball. And yeah, he’s totally wrong about that movie, but that’s neither here nor there. This is my blog so I’m going to be justifiably narcissistic and focus on me.
That’s a variation on the original hashtag that got used quite often. Looking back on the year in film I think I’ve been more “wrong” than usual. Not actually wrong, of course. It’s all opinion. But I have been weirdly out of the loop when it comes to critical opinion on quite a number of films this year. And it’s not any one particular kind of film either. I’ve hated on lots of films most people have liked or loved. And in some cases I’ve liked a film but not nearly as much as everyone else. Let’s take a look at some of the many films I’ve been wrong about this year:
Fast Five is a film that a lot of critics actually liked. Most people I know saw it and thought it was tons of fun. Me? Well, Fast Five might be better than the other Fast and the Furious films, but that ain’t sayin’ much. The movie has a couple of cool action sequences, but the rest of it is an over-long bunch of stupidity. I don’t care about the characters, I don’t care about what they’re after, and I don’t care to sit through all their silly exposition. It’s weird to say it, but I was mostly bored by the film. #coreyiswrong
Thor was a half-decent Marvel film. But barely half. I wasn’t quite bored, per se, but I didn’t exactly give a shit about what was going on. Even Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, as well-acted as he is, was a pretty boring character to me. Chris Hemsworth brought loads of charm, but all his romantic scenes with Natalie Portman fall flat. The production design was also pretty crappy, and the CGI was poor at best. I think the fact that it was a slight step up from Iron Man 2 confused people, leading them to overrate Thor. Or maybe it’s just that… #coreyiswrong
Captain America: The First Avenger continued the trend of me hating on superhero flicks. It was crap. About as good as Thor, but that’s all. It looked cooler, but it was also more stupid. How the makers of this film thought that they were allowed to do a Matter of Life and Death homage is beyond me. Way to force comparisons to a masterpiece you’ll never come close to matching. And it’s not even close. In fact, it’s a pretty shitty movie when you get right down to it. Saved only by a few good sequences and a light enough tone that it’s just hard to hate. I watched it. I was mildly amused for most of it. #coreyiswrong
X-Men: First Class has a staggeringly insane 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. I mean, seriously. There were people talking about this film being one of the best films of the year and one of the best superhero films ever made. Guys. X-Men: First Class is terrible. It’s a fucking terrible movie. It’s got one great performance from Fassbender, and McAvoy is good, and that’s it. Everything else is a complete mess, with a moronic plot, awful direction, idiotic characters, and some very thinly veiled racism and sexism. There are a few people I know who agree with me, but most everyone else would say #coreyiswrong
The Tree of Life is a film I really enjoyed watching, and there were moments of staggering visual and even emotional beauty. But to me, those deeper moments were few and far between. The rest of it was visually great but structurally flawed. It’s a film that didn’t build on itself for me. By the end it just didn’t really speak to me in any meaningful way, despite clearly trying very hard to. I admire the ambition of the film, and I applaud the visuals, but it’s hard for me to go beyond calling it very good. #coreyiswrong
Jane Eyre was BORING! Oh god how boring. I might have fallen asleep, but I couldn’t tell because the movie was so dull it would have bled into dream very easily. It’s the kind of “art” film I hate. One that confuses having dark visuals and being slow as sin for being profound and beautiful. Fuck that. It’s an awful movie, and the fact that it has an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and almost everyone I know really liked it makes me think I’m losing my mind. #coreyiswrong
Beginners is another film I hated that everyone else liked or loved. I don’t get it. Christopher Plummer was great and a lot of fun. Everything with Ewan McGregor was just terrible. To me, the film was nothing more than watching a bunch of characters who wallow in their depression for absolutely no reason and all I wanted to do was slap them and shout “CHEER UP!” Yet, I know several people who were incredibly overcome with emotion watching the film. Oh well. #coreyiswrong
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a hollow film. It has nothing to say. It has no purpose other than as a speculative exercise in what joining a cult might look like. It’s got a great lead performance, but even Elizabeth Olsen can’t add any real weight to whatever it was that was going on in this film. It’s also been on many Top 10 lists, and was very highly acclaimed by most. #coreyiswrong
Shame is another film I found incredibly hollow, though the performances raised it up a bit more than MMMM. Ultimately it’s a pretentious film that has nothing to back it up. It doesn’t explore the characters enough to make me care. It was an ultimately empty experience despite having a lot going for it. Carey Mulligan singing ‘New York, New York’ was also insufferable. #coreyiswrong
Hugo was nice. It was somewhat charming. It was also really slow. It had a terrible structure. The themes were forced in through dialogue and never felt developed. I liked seeing silent films, but at that point it felt like a lecture more than anything else. The 3D was great, but the movie looked kind of cold in an uninviting way. But the reaction has left me flabbergasted. A masterpiece? Moving? Really? Yeesh. #coreyiswrong
The Artist is probably the film I’ve gotten into the most arguments about. Everyone loves it, or so it seems. Me? I thought it was a charming little homage to silent films and that’s it. Nothing more. It’s extremely slight. It’s not even a particularly good example of what American silent films were like. It’s more of a spoof, though one that tries to have it both ways. It has all these knowing nods that delegitimize any proper emotions the film might elicit, but then it takes itself seriously and tries to make me actually care about these thin characters. Well, I don’t take it seriously and I don’t much care. A nice diversion, but all it made me think about was how much better the films it pays homage to were. Please, if you liked The Artist, go watch Frank Borazge’s films from the late 20s and early 30s. Those films should make clear just how lame and pedestrian The Artist really is. #coreyiswrong
That’s a lot of films, and I’m sure there were others I could bring up. It’s been an odd year for me that way. Are there any films on which you found yourself on the wrong end of the critical reaction? Do you agree with me on any of the films I listed? Want to take me to task for any of my comments? Be sure to let me know.