Tuesday, February 24, 2015

4 Frequently Recurring Movie Plotlines That I'm Tired Of


Movies are fun.  I like watching them at home, and it can be even more fun seeing them in theaters.  That said… there are certain frequently recurring types of movies that I’m sick of.  These are the movies for which I shudder when I see previews, and subsequently feel the need to go to the bathroom, crack my head open, and wash my brain.  Oh boy!!  Let’s talk about those…

4: Sad Pet Movies (And Tear-Jerkers In General)

Fox 2000 Pictures

You’ve probably seen movies like this, from the famous Old Yeller to that Marley & Me movie that came out sometime last decade.  I was originally only going to rip on these sorts of sad pet movies, but I’d say any complaint I have about them would apply to so-called “tear-jerking” movies in general.  Why the hell do some people applaud movies that make them cry?  Are their lives so devoid of emotion that even sadness feels good, or do they simply like being emotionally toyed with?  I personally don’t like someone in Hollywood trying to milk tears from my eyes and turn them into Ferraris.  These movies really are jerking the tears out of their audiences.  Are we all just a bunch of wailing cows to them?

“Watch mor aktion movees.”

Hey… remember when I compared people that adore sad movies to wailing cows?  That’s a surprisingly accurate joke.  There does seem to be herd mentality here.  As annoying as the existence of these emotionally manipulative movies are, I’m more annoyed by people who think everyone has to go see them.  I picked on Marley & Me above since back when it was in theaters, I remember one of my aunts saying, “I don’t want to see it; I just know it’s going to make me cry, but I have to go see it!”  She clearly was dreading it, but she felt she simply had to go.  So far as I saw, no one was putting a gun to her head.

I don’t believe in requiring people to voluntarily subject themselves to sadness.  The world will do that enough whether we want it to or not, so why add to it?  And don’t give me any crap about teaching our children to deal with grief or some such thing.  Here’s a question for anyone out there who saw some kind of sad pet movie as a little kid, and later had a pet die:  When your pet passed on, were any of you like, “ah… I saw Old Yeller; I got this”?

3:  Sports Save Everything

Universal Pictures

 Here I’m referring to dramas centering around an athlete and/or sports team.  Maybe the player or players are troubled, but their passion for the game lifts them out of it.  Maybe it’s a team that suffers a tragedy or adversity, but they pull together and win that championship and learn about life, love, family, and whatever else.  Either way, the sport and their love of it powers them through hard times and saves them from some pitfall or another.

I know stuff like this happens in real life.  (And even if I didn’t, the number of these movies that are based on a real athlete or team would be a clue.)  On principle, I feel that I should never knock someone(s) for having something that they’re passionate about, something that makes their life.  Unfortunately, I’m still somewhat stuck with an old bias here: high school ruined sports for me. 

I never felt the need to join a sports team as a kid, and I hated it when people tried to call martial arts a sport, but I never minded informally playing sports either after school or in gym class… until I moved into a really sports-obsessed school district.  Then people were biting my head off because I didn’t catch the ball a certain way… and that was in middle school.  It only got worse in high school.  It seems like there’s a very fine line between being passionate about something and being an asshole about it.  On top of that, around 10th grade most of the athletes seemed to randomly decide that they didn’t like me, at which point I decided I didn’t like them, and wacky hijinks ensued.


All that took place over 10 years ago, but it left me biased against sports.  I used to enjoy watching football as a kid, but now I haven’t watched a Super Bowl in years.  Compared to my college years, this bias is definitely fading, but I still can’t help having an “oh, please…” feeling when I see an advertisement for a sports movie.

2:  Having A Baby Changes Everything

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Let’s see if I get any pitchforks or lit torches in the mail for this one…

I’ve seen a lot of these movies over the years (or at least their advertisements).  A person or a couple is going along, living life some way, and then suddenly there’s a baby coming.  Or maybe someone with no parenting experience suddenly finds him/herself with an adopted child.  Dramatic adjustment ensues, but in the end, everyone pulls together and learns about life, love, family, and whatever else.  (Babies and sports: apparently very similar.)  Well… I’m just going to come right out and say it:  Boooooooorrrrriiinnnnggg!

I’m sorry; these movies are just inaccessible to me.  My wife and I don’t want to have kids.  Granted, I’m not writing here complaining about other movies with subject matters that don’t interest me, so what else is wrong?  Ask anyone else who doesn’t plan to have kids, and they’ll tell you that being someone with such an outlook becomes progressively more and more annoying the farther you get from your teen years.  Talia and I haven’t really encountered any strong resistance to our childfreedom yet, but I can imagine that we might some day.  I’m pretty sure that’ll piss me off.  I already feel angry in sympathy for other people who take crap for being childless.

“Your marriage is only built on love, caring, trust, friendship, and common interests?  You’d better have a baby before it fails!”

As a result, “having a kid changes everything” movies annoy me these days.  I’m not in any way against others having children, and I don’t for a second want to discourage others from doing so, but I know that having kids isn’t right for me.  I’m fine with almost everyone else being all into having kids; if only they could as easily accept people like me not wanting to.  As I said above, this disparity of acceptance only becomes more noticeable as I get closer to 30, so yeah, I’m officially tired of movies about parenting.

1:  Teenagers Gain Special Powers

Summit Entertainment

Ooooooh God…  Haven’t we had enough of this, Hollywood?  I couldn’t even begin to name all the trailers I’ve seen over the past several years for movies where some teenager(s) suddenly find that they have special powers which catapult them out of their usually shitty high school existence.  I cringe my way through these trailers, and I doubt they’re going to stop any time soon, especially since so many of these movies are based off of book series or just end up spawning several sequels anyway.

I could accuse these movies of pandering to the stereotypical teenager’s belief that he or she is special and different from everyone else.  The movies give them a character to identify with and then realize their fantasies of having that difference recognized and proven for all to see. 

That aspect certainly is annoying, but frankly the internet already has enough people constantly trying to remind everyone in the world that they’re not special or unique. Yes, people shouldn’t expect to have everything handed to them.  (Unless they grew up rich enough to have toilet paper made from $100 bills.  If you wipe your ass with Benjamin, you probably already are having everything handed to you.)  But still… we all get the message, angry internet people: we’re mediocre and deserve nothing.   Now shut up and go back to ruminating over your own failures in private.

He saw weirder things back in the day.

Frankly, I dislike these “teens gaining powers” movies for a much shallower reason:  If I watch them, I’ll be envious.  I’d love to be super-powerful!  I’m sure I could find some fun things to do with crazy powers.  It’s even worse that the people who get these powers are always high schoolers.  I don’t want teenagers in my movies (unless they’re turtles).  Unfortunately, to my knowledge, we’ve yet to see a movie where some flabby-looking 40-something becomes super-powered and saves the day.  That would be awesome.

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