You know the drill: at some point you miss out on seeing something. A movie, a TV show. You don’t do it intentionally. In fact you heard nothing but good things, and you fully intended to see it.
But you didn’t make it. Maybe you missed a movie’s theatrical run because work was particularly hectic that month. Maybe that new HBO masterpiece started and finished its allotted five seasons, and you never managed to devote as much time to it as you felt it would probably deserve, so you didn’t even start, instead using that time to finish off one of the thirty-or-so other shows you had on the go (fully aware that this new thing would’ve taken only a fraction of the time, but hey — committing to new worlds and characters is hard). Maybe you decided to stay indoors with the electricity turned off that month, seeing how many times you needed to cut your toenails, piling up the clippings into a mini-monument to fallen empires and the dangers of indolence. We’ve all been there!
There’s a billion reasons this shit can happen, is what I’m trying to say.
Anyway, I was pondering the particular pile of unseen Must-Sees that lies before me as I sank a glass of whisky the other night, and when I next awoke, assaulted by the cold, mean light of day and the pungent stench of failure in the air, I decided to put this question to the strange, swivel-eyed folk I call my Pajiba colleagues.
Upon shaking this aberrant tree, confessions started to fall out.
Names have been removed to protect the innocent. Where dialogue ensued, anonymised generic initials have been used. So here is, in the parlance of the all-powerful and benevolent NSA, just the metadata of Classics We Have Not Seen — and probably never will because of the constant din of self-satisfied gibberish coming out of everyone else’s filthy mouths:
‘Don’t look at me like that, I have family in Baltimore and worked there for years, so when all of a sudden all these fratty/sorority types in college were coming up to me all “OMG, you, like, live near Baltimore?!? Have you seen ‘The Wire’?? It is SO CRAZY there!” Like they KNEW or something it just completely rubbed me the wrong way. And continued to for years. It’s only just now dying down.’
Titanic, Avatar, and The Shawshank Redemption
A: As outraged as I pretend to be about this stuff, I will go to my fucking grave without seeing Shawshank. DEATH WILL RIDE HIS HORSE OVER MY COFFIN BEFORE I SEE IT.
B: I feel the same about Titanic and Avatar. NEVAR
A: The good news is that Titanic and Avatar are trash.
B: TBF, Shawshank isn’t that goddamn great.
C: Yep, I’ve seen all three, and Titanic is a colossal sinking turdship of a creation; Avatar is a glorified and vacuous tech demo disguised as a movie; and Shawshank will take you to the pits of hell, only to drag you just back up to the surface and claim that you’ve gotten to heaven — it’s fine, but that’s about it.
A: ‘NEVER EVER EVER!’
A: ‘I tried, but got bored.’
B: ‘*GASP x2*’
A: ‘I am monster’
B: ‘Well duh, but still.’
A: I’ve never seen Buffy. I have no reasons for that, I just haven’t, and now it will never live up to what all I’ve heard about it. Also I don’t “get” Joss Whedon the way a bunch of y’alls do, sorry.
B: Yep, no, I totally get that. The indifference to the Buffy love, that is. Your overall Whedon apathy confuses and disturbs me.
Gilmore Girls, The Sopranos, JOHN CANDY
A: I’ve got a list: The Sopranos, any of the Godfathers, Jaws, Buffy, Gilmore Girls. Anything else you people love? I’ve probably refused to watch it.
Also I’ve never seen a single John Candy movie.
B: WAIT WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!
C: That John Candy shit just seems…odd. Are you sure someone didn’t put a curse on you? I get the Gilmore Girls and Sopranos, though. I don’t think my interest ever moved an inch in the direction of Gilmore Girls. I’ve no idea what even it could be about? I know that Lauren Graham from Bad Santa is in it. BUT THAT’S IT. WHAT THE HELL IS IT ACTUALLY ABOUT?! WHAT DO THE GIRLS OF GILMORE DO?
As for The Sopranos, well… Yes, I know, ‘ushered in the Golden Age of Television’ and all that, and we’ve all been gorging ourselves on its descendants ever since, but I… I just can’t. I watched the first one, and witnessed the seeds of greatness, but I just could not carry on. I don’t even know why. I cannot diagnose this.
A: So, then, uh, almost the entire Disney 90’s animated catalogue, except for Alladin.
B: SAME. Actually, not only have I not seen their 90’s catalogue, I haven’t watched about 90% of their entire animated oeuvre. I don’t care how much praise-slobbering people do, I’m not interested. Oh, is there a heartwarming story to be told about a talking elephant? Don’t care now; didn’t care when I was a kid. Is there an anthropomorphic teapot over there, about to provide some exposition? *fart noise* Not interested. Ohhhh, are you about to burst into song for no reason, explaining your feelings with painfully shoehorned syllables? DON’T!
Tree of Life.
Someone told me “You have to have no soul not to love that movie.” And it totally turned me off from wanting to watch it.
This actually leads us nicely into a little sub-category…
Shit To Say To Assure I’ll Never Watch That Thing You Love
‘What do you MEAN you haven’t seen it!?’
‘It’s better than people say. No, really!’
‘IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!’ Well fuck you, I kinda like my life!
‘If you see it and don’t like it, we can’t be friends anymore!’
‘The first thing I ask people on online dating sites is have they seen X, because if they haven’t I just can’t take them seriously!’
‘You have to see this movie if you want to, like, KNOW WHO I REALLY AM AS A PERSON!’ High school dick re: High Fidelity. Suck it, man.
‘YOU HAVEN’T SEEN X!??!?!?!?! BUT (proceeds to drop a string of varied quotes and references to X that don’t make sense out of context and don’t change the fundamental fact of not having seen X)!’