Peter Eramo’s Personal Pet Peeves

Now how’s that for alliteration…hmm???

I like to think that when it comes to movies, I’m a pretty open-minded kind of guy. I will go to see just about any movie (given my current mood) whether its genre is science fiction, horror, foreign, documentary, silly comedy – even certain musicals that look to be worth the time and money (though those are rare and hard to come by). But we all have our pet peeves when it comes to certain aspects of a movie that keep us from plunking down our $10 to see it (because so-and-so directed it or so-and-so was in it). For example, how many times have you heard the following exchange:

“Did you see [fill in the blank]?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Really?! Why not?”
“Oh…I just can’t stand watching him.”

And you know what? That person has every right to feel this way. It’s your $10 and you have the right to spend it any way you damn well like.

Now there are certain actors (Daniel Day-Lewis, Al Pacino, Jeff Bridges) who, no matter what the reviews and public reception have been, I will go out to the theatres, put down my money and see. We all have them. Same for directors. If David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, P.T. Anderson, Oliver Stone or Woody Allen (though he has been testing my patience for the past decade or so) make a movie, then guess what? I’m going out to see it!

So I am looking at the newspaper trying to find a movie to see – and I notice there is almost nothing out there! I look online for the onslaught of summer movies on the horizon and scheduled for release (as soon as this week) and still, I see nothing but slim pickings. My interest is not at all piqued. Now I’m just generalizing here, but all I see is a bunch of movies that look like they were made with only one idea in mind: to take your money. Sequels that don’t deserve one, films based on bad television shows, remakes of films that were perfectly fine in the first place…all coming out. In the spirit of this thinking, I came up with a concise list of my own personal pet peeves – certain aspects of a particular film that will usually (but not all of the time) keep me from seeing it and in turn, I decide to spend my $10 on something else…like a good book – or crack. Here are just a few of my pet peeves, in no particular order:

PET PEEVE #1: Any Film With Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay Listed as Director

These two have decided long ago that they pretty much have little or nothing to say to their viewers other than provide meaningless explosions, rail-thin plot lines and costly (though at times impressive) action sequences. “2012,” “Godzilla,” “The Island, “Armageddon” “Pearl Harbor“? I’ll just stick that $10 back in my pocket, thank you.

PET PEEVE #2: American Movies Based on Very Good Foreign Films

I recently read that David Fincher is slated to direct the American version of the brilliant 4-star “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and I nearly wept. Why does this film need a remake so soon? Because too many Americans are completely ignorant and refuse to engage in the dreaded S-word…subtitles. Now of course there are a handful of exceptions, but there are too many embarrassing, needless remakes of these fine films. Examples that support my luminous pet peeve are:

– “Swept Away” (Guy Ritchie’s slap in the face to the fantastic Italian film)
– “Diabolique” from the masterful 1955 French film, “Les Diaboliques
– “Death at a Funeral” (now in theatres just two years after the brilliantly funny original of the same name. Do yourself a favor and rent the British film. It is hilarious! Was this remake absolutely necessary? Shame on you, Neil LaBute.)
– “Brothers” based on the powerful Danish film “Brodre

And there are many, many more. I think “Oldboy” is in the works for a bastardized American version too. In fact, many well made Korean and Japanese films have been retooled for the Hollywood machine and ruined in the process. I don’t want to piss people off more than I have in a previous list of mine, but you can include “The Departed” on this list. That’s right…Deal with it…

PET PEEVE #3: The Dreaded “Hit List”

Not that I don’t enjoy a good action flick, but I do tend to avoid the ones with names like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vin Diesel, Gerard Butler, Dolph Lundgren (yeah, he’s still around), Steven Seagal and Jason Statham attached to them. Call me a movie snob…but I can find much more stimulating, edifying ways of spending my 90 minutes. One side note…I thought “JCVD” was a decent film.

PET PEEVE #4: Video Games Should Stay on our Playstations and X-Boxes

Any movie where studio execs said, “Yeah, that’s a popular video game! Make that into a movie!!!” I generally ignore. I love my PlayStation 3 and enjoy playing all of my sports games, but has any of these ever made for a good feature length film?! Let me jog your memory for ya: “Resident Evil,” “Max Payne,” “Street Fighter,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Doom,” and yes, the ever-brilliant “Super Mario Brothers.” Oh, Dennis Hopper….it was difficult, but all is forgiven. Just get well.

PET PEEVE #5: Nasty, Inept DNA

I don’t know what was in their water as children, but if a Gyllenhaal is attached to a project, I will oftentimes chuckle and then forget about it. I will admit that it can at times be fun to watch Jake Gyllenhaal struggle his way through a scene and try his little heart out, but more times than not, it’s usually just downright sad. Think of the car wreck that everyone on the road slows down to see…that’s the Gyllenhaal siblings! I will admit that Maggie Gyllenhaal has actually made some strong decisions (“Secretary,” “Happy Endings,” and “Adaptation“), but for me, it’s just ever-so-difficult to watch her. As for her brother, I think all hope is lost. He’s one box-office dud after another, and you know what? There’s a reason! Look at that joke of a film due out, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” — even the trailer looks awful.

Seth MacFarlane, creator of “The Family Guy” pretty much nailed it with the following brief scene. Give it a quick listen. It has the two siblings arguing with their father over who is “more off-putting.” Terrific….

