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What are your pop-culture rules?
February 26, 2010 4:38 AM   Subscribe

What are your pop-culture rules? That is, the up-front guidelines that will prevent you from seeing/reading/listening to something, or that will guarantee that you’ll see/read/listen to it even if reviews or word of mouth or past experience with the creators have been negative?

'If it features superheroes, I’m generally there', “The Robins Williams Rule”, 'I just cannot bring myself to purchase new hardcover books', 'anything with a trailer that utilizes the record-scratching sound', 'I will see or read literally anything featuring dinosaurs'. The AV Club writers & readers hold forth. I'm sure nobody on Metafilter would live by such restrictions...
posted by i_cola (317 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
First scritch of a turntable, and I'm out of there.
posted by Faze at 4:46 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Trailers featuring spit-takes or women's tops/men's underwear being suddenly removed. Any kind of whining set to music. Any TV show or movie which features a psychic solving crimes. Any TV show or movie in which one character falls in love with another simply because they are beautiful or handsome. Any period drama in which poor people all wear clean, warm clothes. Any movie in which German people are depicted speaking German by speaking English with a German accent. Any movie whose trailer features an explosion which causes stuntmen to do huge fake dives.
posted by unSane at 4:48 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


IF I read any variant of "I'm just a simple blank from blank.." then I just stop reading.
posted by The Whelk at 4:51 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who I love dearly for her fierce loyalty, near-constant positive attitude, and seemingly endless wealth of compassion. But she is my pop-culture rule. If she really really likes it, I am almost guaranteed to dislike it. If I really enjoyed it and would recommend it highly, she will invariably be unimpressed. Every time.

Except musicals. We both enjoy musicals. I have a suspicion that we like them for entirely different reasons, but gift-horse, mouth, &c.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 4:54 AM on February 26, 2010


All Johnny Depp. No Bruce Willis.
posted by drlith at 4:58 AM on February 26, 2010


Robin Williams rules!
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:00 AM on February 26, 2010


Only one rule: I post questions here.
posted by The Deej at 5:04 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I try to avoid anything that is about a woman's search for a man.

However, I will watch or read anything with a robot or a chicken in it. Double points for anything about a chicken's search for a robot.
posted by Alison at 5:08 AM on February 26, 2010


Immediate turn offs: posted by signal at 5:10 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Never watch anything described with the word "harrowing" in any review.

Any novel based on a game, roleplaying or otherwise, will be bad.
posted by alasdair at 5:13 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never seen a movie about a horse. I plan to keep it that way.
posted by condour75 at 5:14 AM on February 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


Spaceships on the cover = good science fiction, hand weapons on the cover = military science fiction, female flesh on the cover = lousy science fiction.
posted by alasdair at 5:14 AM on February 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


Nothing described as heartwarming.
posted by timeo danaos at 5:17 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I'm not doing this right, am I?

  • I will never see a movie described as harrowing.

  • I will never read a book based on a game, video or otherwise.

  • I will not buy a science fiction book if there are soldiers, no matter how hi-tech, on the cover: it'll just be a military thriller with lasers.

  • posted by alasdair at 5:17 AM on February 26, 2010


    I don't have too many hard-and-fast rules, but one that's always served me well is this: If the entire nation seems to agree on the merits of a comedy - film or TV - then I will avoid it. The fact that most universally lauded comedies seem to be pitched at the level of a not-particularly-bright adolescent helps with the whole resolve thing.
    posted by Toby Dammit X at 5:17 AM on February 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


    I never watch dramas, especially sad/depressing ones. There are enough sad, depressing and soap-operatic things in the real world, we don't have to make some up to cry over.

    Also, my pop-culture consumption is 100x better now that it's 100x less than it used to be. If I hear people talking about a movie/book/show a lot over a period of months (after release), I'll check it out.
    posted by DU at 5:17 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    If it's on USA Network, I'll watch it (applies to TV shows, not necessarily movies, since they insist on airing Alpha Dog every few weeks).
    If it involves Jon Favreau or Liam Neeson, I'll give it a chance.
    If it has at least one person getting punched in the throat, I'll probably enjoy it.

    If the title is "American _____" or "______ Movie", I refuse.

    Any novel based on a game, roleplaying or otherwise, will be bad.
    Any game based on a movie, or any movie based on a game will (usually) be bad. There are a few notable exceptions, and I'm excited to see how the Prince of Persia movie turns out. But generally speaking... Doom, Tomb Raider, Max Payne...
    posted by specialagentwebb at 5:20 AM on February 26, 2010


    Ooh also: the inspirational teachers / troubled kids genre.
    posted by condour75 at 5:22 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Oh! And no American remakes of Korean or Japanese horror films. Or really, an American remake of any foreign horror film.
    posted by specialagentwebb at 5:22 AM on February 26, 2010


    If the title is "American _____" or "______ Movie", I refuse.

    That's too bad. American Movie is an amazing film.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:25 AM on February 26, 2010 [18 favorites]


    If it's on TV in that brief window between when the kids go to bed and I fall asleep, I'll watch it.

    As long as there are NO SPIDERS!
    posted by Shohn at 5:25 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Never fight a man with an erection.

    Wait. What?
    posted by Jofus at 5:26 AM on February 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


    I learned long ago that having broad rules about what to watch/listen/read made me a snob who missed out on a lot of great stuff that I otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to, so now I try to evaluate everything on its own merits and go from there.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:27 AM on February 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


    I try very hard not to watch anything featuring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, or Will Ferrell.
    posted by limeonaire at 5:29 AM on February 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


    If the movie involves a "trying on clothes" montage, I'll totally watch it.

    There, I said it.
    posted by Mizu at 5:29 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I've never seen a movie about a horse.
    I'm guessing you didn't pick up The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories?

    My most helpful guideline is an inverse-marketing-dollar metric. If your movie is being flogged mercilessly on every commercial break, on the radio, in papers and magazines, I won't see it. At best I might read a précis.
    posted by adoarns at 5:30 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    My partner follows the Bechdel Test as closely as possible. I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in there - it works phenomenally.
    posted by allen.spaulding at 5:32 AM on February 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


    Bechdel's rule sounds reasonable here. She only watches movies that have:
    1. More than two women
    2. Who talk to each other
    3. About something other than men, romance, children, etc

    As a punchline, she must not see many movies.
    posted by autopilot at 5:33 AM on February 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


    Jinx!
    posted by autopilot at 5:34 AM on February 26, 2010


    BIG RED TEXT
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:36 AM on February 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


    Generally speaking, if the star or main supporting character is a Saturday Night Live graduate, I'll give the movie a miss.
    posted by Pragmatica at 5:37 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I'll give almost anything with John Cusack, Tim Robbins, Robert Downey Jr., or Christian Bale a chance.
    posted by limeonaire at 5:39 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I can't think of any good reason to watch an English language remake of a non-English language film.

    I have yet to see a bad French film.

    Any Star Wars book, TV or film is great.

    Anything with a Quentin Tarantino, Rashida Jones, Lily Allen, Christina Applegate, Erin Karpluk or Douglas Coupland angle is probably going to be fun.

    Anyone who was in Go! gets future credit (although Katie Holmes used hers up when she got into the whole cult short-arse marriage thing).

    Well executed trash/schmaltz (e.g. Las Vegas, Entourage, Life Unexpected).
    posted by i_cola at 5:39 AM on February 26, 2010


    I've found through endless trial and error that any book praised as "lyrical" is in fact full of horrible boring adjectives.
    posted by Nomiconic at 5:39 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


    I try to evaluate everything on its own merits and go from there.

    Everything? Everything? You buy every single bubblegum pop album? You have a full collection of Barney movies? You listen to country music?
    posted by DU at 5:40 AM on February 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


    Anything with wookies.

    Anything with sideboobs.

    Anything with wookie sideboobs.
    posted by bondcliff at 5:40 AM on February 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


    Any TV show about cops, detectives, CIA or FBI agents or anything similar

    Procedurals in general just ...annoy the hell out of me. I've got near zero patience for "Blank Of The Week" shows unless they're so light and goofy it doesn't matter.

    I will, of course, watch ANY biopic about a famous artist or author, but that's cause it's the same impulse that leads to be watch any Valley Of The Dolls rip-off or movie with monsters.
    posted by The Whelk at 5:40 AM on February 26, 2010


    leads me to*
    posted by The Whelk at 5:40 AM on February 26, 2010


    Go

    Oh! I do have a twitch fondess for "into the night" movies where scrappy young people have to get to the party or something and encounter a series of strange vignettes.
    posted by The Whelk at 5:42 AM on February 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


    Everything? Everything? You buy every single bubblegum pop album? You have a full collection of Barney movies? You listen to country music?

    I try to evaluate whether to purchase and enjoy a particular piece of entertainment on its own merits.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:44 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Anything with Sandra Bullick or Vince Vaughn.
    posted by octothorpe at 5:44 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I can't think of any good reason to watch an English language remake of a non-English language film.

    Oh yeah, I now can't be bothered with just about any remake, especially if it's already a cult/established classic and double especially if it's a UK cult classic.
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:45 AM on February 26, 2010


    I try to evaluate whether to purchase and enjoy a particular piece of entertainment on its own merits.

    How do you know the merits before purchasing and enjoying?
    posted by DU at 5:47 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Any Krzysztof Kieślowski, Coen Brothers or Tim Burton film will be awesome sauce.

    (If you have not seen the oeuvre of the directors listed here, then I would say your netflix cue could use a few titles)
    posted by archivist at 5:51 AM on February 26, 2010


    1. I turn off anything about a group of friends where one member is always insulting the others and the others put up with it because "Whatchagonnado? He's just our wacky, rude friend..."

    2. I quit watching shows and movies in which men act in cartoonish, over-the-top ways when "sexy" women come onto them.

    3. I leave the room when a magic or supernatural event happens and the characters act like it's kinda cool rather than "OH MY GOD! HE CAN TURN INVISIBLE!!!!"

    4. If they've introduced all the main characters in a horror movie, and they're all 22-years-old and rude, nasty, bitchy, cocky, etc., I know I'm not going to be scared, because I don't give a shit about whether or not they all die. Also, why is that one nice girl hanging out with all those assholes? (See #1.)

    5. I consider changing the channel when an actor screws up word-emphasis, e.g.

    "You can't have that Kit Kat bar. It's MINE."

    "No. That KIT Kat bar is mine." (Spoken as if the first actor had said "Dog Kat bar.")

    But if I changed channels every time someone did this, I'd be changing channels every five minutes.

    6. Obvious exposition and/or moralizing: bye.

    7. Laugh tracks: see you later.

    8. Switching the actor who plays a character because the original one quit/got fired/died: adios. (Find a way to write that character out!)

    9. Obscenities replaced with euphemisms that the characters wouldn't use in real life: exit, stage left.
    (Good writers who are forced to work under a no-swearing constraint know how to write around the lack-of-swearing without having New York cops say "heck" and "shoot."

    And I know lots of people enjoyed it, but I hated "Battlestar Galactica's" solution. It made no sense. All their other words were the same as ours. Only their word for fuck was different. Why? Whenever anyone said "frak," I was taken out of the show. All I could think was "they would be saying fuck if they were allowed to say it on Network TV.")

    10. A couple in bed, naked, under the sheets. One of them gets up, wrapping the sheet around himself (or herself), as if he doesn't want his lover to see him naked: Please close the door on your way out.
    (Jesus! If you are forced to film under silly constraints, accept those constraints and solve them artfully. Don't fob off bullshit on the audience. If you do, it's not the Network's fault that your show looks stupid. It's yours. All artists have to work under constraints. The good ones make the audience unaware of them. So if you ever find yourself saying, "It sucks that the Network forces us to film this way," quit making excuses and find a better way to film it. Or cut the bedroom scene.)


    Pop culture is just as worthwhile as "high art." If you're making a cheap sci-fi movie or a sit com, that's no excuse to slack off. If you ever find yourself saying, "It's just a children's show" (or "It's just a [whatever]"), get out of the business. What you're doing is telling a story. Storytelling is one of the oldest, most profound things humans do. Have respect for the craft and for your audience.

    Even if 95% of the audience doesn't care, because they're happy to listen to bad dialog as long as they get to see dinosaurs/explosions/sexy people/etc., have enough respect for the few people who DO care -- and for the job itself -- to strive for excellence.
    posted by grumblebee at 5:52 AM on February 26, 2010 [16 favorites]


    It used to be that I'd watch any tv series with spaceships in it. Needless to say, this results in watching some serious crap (e.g. Lexx, Starhunter, Total Recall 2070). They're all more or less entertaining, if low budget, hammy, cliched nonsense. Unfortunately I started to watch Defying Gravity, and about six episodes in I just couldn't take it any more. So I guess I've got to add a new rule - if a description starts with "Think Grey's Anatomy crossed with..." then it's best to avoid it.

    On a different but related note, I make a rule to never order food off a menu that uses comic sans.
    posted by iivix at 5:54 AM on February 26, 2010


    Any movie that cues "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" while a recently or soon-to-be divorced woman gets a makeover or goes on vacation all by herself.
    posted by applemeat at 5:55 AM on February 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


    How do you know the merits before purchasing and enjoying?

    I'll read reviews. I'll ask friends. If it's a movie I'll watch the trailer. If it's an album I'll try to listen to a song or two first. Certainly there are artists I enjoy and certainly there are some I tend not to care for. But I don't reject anything out of hand because even bad actors are occasionally involved in interesting projects.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:56 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Generally, if there's a long shot of a very big ocean with a small boat or sailing ship on it, I will be all "Dudes that movie looks pretty key, we should probably see that, yes?" and all my friends will roll their eyes because they know I'm going to bug them later about how this movie looks pretty sweet you guys, I hope there are long scenes where sailors are tying knots and eating hardtack, who's in?

    It's why I saw the completely awesome Master and Commander, the awesome-in-the-middle Cast Away, the kind of bizarre Elizabeth: The Golden Age (which had the bonus exciting trope of "stirring Braveheart-esque speech" in the trailer) and the completely execrable Troy. Oh, and Waterworld. Good ol' Waterworld.
    posted by Greg Nog at 5:56 AM on February 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


    Books written in English with "oriental" women on the cover containing any of following words on the cover: golden, peach, peony, fragrant, harmony, pavilion, snow, flower, silk, girl, phoenix, dragon, mistress, daughter, concubine, bound feet. Further points deducted for setting the book before or during WWII Shanghai or Malaya.

    And I always, always fall for books described as "darkly humorous". They're never dark or humorous enough for me. I really should stop.
    posted by peripathetic at 5:58 AM on February 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


    Pretty much anything that has Waif Fu is probably going to be fun to watch.

    I will always identify with and love The Daria. Tangentially related: I will enjoy anything with Winona Ryder in it.

    Any movie that uses Nick Drake in the soundtrack will be good.

    Thumbs down to anything where Eddie Murphy plays more than one character.

    Robbin Williams was in Awakenings and that was pretty good.
    posted by giraffe at 5:59 AM on February 26, 2010


    I'll read reviews. I'll ask friends. If it's a movie I'll watch the trailer. If it's an album I'll try to listen to a song or two first.

    So, to reiterate: You listen to a song or two from every bubblegum album? You read reviews of all country music? You watch all the Barney movie trailers?

    My point in hounding you is that while your "based on the merits" ideal is laudable, it just isn't practical. You cannot possibly have time in the day to fairly evaluate every single piece of pop-culture in existence. You do in fact have filters. You've even listed some already: what certain reviewers and friends think, what the trailers show, how a couple of sample songs sound. The unsampled songs on that album might object that you did not evaluate them based on their merits.
    posted by DU at 6:02 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    There's got to be monsters. Monsters and/or sex. Or sexy monsters/monstrous sex.

    As for movies . . .
    posted by metagnathous at 6:03 AM on February 26, 2010


    If it features a world-weary detective solving crimes in an idealized British setting, I'll watch the crap out of it. Morse, Lewis, Frost, Davies, Foyle, MacBeth, Midsomer, come get some!
    posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:05 AM on February 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


    Robin Williams is fine when he's not trying to be funny.

    In fact I will go to see any movie with a comedian doing drama. There are a few misses, sure, but the rewards are sometimes immense and I like to encourage them.

    5. I consider changing the channel when an actor screws up word-emphasis, e.g.

    "You can't have that Kit Kat bar. It's MINE."


    Oh, that's not a screw-up. That's deliberate Actor Bullshit. And they get away with it because telling them how to read the line is a Big No No.
    posted by unSane at 6:06 AM on February 26, 2010


    my boyfriend and i normally only see really awful looking action movies in the theatre anymore. it's just too ridiculous a spectacle to see on a small screen. (that remake of Miami Vice the movie? totally awesome on the big screen, even with the guy snoring behind us.)

    i will also watch anything that will allow me to play the Improbable Science drinking game (Ice Pirates and The Day After Tomorrow come to mind, although Ice Pirates isn't exactly pop culture, it's a great movie.)

    i will ALMOST NEVER watch anything involving any sort of frat boy comedy or movies that look sad that are called a comedy (like Brilliant Sunshine of Spotless Mind or whatever. that was SOOOO depressing. why was that a comedy????).

