Pop Culture Sins

I considered starting this article with a bunch of jokey-jokes about why I haven’t written anything substantial in over a month, but the realization that most of you probably didn’t even notice the hiatus stayed my hand.  Plus, there isn’t anything  funny about spending a month with my blonde girlfriend who lives in California and cheered at USC and is considering modeling and yes she exists and you’ll meet her when I’m ready.  Her name is, uh, Keyboard.  Keyboard, umm, Glass.  Of Whiskey.  Keyboard Glassofwhiskey.

She hates when I take candid pictures and don't give her time to remove her watermark

She hates when I take candid pictures and don’t give her time to remove her watermark

In order to get back into the swing of things, I figured I’d write about pop culture and save my 5000 word treatise “Psychosomatic Hallucinations as Coping Mechanism for Acute Loneliness” for a later date.

Just to clarify, a pop culture sin is one that goes against a widely accepted norm and defies common logic e.g. hating a universally loved movie like Goodfellas or being unable to identify an actor as ubiquitous as Johnny Depp or George Clooney.  Not seeing a popular movie/TV show doesn’t count.  There’s usually a reason for the sin but it’s irrational and steeped in personal anecdotes.  I think it’ll become clearer as I explain my four examples.

1) I Just Don’t Get What The Big Deal About Ghostbusters Is

By no means am I calling Ghostbusters a bad movie.  I first watched it all the way through a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Still, I couldn’t help being disappointed when the credits rolled.  Ghostbusters is frequently near the top of “Best Comedies” lists and even makes it on lists of best movies of any category so I had high hopes going in.  I always knew about the films, having grown up with the cartoon spin-offs and that radioactive juice box flavor.  I knew the main bullet points like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and all the actors involved.

In a case of the whole being less than the sum of its parts, all the ingredients are there for a movie I should love but I just don’t feel that strongly about it.  I love Bill Murray and Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver, just not as these characters.  I’m a big sci-fi/fantasy fan, but found the story kind of boring.  I have nothing against 80s movies,  I like the director’s other movies, I understand the effects were amazing for the time, and yet I still don’t think I’ll ever go out of my way to watch it again.

I think this is a good example of how a movie’s impact is tied to the age of the viewer.  It doesn’t matter that Ghostbusters came out before I was born- so did the Star Wars/Indiana Jones/Back to the Future trilogies and they’re some of my all-time favorites.  The difference is I saw all of those sometime in elementary school, whereas for one reason or another I never managed to see all of Ghostbusters before getting it through Netflix.  The window of opportunity for me to fall in love with it was long closed, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand why people do.  After all, I wouldn’t expect anyone who saw Jurassic Park over the age of thirteen to love it as much as I did as a kindergartner.

I was going to make a joke about still wearing dinosaur pajamas, but have you ever seen such a punchable face?

I was going to make a joke about still wearing dinosaur pajamas, but have you ever seen such a punchable face?

2) I Have Turtle Blindness

And by that I mean that not only can I not properly identify each Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, I had no idea that they each had distinctive personalities like “party guy” and “the one who computers” until a few years ago.  I knew the four names and most of the weapons but couldn’t match them to the corresponding turtles to save my life.  Which would be the stupidest Saw scene ever.

I just see four turtles.  Not sure if that makes me very progressive and open-minded or racist, somehow

I just see four turtles. Not sure if that makes me progressively open-minded or racist

Unlike the Ghostbusters entry, I have no excuse for this one.  I had all the toys and spent every Saturday morning getting in trouble for kicking walls after the cartoon got me amped up.  It also can’t be that I was too young to comprehend because I was a Power Rangers fan as well and could easily match all the teenz with their armor and Zords and weapons, ladies.

The craziest part is that all of this information is in the show’s opening:

3) I Liked M. Night Shyamalan Way Past His Expiration Date

I don’t think I’m breaking new ground by saying M. Night is pretty much a joke now.  He got super lucky with The Sixth Sense, then got cocky, now he’s universally despised.  However, I disagree with most people on when he started to suck.  The general consensus is that Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were good but Signs was when the cracks appeared and it was all downhill from there.

I know I’m gonna catch flack for this, but Signs is the scariest movie I’ve ever seen not counting a traumatizing childhood event that I plan on writing about in a later post.  I had trouble sleeping the night after seeing it despite being fourteen at the time.  

I don’t get scared by movies, excluding the previously mentioned life-defining trauma and seeing Jaws when I was young.  While I can enjoy Jaws now without getting scared, I still tear up during the scary scenes in Signs.  You know, the ones that I know exactly when they’re coming.  When I say tear up I mean I literally have a visceral reaction of terror that I can’t control but is somehow different from crying.  I cry in movies all the time and have no trouble admitting when I do, but it’s usually during bittersweet moments.

Here's an unrelated and randomly selected image

Here’s an unrelated and randomly selected image

Even The Village didn’t lose me.  I thought the monsters were pretty spooky and the twist was decent, but I was also a stupid teenager at the time.  I haven’t rewatched it so I might feel differently now.  I haven’t watched anything else he’s done, but I still shamefully keep quiet when I’m talking about his movies with people and Signs gets brought up as the beginning of the end of his career.

"Why is he crying?"  "Why are slowly walking towards him?"

“Why is he crying?”         “Why are we slowly walking towards him?”

4) I Think I Like Batman And Robin Better Than The Dark Knight Rises

Woo boy.  I saved the worst for last.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose friends over this one.

"We don't like you anymore!"   "Once again, why are we walking towards him?"

“We don’t like you anymore!”       “I think we’re sending mixed signals….”

The explanation is simple: one movie gives me exactly what I expect it to, the other disappoints me by falling short of its potential.

To revisit the general theme of this post, I was eight when I saw Batman and Robin.  It was my first experience with non-cartoon Batman and I was too young to realize how cheesy and campy it was.  I saw bright colors, fighting, and ice puns that were better than anything I could come up with at the time.

"Hey Mom- CUBE to see you! Wait hold on..."

“Hey Mom- CUBE to see you! Wait hold on…”

Uma Thurman also instilled in me a lifelong love for redheads as evidenced by my redheaded girlfriend in Colorado.

I’ve seen BaR since, and I know it’s terrible, but I have too many memories associated with it to give up on it.  It’s my deadbeat brother who I know will never change but I keep loaning him money anyway.  Cuz of love and stuff.  Also, it knows it’s terrible.  The same cannot be said for The Dark Knight Rises, mostly because it isn’t terrible.  It is, however, a very frustrating movie with a very high opinion of itself.  I loved The Dark Knight just like the rest of the country so I had high hopes that weren’t even close to met.  I know fulfilling my nerdy predictions isn’t the movie’s responsibility, but there are so many plot holes that I have trouble enjoying the movie.  Batman and Robin is so ludicrous that anyone examining the logic of the story deserves to be slapped.  TDKR, like the rest of the Nolan trilogy, prides itself on its realism and serious tone, making the leaps in logic stand out in sharp contrast.  Basically, I can sum it up like this: Batman and Robin is a terrible movie that I enjoy watching because of its place in my childhood, The Dark Knight Rises is a good movie that I find unwatchable because of all the plot holes and inconsistencies.

Also, anyone accusing the other Batman movies of cheesy dialogue should rewatch this scene:

Or this one (at 0:30):

Ice puns are rough, but “cat got your tongue” might be the worst/most overused movie line ever.  I know I groaned out loud during that part in the theater.  My Cancun girlfriend hit me in the ribs, but what else should I have expected from a fiery chestnut brunette?

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