Your Opinion is Bad and You Should Feel Bad

So in light of our latest podcast, it was brought to my attention that I have tastes that might…deviate from the norm.  No, I’m not talking about Wonder Woman and how I think her suit is SO AWESOME (it’s not), but specifically American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  That’s right, Kriana, I thought that book was the bomb.  In fact, I want to read it again right now, I thought it was so good.  But apparently, I’m in the minority!

And that’s okay.  Everyone’s entitled to their tastes.  It’s not like there’s tons of people who don’t share my love of Gods so I don’t really feel that alone.  It’s when I am maybe one of five or six people who actively LOVE or HATE something that I start to get nervous and start asking myself if I’m the only sane person out there.

For reference, Slither: Wow people, I thought FOR SURE that I would love this movie.  Nathan Fillion?  Check.  Comedy horror?  Check (LOVE Evil Dead).  Cult status?  Checkity check check!  However, I left the theater wishing I’d left earlier so I could have gotten my money back.  When people gushed over Slither, I literally thought we were talking about two different movies.  I don’t think I laughed the entire film, and it WAS  cheesy but not in a good way.  I don’t know if it’s because I was never really into the 80’s horror scene or if there is a piece of my brain that never developed properly to love this movie the way so many of my friends did, but I was just so disappointed.  In the end, I thought it was pretty boring.

But on the other side.  Oh man, I have a big secret guys.  There’s something I love…something I watched that when I saw it I thought it was just great.  The best, totally worth my time.  And I was reminded of just how I am in the minority about this by last week’s podcast.  So here goes:

I thought The Postman was a good film.

There I said it.  I even got a little teary eyed at the end when they had a statue of him erected.  I seriously felt good after watching it.  Maybe it’s because I really like post-apocalyptic scenarios and seeing people make the best of things when times are toughest.  Maybe it’s because I hate the mail system and my mail-person needs to realize they have TWO jobs (delivering AND TAKING my mail.  TAKE MY BILLS PLEASE OMFG).  So it’s nice, heartwarming even, to see someone give a crap about my letters.  And I have a soft spot in my chest cavity for reluctant heroes and ego maniacal villains too.

I’m not going to say that it’s the most amazing movie ever made, I guess I just don’t see what everyone is complaining about.  It’s not like the acting was horrendous or that the movie wasn’t actually funny at the time, but even my husband was complaining that he was going to start seizing if I made him watch any more of it (yes, I watched it again last night, for reference, and I haven’t changed my mind).  Sometimes I feel like I’m in the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and I’m the boy shouting that he’s naked, only I’m the person trying to convince people this movie doesn’t suck.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter though.  We all like and dislike stuff that may be different than the masses.  Sometimes that’s what makes us who we are as individuals!  For me, most of the time I will resist the status quo out of some misguided sense of snobbery, only to reverse my position at the last possible moment (Avatar: The Last Airbender tv show comes to mind…).  I’d be interested to see what all of YOU think, what you guys consider to be your alternative tastes.

Final word: I also believe Babylon 5 to be a hojillion times better than Star Trek.  *ducks out as people start throwing rotten tomatoes*

9 Responses to “Your Opinion is Bad and You Should Feel Bad”

  1. One of the great things about this show is how everyone involved has wildly different opinions on a variety of topics. For the most part we agree (Firefly = good; Mansquito = BADBADBAD) but it’s when we disagree that the fun starts. For the record, I was disappointed with American Gods — Neil seemed like he just didn’t know how to end it, and his editor was probably too afraid to suggest cutting a few hundred pages. Coraline, to me, is a far superior novel, with a fascinating concept and well-rounded characters I cared about.
    I do agree with you about Babylon 5 — G’Kar’s coat is better than the last three Trek series combined!

    • Haha, maybe I should check out Mansquito sometime (or if you are really into bad movies, I hear Birdemic is right up there). I’m glad *someone* agrees with me about Star Trek vs. Bab 5. Mr. Amandatron3k and I watched all of Bab 5 last summer in one fell swoop and we were absolutely entranced with it (I’d already watched the whole thing first, when I was about 14 and the show was just ending). We then thought we would dive into ST, trying hard with Voyager and DS9 (a blatant Bab 5 ripoff) but were so SO disappointed. The writing really felt like a step back.

      I agree on G’Kar and his coat. He was a spectacular actor all around.

  2. An Open Letter to Amandatron3000

    You are more than entitled to have enjoyed The Postman, although god knows why you would have. Have you read the book? I have used this as a guidepost to most Sci Fi Movies. If I may pontificate…..

    I remember sitting through a particularly useless film called Enemy/Mine. I was impressed by the book, because it was a very interesting examination of cross-cultural and inter-species understanding. I remember saying to the geek I was sitting with, OK…now here it where it really gets good…and the credits came up.

    I suffered the same issues with Postman. What made the book so very special was conspicuously missing from the film, in order to allow the main character to flex and grimace for the camera. My displeasure from the film does not emanate from your enjoyment, but instead from the total evisceration of the book.
    Welcome to the Club.