    Romantic-comedies are also out. As are most things said about SNL above.
    posted by sio42 at 6:06 AM on February 26, 2010


    Pretty much anything that has Waif Fu is probably going to be fun to watch as dorky as a hand drawn comic about a super hero who does LARP. ;-)
    posted by i_cola at 6:06 AM on February 26, 2010


    Avoid any title that ends with a number or roman numeral. They were made with your wallet, not your heart, in mind.
    posted by dearsina at 6:09 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    My point in hounding you is that while your "based on the merits" ideal is laudable, it just isn't practical.

    No it's not. Your point is to be fighty, clever, and cute, and it's pretty annoying. But that's okay. Every time you ask me a question, I'll answer it.

    My ideal is entirely practical. I'm not going to entertain the idea of purchasing every single book, movie, album, comic book, or game. Occasionally, though, just like everyone else, I'll get the inkling to purchase a book or buy an album. Or sometimes a friend will say, "hey, you should check out this movie, it's really good." And at that point, I'm not going to say "Sorry, I don't see any films starring Donald Glover." I may say, "Cool, thanks for the rec. You know, I tend to not like films with Donald Glover, but maybe I'll check it out. Who's the director? What's it about?"

    Ultimately, I'm not going to restrict my consumption of entertainment because of broad restrictions. I used to. I had lots of little cute rules that I thought were funny and made me interesting. I used to tell people about them. But they didn't make me interesting. Later I realized that they prevented me from enjoying a lot of really cool stuff.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:12 AM on February 26, 2010 [25 favorites]


    Any movie where a young athlete dies or is critically injured in a tragic accident and then his teary teammates go on to whip State at the nationals or whatever because "[illness/accident/fate] Took Away His/Her [legs/lungs/life], But it Would Never Take Away Their Hope."
    posted by applemeat at 6:13 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    AHWO, we're talking about humorous rules of thumb. You get that, right?
    posted by unSane at 6:14 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Avoid any title that ends with a number or roman numeral. They were made with your wallet, not your heart, in mind.

    I hate Henry V too.
    posted by The Whelk at 6:16 AM on February 26, 2010 [16 favorites]


    I usually wind up slogging through novels set during the Victorian era (or watching films set during same), but that's mostly for professional reasons. If the publicist includes the adjective "Dickensian" on the jacket blurb, though, I'll grumble loudly.

    I run screaming from anything described as "rollicking." "Luminous" frequently has a similar effect.

    Ditto peripathetic on "[b]ooks written in English with 'oriental' women on the cover..."

    Historical mysteries almost always drive me up the wall. However, I'm a sucker for well-written police procedurals.

    If I see a SF anthology edited by Gardner Dozois, I usually grab it.
    posted by thomas j wise at 6:16 AM on February 26, 2010


    AHWO, we're talking about humorous rules of thumb. You get that, right?

    I get that this is chatfiler. So I'm chatting.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:16 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


    If it was written, produced, directed, or created by a guy named Seth, I will likely find it 20% funny and 80% tiresome.

    20% of any Guy Named Seth audience will know what I'm talking about, 80% will think I have no sense of humor.
    posted by Metroid Baby at 6:16 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Anything by Tom Hanks gets the no vote. After starring in the brilliant Bachelor Party he squandered his comedic talents in Big and The Man with One Red Shoe before turning his back on comedy in a quest for money and respect. Unforgivable. That also goes for any decent comedian who goes "serious" and starts doing Oscar-bait type flicks like Will Smith and Jamie Foxx. Comedy is hard and we need those guys making us laugh, not playing a gay, autistic single father who wants to change the world one heart at a time. Also getting the no vote - the same guys as action heroes. Sorry dude, you don't get to go from the Laugh Factory to saving Nakatome Plaza. You just don't. Robert Downey Jr. can sort of straddle the line, and I mean barely, because he was never really a comedian - just a funny guy. Getting the automatic yes vote....anything with Luc Besson or Joel Silver's name attached - even if it stars a former comedian/funny guy.
    posted by jake1 at 6:18 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Oh: if it's a horror film, I'm not going to watch it. That's a sweeping dismissal, but I just can't handle the visuals (same goes for any horror novel with, arrrgh, illustrations). I'll happily read horror, though, especially ghost stories.
    posted by thomas j wise at 6:19 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I refuse to watch a show until the entire series is out on DVD. I can't stand waiting for cliff hangers. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it's eat I did for the wire and the Sopranos, and what I plan on doing with Mad Men and Lost.
    posted by orville sash at 6:21 AM on February 26, 2010


    I generally avoid romantic comedies. Specifically, romantic comedies geared toward women drive me nuts. Although, I got talked into Love, Actually and dug it.

    Comedies with Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock won't do it for me. Roberts in a drama role, however, can work.

    And yeah, the record scratch is generally a giveaway that I won't like it. Also, movies that come out of the blue and get pumped all over the place in the couple weeks leading up to opening weekend. The point of that is to build buzz and get big enough crowds in before people get a chance to talk about what a loser it is.
    posted by sadiehawkinstein at 6:21 AM on February 26, 2010


    If a song rhymes "love" with anything it is dead to me.

    Also, any use of "baby" in songs by people who would never bloody use that word anywhere else.

    If you modulate up one tone at the end, it produces the emotional shift of making me want to kill you.

    One thing I can't avoid - musical cue and sudden camera shift followed by "Suprise! It's just the cat/boyfriend/whatever" in horror films. Sure, false alarms are OK, but you don't need to use every tool available to you simultaneously to milk it.

    And if the words "I love you" have a mystical effect or are the cue for great victory.
    posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 6:21 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    If there is an American movie based on a BBC miniseries, there BBC miniseries is ten times better and available on NetFlix: State of Play, Traffic.
    posted by shothotbot at 6:22 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I will watch movies that have specific scenes that, while not intentionally erotic, provoke a strong and uniquely erotic response from me.



    If the movie involves a "trying on clothes" montage, I'll totally watch it.

    Yeah, that counts.
    posted by Theta States at 6:22 AM on February 26, 2010


    I won't watch any TV show with a laugh track. Which translates into me watching Fox (sunday night) and PBS (the rest of the week).
    posted by 445supermag at 6:26 AM on February 26, 2010


    One thing I can't avoid - musical cue and sudden camera shift followed by "Suprise! It's just the cat/boyfriend/whatever" in horror films. Sure, false alarms are OK, but you don't need to use every tool available to you simultaneously to milk it.

    Oh gawd, that's mine. If you put a fricking "cat scare" in the trailer, I'm like "If you included a cat scare in your 2.5 minute advertisement for the film, I have very little faith in your ability to make anything good".
    posted by 23skidoo at 6:28 AM on February 26, 2010


    Generally, if there's a long shot of a very big ocean with a small boat or sailing ship on it, I will be all "Dudes that movie looks pretty key, we should probably see that, yes?" and all my friends will roll their eyes because they know I'm going to bug them later about how this movie looks pretty sweet you guys, I hope there are long scenes where sailors are tying knots and eating hardtack, who's in?

    I was at a movie with a friend a few years ago and saw the preview for Master & Commander--first I'd heard of it. Without missing a beat, she turned to me and said, "I'll babysit for you that night."

    I can't watch Renee Zellweger. There's something about her face that squicks me. There are movies I won't be able to see until technology has advanced so far that you can replace actors in any film with the other actors of your choice.
    posted by not that girl at 6:28 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    And while I find them intellectually abhorrent, I'm still a sucker for a good make-over montage.
    posted by The Whelk at 6:28 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I will not watch any movie 'based on a true story' in which the Asian people have all mysteriously turned into white people.

    I will watch any movie, no matter how bad it is, that has Judo in it.

    Similarly, I will watch any movie, no matter how bad it is, that has Jean Reno in it.

    May these never conflict!
    posted by Comrade_robot at 6:28 AM on February 26, 2010


    No time travel.
    posted by The Card Cheat at 6:29 AM on February 26, 2010


    Unless the first film was brilliant, you couldn't pay me to watch the sequels.
    posted by crapmatic at 6:30 AM on February 26, 2010


    I will generally walk out/change the station/not go at all/or regret having participated if any of these elements are included in the entertainment:

    "We're not in Kansas anymore". (other than Dorothy)
    Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, Julia Roberts, any of the former cast of Friends
    "menacing" punk rockers (Repo Man excepted)
    Post-Naked Gun Leslie Nielson
    Autotune as a featured instrument
    Talking babies
    Grown men portraying children or childlike characters for comedic effect (Pee Wee Herman excepted)
    "Gay panic" comedy
    The use of a "boiiinnng" noise to indicate spontaneous erection

    These elements will automatically please me:
    Science fiction involving monkeys, spaceships, and a killer robot (2001 excepted)
    The Coen Brothers
    John Goodman, M. Emmet Walsh, Danny DeVito
    Kettle drum
    Jon Stewart
    Lengthy car chase
    Betty White cussing
    A severed head rolling down a flight of stairs
    Chris Rock
    posted by Cookiebastard at 6:31 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


    No horror movies that involve ghosts, spirits, religion tropes, or other supernatural story. madmen, creatures, aliens, viruses, and other naturalistics are ok.
    posted by yesster at 6:32 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Have but one rule; language realism. No, HBO, I will not watch a mini series on Saddam Hussein's life where you have him speak English with a foreign accent to his family.
    posted by klue at 6:33 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I think maybe I woke up a little grumpy today. So let me try to explain why I'm being such a fuddy-duddy.

    I'm probably defending a broad acceptance of entertainment precisely because long ago I was such a snob about movies/books/music, and had so many little funny rules about what should and should not be consumed. So in every person's response that starts "I won't see any movie with so and so in it," I see a little glimpse of who I used to be, and it annoys me. I just wish I had learned earlier rather than later that taking it too far can turn you into a bore. I had to learn that on my own - it got to the point I was boring myself - so if anyone here is seriously not watching any movies starring certain people or movies with certain words in the titles or TV shows set in certain cities or whatever, let me be the anonymous guy on the internet who tells you: nobody cares. Watch what interests you and, on occasion, watch what doesn't interest you - every once in awhile you'll be surprised.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:33 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    My instant "yes, please" list would include the participation of: the Coen Brothers, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Cusack, Robert Downey Jr., or Tim Burton. I'm a sucker for beautifully costumed period films. Will watch most political history. Will watch "sweeping tales" of a country's history but probably regret half of them. Avoid torture-porn gore flicks. Am mildly confused by time travel movies.
    posted by ersatzkat at 6:33 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I will not watch Jessica Biel.
    I will not watch Jessica Alba.*
    I will not watch Jessica Simpson.

    *Except for Sin City.
    posted by mmmbacon at 6:35 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    If the title is "American _____" or "______ Movie", I refuse...
    posted by specialagentwebb at 8:20 AM on February 26


    That's too bad. American Movie is an amazing film
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:25 AM


    For real. My first thought was, "Wow, specialagentwebb missed American Splendor, American Psycho, American Graffiti , _and_ An American Werewolf in London. Not to mention An American in Paris.

    (Wasn't the working title for Citizen Kane "American Kane" or something like that?)

    Does this rule also hold for a movie with "U.S.A." in the title, too? Because Harlan County, U.S.A. is one of the greatest documentaries ever made....


    Anyway, my rule is that if Peter Travers over at Rolling Stone magazine praises the movie, check other critic's reviews before seeing it. Travers is quoted in all those movie trailers for a reason--I don't think he's seen a bad movie since 2000. On the other hand, if Roger Ebert recommends a movie that';s had little-to-no promotiong, move heaven and earth to hunt it down, because you're in for a treat. I just watched Sita Sings the Blues online (Legally! It's distributed under Creative Commons!) at Youtube on his recommedation, and am so glad that I did.
    posted by magstheaxe at 6:35 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    (A)HA(W)O, maybe this just isn't the thread for you?
    posted by applemeat at 6:37 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I used to have a "if John Cusack is in it, I'll watch" rule. Then he went through this dippy romantic-comedy period, and I couldn't. I was hoping 1408 was a break in that (I did see that), but 2012 looked like dreck, and the upcoming Hot Tub Time Machine has probably killed that rule for me.

    I'll see nearly anything by the Coen Brothers, Terry Gilliam, or Studio Ghibli.

    I'll see any of the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright collaborations.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:37 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Generally speaking, if the star or main supporting character is a Saturday Night Live graduate, I'll give the movie a miss.

    And on the flipside of that, if the star or main supporting character is an SCTV graduate, I will not miss it.
    posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 6:38 AM on February 26, 2010


    I will always watch a film where actors play against type (comic goes serious, ditzy does tragedy, anything like that).
    posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 6:40 AM on February 26, 2010


    Oh I will instantly see any kind of Agatha Christie-Clue-Upper crust Brits Murder Mystery movie. I have no idea why, but I am compelled to watch them.
    posted by The Whelk at 6:41 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


    I just don't get John Cusack. Every time he appears I just want to hurt him. Totally ruins any movie he's in. Joan, otoh, is fabulous in everything.
    posted by yesster at 6:41 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Once again, I find myself in agreement with Keith Phipps.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:42 AM on February 26, 2010


    Three words - Harry. Dean. Stanton.
    posted by Mintyblonde at 6:42 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Any movie involving the insinuating sing-song of precocious moppets saying sassy things.
    posted by applemeat at 6:42 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Oh hell, I just stopped reading or watching anything. It's a lot easier than keeping track of rules.

    But, yeah, no Robin Williams in a comedy/comedy-relief role. Even in an animated guise. And, even then, it's a 50/50 deal.
    posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 AM on February 26, 2010


    My don'ts: inspirational teachers / troubled kids, Very Special Episodes dealing with racial issues (I'll never watch Crash, for instance), fake folksiness, especially southern folksiness, horror movies whose previews include a crab-walking ghostly kid or grandma, gauzy middle-aged women getting their grooves back, doofus fathers (or men in general), Keifer Sutherland macho gritty yelling bullshit, and god-yes-oh-god-yes the record scratch.

    And musicals.
    posted by MrMoonPie at 6:43 AM on February 26, 2010


    (A)HA(W)O, maybe this just isn't the thread for you?

    No, dammit, you fools, I'm trying to save you!

    Release the chains that bind you!

    It's a big beautiful world out there (starring Rob Schneider)! Go embrace it!
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:43 AM on February 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


    I have three simple rules:

    I only listen to Japanese Ukulele Music.

    I only read comic books featuring Lesbian Unicorns.

    I only watch sports teams with Racist Mascots.
    posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:43 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Also, any thriller or horror movie where the scary bits consist mostly or entirely of (in Roger Ebert's words) "things jumping out from behind stuff."
    posted by The Card Cheat at 6:44 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Oh, I forgot Meg Ryan. Anything with. I am sappier than a freshly felled forest.

    After starring in the brilliant Bachelor Party he squandered his comedic talents in Big and The Man with One Red Shoe before turning his back on comedy in a quest for money and respect.

    Wow! I thought I was the only person who thought BP was his best film ever. I'll give him a pass on Big but everything else is meh. (Meg Ryan rule, however, overrides this.)

    New rule: Won't attend any party where (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates is on the guest list.
    posted by i_cola at 6:45 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Metafilter: fighty, clever, and cute, and it's pretty annoying.
    posted by Phanx at 6:47 AM on February 26, 2010


    New rule: Won't attend any party where (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates is on the guest list.

    Is this because I don't like talking about stuff I hate? I promise I can get very excited and talk about stuff that is awesome forever.

    Oh, I get it. It's because of the visible sores, isn't it. Fair enough.
    posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:47 AM on February 26, 2010


    I think this is an Ebert quote but I'm not sure.

    "Don't watch anything where the entire plot requires everyone to be a complete idiot."

    or in the case of drama

    "Don't watch anything where the entire plot requires everyone to be a complete asshole."
    posted by The Whelk at 6:50 AM on February 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


    I don't do humiliation comedy. This is not because I find the genre too lowbrow. This is because it's been like ten years and I am still traumatized by Kingpin. I would rather watch Salo again with an Audition chaser.
    posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:51 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I will walk out of a movie if the first half hour is all crying and screaming. (The Messenger, I'm looking at you.)
    No english when it shouldn't be english spoken. (if you're terrified to use subtitles, make a different movie.)
    No white people when it shouldn't be white people.
    I get especially critical of movies that fail the Bechdel test.
    No horror movie that uses creepy startle scares + music throughout.
    I can't get behind gun-heavy movies that don't show the damage guns cause to a body. (Conversely, I have no problem with fantasy-action flicks with magical physical combat)
    No science or historical references that could have been remedied by a quick google search. There are tonnes of academics-for-hire out there. Hire one for a day to fact check your script.
    No training montages that don't revel in how homo-erotic they are.
    Ahh hell, nevermind. You can't fault a good training montage.
    posted by Theta States at 6:51 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I will watch shows about cops but I won't watch shows about lawyers. This means i can only watch half of Law and Order.
    posted by interplanetjanet at 6:53 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I don't watch children in jeopardy.
    posted by shothotbot at 6:54 AM on February 26, 2010


    I will not watch anything where the average editing cut is less than 3 seconds. (Moulin Rouge!!!)

