Review: Top five movies everyone loves but I can’t stand


Top five movies that everyone loves.

Ben Kaiser, News Editor

Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers for “The Blair Witch Project,” “The Host,” “District 9,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and “Watchmen.”

Do you remember that one “Family Guy” episode where the family is about to drown in Peter Griffin’s panic room?

Just before almost dying, Peter Griffin admits to a long, dark secret: he did not care for “The Godfather.” It’s a shocker to any movie buff out there, and for a good reason. It’s one of the greatest and most respected movies of all time. Everything about that film… well, I could talk about “The Godfather” a lot, but that’s not what this list is about.

Yet, Peter Griffin does make a good point about something. Not every great film will win every single viewer. Even when it’s a film that everyone seems to love, there will be someone that has something bad to say. I guess I’m going to be that guy today.

I’m not much of a movie snob. I think I’m more forgiving with movies than most critics. But, I’ve had my handful of films that I just don’t agree with when it comes to everyone else’s thoughts. So, I made this list of films to explain why I don’t agree with everyone.

Oh yeah, spoilers are ahead, but I don’t even care with these movies. Most of them are between 10 to 50 years old, anyways.

So here we go…

5. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

So, first off, this movie doesn’t necessarily have a high rating. But for those who remember, this movie hit theaters in a storm. Everyone in school couldn’t stop talking about it. It was super scary! It left people with nightmares! I think there were even rumors of the footage being real and they never found the bodies. Its popularity was just ridiculous. I had to wait until it came out on video to finally see this movie. I couldn’t wait to see how scary it was after all of the hype!

It was not. It was not even a little scary. I slept through the middle of the movie and was woken up by the girl screeching her head off.

The only scary elements are off-screen spooky sounds at night. And that’s all it is. You never see anything in the whole film. Letting the audience use their imagination is one thing but have a FREAKING PAYOFF AT THE END! You don’t get to see the Blair Witch. Near its end, you’re just hoping for even just a glimpse of it. Instead, everyone dies at the end, and you don’t even see how they died. The camera falls to the ground, and the movie rolls into ending credits. That’s literally the end of the movie! Did your 80 minutes of sitting through annoying people yelling at each other and crying feel worth it?

It’s easy for me to hate this movie because I never like these ‘found footage’ films. There are a few good ones out there, but for me, it’s rare. And this film is the one that started the widespread craze for this genre. One of my biggest gripes when it comes to ‘found footage’ is: why are they still recording? The footage being shot is for a documentary. After the filmmakers get lost, they continue recording while wandering through the woods. What documentary has the filmmakers just scouting the area for random stuff in the woods?

Aside from those complaints, “The Blair Witch Project” is just unlikable. The main story is boring, the characters act like, to put it as lightly as I can, absolute jerks to each other (before and after they get lost and desperate), and the shaky camera is just nauseating to watch. I have no idea why this movie got so much excitement in theaters.

4. The Host (2006)

  I remember seeing this movie when I was stationed overseas. This is a Korean monster movie, which is more focused on a dysfunctional family trying to save their youngest from a mutated, computer-generated monster. I saw the DVD at my base shoppette and the first thing you’ll notice is the front and back covers are flooded with critics’ comments. Ravings were like “the greatest monster movie ever,” “the CGI was amazing,” or “on par with Jaws.” Things like that. It got my curiosity since critics usually hate on monster movies. So I rented it.

I’m convinced that all of those critics saw the wrong movie.

I’m not sure what critics are looking for when it comes to movies like “Pacific Rim” or “Godzilla,” but it always felt like they were ready to hate the movie. Yet, when I sit in front of a monster movie that all critics seem to love, I hate it. Again, the DVD cover is covered with their ravings. Yet, to me, it’s one of the worst monster movies I’ve ever seen.

I think the big thing that irritated me was the Park family. Admittedly, the entire family was dealing with their own personal problems. One is an alcoholic; another is a disgraced archer that just lost an important competition; then there’s the father. Park Gang-du is a dimwitted, luckless loser that, for his efforts, tries to provide a better life for his daughter. You want to root for this guy; he does try to do right by his girl, but he stumbles so easily and is maybe too dumb to be likable.  He’s the Jar Jar Binks of monster movies, really.

I’ll also mention the CGI that at least one critic wanted to praise. To be fair, I’d think that commenting on 2006 CGI today would be petty to talk about. However, I’m certain that this CGI was bad even back then. It’s just obvious looking, like Jar Jar Binks.

Ugh, I just referenced Jar Jar twice. I HATE THIS MOVIE!!

3. District 9 (2009)

   I’m trying to remember, but didn’t this movie start with a ‘found footage’ style? See? I already hate this.

At first, the movie looks like it’s a ‘found footage’ film, following Wikus van de Merwe, who leads a film crew as they go through the film’s aliens (Prawns) relocation camp. Admittedly, this is one way that ‘found footage’ could work, showing the audience the world that the Prawns live in.

But as soon as Merwe comes into contact with one of the Prawns’ hidden fuel canisters, the film changes into the traditional camera style. It’s a weird transition and feels like a different movie now. Maybe this is a bit nitpicky since the rest of the film is of Merwe as a fugitive, and it wouldn’t make sense that Merwe would drag another film crew while being hunted. I mean, they could have written it that way and would be dumb, then. So I guess changing from ‘found footage’ to traditional is a plus.

