Sunday, December 21, 2008

I know everyone else loves it BUT...

Don’t you hate to be out of step? To be in a theater where everyone is laughing uproariously at the screen and you’re just sitting there. Or an artist wins twelve Grammys one night and you think he’s a worse singer than William Shatner. You wonder what is wrong with YOU? Everybody else gets it, what’s your friggin’ problem?

This used to trouble me. As a writer, how could I be out of step with the public? And then I realized – who gives a shit? I’m not programming MTV. I’m not running Warner Brothers. If there are songs or actors or shows I can’t stand even though everyone else loves them, so what? We all have them. Here are some of mine, presented without apology. You’re welcome to weigh-in with yours… although I suspect most of the comments will be defending these selections and calling me a dirtwad.

HEY JUDE – I love the Beatles. I must have 95% of everything they’ve recorded. I even have Pete Best stuff and songs in German. And HEY JUDE is one of their most popular. But I can’t stand it. And to make matters worse for me, it’s seven minutes long. Droning and droning. Make it stop.

JIM CARREY – Not remotely funny to me. I know I’m in the minority. But I see that big maniacal grin and I strap myself in for “Overacting Theatre”. I prefer my comedians to be a little more subtle than the Tasmanian Devil. And when he tries to play a serious role (since all comics want to be taken seriously and win an Oscar) he just becomes Angst Ventura.

ER -- In its heyday it got more ratings in one airing than Jay Leno will get in that timeslot in a year. It launched major stars like George Clooney. But to me it is just frenetic speeding gurneys and constant code blues. Every time I’ve had the misfortune to go to an ER it’s a waiting room with a guy bleeding out of his eye for four hours while he waits for a UCLA med student who looks like he’s 9.

PINKBERRY – There are lines out the door for this frozen yogurt. It’s sour. What am I missing? They offer toppings like carob chips and Cocoa Pebbles. Since it’s so sour why not just offer anchovies?

JOHN UPDIKE NOVELS – He’s won every award but the Heisman but I can’t slog through his books. Hell, there is so much detailed description that I can’t get through the first five pages. It’s a den! Got it! What’s the friggin’ story?

CARSON DALY – Why does this guy have a national television show instead of making smoothies at Hardee’s?

…and since we’re in the season…

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – Yes, it’s a holiday classic, maybe THE holiday classic, but I find it so cloying and sickeningly maudlin that I’m sorry, I find myself rooting for Mr. Potter.

… and finally….

COSTCO – There’s a reason it’s packed. People love it. But I can’t tolerate the crowds. And waiting in check-out lines is waterboarding with a shopping cart. You’re standing for fifteen minutes while they check on the price for the case of Lemon Pledge. How dirty does your coffee table, get? Do you really need 144 cans of aerosol furniture polish? You wait forever. There’s always a guy buying $300 worth of Bic pens and paying in pennies. Fifteen kids running around unsupervised while the moms reads tabloids waiting to buy their gross of unfiltered cigarettes. I always have this fear that I go through this two-hour ordeal and end up saving maybe three dollars. And that I use up in gas driving around looking for a parking space.

The Daffy Definition Kontest’s first winner will be announced tomorrow along with the second round. Thanks again everyone.

107 comments:

Joe said...

Um...I used to wonder WTF was wrong with everyone else.

Come to think of it, I still do...but then again, I have always been inclined to the more misanthropic forms of solipsism.

P.S. My WVW is "preute" which is what what unborn babies call the green room to the womb.

Joe said...

P.P.S. And...OMG, do I agree with you on Jim Carrey. I saw an interview with him and Jonathan Ross from the Beeb and it was e-x-c-r-u-c-i-a-t-i-n-g.

And ER. I'm always a bit surprised when I remember it didn't go off-air in 2003 or something.

P.P.P.S. My new WVW is "bowho" which is a trendy new neighborhood for dogs.

Ellen said...

Music: Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, country, opera
Actors: Robin Williams
Movies: Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, The Dark Knight
In general: pets, drinking, camping, driving

jbryant said...

I'm with you on Carson Daly. The comedy (sic) writing (sic) on that show is abysmal, and he certainly can't make it work.

But you lost me with It's a Wonderful Life. You'd have to ignore or misinterpret at least 80% of what's on screen to characterize the film as cloying or maudlin (though I suppose certain moments qualify). Did you see it once when you were a cynical young man and set your opinion in stone? If so, you should seriously revisit it. I saw it again recently at the Arclight and it was stunning. I think perhaps part of some people's problem with it is that the ending is so joyous (or cloying, if you prefer) that the preceding two hours of thwarted dreams and suicidal despair are wiped from their memory or something. It is NOT a simple feel-good movie. There's some fairly complex humanity on display, and it's beautifully made to boot.

Mike said...

I wonder if Carson's show will continue when they 3 hours of talk on NBC.

I would just can it.

Danny Cohen said...

Mr. Levine, thank you so much for your dislike of Pinkberry. I went there once, expecting frozen yogurt, and instead got yogurt that's been frozen. A distinct and disturbing difference. I was angry for the rest of the day, and still am now.

D. McEwan said...

Well, I grew dienchanted with HEY JUDE when I first got the album, after only hearing it on the radio, are read what the title actually was. I liked it a lot better when I thought it was "Hey Jew!"

Count me among the Jim Carrey haters, Jerry Lewis for a new generation.

I must confess though to liking ER, which I have been watching since day one, and even stayed with after all the cute guys were gone from the cast. That said, I won't miss it when it winds up this season.

I'm 100% with you on IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. I remember the first time I saw it, and crying at the end, and HATING it for making me do so, since I saw just how deeply cloying, manipulative, and dishonest it was, but still so damnably effective. I have not subjected myself to it now in over 25 years.