    I will watch any musical or action film where physical sequences have edits 30 seconds or greater.
    posted by Theta States at 6:54 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    "You can't have that Kit Kat bar. It's MINE."

    Oh, that's not a screw-up. That's deliberate Actor Bullshit. And they get away with it because telling them how to read the line is a Big No No.

    As someone who has daily worked with actors for over 25 years, I disagree. It's almost always a screw-up. And many directors have tin-ears for it, too. It's because rhetoric and logic aren't taught in regular school or in acting/directing school, and we live in a time in which the people are much more into visuals and emoting than on being exact about word, phrase and sentence meaning.

    Because logic and emphasis are so important to me, I am constantly pointing out these gaffs to actors. I've never had an actor get pissed off at me for doing so, because I don't give them "line readings." I don't say, "say the line like this" and then say it for them to mimic. I just point out the logic: "As you can tell from his line, he already knows it's a Kit Kat bar," so you don't need to point that out to him, which is what it sounds like you're doing when you say, 'KIT kat bar.' The point is that he's saying the bar is HIS. You need to contradict him and tell him it's YOURS."

    Actors are taught to listen and respond, but they are taught this on an emotive level. In other words, they are taught that if someone insults you, you listen to the insult, feel the insult, and respond as if you've been insulted.

    For the most part, they are not taught to pay attention at the granular level of phrase logic via word emphasis. Most directors aren't taught this either, and when the dialog zips past quickly, many audience members (who are also not used to thinking in terms of rhetoric and logic) don't notice the error. So actors don't often get corrected or even realize there's a problem.

    They tend to emphasize what they think of as the "important" word (or words) in the sentence. That's almost always wrong, except when a sentence is in total isolation. (E.g. when it's not said in response to something someone else said and when it's not elaborating on a previous point the speaker himself has said).

    So if your character is alone and all he says is, "This is the worst day of my life," you are pretty free to emphasize anything. But in dialog and speeches, the emphasis almost never marks "important" words. Rather, it indicates connections between the phrase you're saying and earlier phrases/sentences/ideas. What you're saying is probably contradicting or elaborating on something someone else (including you) has already said. You need to find the locus of that contraction/elaboration. That's where the emphasis goes.

    To get it right, you have to really understand the "argument." You have to understand the logic of what's already been said and how what you're now saying connects to it.

    Most of the actors I've met are very smart, but they are not trained in this kind of text analysis. The ones that are "trained" have learned all sorts of weird, dogmatic ideas, e.g. "My acting teacher told me to never emphasize pronouns." REALLY? So when your scene partner says, "I think she did it," you don't think it's logical to reply, "Well, I think HE did it." (Another possible emphasis is "I," as in YOU may think he did it, but *I* disagree. Emphasizing "think," "did," or "it" makes no sense. Yet many actors will latch onto think. If they line was in isolation, that could make sense, as in, "I'm not sure, but I THINK he did it.")

    If you suspect only a bad community-theatre actor would make a mistake like "Well, I THINK he did it," then you're not listening closely when you watch movies and TV shows. I hear at least one mistake like this per show.
    posted by grumblebee at 6:56 AM on February 26, 2010 [18 favorites]


    I won't watch anything based on a book that I love. Especially a novel by Jane Austen.
    posted by JanetLand at 6:57 AM on February 26, 2010


    I hate Henry V too.

    Still watchable, I thought, if a bit jingoistic. IV is the best of the series IMHO; the trilogy is, like, PeterJacksonLongWinded, and VIII, I think we can all agree, is non-canonical even with the Executive Producer / Script consultant credit. I'll watch any of his stuff but I prefer the earlier funny plays.
    posted by tigrefacile at 6:59 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I don't watch movies in theaters unless I can guarantee the theater will be near-empty (surprisingly hard to do).

    I don't watch any movie with a budget over, say, a couple million, unless it's directed by Terry Gilliam.

    I won't watch anything starring, featuring, or mocking Zach Braff. That guy is a stain.
    posted by muddgirl at 7:00 AM on February 26, 2010


    Avoid:

    - Tom Hanks Movies

    - Robin Wiliams Movies

    - Joel Schumacher Movies

    - anything with Dominic Monaghan or anyone else who played a short creature in Lord of the Rings

    - Chinese films in the theatre, though on DVD they're fine.

    - Anything programmed for the Toronto Film Fest by Cameron Bailey (there are other programmers whose choices I avoid but I have to see their names to remember them)

    - anything from the 00s that played Sundance but no other film fest

    - Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton movies

    - exclusive engagements at the Cumberland in Toronto

    - Robert De Niro movies that have no other redeeming quality

    - Show Girls 2 (nsfw)

    Reluctantly see so I can counter the invariable hype:

    - Cronenberg movies

    Reluctantly see even though there won't be any hype:

    - De Palma movies

    - Tony Scott movies

    Go see no matter what, even if they feature Tom Hanks and Robin Williams:

    - Coen movies (actually that's not true as I've yet to see Lady Killers)

    - Haneke movies

    - movies/tv written by Lem Dobbs, David Milch, or Michael Tolkin

    - Show Girls 2 (nsfw)

    - David Lynch movies (though I dislike most of them, Mulholland Drive was great enough to make me hopeful for every future release)
    posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:01 AM on February 26, 2010


    If it bores me I will not watch it, no matter how much the internets call it deep. I call this the Caprica rule. If they are obviously throwing up random shit and intend fishing around for a conclusion I will stop watching it, BSG being a grim example of the consequences of violating that rule. As it is the rule about stopping watching things if they've been just plain shit for a while ( The Heroes rule).
    posted by Artw at 7:02 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Tangent on the EMphasis on the wrong sylLABle debate:

    It could also be a weird regionalism quirk on the part of the actor. I've definitely noticed this kind of thing -- for example, everyone I've met from Connecticut pronounces the name of the city where Yale University is located as "New HAven." But -- everyone else I've met outside of Connecticut pronounces it as "NEW Haven." So if I were watching a movie where people were talking about visiting "NEW Haven", it'd make me twitch, sure, but I'd be the only one sitting there thinking "it's 'New HAven', you dink!"
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Animals with dubbed voice-overs.
    posted by tybeet at 7:02 AM on February 26, 2010


    Also, squirm comedies like the UK Office. Sorry, embarrassment is not funny and it's the same joke each and every time.

    Muddgirl: Month after the run, 1pm showing on a weekday. it's just you and a handful of retirees.

    Also, the correct phrase for Zach Braff is "Zach Braff's Big FUcking Face Full Of Feelings."
    posted by The Whelk at 7:02 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


    Oh great. Just when I'd got the gay, furry, Nazi porn out of my mind, now it's lesbian unicorns.

    (A)HA(W)O: I don't do fuddy-duddy parties ;-)
    posted by i_cola at 7:03 AM on February 26, 2010


    I'd rather eat fried scorpion stingers than watch Julie Roberts and Richard Gere in -Anything-
    posted by cashman at 7:04 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I am willing to over-think any kind of bean or combination of beans set on a plate in front of me.
    posted by effwerd at 7:05 AM on February 26, 2010


    ...animal reaction shots are also verboten.

    I agree [unless it's the tiny poodle growling at Danny DeVito in "Ruthless People"] and would add that any movie with an "OMG the dog farted!!" scene is bound to be horrid although perhaps that goes without saying.

    Recent FPP re Movie Tropes.
    posted by applemeat at 7:07 AM on February 26, 2010


    And two genres that don't come up a lot but they're almost always a big red stop sign.

    1) Rich White People With Problems During A Big Event. These movies take place at weddings and have pregnant pauses and dear God why wont someone just break off one of the ubiquitous white wine glasses and cut a bitch.

    2) Gay Male Romantic Comedies. Fun fact, there has never been one of these movies which is even remotely watchable and thanks to the time-warping effects of terrible movies, there will never be one in the future.
    posted by The Whelk at 7:10 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    Whoops. Link should be this. And it was on the green, not FPP.
    posted by applemeat at 7:10 AM on February 26, 2010


    It could also be a weird regionalism quirk on the part of the actor.

    I understand what you're saying, but it's not what I'm talking about. Regional-emphasis differences tend to be on parts of compound words/phrases. For instance, I say "COTTAGE cheese," which drives my wife crazy. To her, it's "cottage CHEESE."

    But that difference doesn't matter for most dialogs, because "cottage cheese" is usually acting as a single word.

    This works:

    "What do we have for dinner?"

    "We only have cottage CHEESE for dinner."

    This also works:

    "What do we have for dinner?"

    "We only have COTTAGE cheese for dinner."

    Depending on whether you're more like me or my wife, you may find one or the other odd, but neither is illogical. On the other hand, there's no way this is right:

    "What do we have for dinner?"

    "We only have cottage cheese for DINNER."

    The only instance it makes sense to argue over "cottage" or "cheese" is in instances like this:

    Mike: What kind of cheese did you say it was?

    Dave: COTTAGE cheese! [Obviously, cottage CHEESE would be wrong here.]

    Bill: Cottage what?

    Dave: Cottage CHEESE! [COTTAGE cheese would be wrong here, even for me.]
    posted by grumblebee at 7:13 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Definite yes:
    Robert Downey Jr.
    Leonardo DiCaprio. Especially DiCaprio + Scorsese.
    Jim Carrey comedies.
    Gangster movies.
    Mainstream movies or tv shows with a major Indian character.
    Movies with large ensemble casts.

    Definite no:
    Any movie based on a book I’ve read. It will never measure up.
    Anything involving the Kardashians or the Hiltons.
    Anything involving people being voted off a show.
    posted by yawper at 7:14 AM on February 26, 2010


    I always thought that these rules are more heuristics than hard-drawn lines in the sand. I don't have the cash, time, or interest to see everything, but I will break my rules on the recommendations of people I trust to have good taste.

    Turn offs:
    * Pratfalls and crotch-hit humor
    * Breakup comedies
    * Tom Cruise
    * Quirky underemployed white slacker movies
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2010


    Well basically if it's a kung fu movie* or it has skeleton warriors I will watch it or at least have it on in the background. I am not proud.

    *Jackie Chan post-2k does not count as kung fu movies, and neither, obviously, do American Kung Fu Dude flicks.
    posted by furiousthought at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2010


    I'm with whoever said upthread not to watch movies where the plot requires people to be idiots. We watch trailers on our Apple TV every few weeks so we can populate our future Netflix queue and when we saw the one for the Kate Hudson movie from last year where she and her BFF get into a massive bitchfit snit over having to share the same wedding day, we looked at each other and asked why they weren't having a double wedding and why nobody was telling them that.

    If you don't find stupidity funny (and the moment of clue-getting at the end of the movie heartwarming), you're pretty limited on mainstream comedies you can watch.

    Also, for me, personally, no horror movies and no movies positioned as uplifting or heartwarming. The horror movies squick me and most of the heartwarming movies just make me aware that my chain is being yanked.
    posted by immlass at 7:17 AM on February 26, 2010


    If the trailer for a movie includes shots of people screaming in fear or pain for comic effect, it's very clear sign that the people who made it have a very different sense of humor than myself.
    posted by baf at 7:19 AM on February 26, 2010


    Oh and I read this about John Cusack once several years ago. He said he prefers to do smaller, quirkier movies in general, but every couple of years he purposely does a big Hollywood blockbuster, to cushion up his bank account so he can continue to take the smaller roles. Not sure if he still operates this way (this was quoted around the time Con Air came out).
    posted by yawper at 7:20 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I'll watch anything with Timothy Spall in it as, with only a few exceptions (The Last Samurai, the later series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet) he doesn't turn up in anything that's total rubbish.

    The Robin Williams rule only applies if he's not playing the Bad Guy or it's The Fisher King
    posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:30 AM on February 26, 2010


    No: I will not see any movie where a main character could be described as a "man child." It was also Robin Williams who put me off that feed forever. To me, Judd Apatow's post-Freaks and Geeks output is mostly a bad fever dream.

    Yes: I too love most anything about the sea (and agree Master and Commander was wonderfully good). Up with moody British detectives. Errol Morris can't be beat. I cannot be restrained from viewing any narrative containing a dance-off.
    posted by melissa may at 7:32 AM on February 26, 2010


    If it has autopsies, I mean bodies sliced up in extreme detail, I won't watch it. That covers about half of what's on TV now, I think. Also, no talking animals with those creepy CGI mouths, please.
    posted by The Mouthchew at 7:34 AM on February 26, 2010


    [John Cusack] said he prefers to do smaller, quirkier movies in general, but every couple of years he purposely does a big Hollywood blockbuster, to cushion up his bank account so he can continue to take the smaller roles. Not sure if he still operates this way (this was quoted around the time Con Air came out).

    Yeah, from the looks of it, he gave up the "contractural obligation" thing a while back. Because I REFUSE to believe he did Must Love Dogs or Hot Tub Time Machine because he needed money THAT badly.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:35 AM on February 26, 2010


    I will not buy a science fiction book if there are soldiers, no matter how hi-tech, on the cover: it'll just be a military thriller with lasers.

    Pretty good rule. Though as all these rules, there are rare exceptions - in this case almost anything written by Lois McMaster Bujold. (Mary Gentle's Grunts also qualifies).

    Several I used to follow were "No Vampire Romances, nothing where the protagonist is ostracised for her (or occasionally his) Speshul Powers. And above all nothing where one of the leads got their own orchestral music in the first scene". But I love True Blood (which also shatters the "No adaptions are better than the original source" rule).

    No talent shows unless I have access to the Fast Forward button or am watching them on Youtube.
    No shows where they accent people when talking in their native language.
    No shows or books about rich or middle class normally white people with really petty problems that they are making mountains out of. (F. Scott. Fitzgerald/Gatsby, I'm looking at you)
    posted by Francis at 7:35 AM on February 26, 2010


    Any show or movie involving a catch phrase is automatically suspect. They're not all bad--Arrested Development had dozens of them--but...most of them will be awful.

    Bonus points if the catch-phrase is a distinctly American colloquialism and is exclaimed, to great comedic intent, in the fractured-but-enthusiastic ESL of an exchange student, recent immigrant, or Japanese tourist.
    posted by applemeat at 7:35 AM on February 26, 2010


    (A)HA(W)O, maybe this just isn't the thread for you?

    (A)HA(W)O, don't listen to them, I enjoyed your comments and agree with them. Having said that, I am severely put off attempting a film if:

    - The President of the US is an action hero
    - The President of the US is protrayed as naturally fair and honourable
    - A person disadvantaged in some way (disabled, mentally retarded, abused, poor, fat etc) is helped by a professional who just happens to be a very young, beautiful woman with immaculate, understated clothing and an ultra-white smile
    - The message is 'God is true, now don't you feel stupid you overeducated atheists'
    - The message is 'look you foolish career woman, all you had to do is return to your home town, put on a apron and marry the nearest red neck to know true happiness'
    - It has Megan Fox in it
    - It has Adam Sandler in it
    - It has Sienna Miller in it
    - It has Brad Pitt in it
    - It's a Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe double
    - Tim Burton directed it (although I have tickets for Alice in Wonderland, but I'm a sucker for 3D)

    I have sympathy for the Bechdel rule, but if I applied it too closely I wouldn't have seen Taken or Wanted and I really liked those films.
    posted by Summer at 7:37 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    "(Wasn't the working title for Citizen Kane "American Kane" or something like that?)"

    Just American.
    posted by Toby Dammit X at 7:39 AM on February 26, 2010


    About the only hard and fast rule I have is no John Cusack.
    posted by stinkycheese at 7:40 AM on February 26, 2010


    I have a no-vampires rule, unless the vampire is snuck in the back door by Gaiman or Pratchett and relatively angst-free. This was a pre-Twilight preference btw.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:41 AM on February 26, 2010


    Book-wise, I will read pretty much anything, as long as I don't have to buy it myself. Seriously, I can't think of a single book I've ever snubbed. Even Atonement, which I snubbed for a long time due to the fact that Keira Knightley starred in the adaptation, eventually fell to my voracious appetite.
    posted by muddgirl at 7:42 AM on February 26, 2010


    And if the words "I love you" have a mystical effect or are the cue for great victory.

