Call For Comments: Good Stuff We Hate

From Mav: Back on the Pop Culture Etiquette episode, Hannah and her boyfriend Josh mentioned in passing that they don’t like the movie The Shining. The rest of us quite predictably told them that they were wrong and somehow they consider to live amongst us today rather than having been stoned to death. That said, during the episode, she gave a pretty compelling reason for why she personally doesn’t like it. I still think she’s a little crazy. I still think she’s wrong.

But at least I understand it. Of course, that said… I really don’t like the TV show Lost… I know, right? I also don’t like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, I hated Absalom, Absalom, and I think pretty much everything Monty Python is really dumb. So yeah…

We’ve talked before about the fall of monoculture. We live in a world now with so many media choices that really, no one ever has to ever be forced to watch or read things they don’t like. And yet, for some reason we still have this thing where we get really upset if people don’t like the same things that we do. We don’t like when people don’t validate our tastes by sharing them. Have you ever run into someone who hates Star Wars? Did you stab them? Think about the recent thing where Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola have both said they hate Marvel movies. People want to kill them. Why is that? Why should two 70 year old men with very specific tastes be forced to like things that they don’t care about?

We want to talk about this. But we want to approach it a different way. We want to know what media (movies, books, tv shows, whatever) are near universally acknowledged as great… but you don’t like them. We’re not necessarily talking about the obviously controversial stuff where there’s a big fanbase, but it’s panned by others (DCEU Movies, Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, etc.). We’re talking about the stuff that’s supposed to be “good” but you don’t like it. What’s something where you realize “ok, yeah, there’s a lot of craft that went into this. I see why so many people like this. But I don’t care. It’s not for me.”? And why don’t you like it? Let us know.

From Hannah: What is “good” anyway? And how could the critics be so impossibly wrong about the most boring movie of the year, Ad Astra?

34 Replies to “Call For Comments: Good Stuff We Hate”

  1. Particularly with fandom, it seems the issue becomes a matter of identity. We don’t simply like a fandom, we identify with it. The story resonates with us in ways that go beyond being entertainment.

    Identity issues really matter. And as my pastoral care professor often said, “The closer something is to our identity…. the more emotional we get… the more strongly we react toward… etc.” And the less ability we have to analyze criticisms about it.

  2. I think this particular trend comes up most in smaller communities. “Everybody” watches movies and television and reads books. But much fewer people read comics or play video games (comparatively). And in those smaller communities breaking from monoculture gets a much harsher response.

    Don’t like Final Fantasy VII or think that Watchmen was a trash story? Be ready for the toxicity to flow straight at you from all quarters of the community. Similarly, sub-cultures of larger cultures (like fans of fantasy movies as opposed to just movie fans) will eviscerate you if you aren’t on board with anointed icons (*cough* LOTR *cough*).

    But when the community is large, I just don’t see the same level of tribalism. Don’t think Chinatown is a classic? Fine. There are 8 billion other movie watchers and they are all correct, so your one opinion is mostly meaningless. Wrong (and I’ll remind you of that regularly), but still meaningless.

  3. All that stuff said, every Final Fantasy game after VI is trash, Tolkien’s stories put me to sleep, Firefly was boring and poorly paced, and Star Trek IV was the worst Star Trek movie ever made.

  4. Harry Potter. I just can’t. At one point my argument was I guess it’s a generational thing but I’ve been proven wrong on that, too. I’ve watched 1-6 and plan on finishing but it just doesn’t speak to me at all.

    Gone with the Wind. I’ve watched it and acknowledge that for the time it would have been an impressive accomplishment. When I worked in video stores I’d say ‘professionally it’s a great film. Personally I hope I never have to watch it ever again.’

  5. “The Office.” I get it. People love it. It’s well made, by a lot of people I respect. But the conceit that it’s some sort of quasi-reality show where people address the camera makes my skin crawl.

  6. I always feel like the hype that accompanies a lot of pop culture artifacts sets up expectations that are rarely rewarded. Princess Bride (the fact that i saw it with someone i shouldn’t have been dating probably played a part). Confederacy of Dunces.

  7. I mentioned this elsewhere, but… The Shining, sort of in a comment about spoilers? I think it’s because I experienced the entire films big moments via pop culture references and parody and so when I finally saw it I was underwhelmed.

    Another thing I’m apathetic about is The Exorcist. Everyone talks like it’s the scariest film ever made and it does absolutely nothing for me and I was raised Catholic.

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