In a novel of mine which has not yet found a publisher, I ended the book with an IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE pastiche where, when they protagonist gets to see how the world would be if he'd never been born, everyone's life is MUCH BETTER without him. In fact, Reagan and Bush never became presidents, Nixon went to prison, and we avoided a couple wars. When he sees how blissful his hated wife is in a life without him, he rescinds his wish and goes back, and then immediately poisons his wife to death with the Christmas dinner he prepares for her. In the final chapter, a year or so later, she's long dead, and he is living happily ever after.

That's MY kind of Christmas story.

Only been to Costco once. A friend who is a member took me when I had a book advance to spend, and I bought my TV there, much cheaper than I could have gotten it elsewhere.

Bless us, everyone, (Except for Jim Carrey.)

Eric Curtis said...

TV: Scrubs, Sopranos, any of the CSI's

Movies: No Country for Old Men, Juno, Gangs of New York.

Books: The Great Gatsby and Atlas Shrugged(for too damn many pages)

Actor: Will Ferrell (it's the same movie over and over)

Music: Almost everything. I only seem to listen to singers or bands that had a member die from drugs or alcohol. (hang in there, Miss Winehouse!)

Christina said...

The only one I feel the need to defend is Carson Daly but that's just because I'm part of the TRL generation and Carson is our god.

The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is when Dr. Phil blew up... I can't stand him... How do people spend an hour EVERY day listening to him talk? Oh, and Starbucks. I'll make my coffee at home, thank you.

sephim said...

Eric: SEMI-PRO is the same as STRANGER THAN FICTION? I must have missed the basketball game in that one.

I also must have skipped the car racing in MELINDA AND MELINDA.

Here's one thing for sure, fuck ANCHORMAN and fuck everybody in it. Five minutes, and it was turned off.


For the RED DWARF fans, there's a far better 'interpretation' of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE in the second RD novel BETTER THAN LIFE.

Jim Walsh said...

Julia Roberts.

I just don't get it. I mean, aside from an endless capacity for mugging, what does she have?

Let's face it - the woman's NOT pretty and she couldn't act her way out of the proverbial paper bag.

I always thought Lyle Lovett was the prettier one in that hookup...

KEN LEVINE said...

I fully expect you to like and defend one or more of these. That's the point. The vast majority of people do love these things. And I'm not saying they're wrong. I'm just saying I'm not one of them.

Dr. Leo Marvin said...

"Or an artist wins twelve Grammys one night and you think he’s a worse singer than William Shatner."

If singing is measured by entertainment value, William Shatner is the vocal Babe Ruth.

I'm even more disagreeable than I seem, so I hate way too many popular things to list. It would break the internet. I'll limit my contribution here to a few beloved sitcom characters I wish would die a slow, painful death every time I see them:

Seinfeld: Kramer
Friends: Phoebe
Malcolm in the Middle: the Dad.
American Idol (Yes it is): whichever contestant those hysterically funny and truly adorable tweens are rooting for at any given moment.
Desperate Housewives (Back off, OK?): Everyone

Tyroc said...

I'm not a huge Jim Carrey fan but he's wonderful in both "Dumb and Dumber" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Tim W. said...

I've never actually seen It's A Wonderful Life.

I actually like Platoon better than Apocalypse Now, which goes on way to long.

I agree on the Phoebe on Friends hatred. She's playing a ditzy blonde. Why was she nominated for so many awards? Strangely enough, I thought she was funny playing basically the same character (her twin sister), on Mad About You, but the difference was, she was on Mad About You for about 1 minute per episode.

I'm a vegetarian, but I don't eat salad.

Lastly, I'm Canadian, but I can't stand hockey.

Maybe I just don't like fitting stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't that Carson Daly idiot once engaged to Tara Reid? Or is it Reed? Most of the shit NBC puts on the air.
Starbucks. Cigarettes.
WTF happened to Katie Holmes since she married Tom Scientology.
Botox. Breast Implants.
Oprah's book club.
Meat.
Roger Mahoney
Facebook
Judd Apatow

blogward said...

Battlestar Galactica. I just can't engage with this, probably because it's so humorless and earnest.In supermarket queues you have to adopt the approach that you have everything you want in front of you but you haven't had to pay for it yet.

(WV: botsan - the only personal hygiene product that really works.)

okiesister said...

I guess agreeing with you ruins the point but....
I can't stand Jim Carrey either and ER hasn't been watchable for years.

Anonymous said...

most of the personalities on the Food Network -- Emeril, Paula Dean (it's like listening to Gomer and Goober's mom make gross food), the Neeleys (so much kissing and shmoopie, get a room), Rachel Ray (dial it down, honey, you've got the gig already)

Doktor Frank Doe said...

Jim Carrey (If you've seen any ONE movie, you've seen them all which makes me now know for a fact the whole damned country is down 30% in IQ points simply due to YES MAN doing so well in the theaters); "Worst Week" it was very funny for the first few episodes now it just grinds me into a pile of unflavored Koolaide; Billy Mays who comes on TV pitching some other Chinese made piece of shit for 90 seconds with the single most annoying voice in America. Almost ANY show on HGN the Home improvement network where all those shows are produced on a $300.00 budget WITHOUT a sound man. Twenty-two uninterupted minutes of the echoed voices of those way-overly perky pseudo home-improvement fuckers changing toilets and planting daisies in window boxes for the domestically inept are enough mental drain to load a pistol and stick it in my mouth.

And lastly for this forum the removal of intellectually scripted television. I've now seen all the same shit 24 times on Discovery and History and TLC. Bring back Boston Legal!

sephim said...

This blog.