    I'm so with you there, but the problem is that that crap doesn't always happen until the end of the movie, and you can't always predict it. I was happy with The Matrix up until then, for instance.
    posted by dlugoczaj at 7:43 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I try very hard not to watch anything featuring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, or Will Ferrell.
    posted by limeonaire


    So you missed out on The Royal Tenenbaums because of your rule? I generally avoid Jim Carrey movies, but if that were a rule I'd have missed The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
    posted by workerant at 7:43 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I never, ever see anything where there's an old person doing something inappropriate, ironic or otherwise strange for their age in the trailer. For this reason, I'll never see The Wedding Singer. (I broke this rule under duress to watch Something's Gotta Give, and it's such an insult to the very idea of intelligence that now I can't even watch Manhattan without thinking of Diane Keaton's extended-crying-jag-while-writing-her-masterwork set piece, which really she should've walked off the fucking set ten seconds into it, she's Diane Fucking Keaton and this is just so beneath her.)

    On the plus side, I'll sit through anything historical just for the mise en scene, as long as Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer aren't involved.

    Not quite a hard-and-fast rule, but I will almost never read a book with a jacket blurb in which the reviewer claims the book contains the work of a writer "at the height of his/her powers." Writers are not wizards, and this is almost always a sign of a book being overpraised for doing such an excellent imitation of a Victorian novel.
    posted by gompa at 7:51 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    No kung-fu movies that take place in the modern era. Guns make hand to hand fighting obsolete.

    No Mel Gibson post-Thunderdome.

    No Lucy Liu.

    Any Coen brothers.
    posted by electroboy at 7:52 AM on February 26, 2010


    Avoid any title that ends with a number or roman numeral. They were made with your wallet, not your heart, in mind.

    - Chinese films in the theatre, though on DVD they're fine.


    I can kinda agree with both of these, but absolutely the best moviegoing experience of my life was a packed midnight showing of Drunken Master 2. And I say this as someone who is otherwise lukewarm to Jackie Chan and has no perceptible interest in martial arts movies.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:54 AM on February 26, 2010


    While I'm a sucker for Historical Dramas they constantly get my teeth on edge cause I happen to know an awful lot about Western History and I end up spending half the movie going "Oh no that wouldn't happen, look you see--"

    Wonderful Counter-Example The Libertine, if you want to get a good sense of how the 17th Century looked, go see that. There is much more shit and dirt and oily smoke in the past.
    posted by The Whelk at 7:54 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I have one simple rule: I only watch movies or TeeVee shows that feature a rag-tag band of misfits whose perfect combination of talent and contrariness allows them to overcome seemingly insuperable challenges.

    Behold...
    posted by Mister_A at 7:55 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    Oh, and no pop albums in which the songs are arranged into Roman-numeraled movements like a symphony.
    posted by gompa at 7:56 AM on February 26, 2010


    I avoid: posted by callmejay at 8:03 AM on February 26, 2010


    144 comments in, and I don't think I've seen any reaction to the article itself...

    While I agree with Hall & Oates - f'rinstance, avoiding Adam Sandler would mean no Punch Drunk Love - I do admit to having certain actors that just don't connect with me, to the point that sometimes a movie will be drastically changed in tone (for me). Like Single White Female, where crazy-ass Jennifer Jason Leigh was so much more appealing and sympathetic than Bridget Fonda that I was rooting for the villain throughout, or Groundhog Day, where my appreciation of awesomeness was slightly diverted by my antipathy for Andie MacDowell. Note: I have nothing personally against either of these performers, it's just that for whatever reason they don't connect with me onscreen at all.

    That said, there are certain tropes that will deter me from seeing a movie - chief among them the Magical Negro and Mighty Whitey. I could not believe it when I heard what Avatar's story was...
    posted by jtron at 8:06 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I will not watch anything on television. I will either skip it entirely, wait until it's on DVD/Hulu (preferred option), or just torrent the thing.

    I do not want my viewing to be interrupted by anyone but me or the people in the room with me. I do not to have to rearrange my schedule around the one set by network executives.
    posted by valkyryn at 8:07 AM on February 26, 2010


    I only watch the Turkish remake of anything. Yabancı ormanda Mavi romantizm 3-D is gonna rock so. Hard.

    Musically, if it has a gamelan, I'll listen to it, otherwise get fucked.
    posted by everichon at 8:08 AM on February 26, 2010


    Movies:

    Musicals are for when you're depressed

    Big dumb summer movies are for when you've got money to blow and just need to get out of the house fer chrissakes

    Kidnapped-women plots are all about the sick thrill of wondering "will she be raped?" and thus, ew. Will not see 'em. This covers many "thrillers" and even some "romances". Again, ew.

    Chick flicks are something I used to love, but no more. I no longer enjoy shopping montages or extremely pretty women looking into a mirror and wailing about their ugliness.

    Moonstruck is still a perfect movie, and makes me mourn for the days when Nick Cage was a compelling freak instead of a boring one.

    Books:

    Generally, I only try out new fiction authors if they're women. Because I read enough about the struggles of male protagonists whilst getting my BA to last me possibly the rest of my life. I don't want to hear any more about obsessing over pretty girls who won't talk to you, or troubled father relationships, or proving anyone's manhood in any way, or being a middle-aged academic with a decaying marriage and a secret coed girlfriend, or Fight Clubs, or road trips, or whatever. I'm done.

    Humor, nonfiction, essays, etc, though, no rules. I'll read almost anything, up to and including old encylopedias, or books on home repair if nothing else is available.
    posted by emjaybee at 8:08 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I'll watch anything featuring:

    1. Muppets
    2. Spaceships
    3. An obscene production budget.

    As you can tell, I've been waiting a long, long time for the cinematic release of Pigs in Space.
    posted by blue_beetle at 8:09 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


    Hot Tub Time Machine is a great title. But it should star Burt Reynolds.
    posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:12 AM on February 26, 2010


    Tangentially related: does the super powerful White Lantern defeating the eeevil Black Lantern strike anyone else as being a little... tone-deaf? I thought we were past all that White > Black symbolism... a quibble, to be sure, but it's enough to stop my 20+ year Green Lantern habit
    posted by jtron at 8:12 AM on February 26, 2010


    Fantasy. LOTR, Harry Potter, Spirited Away, etc. Sorry, I recognize that you're great and people love you, but I am not one of them and I'm done trying.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one. I've tried, I really have, but there has never been a fantasy movie where I haven't realized 1/4 of the way through that I'm just not into it. Had I not seen Star Wars when I was in first grade I'd probably have ended up hating it.

    With the exception of Star Wars, I generally dislike any non-plausible science fiction, be it book, movie, or TV show. I've tried to watch Star Trek but I hate, hate, HATE it. I know, I'll turn in my geek card. I did like the remake of Battlestar Galactica, I think because a lot of it did seem plausible to me and I liked the idea of spaceships shooting bullets.

    I've never really enjoyed a non-Pixar animated CG movie. Pixar could do a remake of Ishtar and I would watch it and love it.

    I will not watch anything with Sandra Bullock or Renee Zellwieger. Both of them bug the crap out of me.
    posted by bondcliff at 8:13 AM on February 26, 2010


    Also, no anime.
    posted by electroboy at 8:13 AM on February 26, 2010


    Oh, and Hugh Grant. Fuck that guy with a fucking electrified fucking pole.
    posted by bondcliff at 8:16 AM on February 26, 2010


    I only watch the Turkish remake of anything.

    You must've loved TATLI HAYAT, AKA The Turkish Jeffersons.
    posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:16 AM on February 26, 2010


    Only one rule - no laugh tracks. I don't care how good you say The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother is. In 2010, a laugh track is inexcusable.
    posted by kookaburra at 8:22 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    Cops & lawyers good, hospitals boring as batshit.

    Author's name must never be larger or more prominent than book's title.

    Strictly no animals or kids as leads in movies.

    Movies based on comic books are only good for proving the death of imagination.

    Literature in translation is generally better than books written by anglophones.

    Just about anything from Iceland will be great.

    Teenagers with supernatural powers? Fuck the fuck off.

    Voiceovers can ruin almost anything.

    Grand historical stories across generations are a compensatory mechanism for not being able to portray characters & events well at a single point in time.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 8:25 AM on February 26, 2010


    Two words.
    Keanu Reeves.
    posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:26 AM on February 26, 2010


    No: If I can summarize the entire story ark fairly accurately from the 60 second trailer alone.

    No: when the main character is an asshole, but that's not related to the plot. He's just an asshole. I don't want to spend time with assholes for no good reason. (This main characters that are needlessly racist/sexist/homophobes/bigots/etc. Especially if they are white and middle/upper class. And yes, this wipes out most of the 80s.)
    posted by Theta States at 8:26 AM on February 26, 2010


    Does it have monsters and/or spaceships and/or the world ends? Yes.
    Does it have monsters and swords and people who leap around a lot? ++ Yes
    Does it have monsters, swords, explosions, leaping people AND people in improbable hats? +++ YES! I'm there!

    Does it look as if it's going to be good for me, i.e., complex, lengthy and featuring Real People (tm) with Real Problems (tm)? No.
    Is it a psychological thriller, a courtroom drama, a police procedural or a horror movie without any supernatural elements? ++ No
    Is it a heartwarming romantic comedy with bonus slapstick interludes? +++ NO Please god no!
    posted by mygothlaundry at 8:31 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    The female protagonist falls down or is otherwise "adorably" clumsy.

    DO NOT WANT.
    posted by Joe Beese at 8:33 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I watch everything that Dwayne Johnson is in. He does a great job in everything and I really hope his film legacy eclipses his wrestling one (I'm not too familliar with that world so maybe it has already?). I will rent Tooth Fairy when it comes out on DVD. Yes I'm serious. I hope he lands some better and more serious roles.

    I have no patience for a lot of TV and how everything that's around long enough seems to eventually turn into the equivalent of highschool drama, but I've complained about that enough on here to last a lifetime.
    posted by ODiV at 8:36 AM on February 26, 2010


    avoid: 'heartwarming, inspiring, uplifting', also "culture" aimed at teenagers, modern country music.

    I like hard science fiction and space operas, and give almost anything techy a whirl.
    posted by kittyloop at 8:36 AM on February 26, 2010


    While I'm a sucker for Historical Dramas they constantly get my teeth on edge cause I happen to know an awful lot about Western History and I end up spending half the movie going "Oh no that wouldn't happen, look you see--"

    Ooh, the Whelk, yes: anachronisms, they bug. Which is actually why I have a soft-spot for Back the to Future III, because of Marty's 50's-era cowboy clothes making him look weird to the locals.

    I don't know how many "historical" movies I've seen featuring people with hair that's not only improbably clean, but also cut/shaped in a completely anachronistic style. There were no blowdryers or hairspray in the 19th century, people. That's why they had hats.
    posted by emjaybee at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2010


    Yes: anything about The End Of The World. I think it all stems from reading Childhood's End at a younger age than I probably should have.
    posted by you just lost the game at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2010


    AVOID:
    Gory horror (thrillers okay)
    Police or courtroom anything
    War/nationalism (usually)
    Any CGI cartoons but Pixar
    Fart/belch in trailer
    Word "inspirational" in trailer
    Nicolas Cage (usually)
    Uwe Boll
    Michael Bay
    Dwayne Johnson
    Eddie Murphy
    Steve Martin
    Popular YA book adaptation
    Sports
    Based on a video game
    Western (usually)
    Talking animals (usually)
    Pun in title
    Turntable scratch/stop in trailer
    Many children as plot element
    Lingering shot of hot female in trailer
    Shirtless, muscular man in trailer
    Fad/pop culture reference in trailer
    Protagonist brooding in trailer (usually)
    Sequel by a different director (usually)
    Woman gives up on men, then finds man
    Mother-daughter-sister togetherness
    Troubled youth finds redemption
    Black Eyed Peas or equivalent in trailer
    Raunchy teen sex comedy
    "Ethnic" comedy
    Wayans brothers (redundant?)
    Dramatic news report in trailer
    Nausea-inducing shaky cam in trailer
    Sequel of a 15+ year-old franchise
    Title is "_____ Movie"

    SEE:
    Pixar anything
    Weta anything
    Brad Bird
    Jennifer Connelly
    Anne Hathaway
    Simon Pegg
    Edgar Wright
    Even the smallest element of time travel
    John Williams
    Adventure/quest/epic/journey
    Set in early 20th century
    Plot twists advertised but not spoiled
    Anti-authoritarian themes
    Word "visionary" in multiple reviews
    Nathan Fillion
    Will Smith
    Traditional Chinese music in trailer
    Sufficiently original "reboot"
    Carrey/Carell/Ferrell in dramatic role
    Coen brothers
    Dustin Hoffman
    Reviews say "slapstick done right"
    Nonlinear storytelling
    Dystopian or "used" future
    Michael Caine (usually)
    Christopher Nolan
    Reluctant/nontraditional action hero
    Intelligent heist/infiltration planning


    Okay, I'm done.
    posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:48 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    ODiV: "I watch everything that Dwayne Johnson is in. He does a great job in everything and I really hope his film legacy eclipses his wrestling one (I'm not too familliar with that world so maybe it has already?)"

    It depends on how you define "eclipse". Which career will be mentioned first in his obituary? Suffice it to say that you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of professional wrestlers equal to him in stature. To accomplish the same thing in movies, he would need to become a Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise. And while I would happily sit through The Tooth Fairy on a cross-country flight, roles like that aren't leading to him to that rank.
    posted by Joe Beese at 8:50 AM on February 26, 2010


    Spaceships on the cover = good science fiction, hand weapons on the cover = military science fiction, female flesh on the cover = lousy science fiction.

    I'm a bit late to the thread and I'm still reading, but I was very amused by this one. Because the box art for the first Mass Effect has all three.
    posted by kmz at 8:54 AM on February 26, 2010


    Film :

    First off, NO FUCKING WIZARDS.
    Second, NOTHING THAT REMINDS ME OF A FUCKING WIZARD.
    Third, NO FUCKING VAMPIRES.
    Third point five, NO FUCKING WEREWOLVES EITHER.
    Four, no movies featuring kids who talk like adults. ESPECIALLY BABIES.
    Five, movies where you know from the trailer that it's going to be a DEPRESSING BUZZKILL. I'm looking at you, Self-Consciously Poignant Indie Cinema.
    Six, NO FUCKING BIOPICS.
    Seven, NO FUCKING CGI.
    Eight, no fucking musicals unless they're INTENTIONALLY campy.
    posted by Afroblanco at 8:54 AM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    I will watch anything with Philip Seymour Hoffman driving it.
    posted by Theta States at 9:08 AM on February 26, 2010


    8. Switching the actor who plays a character because the original one quit/got fired/died: adios. (Find a way to write that character out!)

    I prefer this to the usual alternate solution, which is to introduce a new character who, apart from their name and face, is identical to the one being replaced.
    posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:09 AM on February 26, 2010


    Don't buy software that has the word "magic" or "super" in its name.
    posted by Drasher at 9:14 AM on February 26, 2010


    I don't watch children in jeopardy.

    notshotbot, I won't watch horror movies with creepy kids or kids creeped out by the horror in question. I can't suspend my disbelief because I keep thinking, "What kinds of parents would let their kids go through that?!" Haley Joel Osmont locked in that little cupboard in The Sixth Sense freaked me the fuck out. I wanted to rescue that little kid so bad. The Happening, which I only saw on TV on hotel cable, solidified this opinion.

    Exception: Newt in Aliens.

    No movies where people die in contrived way for no other reason than it makes the movie seem "deeper."

    Pay It Forward pissed me right off for the contrived moving ending that put it over the top. Anyone who saw it knows what I mean.

    No I Am Dying of A Terminal Illness movies.

    No Martin Lawrence, Wayans Brothers or Eddie Murphy movies since they are all slapstick racist crap, i.e. "black folks are morons." Raise the bar, guys.

    I'm stuck on no more Tom Cruise, because I boycotted his Scientologist ass after the whole "Depression can be cured with vitamins" rant with Matt Lauer ("you're so glib"), but then he snuck into Tropic Thunder with his best performance ever.

    Nothing starring Kevin Costner, especially where he has to act smart.
    Look, Dances with Wolves was a great movie, no question. But go back and really listen to him when he is supposed to be *reading his own journal* and try not to shoot yourself in the head.

    I don't generally go for remakes.

    Exception: Ed Norton and Liv Tyler's Hulk.

    I just plain like Katherine Heigl.

    I am SO tired of Tim Burton.
    posted by misha at 9:17 AM on February 26, 2010


    Oh yeah, I started a new rule a few years ago after Big Fish

    * Tim Burton movies are boycotted until he stops casting Helena Bonham-Carter and Johnny freaking Depp in every single movie.
    posted by muddgirl at 9:19 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I think after Nine I need to institute a new rule that if it's clear I am going to hate a movie in it's entirety after the first twenty minutes I should just walk out.
    posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on February 26, 2010


    Tim Burton was amazing and he was my favorite director, until Mars Attacks!. Now I can't bring myself to care much. Alice in Wonderland looks interesting though, if a bit similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (weird and twisted CGI for the sake of weird and twisted CGI).

