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Breaking Emotions Blogathon: Hate & Love

November 29, 2013

This is the last week of Mettel Ray's blogathon. For the past three weeks we have been climbing the emotional scale of favorite movie scenes that expressed fear and tears to surprise and thrills. In the fourth theme of the blogathon, we are crossing the finishing line with hate and love.


If I abhor a movie, I usually end up forgetting about it completely. The only memory left behind is the regret I feel for having wasted my time watching something so horrible - that is if I can remember the movie at all. With the emotion of hate in this blogathon, I pondered not entire movies I loathed but individual scenes or plots that almost anger me so much I might resent the whole thing.
If it wasn't for Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, the costume and set design, I would not like P.S. I Love You. In fact I so loathe every scene with Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon I always mute them, and cringe at many of the rest. (Yet I try to watch this movie every winter; so it's a complicated relationship!)

As the best friends of Holly (Hilary Swank)- a woman who just lost her husband (Gerard Butler) to brain cancer - they are horribly self-absorbed. Equally so, Holly's mother (Kathy Bates) and a new male friend (Harry Connick Jr) lack compassion or empathy. When Holly hides away in her apartment following her husbands' funeral, they call her pressuring her to move on. On a trip to Ireland that her deceased husband previously arranged, Gershon and Kudrow encourage her to sleep with a handsome musician because they pose how long has it been? - since she was caring for her husband that was suffering from a terminal illness. The first thing she should want is a one-night fling. Their characters are clearly meant to embody those clever best friends who make life super duper clever as they all do in chick flicks, but they absolutely share no remorse with their widowed friend. It really is one of the worst trios I've ever seen.

An offending tale as old as time about a woman who is recruited and transformed by an abusive condescending chap to make her into someone higher than her class, more popular, and prettier. This story has been used again and again, and no version is any less objectionable than the other. Perhaps it may be that the leading male was actually a horrible cad off-screen, one version sticks out in my mind: My Fair Lady (1964).

In Edwardian London, Audrey Hepburn stars as Eliza Doolittle, a flower girl who is enlisted by an English Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) to be molded into a convincing socialite - gorgeous gowns, upstanding manners, and a perfect English accent. As with all these versions, Higgins treats Doolittle like a cutting board that he can stab his verbal admonishments into repeatedly. And over the course of the film, she actually falls in love with him - for whatever reason. Like all versions similar to My Fair Lady, I hate that moment when the female lead chooses her brutish counterpart over another male suitor who is willing to love her unabusively. It's not romantic or charming at all; just damn demeaning.

Five teenagers - the criminal Bender, the athlete Andrew, the brain Brian, the basket case Allison, and the princess Claire - spend detention at their high school library. Over the course of the day, their personal lives. High school stereotypes are never what they seem.

Don't get me wrong; I love The Breakfast Club, and John Hughes' brat pack flicks stand the test of time for the young adult genre in film. But I do have a few issues with this film in particular. (One example is Ally Sheedy's character transformation at the end. But I'm still trying to sort out my feelings on that scene and will save that for a later post.)

The other issue I have is Bender's treatment towards Claire. He the son of an abusive father, and She the product of a wealthy family who her classmates think is superficial and easy. Throughout the film, Bender constantly rags on her. On full display, one knows Bender's outbursts are the same abuse his father delivers at home. However, at the film's climax when each student confesses why they ended up in detention, for almost five minutes Bender hurls so many insults at her, Claire spirals into a fit of tears begging him to shut up. This scene to me passes uncomfortable and merges into a requirement of muting it. Bender blasts any stereotypical image of being a rebel and lands himself into the intolerable jerk category. No doubt Emilio Esteves' performance is electric and the scene is powerful. But, their dysfunctional teen tryst spells heartbreak a mile away. Despite the uplifting ending as the characters walk off into the sunset, if the beginning of their relationship is them making out in a closet after the bad boy has yelled at her for ten minutes, I can only imagine the rest of their dalliance and it's severely offputting.


On the subject of love, there are plenty of movies that instantly popped into my head. I started thinking about movies that people don't typically love. Maybe it's the blaring plotholes, the overall campiness, or that they have grown out of the times when they were considered brilliant upstanding cinema. This category is dedicated to films that I fight to keep loving despite widespread disapproval.

Oh my gosh - how can you not love a horror flick where the creepy house maid tells you that it's impossible to leave the mansion to get help from the local townspeople for any emergency....and then ten minutes the house guests are able to do just that?

The Haunting (1999). In this remake of the classic 1963 film, Nell (Lili Taylor) joins a case study for sleep insomniacs in a secluded mansion Hill House. This place is haunted with creepy-ass portraits that look exactly like the main character and wood carvings of angelic children that come alive. What the film turns into is: amazing plotholes, ghosts and a house that falls in love with Nell, and oh yeah, plotholes. It's just one of those movies that is so so bad, it's least for a night of good natured scares.

The movie has a theme park attraction, cows flying in twisters, and several Judy Garland references (a big YAY in my book). Author Michael Crichton's blockbuster Twister (1996) is about a team of storm chasers who try to release scientific instruments into the eye of tornadoes to further the study of their creation. Does it get any cheesier than a young Phillip Seymour Hoffman talking about the suck zone? Or Bill Paxton (often referred to as the Twister Whisperer in my house) picking up dirt grains from the side of the road and sniffing them to predict the next big storm? Probably not. Twister  is one of those movies you just have fun with, and sometimes I wonder with all its campiness, why can't more movies be made like this.

Titanic (1997) can barely be contained to the phrase mega-phenomenon. It was global, epic, monstrous film about the unsinkable ship that sunk and lost 1,500 passengers to the cold Atlantic ocean after striking an iceberg. Audiences and critics once revered the film so much it stayed on top of the box office for almost a year. When it emerged onto vhs, movie lovers used to dress up as Jack and Rose and line up in the streets to buy their copies. Currently the historical drama is still popular in many circles but it's not as respected anymore. The mushy romance shared between third class passenger Jack Dawson and first class socialite Rose Dewitt Bukater has made it to be that love story movie.

It's hard for me not to go on and on about my love for the seven-time Academy Award winning film without my verbal admiration not turning into an essay. Much more than their characters melodramatic declarations of trust, or the tacky theme song by Celion Dion, Titanic is much more about time and making each day count through the vessel of a love story. The movie is a combination of rich history, sentimental dialogue, and truly poignant themes that for me merges with undeniable chemistry between Leonardo Dicaprio & Kate Winslet. It's something that with all the right edits, special-effects, and casting choice just came out perfect. Yes, my heart could go on and on.

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