Prime opportunity to let us all know who in Hollywood is an asshole, like a giant list of people to avoid sending scripts to, people who have outright stolen ideas from people and then denied it, people who have hidden bodies of young girls who have "auditioned" for roles only to die of some drug overdose, and the number one revelation - why Hollywood still needs to hide the truth about Marilyn Monroe's death 45 years after the fact. But we get absolutely none of that. Not even a little bit.

So yeah, it had to be said and hopefully all of you were thinking it.

Dave Mackey said...

I love Costco. (But then, your criteria is "I know everyone else loves it", so by default, I love it.) Let me know anytime you need a gross of Kirkland bath tissue rolls. I go in there and make up stuff to buy just so's I can go in the snack bar and have their pizza.

Try this version of "Hey Jude" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkpNkBFUKMM

Word verification is "menchod" - (1) synonym for "discussed", as in "Now that you menchod it..." (2) NASCAR-speak for an assortment of males who have enjoyed chewing tobacco, as in "The menchod their Skoal Bandits and spit them out on the living room rug."

rob! said...

i've always felt that way about Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin...i was always like, "What's the big friggin' deal?"

Eddie said...

I love Costco for two reasons... they treat their employees well - very well. Compare to the 'feel' of going in to Sam's Club. At Costco the employees are happy and helpful. And you can take anything back anytime - no questions, no time limits. Love that. And my kids love the free food stands. Me too.

Jim Carrey is awful... always has been.

Funny about John Updike. I love his writing in the way that I love Gore Vidal's writing... beautiful sentences. But yeah, the novels are a yawn. The reviews and criticism are much better because they are shorter.

But did you ever have one of those things where you didn't get why everyone loved it and then all of a sudden you got it? That happened to me with Bruce Springsteen. Early on, Born to Run just out, I didn't get it. Then one night a friend and I were driving west out of New Orleans, across the red sky bayous, the sun roof open and Bruce turned up loud... and I got it. We listend to Bruce non-stop all the way to Arizona.

Eddie said...

Oh, and of course the big one that so many folks loved that I hated and didn't have a clue why others thought so much of him...


George W. Bush...


WTF???

Greg said...

Don't think your alone on Jim Carrey, the only movie I liked him in was Liar Liar and it's at best a decent movie in my book.

As to my list:

TV Shows:
Friends (in general, never got it)
Pushing Daisies
Eli Stone
Dirty Sexy Money
Brothers and Sisters (seriously, what does Greg Berlanti have on the ABC execs that make them greenlight his crappy shows? some of the casts are good but beyond that)
Grey's Anatomy
Desperate Housewives... okay, it'd be easier to list what I like. (For the record: Mad Men, Weeds, 30 Rock, The Office and *gulp* plain old Law & Order, excluding the years with Fred Thompson because even Orbach and Waterston were phoning it in back then)

Food: Cheese. I never got the appeal. Pizza has more flavour without it anyway.

Music: I've only ever seen limited appeal in The Beatles and especially John Lennon. I think Imagine is an awful, awful, whiny bleeding heart song. BandAID and its various variations. Nirvana was crap too, never got that one. Not big on Michael Jackson either.

Also, Flight of the Concords, god that show/those songs isn't/aren't funny, it's just shit. Painful to watch shit.

In general: never saw the appeal of getting drunk off your face. A beer or three over a good space of time? Yeah fine. Killing brain cells and making yourself feel like an idiot? Pass. Maybe I'm just a lousy drunk.

Nat G said...

Oh, I'll take your It's A Wonderful Life and eat it up. And I loved its darkness and its "happy" ending where teh hero has been dropped 100 feet then picked up two. And I loved the time I sat there witha pretty girl I ust met and we shared reiting thelines from it as they ran, the whole damn buffalo girls sequence, and even though I never saw her again the air in the room just felt ripe with possibilities.

And "Hey Jude" for me... when ever anyone talks about the Beatles and how John was the sensitive one and the one we should all worship, I remember that when John was dumping his wife and kid for this new chippie he'd run across, it was Paul who tried to use the only tool he could to reach out to that kid, and wrote Hey Jude for his bandmate's son Julian.

But the "no, the common wisdom is wrong" things for me are Rod Stewart (really? That's a voice you let on the radio?), Little Miss Sunshine, Kim Bassinger, Everyone Loves Raymond, David Letterman, McDonalds, the Tim Burton Batman movies, Kill Bill, coffee, and beer.

Verification word: cropsys (n) The collection of sciences of the study of the mental workings of scarecrows.

Jay said...

I fully agree with you on Jim Carrey and ER.

Jayne said...

TV shows: The Office and Lost. I've tried. I just don't get the draw.

Jim Carrey was funny on In Living Color but after that not so much.

And on that Jim Carrey note, I couldn't even make it through all of Dumb and Dumber. Not funny. Just annoying and annoyinger!

olucy said...

My list:

Judd Apatow's movies (but not his TV shows, they were wonderful);
Jim Carrey
Will Farrell
Saturday Night Live
Starbucks
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
John Mayer
American Idol (the only time I don't read this blog)
Dancing with the Stars
reality TV in general
Hey Jude
American Pie
Jay Leno

Martha Thomases said...

Ken, for a Christmas movie, try SINCE YOU WENT AWAY. It's weepy and funny and not as over-exposed as WONDERFUL LIFE.

Eddie said...

Favorite Christmas movie...

We're No Angels

Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, Aldo Ray, Leo G. Carroll, Basil Rathbone...

Nathan said...

Mariah F***ing Carey! I loathe all of you who have ever bought her "music" or paid to see her live. It's your fault she's still around.

Just had to be said.

Eric Curtis said...