    Thank you thread for reminding me of my distaste for all things Kevin Costner. I'd forgotten about him.
    posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 9:27 AM on February 26, 2010


    In books, I tend to avoid nonfiction where the subtitle begins with "HOW".
    posted by condour75 at 9:27 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    No shaky-cam. "Principal Skinner? I got carsick in your office."
    posted by giraffe at 9:28 AM on February 26, 2010


    I think after Nine I need to institute a new rule that if it's clear I am going to hate a movie in it's entirety after the first twenty minutes I should just walk out.

    Do it soon enough and you can get a refund on your ticket.

    I've learned that if I keep waiting around for a movie to redeem itself, I will be disappointed. I have never thought, "Wow, I almost walked out but the second half really redeemed that movie!" I have many times thought, "Should have walked out the minute I first thought of it."

    This doesn't apply to books, though. I have sometimes stopped reading a book for some reason--bad writing, expect too much violence, find author annoyingly glib--but read and liked it despite those flaws when I happened upon it some time later and tried again. it seems to be true that this can be just "not my moment" for a book, not so much for a movie.
    posted by not that girl at 9:35 AM on February 26, 2010


    I generally won't see anything that uses the lazy-ass titling device of "Verb/Name," e.g. Finding Forrester, Chasing Amy, Saving Silverman, Raising Helen, Guarding Tess, Regarding Henry, Losing Isiah, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc. etc. ad infinitum.
    Even though it has the additional strike against it of "actor playing twins," I give Raising Cain a pass on this one 'cause it was good'n'creepy and was an early user of the device.
    Also Finding Nemo was good. And Being John Malkovich. Maybe I'd pass Boxing Helena or Eating Raoul but I saw those a long time ago.
    But ya, really annoying.

    And in TV, I will change the channel if a character, usually female and sad about something man-related, sits down on a couch and eats ice cream right out of the container.
    I will also change the channel if people bring home Chinese food in those little paper boxes with the wire handle that I've never seen in any Chinese restaurant anywhere in existence or at least in my travels.
    Maybe they exist in kitschy retro places in trendy urban areas that have things like stores with nothing but cupcakes, but that doesn't count.
    posted by chococat at 9:36 AM on February 26, 2010


    Do it soon enough and you can get a refund on your ticket.

    These days it's not the tickets, it's the babysitting fees and the feeling of wasting our tiny reserve of free time.
    posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on February 26, 2010


    chococat: "I generally won't see anything that uses the lazy-ass titling device of "Verb/Name," e.g. Finding Forrester, Chasing Amy, Saving Silverman, Raising Helen, Guarding Tess, Regarding Henry, Losing Isiah, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc. etc. ad infinitum."

    I loathe suggestive gerunds.

    "Oh... Judging Amy. But is it an adjective? Or a verb?"
    posted by Joe Beese at 9:45 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I keep telling myself that I will stop watching movies of books that I've read, because I'm always disappointed, but I never seem to learn my lesson and continue to do it anyway.
    posted by hwestiii at 9:47 AM on February 26, 2010


    Ooh, the Whelk, yes: anachronisms, they bug. Which is actually why I have a soft-spot for Back the to Future III, because of Marty's 50's-era cowboy clothes making him look weird to the locals.


    After a certain point I just shut up cause it's now Historical Fantasy and they might as well be wizards or something. Like I'm not gonna get angry about inaccuracies in Gladiator cause it's swords and sandals fantasy where Russel Crowe is pleasently shirtless for long stretches but I *will* get uppity if it's say, Rome where huge chunks of things will be correct but then they trip up on something minor and it's supposed to be all accurate and shit.

    That was longer then I expected.

    On Burton, his movies just stopped being interesting after Ed Wood (which I thought was his best thing since Beetleuice) Everything after that has the same lazy, slapdash feel and look. The new Alice's visual design just ....bores me.

    I will also change the channel if people bring home Chinese food in those little paper boxes with the wire handle that I've never seen in any Chinese restaurant anywhere in existence or at least in my travels.

    I've got like 3 boxes of leftovers in those very containers that I got from the place around the corner that wouldn't know what kitsch was if it was stamped on their forehead. The greasier place further up the street uses the little white containers too. (although not for big dishes) and come to think of it, the mini-mall in NJ where I grew up would deliver them in the white containers too.
    posted by The Whelk at 9:58 AM on February 26, 2010


    you think i'm going to watch a fandub????? No. Freakin. Way. -_-Wake me up when you learn japanese!!!!!!!!
    posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:09 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I just don't get John Cusack. Every time he appears I just want to hurt him.

    The Ice Harvest plays into this wonderfully.
    posted by The Whelk at 10:10 AM on February 26, 2010


    On my always and anytime list:

    - any horror movie
    - any movie with zombies
    - any movies with an apocalyptic theme
    - any Christopher Guest movie
    - any Michael Moore movie
    - anything involving They Might Be Giants or Tom Waits in any way
    - any French movie
    - British pop music
    - Philip Seymour Hoffman
    - British panel shows (Have I got News For You, Mock the Week etc)
    - musicals
    - anything involving Jeremy Paxman or Jo Brand

    On my never list:

    - Western-themed movies (I don't consider Blazing Saddles to be in this category)
    - movies, books or tv shows involving graphic depictions of child, animal or woman abuse. This mostly comes into play with books and has prevented me from reading books I otherwise would have liked to read
    - Tragic Life Stories aka Misery Memoirs
    - any inspirational movies which have a football theme
    - any inspirational movies which have a strong teacher/disadvantaged students theme
    - any other inspirational movie which relies upon a cliche (almost all of them)
    - British soap operas (EastEnders, Corrie etc)
    - British movies with a football (soccer) theme
    - Anything involving Jeremy Clarkson
    posted by triggerfinger at 10:13 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    im with (A)H(W)O, although i would never claim not to have prejudices. cuz thats what this is, a thread where people list their (mostly) benign prejudices. i do have plenty, some based on personal preference (im bored of superheros) and some based on unfortunate phobias (stories of people having sex change operations make me feel ill) but i am not proud of them. acknowledging them is good so by all means let us list them, but let's include some self-analysis of why we have issues with certain tropes and signposts beyond merely "I DONT LIKE THAT RAP MUSIC ITS AN OXYMORON."

    that said, if i never see/read another movie/etc humanizing a child molester again i will die 10% happier. i know child abuse is horrible, and i know the abusers are people. stretching those facts out at length seems to me to take a prurient delight in horror even worse than Hostel-esque torture porn. the blame for this i place entirely on kevin bacon.
    posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:13 AM on February 26, 2010


    NO CAR CHASES, EVER.
    On the other hand, for no apparent reason, I will watch almost any sports movie, no matter how sappy, predictable or cliched. No excuse, it's a personal problem. But I do it anyway.
    posted by cccorlew at 10:13 AM on February 26, 2010


    I've got like 3 boxes of leftovers in those very containers
    I stand corrected. I'm in Toronto and I've never seen them here or anywhere else I've been so I always assumed it was a TV shortcut for "Chinese Food" or "look at us in our 20's eating Chinese Food in New York."
    So you really DO live like the kids on Friends!
    Next your going to tell me that you play the blues nightly on your saxophone, sitting on the rainy fire escape outside your window while neon light flashes across your face.
    posted by chococat at 10:16 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    For me, it's albums with somebody's ass on the NSFW->cover. Except maybe.
    posted by applemeat at 10:17 AM on February 26, 2010


    If the use of Photoshop on the poster/dvd cover is obvious, I'm not gonna see it. Exhibit One, Exhibit Two (dear god, those teeth, they haunt me still).

    Seriously. You're gonna blow 40 bajillion on a movie and turn the graphic design over to someone's twelve year old cousin with a pirated copy of photoshop? I have no faith in your ability to care about your movie.
    posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:23 AM on February 26, 2010


    sitting on the rainy fire escape outside your window while neon light flashes across your face.


    My fire escape has a metal sign on it from the 20s informing me that sitting on the escape will result in a fine of 30 whole dollars.
    posted by The Whelk at 10:24 AM on February 26, 2010


    If the use of Photoshop on the poster/dvd cover is obvious, I'm not gonna see it.

    OH GOD that poster for Leap Year where they've shopped everyone so badly that the dude looks like a stoned Irish alien? They jacked up his eye color from "blueish" to freakishly green. It hurts me. On the inside.
    posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on February 26, 2010


    No Nicolas Cage. Ever.
    No Owen Wilson. Ever.
    No Kevin Costner. Ever.
    I don't really care if those guys are talented or not (I'm sure there are opinions on both sides) -- I can't look at their faces. They disturb me to the point that I am physically creeped out, if that makes any sense.

    I like Tim Burton, but I wish he'd get over his hard-on for Johnny Depp. I like Depp too, but there are directors and actors who absolutely fit their styles together (Scorcese and DeNiro for example), and then there's continual miscasting due to blind devotion.

    If I'm pretty sure the trailer just told me the entire emotional arc/plot of a film, there's no reason for me to see it.

    I will see anything at all by Pixar, because, even though I have to leave my feminist/Bechdel Test issues outside the theater to enjoy them, they've never made a bad movie--they've never even made a good movie. Their movies are either great, or beyond belief awesome. All of them.

    I love both Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan, and the fact that they're in a movie *together* makes me googly-eyed, but I won't give a cent to Roman Polanski, so that sucks.

    I love bromance, but I hate the word "bromance." I like it on television far more than in the movies, because bromance movies invariably have to make it very clear that WE ARE NOT GAY, and they are usually flat-out comedies (which I'm not so fond of). Bromance on television is usually handled far more deftly, subtly, and honestly (see: White Collar, House, Boston Legal, etc.).

    I'll give nearly any tv drama that isn't a cop/lawyer/doctor show a shot. Most still suck, but at least they're something new. I have been convinced to try one or two shows I labeled "cop" shows when friends said "IT ISN'T REALLY A 'COP' SHOW I SWEAR" (The Wire, and Life, are two examples I loved. MAN The Wire was so good.)

    I won't watch a movie or a tv show in which an animal dies. I have several friends who know to warn me if they see one, so I can stay away.

    American remakes of foreign films. No. Just, no. Haven't seen a good one yet; gave up bothering a while ago.

    I am a slave to Robert Downey Junior in all of his Robert Downey Junioriness.

    I don't read any books that are on any "great books for a book club!" list, unless I get positive responses from several friends I trust.

    I'll almost always give "high-concept" tv, books, or movies a shot.

    No sit-coms. Exceptions: early Scrubs, all of Arrested Development, and I'm sure I'm missing a few, but what they all have in common is that they're single-camera, no-laugh-track shows.

    Anything by Neil Gaiman, I will read. Anything adapted to film from a Neil Gaiman work, I will not watch.

    And finally:

    I'm from the U.S. I love the U.S. Despite everything and everyone trying to destroy us from the inside, I still have hope for the U.S. But any movie about how fucking great the U.S. is should be burned (celluloid) or erased (digital), and the filmmakers should be forced to apologize to every other country on the planet. (I'm looking at you, Independence Day.)
    posted by tzikeh at 10:28 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    Auto-avoid:
    - movie whose poster features the bad comedy font
    - any radio station whose tagline includes "kitchen words": hot, fresh, mix, jam
    - male actor dresses as fat woman
    - trailer features "Bad to the Bone", Beyonce, BEP, or an animal biting a human's crotch
    - horror/"thriller" movie with no supernatural or SF element (e.g. merely Person A menacing Person B)
    - children are smart-alecky and/or constantly in peril
    - salacious yet PG-13. No naughty bits, but you wouldn't dream of bringing your kids. Usually indicative of other narrative problems.
    - any movie where you're supposed to be impressed by the mere act of a cultural reference or the performance of a popular song

    Auto-approve:
    - movies with larger-than-normal invertebrates or new monsters
    - songs in 5/4, 7/8, etc. always get a listen. (my ears perked up at the end of "Twilight 1")
    - lead character is a mathematician
    - a highway is constructed or destroyed
    posted by kurumi at 10:29 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I will also change the channel if people bring home Chinese food in those little paper boxes with the wire handle that I've never seen in any Chinese restaurant anywhere in existence or at least in my travels.

    If they made a tv show about my life that didn't have those in them, it would canceled after three weeks because I would be dead of starvation.
    posted by tzikeh at 10:30 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    zoh i should have added that the POSITIVE examples of things you will see no matter what are great. positivity is great. there are plenty of directors like the coen bros and bernard tavenier who have never let me down and bands like TMBG who are incapable of making a record i cant listen to all the way through while smiling, but in the end my one solid rule is that i MUST try everything with an open mind. like DU points out way up there you have to have filters, but one of my filters is that i consistently try to surprise myself by seeing things not targeted at my white nerd dude brain, appreciating stuff on its own merits. this has led me to enjoy Brad Paisley, Phineas and Pherb, that show that Michael Stahan was in that got canceled, and The Devil Wears Prada. this isn't to say that i am better than all of you, but simply that i am vastly more intelligent than you and have nicer shoes. to each his own?
    posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:33 AM on February 26, 2010


    Anything with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Clive Owen, Dakota Fanning, Ewan McGregor*, Cliff Curtis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Vin Diesel (I'm sad to say), an alum from Joss Whedon or BSG, or a romance with someone from Ireland is an automatic yes for me. Anything with a supernatural/pseudo-religious bent is also an automatic yes (Constantine and last year's awful-in-a-great-way Push are favorite guilty pleasures). In books, anything with a character who can see the future is an automatic yes (unfortunately this is how Twilight sucked me in). I refuse to watch anything with Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, anybody from the Disney films, poorly done accents, screwball comedies, or inspiriational sports films.

    *But I won't see his newest film because apparently Roman Polanski is a stronger "no" than he is a "yes" for me.
    posted by lilac girl at 10:42 AM on February 26, 2010


    NO:

    Movie guy voiceover in which the words "Once in a (insert time value here) comes a motion picture blah blah blah" are heard.
    Tim Allen is in it
    Renee Zellweger**
    Tom Cruise***

    YES:

    Stanley Tucci, Dennis Farina or that guy who was in The Big Lebowski and Big Trouble* (with Stanley Tucci and Dennis Farina!) is in it.
    George Clooney** (the Cary Grant of our time)

    *Every time I see this it's a struggle because the Tim Allen almost outweighs the Stanley Tucci-Dennis Farina-ThatOtherGuy-ness of it. I usually just fast-forward through as many Tim Allen scenes as I can. Seriously, I just can't hate him enough.

    **Obviously I couldn't see Leatherheads

    ***Not for anything except my fantasy hourly wage over the entire period of time it would take me to forget having seen it.

    there are more, unfortunately. the movie listings are a minefield.
    posted by toodleydoodley at 11:04 AM on February 26, 2010


    never
    - most movies with on-camera rape or torture scenes
    - most movies where there's a dad and something bad is happening to his family so he goes INSANE where he is otherwise reasonable
    - most tortured-family movies generally
    - movies with hapless female sidekick who sounds like she's orgasming when she's in distress
    - any Dances With Wolves type stupid racial metaphor movie
    - "gender bending" from a major studio
    - lovable drunks or unlovable drunks

    usually [except as excluded above]
    - space movies
    - superhero movies
    - stand-up comedy except the Redneck Tour people
    - apocalypse movies [esp weather porn]
    - movies with people I know in them
    - anything I don't pay for

    Mostly I just don't buy anything, so usually when I decide what movie to see it's what's up the street whatever it is, or what's at the drive-in. Books are what's in the library or on paperbackswap and I don't think I've bought music in forever.

    chococat: all my Chinese food comes in those containers. Yours really doesn't? What does it come in?
    posted by jessamyn at 11:06 AM on February 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I like movies that are about science and/or math, but where the scientists and/or mathematicians aren't smokin' hot go-getters in a cardigan and glasses.
    posted by Theta States at 11:08 AM on February 26, 2010


    Tim Allen is in it


    But then you would have missed Galaxy Quest, one of the best love-letters to Trekdom ever.
    posted by The Whelk at 11:08 AM on February 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


    My movie preferences are this

    mark wahlberg being angry and grrr (my favorite movie might be Four Brothers)
    revenge or justice should happen in it
    Tyler Perry, it doesn't have to have Medea but probably should
    stuff that makes me go "oh snap"
    musicals

    In the theater, I only go to stuff that's not that great so I can spend most of the time flirting
    posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:18 AM on February 26, 2010


    Absolute yes:

    (1) Strange doings in any hospital (esp. mental hospitals), orphanage, museum, or zoo. (Note: Slapstick kiddie crap with Ben Stiller != strange doings)
    (2) Creepy children (This often turns out badly, but I'm always willing to try.)
    (3) Period pieces involving Victorian science or psychoanalysis (Note-- must show that the writers actually know something about the field-- a veneer of squeezed-off Freudianism is not going to cut it.)
    (4) Period pieces involving ghosts, mediums, or failed, "scientific" crime detection methods.
    (5) Guillermo del Toro or Lars von Trier
    (6) Any sort of inside look at a cult or fringe religious group.
    (7) Gabriel Byrne or Emily Watson
    (10) Anything about the surrealist movement, dada, or The Factory. Actually, anything about the participants in any art movement from about 1800 forward-- but if it's about surrealism and/or dada I will TRAMPLE GRANDMOTHERS to get into the theater/bookstore first.
    (11) Anything with lots of Art Deco, or that could be described as being substantially "about architecture."
    (12) All films with fantastical content of any kind that pre-date the sound era.
    (15) Any sort of ethnography about stand-up comedy, and anything that analyzes The True Meaning of Being a Comic, i.e., Funny Bones, The Aristocrats, etc.
    (16) Stuff that's primarily dramatic, but that contains just a tiny whiff of science fiction/fantastical content, i.e. _The Man Who Wasn't There_, or Gregg Araki's _Nowhere_.
    (17) If there's a hippo.
    posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:24 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Tim Allen is in it


    But then you would have missed Galaxy Quest, one of the best love-letters to Trekdom ever.


    yeah, I know, and Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman and Tony Shalhoub. But OTOH Sam Rockwell and STARRING TIM ALLEN! There are some things you can't unsee.

