Sunday, February 12, 2012

Deal Breakers

I recently read an article on Badass Digest about movie deal breakers. As in, things that influence a person to never watch a certain film based on these conditions. Feel free to call me a film snob because I have several deal breakers. I have already devoted an entire post to my hatred for remakes. Apparently, this sentiment seems to resound among other film fans.I watch about 15-20 films a month on average so I do not have time to waste on rubbish I have no interest in like the latest romantic comedy (I hate ALL romantic comedies.) starring Katherine Heigl. For me when it comes to film, it's not about quantity, it's about quality. I know what I like & I know what I don't like. If that makes me a snob, then so be it! Here are a few of my deal breakers and examples of those deal breakers. This is all a matter of opinion; I don't expect anyone else to totally agree with me. Like everything else, there's exceptions to the rule. Feel free to air your own grievances.

Fish out of water
The fish out of water theme is a formula that will not die. This film scenario is almost painful for me to watch and I find it a bit offensive because of the stereotypes it perpetuates. Sure it's lighthearted fun, but let's look at the bigger picture. It mostly exists in comedies which means in the end, the metaphorical fish will finally "fit in." Until then, he/she will be a bumbling goof for the audience to have a good laugh at. This theme also plays on society's masochistic need to humiliate nonconformists. Some examples of atrocious fish out of water films include, but are not limited to: CROCODILE DUNDEE, BORAT, BIG, THREE MEN & A BABY, SPLASH, PRETTY WOMAN, and BIG DADDY. Sometimes the fish out of water theme can work with a great script and great directing like LOST IN TRANSLATION or EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. It can even win you an Oscar like MY COUSIN VINNY did for Marisa Tomei.

British Comedy
I know I'm gonna offend some people with this section. I'm sorry, but I hate British Comedy. Actually, I'm not sorry. I've tried at various times in my life to give British Comedy a try and each time I am thoroughly disappointed. I have never like the MONTY PYTHON franchise. I absolutely abhorred SEAN OF THE DEAD and all subsequent films from that team. I just do not find this genre funny or even mildly humorous. To be fair, I am not really a big fan of American Comedies or even Comedies in general. I have trouble with people who are intentionally trying to be clever. It just feels so forced to me. Don't get me started on Saturday Night Live and the films that include SNL cast members. That may have to be a whole other deal breaker!

There's really not much to explaining this deal breaker. I just really fucking hate people breaking out in song. I actually haven't really seen too many musical films; the trailers alone make me cringe. The funny thing is that I don't mind actual musical plays. I've seen a few Broadway shows in New York that were entertaining. However, I'd rather watch paint dry than sit through the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA movie, or CHICAGO, HAIRSPRAY, BURLESQUE, ANNIE, XANADU, MAMA MIA, NINE, SWEENEY TODD (not even Johnny Depp could save that turd) MOULIN ROUGE (actually anything by Baz Luhrmann), FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY, and especially fucking Glee. I do love the Buffy musical episode so I'm a big ball of contradictory.

The Body Swap
Ah, the old body swap formula is another theme that gets tossed around when Hollywood runs out of ideas. It runs pretty parallel to fish out of water themes. With the exception of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, this idea never works. How often do you hear people walking out of a theater raving about THE HOT CHICK, FACE/OFF, 18 AGAIN, 13 GOING ON 30, VICE VERSA, or THE CHANGE-UP? These movies are usually geared towards children or tweens since they're the only people who don't know any better. Lindsay Lohan's career was founded on the body swap scenario with the FREAKY FRIDAY & PARENT TRAP remakes. The last one she did was JUST MY LUCK and I'd like to have a word with whomever gave the green light to that piece of shit.