I liked Jim Carrey on In Living Color because Fire Marshal Bill was a great. The first Ace Ventura movie and Mask was pretty funny.

Everything about Costco is great from the prices to the selection to the employees who almost seem too happy, and the pizza they have kicks ass.

I will agree about the check-out. Then need a 75 items or less lane.

VP81955 said...

Jennifer Aniston, for pure annoyance's sake the new Julia Roberts. Adequate actress, but why doesn't she just confine herself to work and shove her personal life into the background? And it would be nice to go into supermarkets for at least two weeks without finding her nauseating, overrated smile emanating from the checkout line. The lady must have stock in TimeWarner and other publishing companies (and if so, I hope she's losing lots of money -- the only benefit I can see from the current media downturn).

Verification word: "phaws" -- archaic pseudo-obscenity from a dyslexic.

David O'Hara said...

Sorry, Nat...Hate to do this to you...

...but I agree with you...

This could make you quite unpopular.

I won't do it again.

WVW: dovely (Could mean this post is getting way too gooey.)

2nd WVW: holiteri = well-read hooker

rms said...

I agree with Julia Roberts; I refuse to see anything she's in. Which made it really upsetting to miss a John Cusack movie. But I just couldn't do it, not even for him.

Emily Blake said...

I agree with you except for John Updike and It's a Wonderful Life.

If Jimmy Stewart is in a movie that automatically makes it awesome.

Jim Carrey, on the other hand, makes me want to set fire to my own head just to shut out his obnoxious antics. And I hated Fire Marshall Bill too before he was famous.

People bitch about Dane Cook a lot. Jim Carrey is eight hundred thousand times more annoying and less funny than Dane Cook.

Drew said...

I didn't find It's A Wonderful Life too sappy or maudlin -- I found it excruciatingly long and dull. I simply didn't care by the end. Every year, I swear I'll rewatch it and love it, and then I remember how much I disliked it when I first saw it and watch something else instead.

So even if we dislike it for different reasons, we're on the same page with the dislike.

Michael Green said...

The only great thing Carrey ever did was on "In Living Color" when they did a Star Trek spoof in which he did Shatner better than Shatner did. Other than that ....

Great story in The New York Times the other day about "It's A Wonderful Life" and how Jimmy Stewart's life still wasn't wonderful in that movie. But the author did say something that's true of me: at the end, when brother Harry gives the toast, he puddles up. I do, too.

Anonymous said...

To both my wife and I, "the Dark Knight" was not a good movie. It was a flashing light headache ear bleed.

Ben said...

Put me down for "The 40-Year Old Virgin."

I loved Steve Carell on "Daily Show"; what I've watched of the Americanized "The Office", meh. But everyone I talk to says this movie is the greatest comedy since "Sliced Bread: The Movie". Me...not so much. "Oh, Kelly Clarkson--I get it, because he's in pain...and he yelled out...American Idol...and it's a wacky cultural reference...and it's funny...'cause...yeah."

But I'm totally with you on everything on your list, and especially "It's a Wonderful Life".

Mike Bell said...

Saturday Night Live's "Lost Ending" to "It's a wonderful life" in which the entire cast go over to Potter's office and beat the holy hell out of him was much better.

By the way - every time you post a comment to Ken, an angel gets their wings.

Mike Schryver said...

I agree with all of Ken's items, and don't feel the need to defend any of them.

I'd add all those cookie-cutter police procedural shows, the bastard children of Jack Webb and Freddie Kreuger.

WV is blugarde - the new French deodorant that's blue in the tube and clear on your skin.

Sam Thornton said...

HEY JUDE - Boy, do I agree. In my cushy, pencil-pushing days in the old Saigon, had to listen to this clunker every time I went to the snack bar for the daily cheese and onion and bacon and tomato and lettuce and baloney and ham and egg sandwich. Dripping with mayonnaise. Yum.

JIM CARREY - What a tool. Who is paying for all those seats people fill up at his mind-killingly dull movies. Can't be actual people.

ER - Hate all the chick-oriented, soap-operish shows, even though I do enjoy the suffering of others.

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE - I'm still wondering what pinhead in the entertainment industry decreed this hackneyed piece of trash a perennial Xmas classic. Keep watching in hopes that one year the crowd lynches Jimmy Stewart.

JOHN UPDIKE NOVELS - Read one 40 years ago. Yes, it sucked.

CARSON DALY - Who the Hell is Carson Daly? Sounds like a Chicago dog track.

PINKBERRY and COSTCO - Never had it, never been. I'll take your word on it.

Happy Holidays, anyway.

Joe said...

Just came back from Costco -- you may exhale, America -- and the problem is not a customer's item count, it's that those @#$%ers pay with checks.

To pay with checks these days requires a bone marrow sample and personal testimony from the commissioner of your state's DMV.

Oh, and my WVW is "insies" clearly the antonym of "outsies."

jbryant said...

Um, would it be too much to ask that people flay their pet peeves and bugbears without suggesting that those who disagree are drooling morons? It's just opinions, folks.

The humor-related stuff is especially subjective. So someone laughs at something you don't -- no need to pop a blood vessel. "I don't get it" should suffice.

Okay, climbing down off the high horse now. Let the flogging begin.

KEN LEVINE said...

That's a great point jbryant.

You're welcome to blast me (if you leave your name) but not each other.

Play nice kids.

Oh, and Sephim, Marilyn Monroe died of a hang gliding accident. Now you know the inside scoop.

tb said...

All reality shows. American Idol. Lost. USC/UCLA games. Jay Z. Have NEVER been able to get through the entire "Wonderful Life".

Anonymous said...

NOBODY likes Carson Daly

Tim W. said...