    • This may, in fact, be exactly what everyone’s problem with the movie is. I have not read the book, though I do think it looks like a book I would want to read. For someone who didn’t read it, the movie seems to have a natural start, middle, and satisfying end (though, Mr. Amandatron3k didn’t read the book either, and can’t stand this movie). However, I, too, have been burned mightily by movies not living up to their books, so I empathize. It is for this reason that I try to stay away from books turned to movies, or just watch a movie without reading the book first (I LOVED “The Adjustment Bureau” movie but I know the book is super different, so I didn’t read it.)

  3. MrDave2176

    As often as I’ve heard “But the book was better!” (usually with a whiny/nasally voice) is as often as I’ve said “Do the two have to be inextricably linked?”

    Don’t treat the book as the touchstone of what is good or not. Treat it as a broader, perhaps more nuanced treatment of the same story. Or in the case of some books (The Road, I’m talking to you here) as a boring slog through the minds of your protagonists.

    A movie adaptation can be entirely different from its source material and still have merit. Nobody is going to praise Ridley Scott’s BladeRunner as an accurate portrayal of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”. But I, for one, am glad I know both the book and the movie. Each brings something to the table.

    So the next time someone says “But the book was better!” slap them. Then offer them an alternative view of how the world doesn’t have to be a binary of book-good/movie=bad.

  4. MrDave2176

    Science fiction as a whole tends to promote “ownership” in the things we like. It does this by building fan communities. I doubt that the pusher…er producers of the Bridget Jones’ Diary ymovies would ever consider having a convention, webisode spin-offs, sell statuettes or action figures.

    If it is because science fiction “grew up” around serials, comics, TV shows, and other ongoing media and so makes us invest emotionally in the extension of the story through books, comics, toys, and sequels I don’t know.

    It might also be that Science Fiction world-building implies a larger world beyond what we have seen and we, as curious creatures, want to explore that world. I know I don’t have any curiosity about the world of Bridget Jones in film because I can go there myself rather than see it on the screen.

    It could also be linked to the fact that others hold the ultimate fate of the continuation of these properties and not us. We can love Firefly as much as any human being can…but that doesn’t make it come back from the void. Perhaps if we clap loudly enough Tinker-Wash will live!

    Whatever the reason, the worlds of our imagination engender in us a proprietary feeling. And when others disparage them we get bristly and defensive. And that’s normal. But we are big enough that the stuff you like doesn’t have to bleed into the stuff I like unless I allow it.

  5. Tinker-Wash…or Tinker-Jayne? XD

    But I understand where you are coming from and I really try hard not to be that “but the book was better!” person. I think I was successful with my all time favorite sci-fi epic, Dune. LOVE that book. I still read it like once a year. But I also really like (even with all its dumb flaws) the movie. I feel like Lynch really captured some of the spirit of the book, and it’s obvious he was trying really hard. Even though that movie was a flop, I can still appreciate the effort he put into it.

  6. I think the ‘book is better’ argument can be taken on a case-by-case basis. I’ll give you two examples:

    The Crow graphic novel by James O’Barr, adapted to the screen in 1995 starring Brandon Lee. It’s a good action movie, and has a very simplified story structure, but lacks all of the sadness and heartbreak of the graphic novel. I understand, when it comes to movie adaptations, they need to change certain aspects of a story to make it ‘marketable’, even though I think that hurts them to some degree. It certainly does in the case of The Crow. I have my own reasons for loving this movie, but when you compare the two, the movie is kind of empty.

    Watchmen: I disagreed with a movie adaptation on this since the beginning. It’s too complicated of a story to fit as a movie without making it 8 hours long. What we got was an abbreviated version of the original. I got into an argument with someone over the changes made in the movie, and in the end I was convinced that…the changes worked, to a degree.

    I’ll agree with Mr. Dave in that the movie adaptation can be entirely different from its source material and still have merit. However, I feel each adaptation be it graphic novel, novel, short story, comic, should be treated as a separate case. What worked for DC and the contemporary Batman, isn’t working for the contemporary Marvel titles.

  7. Amandatron3000: I have not seen enough Babylon 5 to make an argument over Babylon 5 vs Deep Space Nine, so I’ll say that in Deep Space Nine, you have a show that dealt with terrorism, racial indifference, and war on a level that wasn’t seen in any other Trek series, and before 9/11. True, it took them a while to find their footing, because Season 1 is pretty bad, but by season 4 you are hooked, and by season 7 you’re begging them not to stop. If Babylon 5 does that too, then I’ll sign up for Netflix tonight. (for the record, I saw a few B5 episodes and loved them)

    Loved Dune, didn’t read the book, but you’ll find people that loved it, and people who really, really hate it.

    One reason why I love listening to the Talkcast is that everyone has different views, and friendly arguments ensue. It’s all good fun.

RSS for Posts RSS for Comments