    I didn't say it wasn't painful.
    posted by toodleydoodley at 11:28 AM on February 26, 2010


    I refuse to see anything with:
    -- a poop/fart joke in the trailer
    -- Jim Carry in a comedic role
    -- "hilarious" fat suits (Mr. Creosote excepted)
    -- a comedy remake of an old tv show I liked, particularly if that show wasn't a comedy. Fuck you right in the ear, Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost.
    -- live-action animals and/or babies with their mouths digitally-manipulated to look like they're talking. Seriously, that just makes my blood boil.

    I don't watch TV unless I hear really good things about a show, in which case I watch it on DVD (preferably after the series is over). I also avoid video games where the main verb is "jump". Not because they're inherently bad, but because I'm terrible at them, and they make me angrier than any other sort of game.

    On the good side, I have yet to be disappointed by any movie where someone headbutts someone else in the face. By this metric, Ninja Scroll and The Matrix are the two best movies I have ever seen.
    posted by rifflesby at 11:28 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    (16) Stuff that's primarily dramatic, but that contains just a tiny whiff of science fiction/fantastical content, i.e. _The Man Who Wasn't There_, or Gregg Araki's _Nowhere_.

    is that the really funny one with the giant lizard or the really awful one with the bolt cutters?
    posted by toodleydoodley at 11:29 AM on February 26, 2010


    Who is the guy who will watch any horror anthology film ever made, even if it looks like total crap? I am the guy!
    posted by Faint of Butt at 11:30 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Toodleydoodley:

    That would be the giant lizard. Actually, I could probably put "Anything that includes a guy in a giant lizard suit for an articulable philosophical reason," on my list.
    posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:36 AM on February 26, 2010


    Anything adapted to film from a Neil Gaiman work, I will not watch.

    Hmm. I didn't see Stardust, and can't think of any other examples of this except Coraline, which I thought was fantastic.
    posted by rifflesby at 11:37 AM on February 26, 2010


    That would be the giant lizard. Actually, I could probably put "Anything that includes a guy in a giant lizard suit for an articulable philosophical reason," on my list.
    posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:36 PM on February 26 [+] [!]


    right on! *clink*
    posted by toodleydoodley at 11:38 AM on February 26, 2010


    I refuse to see anything with:

    -- Jim Carry in a comedic ANY role


    I'm with you
    posted by toodleydoodley at 11:41 AM on February 26, 2010


    If the use of Photoshop on the poster/dvd cover is obvious, I'm not gonna see it. Exhibit One, Exhibit Two (dear god, those teeth, they haunt me still).

    Seriously. You're gonna blow 40 bajillion on a movie and turn the graphic design over to someone's twelve year old cousin with a pirated copy of photoshop? I have no faith in your ability to care about your movie.


    It's strange to me that you feel that way, unless you know nothing about how movies are made.

    Only a few directors have control over how their movies are marketed. So the quality of the poster has no quality of the movie. The actors don't control the post. Nor do the set-designers, crew, writers or editors.

    The studio and marketing department is responsible for posters.

    And most authors aren't allowed to choose the covers of their books.

    I was reading George R. R. Martin's blog the other day. The book he is working on now is really long, and so there's a possibility that it might be broken up into two books. A fan urged Martin to not do that. He (rightly) said it was up to the publisher. And he's a best-selling author!
    posted by grumblebee at 11:46 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    No Tom Cruise

    No Steven Spielberg
    posted by pianomover at 11:47 AM on February 26, 2010


    if one of my 90's women heroes is involved, even though I don't listen to their music nearly as obsessively today, I will at least check it out with an open mind no matter what the critics think about it (Courtney Love, PJ Harvey, Kristin Hersh, Tori Amos).

    I don't care for most comedies or musicals so I avoid them unless friends invite me to go see a comedy film, I'll keep the negativity to myself in that case.

    Refuse to go to reunion tours no matter how much I loved the band the first time around (I may make an exception for Hole, see rule #1), it just makes me feel old.. especially if the band had been around awhile before I even saw them! Such as friends all hyped for Jesus Lizard reunion & it's like I saw them in 96 and they had already become so popular (relatively) that I felt kind of uncool that it wasn't 91 (even though I was a kid then & into dance music).

    A lot of the Onion rules are hard to believe because you probably would have to go see the film in question to even know some very particular detail was in it. So all it means is the writers saw a film or two with that thing and hey it's yet another idiosyncratic indie quirk that no one cares about, really, and proves one is special and quirky in the same way as every other pop culture critic...
    posted by citron at 11:55 AM on February 26, 2010


    Man, opening yourself up to a whole world of pain with the Courtney Love thing there...
    posted by Artw at 11:57 AM on February 26, 2010


    We're better people then that.

    Right?
    posted by The Whelk at 12:03 PM on February 26, 2010


    the link for that
    posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on February 26, 2010


    It's strange to me that you feel that way, unless you know nothing about how movies are made.

    Sadly, I know this is far beyond the directors/writers/actors/crew's ability to control, but it sticks in my craw so hard I really can't get over it. It took me years to see Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead because of it (that horrible motion blur!) but I can't let go of this particular facet of my designer's OCD.

    So can we assume it's a product of my hatred of the larger excesses of studio system and actually has nothing to do with any qualities other than my own biases?
    posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:04 PM on February 26, 2010


    Always:

    Magnetic Fields

    Never:

    Um. I guess I don't have a never. Yes, I consume a terrific amount of shitty media.
    posted by Skot at 12:05 PM on February 26, 2010


    I can't watch Renee Zellweger. There's something about her face that squicks me.

    In the VibroHouse, she's known as Old Axe Face.
    posted by vibrotronica at 12:15 PM on February 26, 2010


    I cannot watch most sitcoms, particularly ones where people are placed in cringe-inducing situations. I don't enjoy laughing at people.

    For the same reason, I cannot abide most reality shows.

    Cop dramas are OK, but not when the "mystery" they're trying to solve is really obvious. I get bored waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    SNL alumni haven't made many good movies. I tend to avoid those.

    I have a lot of time, however, for Miyazaki films, Pixar films, and other animated films like "Les Triplettes de Belleville".
    posted by LN at 12:18 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I think after Nine I need to institute a new rule that if it's clear I am going to hate a movie in it's entirety after the first twenty minutes I should just walk out.
    posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on February 26 [+] [!]


    I had never heard of Nine but it looks like a crappy remake of Fellini's 8 1/2? and then I look at the prior work director Rob Marshall has done and I think, "Who would let him have a project like this?"

    But then I see that this is you, Artw, complaining about watching this whole movie, and I think, "But you're Artw! You would never fall for crap like this! What were you thinking?"

    But then I see who was actually *in* this movie - Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench and Sophia Loren - and I think, wow, what were they thinking?

    God help us all.
    posted by toodleydoodley at 12:21 PM on February 26, 2010


    Hey, I watch things that are not about spaceships, aliens and robots sometimes too!
    posted by Artw at 12:23 PM on February 26, 2010


    I just thought you had, like, x-ray vision for discerning horsecrap. but we all have our kryptonite. tell the truth - was it Daniel Day-Lewis or Judi Dench?
    posted by toodleydoodley at 12:28 PM on February 26, 2010


    Yeah but when Judi Dench was in that movie with spaceships, aliens, and robots it was really, really bad.

    Nowhere, a gay bar downtown, would sometimes do little video mashups or clips during happy hour. They played that one scene from Riddick.... You know, the one where Vin Diseal is on all fours being "scanned" and grunting and...sweating. They played that scene a lot
    posted by The Whelk at 12:30 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    My wife really liked Chicago.

    She hated Nine too, FWIW.
    posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on February 26, 2010


    Richard Gere is creepy. So is Renee Zellweger. Chicago should have been awful for me, but it wasn't. (Thank you, Queen Latifa!)

    Upon preview, I see I'm not the only one bothered by RZ (AND I used "squicked out" to my bf the other day talking about her!)
    posted by _paegan_ at 12:35 PM on February 26, 2010


    I've pretty much given up on "Musicals adapted to be movies", since it seems like both Nine and Repo! The Genetic Opera are crap for the same reason.

    The last Musical-Movie I liked was Chicago, because the transition was very thoughtfully done. On the big screen, there's no reason to keep the alto duet that beautifully summarizes their characters and the plot so far. The audience already got it at least 15 minutes ago.
    posted by muddgirl at 12:39 PM on February 26, 2010


    OK, "crap" is a strong word for a movie I haven't seen and a movie that I sort of liked. It could be replaced with "didn't work".
    posted by muddgirl at 12:43 PM on February 26, 2010


    No Costner (boy, that’s reaching back aways. Does he still act? Did he ever?).
    No Cruise (I also claim the TT exception).
    No Gibson.
    No Gere.
    No Zellweger.
    No freaking Meg Ryan. No not in that one thing. Not ever. Ok, maybe The Doors. Fuck.
    No American remakes.
    No family dysfunction dramas.
    No family dysfunction comedies (Royal Tenenbaums exception).
    No romantic comedies.
    No “bitchy/caustic/arrogant-as-charming” leads.
    No sci-fi where they change trivial details unnecessarily to show you it’s The Future.
    No triumph of faith over reason, please. Signs, you goddamn piece of shit.
    If TV, no laugh tracks. Not for new shows, anyway. As kookaburra said, there’s no excuse.

    And a tentative new no to gun violence. Exceptions permitted, but I’m kinda done with it. I watched an episode of Rockford Files the other day where Rockford gets, out of nowhere in a totally run-of-the-mill episode, shot in the head and it made me sick and sad. (though I applaud the plotting. You can only play silly buggers so many times with people holding guns on you)

    Automatic yes to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney, and John Carpenter alumni.
    Automatic yes to adult-oriented fantasy or sci-fi. Adult-oriented does not mean "show us your tits".
    Automatic yes to Lovecraft adaptations.
    Automatic yes to foreign horror (if supernatural).
    Automatic yes to bizarre tales with historical footnotes (eg: Men Who Stare at Goats).
    John Carpenter yes.
    Coen Brothers yes.
    David Cronenberg yes.
    David Lynch yes.
    Wes Anderson yes.
    Guy Ritchie yes. (no it's not the same film again; fuck you)
    For television, everything HBO gets initial good will from me.
    And I’m a sucker for old-school (short-story structured) sci-fi: take an idea and add people; mix (Primer, Cube, etc.).

    I refuse to watch a show until the entire series is out on DVD. I can't stand waiting for cliff hangers. This isn't a hard and fast rule, but it's eat I did for the wire and the Sopranos, and what I plan on doing with Mad Men and Lost.

    This is a really good rule. Really good. The problem is when you hit a series and you think this doesn’t apply, because it’s just not going to be that good (Lost; House), and then you get to the end of the (current) run, thinking you’ll run outside and play in the sun, and instead you sit there and play around a bit on your computer, maybe look up the wiki page on the show for anything you missed, hell maybe visit a forum and OMG you're an addict!! And then it’s too damn late.

    But then the next great thing comes along and you’re like, what other thing was I watching? *hint* -- Dr. Horrible cures whatever ails you.
    posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:45 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Wow, palmcorder_yajna, in a thread of very idiosyncratic lists, I'm crazy about yours. I think I need more exposure to those things. I can take a limited amount of von Trier, though.
    posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:46 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I try not to be genre-ist, so I have no rules about genres of music/movies/books/whatever I will or will not enjoy. There are always exceptions.

    But I will watch any sports movie with an imperative title. I've never seen one I didn't like.
    posted by lexicakes at 12:47 PM on February 26, 2010


    chococat: all my Chinese food comes in those containers. Yours really doesn't? What does it come in?

    Boy, was I ever wrong on that one. All these years I thought it was a fake TV thing, like how everyone who lives in the USA has one of those big Spanish front doors with a little peep-hole door that you open up and look through to see who's there.
    Up here it's always just paper boxes, styrofoam or those aluminum pan things with the paper lid.
    The only time I've seen those containers here is at the trendy knitting store on Queen Street that sells little pre-made wool-and-needles kits in them. That's the kitschy I was talking about.

    Now someone from Toronto is going to tell me they get them all the time and I will be shocked.
    posted by chococat at 12:57 PM on February 26, 2010


    NO:
    Feel-good group dancing ala The Big Chill, The Office or that ghastly wedding procession thing on youtube
    Anything Tyler Perry has anything to do with
    Martin Lawrence
    Roman Polansky
    Nothing with The Dreamworks Smirk on the poster
    Media perpetuating the Dumb Dad/Men are Idiots stereotype
    Media portraying the atheist/agnostic/skeptic coming to his/her senses (except the unintentionally hilarious Jack Chick tracts)
    Sassy precocious tots
    Music with tinny, nasal white guys in skinny jeans

    YES:
    Anything Pixar
    Any Ricky Gervais
    I will give a chance to any band panned by pitchfork.com
    Anything narrated by John Bunnell
    Anything with Stephen Fry
    Anything with Charlton Heston
    Any comics illustrated by Alex Ross, Steve Rude or Jack Kirby
    Power trios
    Dada and Surrealism
    Anything that stylistically evokes Raymond Loewy, Hugh Ferriss, or the period between 1929 and 1963

    Almost all of these have exceptions of course
    posted by Scoo at 1:08 PM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    If a movie trailer features someone uttering the antimetabole "We thought we would teach/help/change/etc Character X, but it turns out that Character X taught/helped/changed/etc us!" then I will probably not see it. Basically it's a shibboleth that marks the intersection of "heartwarming tales of beating the odds" and "totally ham-handed and unoriginal writing."

    I am also unlikely to see anything that involves Robert De Niro attempting to emote.

    I will see most things starring Steve Martin. I'm more likely to want to see a movie if it depicts older and/or not Hollywood-attractive women as desirable. (Conversely, I'm less likely to want to see a movie if it depicts a supermodel-gorgeous woman as homely.)
    posted by pluckemin at 1:18 PM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    For real. My first thought was, "Wow, specialagentwebb missed American Splendor, American Psycho, American Graffiti , _and_ An American Werewolf in London. Not to mention An American in Paris.

    Extremely late response, and it'll probably get buried in the thread, but my "American ___" rule is overridden by my Paul Giamatti, Christian Bale, and Gene Kelly rules. It's mainly intended to weed out things like American Pie, American Wedding, American Idol.
    posted by specialagentwebb at 1:32 PM on February 26, 2010


    No Coldplay, ever.
    posted by fiercecupcake at 1:35 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I, it must be said, will watch some absolute rot.
    Rom-coms: sure! Sandra Bullock is a friend o' mine. Bonus points if it gets all weepy at the end.
    Horror Movies: Absolutely, jumpy mirror bits with raising pitch music and cats included.
    American Comedies: Why not? I might fall asleep because Pineapple Express is just unfunny people shouting at each other and the Hangover is Hey Dude, Where's My Car turned down a notch, but I'll give 'em a try. If I'm drunk, I might even be able to tolerate Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey
    Soap Operas and Dramadies: I know years worth of plot points from Home and Away. I have seen every episode of Gilmore Girls and Being Erica (Go Erin Karpluk!) and Buffy related products
    SFF: Good, bad, or indifferent - I've probably already seen it twice.

    But I won't voluntarily watch:
    Torture Porn: I love splatter horror (eg Cronenberg Videodrome and The Fly, Tetsuo the body hammer, Reanimator etc) but I will never see Saw or Hostel
    Anything advertised If you liked X you'll love Y because what this tells me is that Y is almost entirely derivative and absolutely inferior.
    Lost: I have no idea why. I just have totally no interest in it. It might be the JJ Abrams connection as most of his stuff that I have seen leaves me absolutely cold.
    posted by Sparx at 1:35 PM on February 26, 2010


    Yes:
    The first episode of any new weekly hour long series on SyFy, USA, FX, TNT in order to assess its interestingness/camp value for continued viewing. Eureka, Psyche and Burn Notice are all very fun, very empty shows.

    McG, and I'll readily admit to enjoying Fastlane, Chuck, Supernatural (one of the best shows on television for the past few years) and early episodes of The O.C.