"I agree with Julia Roberts; I refuse to see anything she's in. Which made it really upsetting to miss a John Cusack movie. But I just couldn't do it, not even for him."

Speaking of John Cusack, is anyone else upset that out of the vast number of movies he's starred in, only a handful were really good (other than him). If anyone deserves good projects, it's him- and I'm speaking as a straight male.

As to the original topic, I thought 40 Year Old Virgin was sporadically humourous (the credits were probably the best part), but Knocked Up just felt like two people arguing and insulting each other for two hours. That's a comedy?

J.J. said...

Actually, I love being out of step (I'm not on Dancing with the Stars, so what the fuck do I care)...

HEY JUDE? It's the Beatles, for crying out loud. Gimme the STONES any day.

JIM CARREY? What Jim Carrey is to comedy, NICOLAS CAGE is to serious drama. Which is to say, overblown face mugging.

ER? Even worse? Try watching GREY'S ANATOMY--you'll want a lobotomy.

PINKBERRY? Frozen anchovies? Oh, don't give them any ideas.

JOHN UPDIKE? The STEPHEN KING of the country club, hip urbanite set. King is a lousy novelist, he's much better as a short story writer. And Updike? He falls very short of being John Cheever.

CARSON DALY? Much better at playing tennis (or is it golf--whatever), he's the new generation's PAT SAJAK, but not as likable. And would do well to think about being a game show host.

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE--I kinda like it for what it is: sappy, etc. BUT I sure wouldn't mind seeing what DUSTIN HOFFMAN woulda done with the role (or maybe even BILLY BOB THORTON).

and

COSTCO? A mind numbing experience, but still can't hold a candle to what surely is the exact duplicate of what must be Hell: WALMART>

Bart said...

couldn't agree more with what you said. "Angst Ventura". man you nailed that on the head. And ER, that show makes me feel like I could be a doctor. Run around the ER, make some sick kids happy, fuck up some emergency heart surgery and then go bang a nurse in the morgue. Yeah i could do that...but why would anyone want to watch?

I've never seen It's a wonderful life. I'm just that cynical.

My WVW is "reolecri" which of course is a banned Swiss cough drop.

Jeff said...

Great post! I think I agree 100% on this. The only difference is that I would take a couple of the points even further.

For instance, I can't stand anything Paul McCartney does. I think he's goofy, in both his sound and appearance/mannerisms.

Updike isn't the other author to do what you describe (as you know, I'm sure) and frankly, I will just stop reading a book when an author starts padding it with mundane descriptions. Why do I need to know that a den contained a couch, a few chairs, a coffee table, etc. WE KNOW what a den looks like! Tell me something ODD about the den. For instance, are the throw pillows made out of cat skin and fur? Is there a dead moose on the floor? THAT, we need to know.

I'll stop. Great post, Ken.

Jeff said...

Oops, I meant "only author" not "other author." Proofread! Sorry.

Kirk Jusko said...

Robin Williams. All adrenaline, no soul. I once saw him and the highly underrated Jonathin Winters on a talk show together. They were supposed to be improvising, playing off each other, but Williams kept interrupting Winters with these comic impersonations that everybody and their drunk uncle does, though Williams does them faster. Poor Jonathin Winters couldn't get any ORIGINALITY in edgewise.

About IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Two problems. First, the movie's plot subverts it's message, which is one man can make a difference. But George Baily is the ONLY one in that town (other than Mr. Potter!) that can make a difference. Everyone else is just puppets, caught up in circumstances beyond their control or understanding (such as angels granting wishes). It's the perfect argument for Determinism, which I don't think is quite what Frank Capra had in mind.

The other problem is the movie's dated. Potterville is supposed to be the "bad" place to live, but it's just what big cities were like 60 years ago. They're not like that anymore, at least not in the rust belt where I write this. If anything, Potterville has a kind of nostalgic glow about it.

rickatnite said...

Never cared much for Carrey either. Or In Living Color...or SNL, for that matter. Speaking of which...

Adam Sandler: dude, you're not 11 anymore. Now grow up and do more movies like Reign Over Me.

Will Ferrell: same movie cooked up a hundred different ways. Chicken, only less appetizing. Carrey, only less elastic.

Already not looking forward to Jimmy Fallon on NBC, just because.

ColdStone Creamery: Just demeaning to their workers. I mean making them sing when you tip them? Come on. Want a tip? Don't sing. It's embarrassing for both of us.

Starbucks: even if I did drink coffee I wouldn't go there. The overall vibe of the place repels me.

These are a few of my least fav'rite things, and - wait, I'm singing. Oh I'm so embarrassed. For all of you. Here's your dollar back.

Oh, my word verifier? "Nutly!" I got a second one because I took so long to write this: dederdia.

DBA said...

I can’t get through the first five pages. It’s a den! Got it! What’s the friggin’ story?
That's how I feel reading Eugene O'Neill.

mrswing said...

Howzabout a It's A Wonderful Life remake starring Jim Carrey in which he's Angst Ventura in the real world and Ace Ventura in Potterville?

ZING! Another angel cleared for takeoff.

Verification word: catic. Which you use when you try to describe someone feline-y.

Anonymous said...

The Beatles are awesome, but I kinda lost interest in buying their recordings after I got everything post-Revolver. I don't mind listening to them I guess, but most of those songs I probably haven't heard all the way through.

Mike Bell said...

I think the pitches for Will Ferrell movies are written on Mad-Lib tablets.

Brian Scully said...

For me, it would be "Entourage". I find it not just unfunny, but poorly written. How it ends up getting any sort of comedy awards nominations must be a testament to marketing by the studio that produces it. Actually it just shines a light on what a sham awards are in general.

Jayne said...

Brian's mention of Entourage reminded me of another show that so many of my friends love but I just don't "get" Curb Your Enthusiasm.

