With this being another semi-vacation week, I'm forgoing the deep posts that keep my regular readers coming back time and again, and instead are doing some self-indulgent "Best of" lists. It's all the rage this week, and I'm enjoying making lists in random catagories. Join me, won't you?
Today I'm going to look back at five films from the past decade that many people raved about and loved passionately and that I didn't like. So rail against me, threaten to revoke my "expert" card, but I honestly tried to get these movies and they just weren't my cup of tea.
Some of these have been taken down a peg by eventual backlashes, but I'm sure I'm hitting a few sacred cows here. Feel free to join in with your own lists, or chime in with an "I hated that too!" You're among friends. Don't be afraid.
5) No Country for Old Men - I was really with this film until the end of the second act, when Josh Brolin gets killed (off-screen no less!) At that point, I emotionally ejected from the story and it never got me back. As much as I respect Javier Bardem as an actor, in hindsight, I can't help but feel that the whole movie boils down to one scene: "Call it." And the problem with that? Once you realize that Chigurh's motivation isn't too dissimilar to Two-Face's coin-flipping quirk, you find it a lot harder to take him seriously.
4) Crash - Best Picture of 2005? Are you kidding me? I'm not a huge fan of the mega-ensemble approach to telling small stories about a theme, largely because time restraints limit the depth one can give each character and subplot. Crash is a collection of cliches and bad stereotypes, all assembled in the same script under the delusion that the collection and juxtaposition of said tropes will add up to some profound statement. Most mishandled arc - Ryan Phillipe's. I didn't believe for a moment the transformation he makes. Most pretentious moment? Need I say more than: Matt Dillon. Thandie Newton. Exploding car?
3) Napoleon Dynamite - Hated this when I first saw it. Hated it more when I gave it a second chance. Hated the flat affect every actor had. Hated hearing about this all summer when it came out. Hated, hated, hated this movie. (If I might borrow a phrase from Roger Ebert.)
2) The Life Aquatic - I don't worship at the altar of Wes Anderson and this is a big reason why. Ever actor seems to be giving the same dry emotionless performance, almost daring the audience to fall asleep. It inspires nothing but apathy, even when a major character dies. Do you want to know why I haven't seen THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX? It's because Wes often seems incapable of getting animated performances out of living actors!
1) Magnolia - And I'm not wild about Paul Thomas Anderson either. Three hours of my life wasted, minus the time it took to watch the Tom Cruise subplot. His story was the only one I felt invested in. Don't get me started on the ending. (Yes, I'm aware that technically this was released in 1999, but it didn't open in my region until after the New Year, so I'm counting it.)