Monday, 16 April 2012

High/Low Expectations and my irrational dislike of Julia Roberts

Differing Expectations

It's strange how differing expectations can change the way we perceive good or bad films, regardless of how good or bad they actually are. We all bring our own prejudices, experience's and bias to every film we watch. The things we've been told we should like by people we respect or think talk bollocks, all go towards forming our opinion of every single film we watch.

For example I hate to watch Julia Roberts in any film; is my judgement clouded by my thoughts on Pretty Woman, her connection to Steven Soderberg films or is it just that huge joker grin which creeps me out? Really though, why the hell is grin so big, does she dislodge her jaw and eat rats whole, or a bloody deer when she's back in her trailer? I can name her films and why I don't like them, Erin Brockovich (won an Oscar and the academy rarely reward good films), the Oceans films (it's like everyone has one eye glued shut with conjunctivitis they're winking at the audience so much), Eat Pray Vomit (as one critic put it) etc etc. Do I look for reasons to dislike her films or do I genuinely dislike most of them (there are some exceptions Charlie Wilson's War for example). 
Getting ready to devour a child?
This brings me back to why this train of thought entered my brain.  Prometheus will be bursting its way onto our screens in June, a prequel to the greatest sci-fi horror film of all time; Alien. The original quadrilogy finished with two distinctly lame films culminating in a hideously deformed, massive headed, walking on two legs, creepy but more weird than scary type alien. Now Ridley Scott is back on board, with a huge budget to make a prequel and explain away all those questions about where those pesky aliens came from. 

The first Alien was creepy, had shocks and one of my favourite scenes in any film ever. It made me realise that I can be utterly entranced with a film to the point at which I want to see every film I possible can to capture those same feelings again (I was very impressionable when I saw Alien). I also remember the sense of disappointment Alien 3 and Resurrection produced in me, do I really want to experience that again? Maybe I don't want to know how it all started maybe I'm okay with the idea that the aliens like killing shit and seem to have a vendetta against Sigourney Weaver and her desire to have family or any semblance of a normal life. That they are without reason, simply killing machines who like to creep around in vents picking off the crew one at a time. This isn't me prejudging the film but can any film live up to my expectations? Is there any way I'm not going to be disappointed?
Scary? No Weird? Very

However this works both ways. Sometimes I have such low expectations that no film could be as poor as I'm expecting. A good example of this is the recent huge action film Reel Steel. On paper it looks like an awful film; fighting robots, absent father with a desperate need for money and a rich auntie. Against all my expectations I enjoyed this film but is that because I expected nothing or was it a decent film?  Is it any better than films I've hated because I expected something from them (A Very Long Engagement, Kill Bill, The Darjeeling Ltd etc). Would I really put Reel Steel above these films? Of course not. Is there any way to stop myself building films up? Probably not..............

............... but I still can't wait for Prometheus!

Which film have you most looked forward to that's let you down?

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