As much as I loved Larry David's work on Seinfeld, Curb just doesn't do it for me.

Hallie said...

Reality Shows Can't stand them, don't understand why they're so popular - doesn't everyone work with people like these?

Music Never did care for either The Beatles or Elvis.

Andy Kaufman He had a talent for cruel humor. Nothing funny about him.

D. McEwan said...

Okay, I'll grant that LIAR, LIAR is a good movie, but watching it, all I thought was, "If this starred Steve Martin, it would be MUCH better!"

Greg, points for originality: I've never met ANYONE, besides my jerk cardiologist (Not that my open heart surgery wasn't a total joy), who doesn't love cheeses. I always say, "What a friend we have in cheeses."

JJ, what a terible thing to say about Stephen King. I've never made it through a John Updike novel, but I've read pretty much all of Stepehen King, and Gore Vidal too, for that matter. (And NO, I am NOT equating King & Vidal.)

Amen to all the Will Ferrell hate. I avoid him as much as possible.

I'd heard that Marilyn Monroe died parasailing with the Kennedy Brothers.

D. McEwan said...

Sorry, I gotta defend Andy Kaufman. I worked with him once. Great, if very weird, guy. True genius. Somehow made absurdist, Dada humor popular. If you truly got him (And it was easy not to get him. He almost preferred it when audiences really didn't get the joke.), there was nothing cruel about him. And he was a genuinely sweet person. Andy's death was a real blow.

But as for those schmucks Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey...

Ashley said...

Completely agree about Jim Carrey. I thought I was the only one!

Fred Wickham said...

I read through 67 comments because I love long lists of hates. Good thing it wasn't a long list of loves.

Jim said...

Reading through the original post and the thread.... I like IAWL, maybe just out of habit. ER has had some good characters but they all either got boring and lost what made them interesting (Carrie Weaver) or left (Peter Benton).

Jim Carrey is almost frightenly over-rated, as is Robin Williams.

Maybe this is a generational thing, but I've always thought the Beatles were over-rated. Some great music, some schlock, but the way they're treated as if they (or just Lennon) were messiahs always bewildered me. Other music that bewilders me in its respect/popularity: Led Zeppelin, Norah Jones, and Ben Harper and the five or six guys who sound exactly like him and each other.

Julia Roberts...meh. She has a hugely built up, old timey movie star entrance in Ocean's 11, and when she finally enters, she looks perfectly average (and I usually think she's quite pretty) and then moves with the grace of a fourteen year old in the middle of a growth spurt. It's weird.

gjs said...

Costco - Arrive 5 minutes before opening any day. Plenty of parking and you can breeze through and be out before the lines get long.

Roger Owen Green said...

See, I don't think any of these are all that controversial.

How about movies like The Shining, Out of Africa, As Good as It Gets, Chariots of Fire, The English Patient, Lost in Translation. Either I found them dull or found Jack doing Jack.

capcha - dials

jbryant said...

Most reality shows are best experienced via The Soup, which holds them up to humorous ridicule, but I can enjoy the ones that require some skill from the contestants, such as Top Chef and, yes, American Idol. The worst thing about Idol is all that unrestrained melisma -- kids raised on Mariah and Christina couldn't stick to a melody with a gun to their heads.

I liked ER for several years, but I haven't missed it since I quit watching. Grey's Anatomy can be dumb fun, but it's often just laughably bad -- and I haven't even seen any of the current season, which I understand is the worst yet.

Oh, and the reason The Beatles are rated so highly is that, in the world of pop and rock music since their heyday, almost all roads lead back to something they did. They drew from a lot of sources and they tried a lot of stuff. Much of what they created sounded new and daring (with some clinkers, sure), and they did most of it before any of them turned 30. Top THAT, slackers. :)

Dr. Leo Marvin said...

As jbryant and Ken pointed out, this stuff is subjective. There are hardly any rights or wrongs.

That said, Emily, I'm sure you're far from alone in thinking Jim Carrey is even less funny and more annoying than Dane Cook, but this is one of those rare exceptions to the above rule, and I thought you'd want to know about it. Scientists recently proved it's a theoretical impossibility to be less funny or more annoying than Dane Cook. They hypothesized that if another person was ever that unfunny or annoying, the universe would collapse into itself, creating a singularity like the one that preceded the Big Bang.* I heard Nobel physicist Stephen Chu was working on this when Barack Obama announced him as his choice for Secretary of Energy. You can confirm it all on Google.

(*Some people tell me they think I'm that unfunny and annoying. I now explain to them that the very fact they're here to whine about it proves otherwise.)

WV: trove. Trove.

Mike Bell said...

Dane Cook is supposed to be funny? I thought he was doing some really warped work release or something.

BTW - my word verification is latte. Frikkin' Starbucks product placement.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'm repeating what some others have said, but that's because I agree with them: Robin Williams, Will Ferrel, Adam Sandler, Glenn Close, any rapper, Rosie O'Donnell, Roseanne Barr, Baba Wawa, any Scientologist, Oprah and all of her proteges, that asshole cook that yells at all the other cooks, PETA, Hitlery, Billy Mays, Bobcat Goldthwaite, Chris Elliot, cutesy cozy mystery novels, pit bulls, the omnipresent MTV effects in modern movies and TV, and about a thousand other things.

Thank you, jbryant, for setting everyone straight on the effect The Beatles had on music. I would add that they had a similar effect of damn near everything in society. Others have come along since and screwed it all up, but they started us in the right direction.

WV: searlapp. the northernmost department store in the world.
Or: What happens when you drop a hot iron on your thighs while sitting down.

Sam Thornton said...