My main problem was that I didn’t like the main character, Merwe. He starts as this awkward guy who got step-promoted to a head position in the Prawn relocation (because of father-in-law), and he fills the role of a guy not qualified for a leadership position. Once he’s infected and his government is hunting him down for experiments, the film is insistent that we care that his life is ruined, and we should feel bad as he tries to survive and hide in the relocation camp. I hated this character from the get-go and was cheering for all of the bad things happening to him. Again, I’m dropping spoilers freely here, and he winds up stranded on Earth as a complete Prawn. Only part of the ending I was happy for. I seriously couldn’t stop hating this guy. It never felt like he earned any redemption, and you never feel like rooting for him. Even when asking for help from the Prawns, he’s still acting like a jerk to them.

Seriously, I’m glad the aliens ditched him on Earth. Let him sit on the trash and keep making metal flowers for his human wife.

I’ll give credit to the film: the grounded atmosphere of these aliens and the probable realistic approach to how we humans might treat extraterrestrials in a similar situation is an original take to the science fiction genre. Prawns’ having to use their tech to live in the slums to survive shows a grim reality, and I think that’s well done. But once Merwe shows up, his very presence just ruins it and pulls me away from anything that I was fascinated by.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

   This one might not be familiar to the younger crowds today. This is a classic film from the 60s that is a pretty big deal to the film industry. It was directed by Stanley Kubrick, who is considered one of the greatest filmmakers of the business. Likewise, his 1968 science-fiction epic “2001: A Space Odyssey” is also considered one of the greatest and most influential films ever made for the science fiction genre.

It’s also boring as hell!

Seriously, I tried watching this movie years ago, and I remember falling asleep, like, three times! So, I had to spend more time just to re-watch the stuff that I slept through, and it wasn’t even worth it. I didn’t even want to watch it again to refresh my memories of it for this list. I just couldn’t do it.

It’s been so long that I don’t remember much of the movie that I did stay awake for. I thought about rewatching it, but I just can’t get myself the energy to want to sit through it again. What I do remember is it starts with monkeys finding a mysterious monolith. And then, one monkey beats another with a bone. Then, it just moves on to a space mission, where an advanced computer AI named HAL on a spaceship tries to kill its human companions. One astronaut survives HAL’s homicidal rampage, and then weird things happen. I remember this part because of how weird it gets, but it’s hard to describe. He reaches a giant monolith in space, goes into a crazy vortex, is suddenly in a room with an older version of himself, then he turns into an old man, too, AND THEN he turns into a star baby and drifts off into space… The End.

Did I lose you? Great, join the rest of the freaking club.

After he finished the movie, Kubrick refused to explain most of “2001.” He wanted to leave it to the audience to interpret what they saw. I’m just clueless as to what any of this meant. I feel the same with “Interstellar.” Things happen, and smart people get it, apparently, so I just nod and hope the conversation will shift to something else.

“2001” is still an important movie to the film industry and is still an inspiration to filmmakers, old and new. I want to stress that I don’t necessarily hate this one, but it’s boring for a good majority of the film, and it just gets so bizarre and wild towards the end that it leaves me so confused. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing. Kubrick’s “The Shining” had confusing moments, too, and I like that one.

Honestly, you’d think that with “2001’s” reputation, this would be on top of the list, but no. I left “2001” as number 2 because many people aren’t too familiar with this film today. What I left as number 1 is one that I know lots of people have seen, and it got a lot of praise from critics and movie snobs.

1. Watchmen (2008)

When I first saw this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was expecting a grittier and darker superhero movie, but it was still different than what I expect from this genre. And I never read the graphic novel. So I was a pretty blank slate on what to experience going to theaters.

And I still felt blank leaving the theaters.

Most of the movie was a different way to tell a superhero story without most of the superheroes being heroic. Each superhero is given a decent background in the film, and the narrative spans through different decades. And that’s one problem with this movie. It’s all over the place. It jumps from character to character, and it gets so convoluted that I forget what the main story is until the third act.

The biggest problem that I had was with the ending. The former superhero Ozymandias kills millions and frames the pant-less superhero, Dr. Manhattan. Somehow, this leads the world leaders to unite and agree to world peace. Because… reasons. The main heroes know the truth but just leave with disapproving faces, letting Ozymandias get away with it because… reasons. Even Dr. Manhattan decides to leave the galaxy to create life elsewhere instead of clearing his name… yup, because reasons. They just all accept defeat when it’s so easy to clear all of this up.

You can argue that it was all in the name of peace, and you just have to accept the cost of millions of people dead as collateral for that goal. But is it worth it? Can world peace last under this kind of deceit? I will admit, it’s a good debate to go after, but it feels like so much of an empty outcome after three damn hours!

“Infinity War” had a similar ending, where the villain achieved his goal and killed half of everyone in the universe (not gonna think of Spider-Man). The finale was shocking for viewers, and it really hit home, even though most viewers knew they would be back, somehow. “Watchmen” just didn’t have that same gravity, and that outcome IS final.

Also, this is an easy target here but… Dr. Manhattan’s blue penis. “Watchmen” is not shy to show off Dr. Manhattan’s ‘blue balls of justice.’ Seriously, this superhero can create and manipulate all forms of matter and science stuff, but dude can’t be bothered to wear a pair of pants most of the time?

I can appreciate telling a superhero story from a different perspective, and this was the first to show superheroes as actual flawed humans with mental and social problems. Maybe “Watchmen” was just ahead of its time to be fully appreciated by fans. Maybe this would be a better adaptation for a TV series, to give more time for the characters and main story. Alan Moore, the original writer of the graphic novel, even warned the filmmakers that this shouldn’t be made into a movie. He even asked to be removed from credits. Maybe that’s a good sign to rethink your movie adaptation. Just a thought.