Write enough Best of the Year lists, and you start to get a strong feel for what movies are most divisive. No Top 10 list can please everyone, but there are certain movies the appreciation of which annoys the ever-loving shit out of some people. Two years ago, it was Slumdog Millionaire.This year, two movies have clearly risen to the forefront of that category: The Social Network (vile hipster garbage) and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (kill it with with fire!).
It’s not just that these movies are love/hate across the board, it’s merely that for everyone person that loves one of them, there’s another person who hates that person for loving it. I’m certain that some people decide to hate movies based on the hype before they even see them, and spend the entire movie-going experience marshaling evidence in support of their hatred instead of allowing the movie to wash over them. I understand it, though. Because I wasn’t reviewing it, it’s what I tried to do with Scott Pilgrim, though by the end, it had mostly converted me.
The truth is: Some people just don’t want to be thought of as the kind of person that likes a certain kind of movie. We fight against it, and then we allow our anti to define us. It’s what people who are passionate about movies do.
Hell, people take their love/hate relationships with movies very personally. Try mentioning The Fountain in a crowd full of cinephiles (a very small crowd, mind you, since only around 300 people in existence ever saw the damn movie). People will quickly separate in to two camps and start chucking spears at one another: “Beautiful, profound, brilliantly zen.” “Pretentious, navel-gazing twaddle, and I’ll kill your mother!” It’s not just that these movies polarize opinion, they polarize personalities.
What’s profound to one person is boring to another. Or, as the saying goes, “I Say Potato, You Say It Wrong.”
Here are the 10 Most Love-or-Hate-ist Movies of the 21st Century.
10. There Will Be Blood: Love: Blistering Daniel Day performance and a ferocious, meticulously crafted look at the dark side of the American dream. Hate: A tedious bore. I don’t get it.
9. The Social Network: Love: A beautifully scripted, witty and acerbic portrait of Mark Zuckerberg written with typical Sorkin bite. Hate: Unlikable characters, caustic, pretentious overrated hipster catnip.
8. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: Love: Visually daring, furiously over-the-top, hilarious heartfelt ode to geekery. Hate: Blurry, noisy, slick and empty film made for the ADD generation.
7. Love, Actually: Love: Fun, entertaining, cheerful, and irresistibly charming. Hate: Redundant, agonizing, cloying, manipulative, and too sugary.
6. Juno: A sweet, quirky, hilarious, heartbreaking and wise coming of age story. Hate: Hipster bullshit. Tries too hard. Thinks it’s smarter than it is. And NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT.
5. Napoleon Dynamite: Love: Offbeat, sweet and ultimately moving, with moments of painfully funny slapstick. Hate: An annoying, one-joke movie stretched out into 90 minutes, incredibly unfunny and mind-numbing Wes Anderson wannabe crap.
4. Boondock Saints: Love: Stylishly awesome, spectacularly violent revenge flick. You gotta see it. Hate: Hilariously awful, ridiculous, overblown, style over substance, Tarantino wannabe garbage. Stay away!
3. The Royal Tenenbaums: Love: Quirky, poetic, emotionally pulsating, imaginative, melancholic exploration of family dysfunction. Hate: Overrated, over-hyped, self-indulgent oh-so embarrassingly precious and twee.
2. Lost in Translation: Love: Quiet, perfectly acted, exquisite, sweet and romantic, subtle and transcendently profound. Hate: Nothing happens! It’s so boring and self-indulgent. Am I supposed to feel sorry for these people? Fuck you!
1. Avatar: Love: Genius! An epic fantasy epic, a landmark technical achievement, a spectacular visual achievement! I loved it! Hate: Clunky, overly simplistic moralizing seriously dull piece of garbage. Ferngully! Dances with Wolves! I hated it!