Some seem to be confused about the appeal of the Beetles. Since I was in the demographic when they first hit the US, I could be qualified to lord it over everyone.

It was all about the parents. The parents hated the Beetles. They had that stupid long hair. They wiggled. You couldn't dance the foxtrot to their infernal Devil music.

For us, our parents' rebellious children, that made the Beetles a slam dunk.

'Nuff sed.

D. McEwan said...

Is Jim Carrey less funny and/or more annoying than Dane Cook? Wow! THAT is one holy hell of a difficult question! One could ponder that for years.

I'm going to half to pull a King Solomon here, and chop them in half (if only): Dane is less funny than Jim, and Jim is more annoying than Dane. Congratulations to Jim and Dane: You're both losers.

D. McEwan said...

Sorry Sam, too general. I was 14 when The Beatles first hit the USA, so I was in the demopgraphic also. Sure, my dad hated The Beatles, but he also hated The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Hermann's Hermits, The Dave Clark 5, Elvis Presley, Frankie Avelon, Pat Boone, etc. Anyone that wasn't Jeanette MacDonald, or on the Lawrence Welk Show, he hated.

The Beatles achieved promenince over the rest of those folk for musical excellence, innovation, and a remarkable track record.

And the best movie Elvis ever made wasn't as good as HELP, or as realistic as YELLOW SUBMARINE.

FlipYrWhig said...

Re: ER, the show for me will always be perfectly encapsulated by my wife's acerbic comment, "Oh, I think this is the episode where there's chaos in the ER."

WV: reapod. Any animal with a flightless bird for feet.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Should I...? OK, I have to admit to a giant blind spot about Preston Sturges. Everybody says he's a comedy genius and his movies are all screams, but "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" is worse than root canal. Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken making faces and noises and running around -- please explain, comedy professionals.

Oh, and watching Will Ferrell movies makes you measurably stupider. Even the trailers. Try it -- have your IQ checked before and after "Elf."

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about ER. Also add FRIENDS to the list. Why was that show on air for 10 years again?

Cezar said...

"IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – Yes, it’s a holiday classic, maybe THE holiday classic, but I find it so cloying and sickeningly maudlin that I’m sorry, I find myself rooting for Mr. Potter."


Yes!!!! Looks like it's You and I on this one Ken.

Sebastian said...

AI - Hate it passionately, mostly because of the judges (no matter if it's the german or the US version).

The Dark Knight is this generation's Godfather so back off people ;-) What's really a shame is the Blu-Ray and DVD "Special Editions". Those two are atrocities. Warner Bros. should go and die a horrible death for this. I paid 40 bucks for a Blu-Ray that has less features than a Dr. No. I returned it just like I also sold every season of "Frasier" except the first one. Stuff like this makes me want to pirate the hell out of these shows/movies because if I wanted JUST THE EPISODE without a commentary track, I'd simply keep my DVR recordings and convert them to XviD/DivX AVIs (which I don't need to do because I can simply get the whole shebang directly of the Internet if I want to).

Really - when will those idiots learn?

But I digress. So again: AI. Hate it.

Anonymous said...

would an answer of "most of these responses, especially by people who think they are funnier than they actually are" or "the people who try and kiss Ken's ass by agreeing with every word he says" count?

or do most people hate them too

Sam Thornton said...

Congratulations, Anonymous. You are not funnier than you actually are.

Please have a pleasant seasonal experience, if that is your inclination.

Ricky said...

Ken,

I agree with you on all counts except "It's a Wonderful Life."

It is a terrific classic. Jimmy Stewart is such a great actor, it's worth watching it every year to see him yell at those kids of his.

The only thing that could ruin it is if they remade it starring Jim Carrey.

jbryant said...

Anonymous - oh come on now, you know what most people really hate, don't you? Snarky, superior a-holes who hurl their insults anonymously!

I think most of us here prefer our a-holes to be out and proud.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Well,Sam, perhaps if you listened to The Beatles instead of The Beetles it might change your mind.

Anonymous, I disagree with a lot of Ken's opinions. That must make me a laugh riot.

VP81955 said...

Should I...? OK, I have to admit to a giant blind spot about Preston Sturges. Everybody says he's a comedy genius and his movies are all screams, but "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek" is worse than root canal. Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken making faces and noises and running around -- please explain, comedy professionals.

Consider when it was made -- in 1944, a decade after the Hays Code began being enforced, in the midst of wartime sanctimoniousness. In that context, it's as subversive as any film ever made.

For Sturges as a writer, I recommend "Remember The Night," the second-most known Barbara Stanwyck-Fred MacMurray teaming. It's on at 11:15 p.m. (ET) Wednesday on TCM in the U.S. Charming film.

WVW: "scalediu." The measure of God.

Kirk Jusko said...

I'm not a comedy professional, but I'm gonna defend MIRACLE OF MORGAN CREEK anyway, since I consider it one of the greatest comedies ever made, and Preston Sturges at his best.

McGinty: "This is the biggest thing to happen to this state since we stole it from the indians!"

The Man: "Borrowed!"

You may not find the above line as funny as I do, but at least give Sturges credit for being WAY ahead of his time. Also ahead of it's time is a shot of the doctors faces as they wait for more babies to pop out of Betty Hutton (the inside looking out. Not as ahead of it's time as the other way around, but this in 1943.)

I can't "prove" Eddie Bracken's funny, but to equate him and Betty Hutton--she more or less played it straight.

And let's not forget William Demerest and Diana Lynn!

Even though we disagree, Buttermilk Sky, I'm glad you mentioned it. Even among Sturgis fans, MIRACLE is ignored in favor of SUllIVAN'S TRAVELS and THE LADY EVE, two films I find just a bit inferior. As Martin Landeau as Bela Lugosi said in ED WOOD, any publicity is good publicity.