    David Lynch and the Coen Brothers.

    Though horror films really don't scare me anymore, I will watch, but not necessarily seek out, films with simple horror premises (Paranormal Activity) or meta-horror scripts like Scream or anything by Sam Raimi.

    Resident Evil or Underworld movies. Yes, I'm aware that they suck. I've seen them, many many times. Their suckage is one of their best features.


    I tried to write a no list, but the only hard, fast rule I have is rejecting anything with the words Keanu, Reeves, Will, Ferrell, Jay or Leno in them. So I'll just leave it at that. I really will watch almost any movie for five or ten minutes just to see what it's all about.

    Hell, I'll even stop the remote on Notting Hill no matter what scene it's at and watch it until the credits roll (and I'm not a big Grant or Roberts fan).
    BUT YOU NEVER HEARD THAT AND YOU WILL NEVER REPEAT THAT.



    I will also change the channel if people bring home Chinese food in those little paper boxes with the wire handle that I've never seen in any Chinese restaurant anywhere in existence or at least in my travels.

    That strikes me as very odd. It's like saying you've never been to a pizza place with cardboard boxes. I have never ordered Chinese take-out that didn't come in those containers.
    posted by eyeballkid at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2010


    The missus would kill to get Chinese food in those boxes. Ok, no, but she would be thrilled. She is eternally disappointed in the aluminum pan ones and shares the lament of some here about "those boxes you only see in the movies". Did Ontario do something wrong? Ok, here's the plan: I'll order Chinese delivered from Gatineau; we can classify it as interprovincial trade and get the Feds on this...
    posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:44 PM on February 26, 2010


    I avoid movies that:

    1- are about an adult who wakes up in a child's body or vice-versa
    2- are remakes
    3- have a Roman numeral after the title (or an Arabic numeral for that matter)
    4- are based on old TV shows
    5- are based on games
    6- feature non-animated talking animals
    7- feature cute nuns
    8- feature angels

    Sure, there are exceptions (Wings of Desire for instance) but generally these guidelines serve me well.
    posted by CCBC at 1:48 PM on February 26, 2010


    no first person present-tense
    posted by xod at 1:53 PM on February 26, 2010


    I will also change the channel if people bring home Chinese food in those little paper boxes with the wire handle that I've never seen in any Chinese restaurant anywhere in existence or at least in my travels.

    Seconding The Whelk on this: though now plastic containers seem to be more common, at least for saucy dishes, in previous years, most of the Chinese take-out I've had (in many cities in different regions of the U.S.) has arrived in those paper containers with a wire handle.

    And even though plastic seems to be common now, and even I've never seen a group eat a shared meal from those containers, they don't bother me in a movie. They serve several small functions:
    - they immediately signify "Chinese take-out" to the audience
    - even more specific, when people eat directly from the containers, it signifies "hasty meal" or "late-night session" or "casual dining."
    - the opaque containers eliminate continuity errors where the amount of food on a person's plate changes from take to take.

    This kind of convention used to put me off, but now I recognize that it's sometimes useful to have characters behave in ever-so-slightly illogical or clichéd ways in order to convey information quickly and simply to the audence.

    Think of the velvet ringbox in fiction: though plenty of people enter an engagement before choosing a ring together, or (like my partner and I did) skip the engagement ring altogether, there's some narrative value in using the velvet ringbox/diamond ring as a shorthand. The audience knows exactly what it means.

    Of course, your pop-culture rules are yours and mine are mine, and there's no right or wrong answers; I'm just pointing out that some of these conventions are conveying a great deal of information with little effort, and therefore have real power to enhance the audience's understand of a scene, in the same way that a character's clothing or home can illuminate their unspoken traits and values.

    When we get Thai takeout from our decidedly non-kitschy small-city Thai restaurant, the saucy dishes come in plastic or plastic-topped foil, and the rice and spring rolls come in wire-handled paper containers.
    posted by Elsa at 2:38 PM on February 26, 2010


    I am getting really close to instituting bans on Bill Macy and Christopher Guest.
    posted by Mister_A at 2:42 PM on February 26, 2010


    Surprisingly, I thought I'd have more of these rules, but (for right now, at least) I can only think of two:

    Absolute no: dying moms
    Absolute yes: drag queens
    posted by rebel_rebel at 3:01 PM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Anybody who follows a large set of pop culture rules absolutely is probably an insufferable snob, for large values of large
    posted by tehloki at 3:04 PM on February 26, 2010


    YES:
    Time travel!
    Space travel
    Teen movies about dancing, ice skating, or princesses. (I go to see them alone and never ever mention it to my friends)
    Pedro Almodovar
    Robert Downey, Jr.
    Val Kilmer
    Bill Murray
    Lawrence Kasdan
    Quentin Tarantino
    A person is stuck somewhere alone for a long time and is going slowly insane
    Metafictional elements

    NO:
    Nicolas Cage
    Adam Sandler
    WWII, esp. concentration camps
    Heartwarming triumph of the human spirit
    Children (unless they are actually very old and immortal or something)
    Talking animals
    Political or sports biographies
    Someone rescues a homeless person and is redeemed by their simple yet profound view of life
    Scatological humor
    Adorably clumsy heroine
    Idiot Plot
    Most animated films (yes, including Pixar) except Spirited Away
    posted by exceptinsects at 3:11 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Anything written/based upon work by Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel. Ugh. Never.
    posted by msali at 3:11 PM on February 26, 2010


    I haven't seen the white paper Chinese take-out containers in years. They all give you the food in flat round plastic containers, black on the bottom and clear on the top. I just figured that movies kept the old looking ones for nostalgia's sake. Glad to hear that some places still have them.
    posted by octothorpe at 3:28 PM on February 26, 2010


    The missus would kill to get Chinese food in those boxes.

    See? I guess it's an Ontario thing then.
    The equivalent for the rest of you would be if you said something like, "I hate it in movies when they take the milk out of the fridge and it's in those plastic bags. Who drinks milk in bags? No one."
    And we'd be like, "What? You've never heard of milk in bags?"

    - they immediately signify "Chinese take-out" to the audience
    - even more specific, when people eat directly from the containers, it signifies "hasty meal" or "late-night session" or "casual dining."


    Obviously. That's pretty much why it bugs me.

    I'm just pointing out that some of these conventions are conveying a great deal of information with little effort, and therefore have real power to enhance the audience's understand of a scene

    Ya, I get it.
    Sadly, for all of these years I've never really understood the nuances of According to Jim or King of Queens because we don't have those containers here.
    posted by chococat at 3:31 PM on February 26, 2010


    So who wants to compile this entire thread into a kind of master list with weighted responses for frequency so we have a plan for create a movie scientifically designed to make Metafilter shit their pants in glee?
    posted by The Whelk at 3:44 PM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    We never had the cardboard boxes at all. All takeaway came in thin, clear plastic - usually low & rectangular, but sometimes taller & cylindrical.

    The cardboard boxes from the movies & TV looked so much fun, though, so I'm happy that in recent times some trendier, more upmarket inner-city places have found a source of the cardboard variety.

    For a start, you can eat right out of them, whereas with the plastic ones you really feel like you have to decant the food onto a plate before eating.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 3:45 PM on February 26, 2010


    The equivalent for the rest of you would be if you said something like, "I hate it in movies when they take the milk out of the fridge and it's in those plastic bags. Who drinks milk in bags? No one."

    You just brought me a wave of nostaglia: I remember the first time I noticed milk in pouches in a movie! (Actually, I'm not sure this is the same: I think these were cardboard pouches, not plasticized bagsbags). I was maybe ten or twelve and watching The Beatles' getaway in A Hard Day's Night, or possibly the chase scene from The Rutles. My reaction wasn't, though, "Geez, how phony, how annoying," but "Hey! Things are different in different places! Even the mundane things, even more than I thought!"

    Sadly, for all of these years I've never really understood the nuances of According to Jim or King of Queens because we don't have those containers here.

    I was speaking of the containers and other conventions (the ring box I mentioned above, the cliched bouquet of flowers, the bag of groceries with baguette sticking out the top, and so on) as set dressing, as shorthand signifiers, in otherwise competent pieces of narrative. I think we're talking about two different things.

    That is to say, I'm startled by the notion that unfamiliar take-out containers are the biggest stumbling block to anyone's enjoyment of According to Jim.
    posted by Elsa at 3:45 PM on February 26, 2010


    So who wants to compile this entire thread into a kind of master list with weighted responses for frequency

    OK, I'll start: two women talk to each other about the spaceship they are riding in. Neither of the women is Renee Zellweger.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 3:48 PM on February 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


    OK, I'll start: two women talk to each other about the spaceship they are riding in. Neither of the women is Renee Zellweger.

    Include "neither of them is Catherine Zeta-Jones," and I will watch your damn movie.
    posted by Elsa at 3:54 PM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    Alright, but here's where we get to the tricky part:

    "So, where should we fly next? To that planet beset by environmental disasters and political intrigue? Or to zombie-werewolf-vampire planet?"
    posted by UbuRoivas at 3:56 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I'm thinking a zombie-werewolf-vampire planet would almost certainly be beset by political intrigue of the most Byzantine kind. Also, possibly, by environmental disasters.

    YAY!
    posted by Elsa at 4:02 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    "as superheroes, we could both help save the planet, but lets ask our friends Jessamyn, Cortex, And Mathowie first."

    "Good thinking, I need time to work on my stand-up routine."
    posted by The Whelk at 4:02 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    Look, if my pizza container don't show up featurin' the leaning tower of Pisa or that fat chef kissing his fingers I throw the whole thing right back onna porch.
    posted by applemeat at 4:05 PM on February 26, 2010


    Anyway, this is easy, they go to the planet that has the right kind of Chinese food containers.
    posted by The Whelk at 4:06 PM on February 26, 2010


    exceptinsects: I was totally with you on Val Kilmer until he did this and then this and finally this and then I flipped and put him on my no way, no day list on the grounds that any project he's in has probably spiraled out of control and has - maybe - one pretty good eccentric performance, a bunch of lost, frustrated other actors and no movie left to speak of.

    I know it's been a while, but what's a good re-entry movie to see if he's changed his evil ways?
    posted by toodleydoodley at 4:07 PM on February 26, 2010


    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is pretty damn good.
    posted by The Whelk at 4:08 PM on February 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


    "Great; I've been craving some quick, easy Chinese food ever since my divorce yesterday afternoon! I might just chow down on it, while I think of all the shopping & makeovers I am not going to have. Hey, the newspaper here says that Aretha Franklin songs are banned on this planet, on penalty of death..."
    posted by UbuRoivas at 4:12 PM on February 26, 2010


    Look, if my pizza container don't show up featurin' the leaning tower of Pisa or that fat chef kissing his fingers I throw the whole thing right back onna porch.

    The first time a pizza guy showed up with a paper-wrapped cardboard disc, I was absolutely flabbergasted. (This was Chicago, early 1990s, and not universally practiced by any means.) It had never even occurred to me that you could transport pizza without the cardboard box.
    posted by Elsa at 4:18 PM on February 26, 2010


    Nevermind Aretha Franklin, I vote for a ban on Gloria Gayner, or at least the song "I Will Survive" in movies.
    posted by octothorpe at 4:24 PM on February 26, 2010


    Upon further reflection:

    Yes
    1. Horror comedies that are equally gruesome and hilarious (this is very hard to do right: Return of the Living Dead, Re-Animator, Dead/Alive, for instance -- apparently, this is easier to do with zombies than anything else).
    2. Science fiction where people talk a lot, with or without space battles (BSG, Caprica, most of Sunshine, etc.).
    3. Any kind of incredibly dark noirish shit (from Blade Runner to Breaking Bad, James Ellroy to Red Riding). Bonus points if it's about corrupt cops.
    4. Any movie with cute psychotic girls, particularly horror movies, especially if the cute psychotic girl is the protagonist (May, Ginger Snaps, etc.).
    5. Any horror movie set in the woods, unless the villains are evil rednecks/inbred mutants ("evil rednecks" are okay if "redneck" is not the defining characteristic -- evil rednecks who are cannibalistic satanists...well, that's fine, I can work with that).
    6. Any "one last chance to put things right/one last big score" movie. This trope gets me every time; I can't help it.
    7. Any movie about a struggling rock band trying to make it big, especially if they plunge headlong into a world of gritty abandon. Bonus points for sleazy managers and alcoholism. Even more bonus points if things get Dangerous and Out of Control. Points taken away if it's all narrated by someone now Older and Wiser, because who wants that?

    No
    1. Comedies based entirely on laughing at a proud and/or decent person's humiliation (Kingpin, Meet the Parents, etc.). I find these movies deeply upsetting; the harder the audience laughs, the more I want to crawl into a fetal position and die.
    2. American remakes of Japanese horror movies (exception: The Ring).
    3. Remakes of '70s horror movies.
    4. Remakes of movies made in the last ten years.
    5. Comedies about irresponsible douchebags and the grownup women who tolerate them.
    6. Movies made since 1990 where at the end you find out the main character was dead/hallucinating the whole thing all along.
    7. That needle-over-the-record thing. Still, I'm at least glad that sound effect still finds its way into trailers, because it saves me a lot of time when I'm thinking of stuff to add to my Netflix queue.
    posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:24 PM on February 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


    So who wants to compile this entire thread into a kind of master list with weighted responses for frequency so we have a plan for create a movie scientifically designed to make Metafilter shit their pants in glee?

    I don't know about that, but I have found a trailer for a movie that I think hits pretty much every Mefite's Hell No button. I give you Furry Vengeance.
    posted by aldurtregi at 4:42 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    YES:
    Good things.

    NO:
    Bad things.

    Am I doing this right?
    posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 5:13 PM on February 26, 2010


    I read the AV Club article, and at first, I was all "Hey! I am open to ALL new experiences - I am Vast, I contain Multitudes! Nothing human is alien to me!."

    And then I read the thread, and realized, that, well, yeah, I DO have a set of rules for pop culture. Come to think of it, there's a lot of rules right here in the thread that I can agree with. Umm, dozens of rules. Scores of rules.

    And by this point in the thread, I realize that, actually, I have rules about nearly everything: in fact, I HATE EVERYTHING. Thanks, MetaFilter!
    posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 5:26 PM on February 26, 2010


    Ah, Bill Murray, definite yes. Good one.

    I'm just pointing out that some of these conventions are conveying a great deal of information with little effort, and therefore have real power to enhance the audience's understand of a scene

    Yeah, nothing wrong with it. It just didn't conform to experience for a lot of us. The way it was one of those "Aha!" moments when we first found out that "grape" flavour was done in imitation of a particular kind of grape (concord?). Many of us just hadn't had that kind of grape before, so it seemed like it had just been done poorly, or with no consideration of reality at all.

    I avoid movies that:
    8- feature angels


    I'm not much for Biblical content, myself, but after Emma Thompson in Angels in America and Tilda Swinton in Constantine? I am slightly rightly bent toward a few of these angels. Or wrongly. Mmm. *cough* Anyway...
    posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:28 PM on February 26, 2010


    A big Yes for me is that I am a total sucker for addiction-and-recovery movies. I cannot resist them. I don't know why. Even bad ones with huge continuity errors (what ever happened with that whole dead girl thing, Michael Keaton in Clean & Sober?) I will watch more than once.

    I used to adore Meg Ryan, but now have to divide her movies into pre- and post-disfiguring facial surgery. I think the line might be that one she did with Hugh Jackman--Kate & Leopold. Anything post Kate & Leopold and it hurts me to look at her.
    posted by not that girl at 5:33 PM on February 26, 2010


    Of course, according to the Boing Boing set, we’ll soon be reading novels exclusively via intravenous injection

    OH DEAR G-D WHEN IS THIS HAPPENING SIGN ME UP NOW OH PLZ OH PLZ.

    Ahem. I like books. One of my quirks: The bigger a book, the more likely I am to read it. I like big books and I can not lie.

    I hate musicals. And live theatre. Despite having been intimately involved in the creation of both, or perhaps because of it. It is possible I have had my soul removed.

    I can't stand watching anything that involves being embarrassed. Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office UK (for some reason, the American version isn't as bad), even Seinfeld just make me want to burrow into the couch. The Peep Show is the absolute worst. I literally hid behind my hands.

    Despite my weakness for Kate Winslet, I draw the line at The Holiday because I have equal and opposite feelings for Cameron Diaz. I will, however, watch anything with Johnny Depp. Probably even if it also involved Cameron Diaz.

    Oh, I also won't watch Star Wars or Jackie Chan on some kind of principles I established decades ago and sticking to them has served me well thus far.

    If it has autopsies, I mean bodies sliced up in extreme detail, I won't watch it.

    I'm the opposite. I was given a DVD of autopsies for Christmas and literally SQUEALED WITH GLEE. Six Feet Under is my favorite show and honestly, if I wasn't committed to a "career" in childcare, I'd go to mortuary school. I'm a morbid little ball of sunshine.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:50 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    I can't stand watching anything that involves being embarrassed. Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office UK (for some reason, the American version isn't as bad), even Seinfeld just make me want to burrow into the couch. The Peep Show is the absolute worst. I literally hid behind my hands.

    oh thank god. I thought it was just me.

