Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Start the Movie Rolling


I have good friends who will go to virtually any movie with Johnny Depp. Other friends who wouldn't miss a movie directed by Scorsese. One or two who never miss a romantic comedy. And there's those (a lot of them!) who like movies about causes, injustices, third world suffering.

With me, it's the critical word. If a movie gets good reviews, I will see it regardless of the subject, director, stars. I can never be convinced that if a movie scores over 80% on rotten tomatoes, I still might not like it.

What's your Achilles' Heel? What takes you into a theater or onto netflix most of the time?

39 comments:

Chad said...

I'll watch pretty much anything with Cate Blanchett or Daniel Day Lewis.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Patti - Interesting question about having an Achilles Heel. I find well-reviewed mysteries hard to resist. If it's a mystery (without too much gore) and it's been well-reviewed, I'll watch it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I used to have actorial weaknesses. Helen Mirren (stung by Red); Meryl Streep (Prairie Home Companion)Robert Downey Junior (several recent films) so I have pushed that aside although Coen Brother movies are hard to pass up.
And yes, I have a pile of books reaching the ceiling that were well reviewed and unread.

Pat Downey said...

the one-two punch for me is a period piece with action. Gladiator, Sherlock Holmes, Road to Perdition,Sleepy Hollow. I'll gladly plunk down $10 to be transported back in time.

Anonymous said...

Patti, I couldn't agree more with your post and even your examples! Frankly, I couldn't even sit through SHERLOCK HOLMES, though I tried twice. And IRON MAN 2 was a major disappointment.

There are people I will watch any time in anything, though not so much modern actors. I'm thinking more Jean Arthur or Gloria Grahame - though I hasten to add both were (mostly) before my time.

Others? W. C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Bogart, Jimmy Stewart.

More recent? OK. How about Gene Hackman. I used to include Bill Murray but not so much these days. And the few appearances of the late great Rodney Dangerfield were a must for me.

I have eclectic taste.

Jef M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I saw a few minutes of Jean Arthur in THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES the other day. Incandescent. And Gloria Graham was one of the best femme fatales.

Charles Gramlich said...

I usually only watch ten or so movies a year and it's generally when I hear good buzz about an SF/Fantasy/horror movie, or when it's based on something that I read and liked, say like the Watchmen or Lord of the Rings.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Time travel can draw me in but so few of them are done well.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, if it's based on a comic book it would take a lot of good reviews to make me see it. Movies starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl are no nos. Ditto for Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler and all their clones/followers.

*gets out geezer bus pass*

Jeff M.

K. A. Laity said...

Johnny Depp makes it more likely for me to see a film even if it doesn't look wonderful (From Hell: great source text, no way it was going to be a good film -- especially with American actors) but I'm skipping The Tourist.

I'm a sucker for good British comedy, but there are so few any more that aren't formula, I can't be bothered (die, Richard Curtis!).

Peter Cook: I have seen just about everything that he was ever in and there was a lot that wasn't so good, but there were also some good things that got too easily dismissed. His few minutes in Whoops, Apocalypse were worth the whole rest of that unfunny film.

George said...

Many times, I'm subject to the whim of the group we're going to the movies with. If left to my own devices, I prefer movies that are unconventional (like WINTER'S BONE) or feature some off-beat action (like SALT). I'm not driven by star-power, but I appreciate good acting.

Travis Erwin said...

If I loved the book I will usually see the movie though I'm nearly always ticked off by the adaptation.

Anonymous said...

K.A. - agree on Peter Cook. We saw him on stage with Dudley Moore in GOOD EVENING back in the early 1970's and loved BEDAZZLED.

I do like Bill Nighy a lot.

Jeff M.

John McFetridge said...

John Sayles (but you knew that already ;)

He has a new one coming out in 2011 about the Philippine-American war in 1899.

There's a very interesting blog-diary about the making (and selling) of the movie.

The only independent filmmaker left.

Dan Fleming said...

For me it's usually about the director instead of the cast, although Daniel Day Lewis could get me to watch anything. But the directors whose films I will not miss are:

Scorcese
Coen Brothers
David Lynch
Tarantino
Darren Aronofsky
Paul Thomas Anderson
Wes Anderson
David Cronenberg
Michael Mann

and lastly Pixar, though Cars 2 is really testing that.

Todd Mason said...

It might help if Rotten Tomatoes didn't draw on a range of idiots who review, if it's reviewing, for their blogs and/or THE SHITKICK MONTHLY ADVERTISER. Or THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, though our local shallow folks aren't the worst examples in dailies.

I'm pretty instinctual about what I expect to be good, and tend to ignore even actually good reviewers and critics reviews until after I see a film. I'm also likely to see a film, particular on the cable services I pay so dearly for, about anything. Johnny Depp is on my Geezer Jeff list, as a pompous affected fool, whose pulchritude is lost on me and who hasn't displayed much talent beyond the ability to sulk since 21 JUMP STREET. But he's hardly the worst of the overpraised of his generation...despite each Terrence Malick film being worse than the last, I might well've considered the new one...till I learned from the trailer that it stars not only Brad Pitt, the mannequin, but Sean Penn, the scenery-masticator. Two flavors of incompetence is a long way to fall from Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek.

One of Pitt's unforgivable performances almost spoils TWELVE MONKEYS, one of the better timeslip films (when Bruce Willis is completely outclassing you as a thespian, it's past time to retire or go back to school).

Ron Scheer said...

Once again, coming in late you get to read so many interesting answers to the question. I like the Jean Arthur/Gloria Graham comment. The stars with real star-power back in the day are a shoo-in for me.

K. A. Laity said...

@Jeff M. -- I am dying of envy! I never got to see him live.