Comic books adaptations
I tend to avoid comic book films even if it's a character or story I actually enjoy. There are exceptions to this rule though. Tim Burton's BATMAN films were legendary and IRON MAN (the first one) was better than I expected. Christopher Nolan's DARK KNIGHT (one and two) have been decent. Although, I've already declared a protest on the third installment due to the casting of Bland Hathaway as Catwoman. I guarantee you she will be worse than Halle Berry. Most of you know my stance on the Heath Ledger role ( don't get me started again) and I will argue to the death about how his posthumous Oscar was incredibly undeserving. My main problem with comic book films is the continuity. I have collected comic books on & off since I was ten years old so I am fairly versed in the DC and Marvel universes. I realize decades of storyline is hard to fit into an hour and a half long film, but most attempts I have seen still fall short. The characters have no dept! They were most likely developed by some middle aged asshole screenwriter who's never even picked up a comic book in his life. IRON MAN 2 was a mistake; there was just too much going on and too many characters introduced. They do this to appeal to a large audience, I realize. The worst adaptations have been the SPIDERMAN franchise (shame on you Sam Raimi), X-MEN (all of them), 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, BATMAN & ROBIN, BATMAN FOREVER, CATWOMAN, FANTASTIC FOUR, GHOSTRIDER, THE HULK, JONAH HEX, PUNISHER, DAREDEVIL/ELEKTRA, and let's not forget TANK GIRL. Last year saw an influx in comic book movies which is only building up to one big circle jerk this summer (THE AVENGERS). I recently witnessed a guy viewing the latest trailer for THE AVENGERS. He muttered to himself, "that's gonna be so fucking awesome!" Then he asked, "Who's the chick in the black outfit?" Any moron with an ounce of knowledge in the Marvel world knows who Natasha Romanova is. Why would you be so excited about a movie starring the Black Widow if you can't even recognize her in the fucking trailer?! I presume this is the majority of audience goers which saddens me to no end.

Bottom line, sequels are just unnecessary! They only exist so money hungry studios can squeeze more dough out of the consumer. How often have you been let down by a sequel you had faith in? Come on, let's hear it! It's like expecting dinner at Uchi and getting HEB sushi instead. Let's not even talk about Episode 1-3. Most of the time, the original cast doesn't even appear in the sequel. There's usually a new director and a sub par script to round out this bad idea. Did we really need a sequel to AMERICAN PSYCHO, SPEED, GREASE, THE RING, LOST BOYS, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, THE KARATE KID. JAWS, or SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Even my beloved CADDYSHACK had a sequel with no Murray or Rodney. I can only think of two instances where sequels work and those are THE GODFATHER II and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Remember these examples are about as rare as that albino squirrel on UT campus.

Based on true events
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT made millions on the based on true events idea. Ever since, dozens of other dumbasses in Hollywood have tried to replicate this formula. There's even bigger dumbasses who continue to go see crap like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Based on true events films aren't limited to horror. Let's not forget SOUL SURFER, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, BLACK HAWK DOWN, and the abomination that is TITANIC. The "true events" exist as an outline for a weak script and everything within is unrecognizable or glamorized. Now that I think of it, there's some great based on true events films out there like THE COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER, MOMMIE DEAREST, AMADEUS, GOODFELLAS, CASINO, and ALMOST FAMOUS. I guess my disdain is primarily isolated to found footage horror films. My bad!

Musicians turned actors
Anything starring a musician turned actor is a recipe for disaster. Why do musicians feel like they are entitled to try their hand at acting? You don't often see attorneys who think they can be doctors. The same goes for actors who think they can sing. It usually ends in embarrassment; I'm looking at you Eddie Murphy & Bruce Willis. I think Madonna is the most notorious musician turned actor. She never learned her lesson from WHO'S THAT GIRL, DICK TRACY, or SHANGHAI SURPRISE since she continued on with SWEPT AWAY. Then there's Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, J Lo, Britney, Henry Rollins, Whitney Houston, Gene Simmons, and Vanilla Ice. Once in a while someone like Justin Timberlake comes along and gets it right. Also, PURPLE RAIN is the exception to this rule because Prince was basically playing himself.

I also have specific actors and directors that I refuse to patronize. I have come to realize I pretty much hate Judd Apatow and Farrelly Brother films. I am not a big fan of Peter Jackson (except HEAVENLY CREATURES). I also tend to avoid films starring Rachel McAdams (aka the new Meg Ryan), Ryan Reynolds, Jason Stratham (except SNATCH) and Sandra Bullock.

I know I'm forgetting something, but you get the general idea. What are your deal breakers?


  1. 9 times out of 10...if a movie is starring Tom Cruise the deal is broken...he is my main deal breaker

    1. Let's go one step further and say most films starring famous Scientologists are deal breakers.

      Roll call: Cruise, Jenna Elfman, Travolta, Katie Holmes, and Leah Remini.

    2. I can get behind that. I don't really care for any of them.