    THanks, MeFi!
    posted by toodleydoodley at 5:56 PM on February 26, 2010


    My biggest problem with the Squirm/Embarassment humor genre is that it's the same joke, the same set-up, the same anti-pay off and you can only really fire it once and the entire thing is predicated on people acting in a very narrow and specific way that -I feel!- limits character growth. It assumes a certain type of personality is universal and while the UK office could get away with it (it being a very controlled, very specific office setting) most other shows cannot cause it just feels forced that no one ever goes "the FUCK now?"
    posted by The Whelk at 7:04 PM on February 26, 2010


    Always watch: faux documentaries.
    Never watch: movies or television shows with realistic abuse/rape scenes.

    My husband will watch anything with Clint Eastwood or 70s era kung fu. Thank goodness Clint never made a kung fu movie, or I'd never get to use the VCR/DVD player.
    posted by amyms at 7:20 PM on February 26, 2010


    I give you Furry Vengeance.

    Wow, aldurtregi. So many family comedy clichés in under 3 minutes:

    Man getting hit in the crotch? -Check
    Daddy's an Idiot? -Check
    "OMG, the dog farted" trapped-with-a-bad-smell scene? -Check.
    Facile solutions for complex, global problems? -Check.
    Animal reaction shots? -Check X eleventybillion.
    posted by applemeat at 7:47 PM on February 26, 2010


    Some of you are missing out. No Ben Stiller means missing out on great episodes of Freaks and Geeks and Extras. No Jane Austen adaptations means missing out on the only Hugh Grant movie I love, Sense and Sensibility, as well as the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. Sad.
    posted by ifjuly at 8:25 PM on February 26, 2010


    Toodleydoodley and The Whelk: yes, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is pretty much my perfect movie.
    posted by exceptinsects at 9:20 PM on February 26, 2010


    No horror, no zombies, no Tom Hanks, no comedies of intoxication (except Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). I tend to try to see things that pass the Bechdel test, but that's hard. And I don't like music where men complain about relationships. And, yes, I too hate embarrassment comedy (I guess that's actually got a nontrivial intersection with comedy of intoxication) unless it's more physical comedy than mental. So, yes Three Stooges, no Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    I honestly think the only positive rule I have is that I'll see any movie with "Die Hard" in the title. They could start making all kinds of ridiculous Die Hard sequels and I think I would see them all, except for any featuring zombies.
    posted by crinklebat at 9:51 PM on February 26, 2010


    If Rob Schneider stars in it, it's probably going to be bad.
    posted by SisterHavana at 10:47 PM on February 26, 2010


    - Absolutely never any three generations of [ethnicity optional] women.
    - No "coming of age / sexual awakening / against a backdrop of war" movies.
    - No movies trading heavily on race drama/humor/stereotypes.
    - No illness movies.
    - No torture porn, except, well, I kinda liked Hostel. It's not like Se7en or Saw where the movie revels in a sick fascination with elaborate torture setups. Hostel is more like Texas Chainsaw Massacre in terms of ARGH ARGH STOPPIT, though Hostel I think is still watchable and doesn't leave a black spot on your soul forever.
    - No movies where it looks like there will be scary faces in the shadows or at windows. (I'm scaring myself typing this.)
    - No Laura Linney or Paul Bettany.

    - Yes if it looks to be about a character who is extremely competent at something—but isn't a whiner or arrogant jerk—whose mettle is tested and probably fails sometimes, but overall wins in some big awesome way. (Hence, yes to many sports movies and martial arts movies.)
    - Characters good at their jobs doing them, yes I like that. Bonus points if there's a boat or submarine involved.
    - FFS I'll just settle for characters trying to be smart esp. if it doesn't always work out.
    - Yes to bands of misfits teaming up.
    - Yes if it looks like it will involve a training sequence or makeover.
    - Yes if it's some kind of adventure or survival story or heist.
    - Yes to any movie if the characters seem to be clever/funny.
    posted by fleacircus at 11:56 PM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


    No Laura Linney or Paul Bettany.

    No Paul Bettany? Not even in A Knight's Tale???
    posted by amyms at 12:06 AM on February 27, 2010


    I wonder what movie we'd end up with if we took everybody's dislikes in this thread into consideration?

    After doing a quick keyword search, I realize that it might just star Kevin Bacon!
    posted by iamkimiam at 12:58 AM on February 27, 2010


    (maybe there's a way we can feed all this crap into Netflix and see what it spits out?)
    posted by iamkimiam at 12:59 AM on February 27, 2010


    I wonder what movie we'd end up with if we took everybody's dislikes in this thread into consideration?

    By my calculations, we'd get The Sound of Music.

    Or a movie-length Schoolhouse Rock. (which would be totally okay with me, btw)
    posted by amyms at 1:44 AM on February 27, 2010


    A Knight's Tale is 49% of the reason I hate Paul Bettany. The rest is Master and Commander.
    posted by fleacircus at 2:02 AM on February 27, 2010


    A Knight's Tale is 49% of the reason I hate Paul Bettany.

    Oh you poor, misguided soul.
    posted by amyms at 2:27 AM on February 27, 2010


    Did anyone else have their netflix cue open for this thread?

    Almost all of the no-heuristics leads me to exclude at least one movie I like.
    posted by psycho-alchemy at 3:00 AM on February 27, 2010


    i'm not watching anything until someone makes me a movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman as a vampire fighting future spaceship viking.

    Oh and i'd like it in Icelandic please.
    posted by compound eye at 6:22 AM on February 27, 2010 [2 favorites]


    By my calculations, we'd get The Sound of Music.

    I HATE MUSICALS, YOU TOOL.
    posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:33 AM on February 27, 2010


    Yeses:
    Comedies marketed to stoners/starring SNL alum (Strange Wilderness, Dude Where's My Car, Billy Madison, Corky Romano, Anchorman, so fantastic)
    Historical fiction with a soupcon of romance
    Pretty much anything starring Ewan McGregor, Colin Firth, or Hugh Grant
    Heist movies
    Travel adventure documentaries (especially when Michael Palin is involved)

    Most of the time no-ways:
    Movies/tv/books set in space (Farscape and Return of the Jedi get a pass)
    Books about family relationships
    Coen brothers movies (I won't rule them out entirely forever but have yet to see one I've like)
    posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 7:44 AM on February 27, 2010


    So you missed out on The Royal Tenenbaums because of your rule? I generally avoid Jim Carrey movies, but if that were a rule I'd have missed The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
    posted by workerant


    Ah yes, forgot to inform you of my other rule: No Wes Anderson. Hate, hate, hate Wes Anderson. In fact, Bill Murray was on my "must watch" list until he started palling around with that guy.

    Now, Jim Carrey—I like him in most things, post–The Cable Guy.
    posted by limeonaire at 10:03 AM on February 27, 2010


    Me 2--but I <3 Cabel Guy n how he alwayss make’s funny face’s!!1
    posted by applemeat at 10:19 AM on February 27, 2010


    To all those people who hate humiliation comedy, I want you to know that I like it, but not for the reasons that you think I do.

    Most of the anti-humiliation-comedy posts here seemed to characterize people like me as sadists who enjoy laughing at other people's pain. (Maybe I'm reading that into people's posts. Sorry if that's the case. But whether or not people here meant it, it's certainly something I've been accused of in the past.)

    Nothing can be further from the truth. When I watch, say, "Meet the Parents," I am laughing, but I'm totally on Ben Stiller's side. I am rooting for him, and I feel like I am him. (Like many people here, I was not a popular kid. I was ritually humiliated for much of my childhood.)

    If that's true -- if I am identifying with the people who are being humiliated (and thus feeling humiliated myself) -- why am I purposefully putting myself through that?

    It's VERY hard to explain to people who aren't like me this way, but it's because I enjoy tasting all sorts of emotional experiences -- even humiliating ones. "Enjoy" may be the wrong word. But it's something I feel I need to do. That's basically why I watch movies. I want to feel happy, sad, scared, angry, humiliated, etc.

    Another sort of person is likely to read that and say, "Yes, I get that you see movies in order to feel, but I still don't see why you want to see movies that make you feel negative things?" And I can't give that person a satisfying answer. "Because I do," is the best I can come up with.

    But I do have a theory: as someone who lives for emotion, it's hard for me to admit this, but it's probably harder for me to feel than it is for some other people. This is going to sound like something a BDSM person might say, but I need movies to take me to extreme places in order to feel. In live, it's too easy for me to repress. When I'm watching a movie, and it's not literally about me and my friends, I can relax a little and let the feelings out.

    I am the opposite when it comes to physical (as opposed to emotional) feelings. I am a baby when it comes to pain, and I can't endure roller coasters.

    I suspect that some people ride roller coasters because, for them, it's harder than it is for me to feel physical excitement. Just blow on me and I feel physical excitement! (I'm one of those people who goes into paroxysms if you make tickle gestures towards me. You don't even have to touch me and I'm in agony.) Don't most risk-takers take risks because they need to in order to feel?

    I guess I'm an emotional risk taker. I have friends who will well up with tears if you just mention someone's pet dying. I love animals, but I don't have that sort of instant access to my emotions. It takes a lot more to make me feel -- or at least to let feelings out. Yet if I go a long time without feeling, I get batty. I get tense. I need a release. So any movie that makes me feel -- even something like humiliation -- is a release. In fact, feeling negatives stuff is more important to me, because I don't repress the positive stuff as much. I feel much more relaxed after "Meet the Parents" than before, because I've let out a lot of feeling while watching it.

    The other thing about "Meet the Parents" is that, though Stiller's character gets repeatedly humiliated, he survives! I think somewhere inside me there's an irrational fear that if I'm humiliated too much, I'll die. It's important for me to see stories about people who go through hell and survive. I know this sounds silly, but to me, Stiller in that movie is a sort of Indiana Jones. Jones faces huge physical obstacles and survives. Stiller faces huge emotional ones and survives.

    And, yes, I do laugh at him. That's not my main way into the movie, but I'd be lying if I said that wasn't part of the experience. I have reached an age where I know that as horrible as it is, there is something funny about me when I feel humiliated. It's not so much the feeling that makes me laugh as the absurd situations. When, as a nerdy kid in high school, I got pushed into lockers and girls' bathrooms, it was an absurd situation, horrible as it as at the time. So when I laugh at him, I am laughing at myself.

    Please note that I'm NOT claiming that all people watch such movies are like me. Maybe some viewers are just mean-spirited people who like to laugh at nerds getting tortured. I can't connect with those people, even if we both like the same movies. But I do know that I'm not the only person like me.

    And I'm also not even remotely claiming that there's something wrong with you if you don't like humiliation movies. As I said, above, it's probably because you're more in touch with your feelings than I am. There's a point where we all become overwhelmed and a what's fun starts to become too much. With those sorts of movies, you get there earlier than I do. Some people get there before even watching the movie -- just by hearing what the movie is about.
    posted by grumblebee at 12:56 PM on February 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


    I think some of the NO ________ rules lack the dimension of time. De Niro thirty years ago (The King of Comedy, Raging Bull) is a good bet; Bill Murray (Where the Buffalo Roam, Caddyshack) is much chancier. Fast forward twenty years and we are up to Meet the Parents on one hand and The Royal Tenenbaums on the other.

    Even for actors I don't like, there are steps that can be taken to improve their appeal. I mentioned once before on MeFi that I had noticed after seeing the dismal The Last Samurai, the mediocre Valkyrie and the quite passable Minority Report in short order that the more eyes Tom Cruise loses, the better the movie. I tried to apply the same sort of metric to Nicolas Cage and while it seems to me he has never lost an eye in a movie in anything I have ever seen, I rather enjoyed Moonstruck (where he lacks a hand) and loathed Face/Off (where his entire face is relocated elsewhere). In this case, the higher the ratio of missing Cage limbs to Cage head trauma, the better the movie.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:25 PM on February 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


    I ended up adding:

    Drunken Master II
    The Libertine
    American Splendor
    Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
    Constantine

    I am naturally repelled by both cover art depicting an open-mouthed shouting
    person and the presence of Will Ferrell, so I was glad to be wrong about Stranger than Fiction.
    posted by the Real Dan at 2:05 PM on February 27, 2010


    every time i make a rule, some movie comes along that makes me want to break it or makes me glad i'm willing to break my own rules. frankly i just want to watch trailers. hours and hours of trailers. i can't get enough of them. followed by movies that i think will be bad, but happen to be good. case-in-point, tooth fairy had some genuinely funny parts. enough that i felt ok about seeing it.
    posted by madred at 3:31 PM on February 27, 2010


    Durn Brozefist: I'm not much for Biblical content, myself, but after Emma Thompson in Angels in America and Tilda Swinton in Constantine? I am slightly rightly bent toward a few of these angels. Or wrongly. Mmm. *cough* Anyway...

    Speaking of Biblical content:
    Rule 9- Avoid any movie that pretends to take Revelations or the Apocalypse (including Maya ones) as a starting point. Or Nostradamus, especially if it also claims to be a documentary. Or features a 666-type beast (I'm looking at YOU, Damien).
    posted by CCBC at 4:06 PM on February 27, 2010


    I'm suspicious of any book with a blurb declaring that its prose is "luminous". Double that if it's luminous poetry. "Luminous" seems to be the word of choice to describe the kind of writing that gets me thinking, "Oh shut up already, you yammering ninny."
    posted by sculpin at 5:11 PM on February 27, 2010


    I have a new policy: don't read any article that will cause me to become aware of Human Centipede.
    posted by anazgnos at 9:47 PM on February 27, 2010


    Grumblebee, I just figured out that this is why I like Meet the Parents, too. It isn't because I enjoy other people's pain, but man, I can relate psychologically to just about every instance of suckage that he goes through. It's designed to tap into our fears of being out of place, like when we meet an SO's parents for the first time, but blows it up to ridiculous levels. You know the psychological trick for people who worry a lot, in that they learn to ask themselves how bad could it be, and the answer is never apolcalyptic, so they can calm down a bit? This movie realizes the apocalyptic answer so that we don't have to. And in that relief, there's a lot of humor.
    posted by SpacemanStix at 10:52 PM on February 27, 2010


    Books written in English with "oriental" women on the cover containing any of following words on the cover: golden, peach, peony, fragrant, harmony, pavilion, snow, flower, silk, girl, phoenix, dragon, mistress, daughter, concubine, bound feet.

    Wow, you really hate Lisa See, don't you?
    posted by cereselle at 2:02 PM on February 28, 2010


    And I'm late to the thread, so most of mine are already out there, but I'll do it anyway:

    Yes: Any movie or miniseries of a Jane Austen novel. (BBC P&P, Sense and Sensibility with Winslet and Thompson)

    No: Any movie, miniseries, or book inspired by a Jane Austen novel. (Bridget Jones, P&P&Z, Lost in Austen)

    Yes: Dance/Cheerleading/Ice Skating movies. (Step Up, Ice Princess, ALL Bring it On movies)

    No: Sports movies. (Rudy, Remember the Titans)

    Yes: The tough teenager who's really just misunderstood and is also really smart. (The entire S. E. Hinton oeuvre, first season of The O.C.)

    No: Babies and/or animals that do not act like actual babies or animals. Extra-mega-mondo minus points if they have CGI mouths. (Baby Geniuses, those motherfucking Baby Bob commercials)

    Absolutely yes: Nonlinear story structure.
    posted by cereselle at 2:30 PM on February 28, 2010


    Chacun à son goût, but some of us are willfully blind to some hidden gems of cheese popular culture.
    posted by ovvl at 3:49 PM on February 28, 2010


    I have a new policy: don't read any article that will cause me to become aware of Human Centipede.
    posted by anazgnos at 12:47 AM on February 28 [+] [!]


    I can see how that would make your life a lot easier.
    posted by toodleydoodley at 5:42 PM on February 28, 2010


    It's funny, because one of my primary rules is to never listen to the tin-eared world of pretentiousness that is The Onion AV Club
    posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:37 AM on March 1, 2010


    is to never listen to the tin-eared world of pretentiousness that is The Onion AV Club

    Huh. I always thought the writers at AV Club were refreshingly honest, earnest, and above all non-ironic about their love for all forms of pop culture, admitting their biases up-front and then trying to approach new media with a genuine willingness to appreciate the good parts and critique the bad.
    posted by muddgirl at 9:42 AM on March 1, 2010


    The AV Club is my go-to for music, film, game and to a lesser extent, book and TV reviews, because they seem to enjoy both high and low culture equally. They're willing to say a stupid action flick is fun, while recognizing its flaws, or that a really well reviewed album (I'm looking at you, Joanna Newsom) is really good, but not three discs worth of material. Of course it's possible that I'm just a pretentious douche.
    posted by electroboy at 12:39 PM on March 1, 2010


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