@Todd -- my you do have your cranky pants on today. I suppose you are immune to Johnny's charms, but I think you overlook a lot of fine performances. But there are actors I just find physically repulsive: Richard Gere, Kevin Spacey (always want to slap his smug face), Seth Rogin, Ed Norton.

K. A. Laity said...

And Winter's Bone would be my choice for film of the year. I am flabbergasted by the fawning love for The Social Network, but I realised with Edgar Wright's list that it's all about male fantasy: "geeks as ganstas" as he wrote. It was a mess of a screenplay and so uneven.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Precious little can get me into a theater these days. Harry Potter and a Western that looks appealing will do it. Modern direction and editing are so annoying I hate seeing action flicks. Most of my Netflix choices are in black & white.

Todd Mason said...

Yes, the Golden Globes shortlist is a good indication of the Oscars, and just as ridiculous. LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS is probably a better film than all the nominees (I haven't seen them all), much less WINTER'S BONE.

Todd Mason said...

Well, THE KING'S SPEECH might well be worthy. But I haven't seen it, and it does have a rather facile vibe.

Dana King said...

I pick up buzz from blog and web sites of people I trust. (Here, for example.) Since I do almost all of my movie viewing on NetFlix, it's easy to add them to the queue to watch at my leasire.

Anonymous said...

Todd, I have to second your remark about critical darling Terence Malick, one of the most overrated directors of the last few decades.

K.A. - I'm with you on Spacey (who I used to like before AMERICAN BEAUTY) and Norton (never did see his appeal or why critics love him) and Rogin (talk about male wish fulfillment - image a woman looking like that becoming a movie star).

I'm with Cap'n Bob in that we tend to go see movies that need the big screen (like the Potters) and catch up on the smaller films either locally in Brooklyn or in the winter in Florida, where it is cheaper.

Jeff M.

Todd Mason said...

Oh, BADLANDS was a pretty brilliant film. But each since...worse than the last. All pretty, I'll give Malick (and his camerafolk and other responsible parties) that. But he is definitely an argument against auteurism. If any was needed.

Rogen's closest correspondent among women performers would probably be Rosie O'Donnell. But, yes, the Apatow gang is at least as arrested in male adolescence as is the Spielberg gang. If a bit more self-aware of that fact.

Deb said...

Netflix makes it almost too easy. Our queue must already be enough to keep us movie watching for the next two years--and yet we keep adding movies.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

I usually go by directors;Coen Brothers, Scorcese, Cronenberg,Aronofsky, PT Anderson etc. Will not watch anything with Stallone, Streisand, Minelli, Joan Crawford. Also Anne Hathaway-can't understand her appeal.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Back from my holiday shopping and see you have coped without me with little trouble. All I can say it I see more than fifty movies a year at the theater and that many more at home so I have little discretion.
I agree with those you like/those you don't like. We all seem to have lost our taste for some but agree that Bedazzled, Badlands, Johnny Depp, Jean Arthur, Gloria Graham, Cook and Moore and various others are swell.

James Reasoner said...

It's well established that I'll watch anything and enjoy most of it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

And live longer and better for doing so.

Todd Mason said...

I only engage in Depprication becuase of the horrible Depprivations we've suffered...

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Most any crime movie with Depp, Clooney, Dinero, or Bale to name a few, or related to Guy Ritchie will get me to part with my cash. I love DVR and On Demand, and have found some real gems, that I totally missed out on first time around, or were indy or foreign films.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Todd, as the hour increases so does your wit.
I've given up on DeNiro making good movies but the rest I'm still onboard with.

Randy Johnson said...

Before I stopped attending theatrical films, big budget SF movies(including the godawful second Star Wars trilogy) were about it. I never watch comedies in the theater, nor crime films. They don't need the big screen to be effective.

I can't be made to watch a film with Will Ferrell in it. Just don't get him.

Most of my film watching is Turner classics these days and usually older, black and white films.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I think Ferrell is generational. I don't know many people over forty that get him.

Anonymous said...

In the 1980's I could have echoed James Reasoner's post. Basically I would watch anything, preferably from the 1930's and 1940's but also a LOT of terrible cheap horror and sf movies, including terrible Japanese horror movies, the ouevre of John Carradine and women in prison movies, plus the Ed Wood canon. One year I counted over 500 movies watched. THE PSYCHOTRONIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CRIME and Don Miller's B MOVIES were two of my Bibles.

Ah, the good old days.

Yes, I used to go by directors too. But I can barely stand to look at Woody these days, let alone his films. The Coen Brothers? Yes, mostly, but I haven't forgiven them for THE HUDSUCKER PROXY yet.

I guess I'm like Patti in that I do read reviews and pay attention to them, but it's more of a gestalt thing with me - I look at the cast, director and writer(s) as well as the genre and plot (sorry, TRON - no video game movies) and go from there.

Jeff M.

Todd Mason said...

Wee hours, wee wit, indeed.

Speaking of which, I am now well over forty, and can appreciate Will Ferrell doing good or good enough work (STRANGER THAN FICTION, ANCHORMAN, his small role in WEDDING CRASHERS, much of his SNL work though definitely not those monotonous cheerleader sketches), but it's not so much generational as too many people let performers slide by when they're on autopilot. OLD SCHOOL is almost objectively bad, and a hit. Likewise THE HANGOVER (not a Ferrell project, but one featuring a lot of people more talented than he...but what a deperately sad script).

kitty said...

I rarely go to the movies, and I wouldn't take a chance on one that had violence. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw "V" on TV. It was a pretty good movie. I wish I had seen it in the theater.

I tend to like most of Russell Crowe's movies, at least the ones I've seen. And I like most of Diane Lane's movies, too. However, I'm broke most of the time, so I have to wait until they come to cable.

If a movie is really good, I buy a used DVD.

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