I’m More Off-Putting! Gyllenhaal Scene

PET PEEVE #6: Shocking (Shitty) Sequels

Speaking of abysmal trailers, have you seen the one for the 4th installment of Shrek??? After the original, this franchise has gone steadily downhill. The third was even worse than the second and if this new frivolous trailer is any indication, “Shrek Forever After” will continue the predictable pattern. As a rule, I tend to avoid any sequel that has already shown a significant decline (“Spiderman 3” anyone?) or is so obviously made for purely monetary purposes. Though the originals may be very good (perhaps even the second as well), Hollywood execs will always “jump the shark” until it is quite clear that all possible profits have already been sapped and the audiences finally show that they’ve had enough by not going to the theatre. A fourth “Beverly Hills Cop“?! Tough times, Eddie? Let’s keep spewing out sophomoric Fockers films too. The only “Ocean” movie worth anything was the very amusing “Ocean’s 11” — please, stop, Mr. Soderbergh. I didn’t see the last Indiana Jones movie, and you know what? I sleep quite well. Most horror film franchises fall victim (like that pun) to this: “Saw,” “Halloween,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (uh, was that remake required?), “Friday the 13th,” “Scream,” etc. I understand that they are what they are — that they are not meant to be these enlightening, insightful films. I get that. But this is my pet peeve list and I choose to look elsewhere for my movie buck. “Sex and the City 2“? Were there really that many unanswered questions to the first one? At least Disney has the decency to release these “lesser” films on DVD and not take up valuable screen time.

PET PEEVE #7: Two Words — Michael Moore

I love documentary films. The problem is that, despite public opinion, Mr. Moore is not a documentary filmmaker. He editorializes and tries to manipulate your independent thinking with carefully calculated editing, insinuating music choices and of course, his own slanted commentary on a particular subject. This has nothing to do with whether or not I agree with his political views. The guy just doesn’t make documentaries. Period. If I want someone’s political opinion, I’ll read an op-ed piece. A good documentary explores a specific topic, shows all sides of said topic and lets the viewer come up with his/her own opinion. Most times, the filmmaker is never even seen or heard, but Moore loves putting his mug in front of the camera way too much. Trust me, if you want to see the work of real documentary filmmakers, you look to the fascinating work of Frederick Wiseman, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, and yes, Ken Burns. Moore loves the spotlight, you can clearly tell. I also love his abrupt about face on Ralph Nader — from vehemently supporting him to publically crucifying him. Classy move, big guy. You will never get my $10.

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21 Responses to Peter Eramo’s Personal Pet Peeves

  1. Heather says:

    I may not see eye to eye with you on all of these. For example, I enjoy the good mindless entertainment of Jean-Claude, Arnie, and others. I indulge my brain enough all day that I like a little escapism fun, which is why I also indulge in the occasional Michael Bay or Roland Emmerich, even though they usually are mediocre flicks at best.

    I’m amused by your feeling about the Gyllenhaals. I don’t hate them, but I’ve never understood the affection for EITHER of them. For me, I feel this way about Julia Roberts.

    Shitty Sequels are my #1, and I would include your dismay for Michael Moore, Video Games adaptations, and bad American remakes.

    However, I would like to start a petition if they remake Oldboy for those of us in the real movie fan community, to REFUSE to see it, full on boycott. That makes me want to vomit.

    • Yes, Heather – we should start two petitions…one for Oldboy and the other for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo….a full boycott would work for me! And yes, shitty sequels are…well, shitty. Especially when you KNOW it’s all about capitalizing on a decent first effort. Very rare is the sequel as good, so yes, that should have been on this list. I like action films – I did not include Arnold because I will see some of his stuff. These are the few that I try and stay clear of….

  2. CMrok93 says:

    Totally agree with you on #7, hate him too.

  3. Nora says:

    HAHA so funny that you hate the Gyllenhaals…

    For me, any movie starring Lindsay Lohan/Miley Cyrus/Zac Efron or any of those Disney kids can just disappear. They make me feel violent. Is that normal?

    • I have taste, so yes, I cannot stand their strained efforts. Like I said, it is painful and sad to witness. And I am not the only one, of course. When Seth MacFarlane came out with that skit, it was met with overwhelming approval and agreement. A pitiful sad bunch. One geared to adolescent girls and the other for anyone interested in watching skank so bad you can smell it through the screen. I think I’ve covered it all.

    • Raul Duke says:

      I assume the violence will not be directed at yourself, like plunging a sharp object in your eyes to prevent further viewing of these diasters. Violent feelings to remove them from society perfectly normal.

      Dr. Gonzo…

      • Nora says:

        Haha! No, no self-inflicted violence here… “disasters” are not worth it! Just general feelings of anger. I’m calling for tighter regulations on hired actors.

  4. APE says:

    I love Michael Moore. He provides a great service to this country.

    • Raul Duke says:

      Expected no less from you on this subject APE. I have read that the average person lose 10 IQ points each time he views a Michael Moore production. Which is scary because most of his fans have very little IQ to spare.

    • I’m not sure what service he provides, I just know he can’t make a legitimate, objective documentary film.

      • Jules DelGado says:

        Objective???
        He is a talentless hack, a chronic masturbator….

        • APE says:

          Even if “he can’t make a legitimate, objective documentary film” or is a “talentless hack” and a “chronic masturbator,” I still love his movies. As do many folks.

          Is it better for you snobs if we call his art movies and not film?

  5. Aaron Weiss says:

    My pet peeve: Action sequences that borrow from The Matrix trilogy. I’m tired, oh so tired of these action sequences with the bullet time, the bouncing off walls, sliding on the floor, hundreds of people attacking one person.

    As much as I wasn’t much of a fan of Kick-Ass, they did a decent job with avoiding most of the action sequences I mentioned. And the ones they didn’t avoid, they implemented well.

    • I haven’t seen “Kick-Ass” yet, but will certainly do so. Read some interesting pieces on it. Agree with you regarding the Matrix-esque action choreography too. Been there…

  6. Tray says:

    So now we know what gets Your boxers in a bunch!! This was a funny read, I enjoyed it. #5 was my favorite, even though I think Jake is a cutie, but I agree with you.

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