D. McEwan said...

Wow! Hating on Frank Capra I'm on board with, but Preston Sturgis? That takes guts.

But I have a secret Sturgis hate myself (Didn't Doris Day sing "Once I had a secret hate, that lived within the heart of me."?), only it's not MIRACLE OF MORGAN CREEK. (A classic farce about a girl getting knocked up by who knows who in the mid-40s? How did he ever get it made?)

No, the Sturgis film I always hear praised to the skies that I just can not abide is --- (Oh, I'm gonna catch it for this) SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS.

First off, it's not funny.

Secondly, much of it is depressing.

Thirdly, it's self-referential navel-gazing on why it's more important to make comedies than dramas, a lecture on the importance of comedy.

And you show me a real room full of chain gang inamtes laughing their brains out at a Walt Disney cartoon. Never happened. Never will.

But THE LADY EVEN or THE PALM BEACH STORY (or, as all enlightened people call it, THE WEENIE KING STORY), these are still the greatest.

Sturgis didn't need to make SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS to tell us why comedy is important, because THE LADY EVE proves it so much better.

So have an ale that won for Yale.

Kirk Jusko said...

D. McEwan,

I liked SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS a little more than you (but a little less than I liked MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK), but, nevertheless, here's a problem with it's point of view.

Sturges endorses comedy as ESCAPISM rather than as something that can shed light on the human condition, which seems to contradict his own comic oevre.


Incidentally, one reason I like SULLIVAN, despite my misgivings, is it pokes fun at Capra in the very first scene.

bobblan said...

Interesting how many comments this is generating. I totally agree with those who have listed Robin Williams. Just this sight of him makes me dive for the remote. The aversion has gotten stronger with time. My other one is the NFL. I am a typical American male, but find everything about the NFL off putting. The self importance, the creeping dominance of the airwaves, the machismo, the strutting after a TD. Barf. I enjoy college football, baseball, college basketball. I guess I'm weird.

UncleWalty said...

Jim Carrey...no sh*t. I freakin' hate that guy. I'd almost like to go see "Yes Man" because I love Zooey Deschanel so much, but I just don't think I could take it.

oh, and Ellen up there called it..."Juno" was a piece of crap. Arcane hipster dialogue without a shred of authenticity. Not even J.K. Simmons, Alison Janney, and Jason Bateman could save it.

Deb Montoya said...

You're not alone Ken! Jess over at FiveSprockets got us all riled up about it too:

http://www.fivesprockets.com/resources/?q=blog/its-not-such-wonderful-movieat-least-according-me

jbryant said...

Deb: I just read that Five Sprockets column. Of course he's entitled to his opinion, which is one that many here share, but instead of just saying, "Didn't work for me," he blathers on about how anyone who likes an older film must be in thrall to something called "Classic Film Adoration," which he clearly thinks is some sort of mass delusion. Apparently, I don't REALLY love the movie (or any other movie older than Zoolander); I'm just "so frightened to disagree (with) the classic cannon [sic] that [I] believe anyone who does so must be a strange alien with bad taste."

Sheesh.

And what's really hilarious is that he seems to think that there's some mythical cinema buff majority that's trying to terrorize him and his "few and proud" fellow free-thinkers into accepting musty old clunkers.

Pamela Jaye said...

Hey Jude - it might be okay if it were not for the 7 minute ending. Alas that's the only part I can usually think of.

Jim Carrey - I'm with you. Though I did like The Truman Show

I still like ER, went thru a period of being bored with it, started liking it again, and now I'm bored again. Stamos and Sam are just a couple due to the fact that they are the opposite sex and they are on ER. (and there's no one left for him to hit on since apparently Neela dumped him for Ray who promptly got himself deported from the show)
I still like the medical angle when they show it. Of course I prefer Greys Anatomy - but you know, when they start beating a dead horse...
Scrubs will be back soon

wonderful life - think i finally saw that. maybe. boring. sorry.

I was the girl who always liked the number *two* song (I'm Gonna Made You Love me rather than... what was it? Grapevine?) Im still shocked when things I like are hits

D. McEwan said...

" jbryant said...
instead of just saying, 'Didn't work for me,' he blathers on about how anyone who likes an older film must be in thrall to something called 'Classic Film Adoration,' which he clearly thinks is some sort of mass delusion."

Thanks for the warning. I'll skip the essay. Anyone remotely familiar with my work knows I suffer from a terminal case "Classic Film adoration" and do not desire to be cured. Hell, Tallulah is an outward and visible sign of "Classic Film Adoration".

Yet I despise IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, almost as much as I despise folks who don't love the great films of ALL eras, not just the modern - or worse - just the color ones.

One can wallow in THE LADY EVE, relish DOUBLE INDMENITY, roar at DUCK SOUP, cry at HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, snigger with I'M NO ANGEL, study and smirk at THE OLD FASHIONED WAY, devour NOTORIOUS, drive SUNSET BOULEVARD, and prefer an hour with LAUREL & HARDY to an hour with one's family, and still dislike IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. But anyone who can not love at least SOME of those films, is a sad creature indeed, more to be pitied than censured. What an empty, shallow life.

I pity everyone whoever lived and died before The Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, and WC Fields hit their strides. They were cheated. But to be born after their work is complete, preserved, and there for the devoring; well, that's just sad; cinematic pearls before swine.

This turned out to be a lively topic, didn't it?

Tom O'Neill said...

Mr. Levine

Only commies and the rich hate Costco. So which one are you?

If a can of aerosol furniture polish costs $1.08 a can when buying 4 at Costco (if you look a little closer, you really don't have to buy a gross of anything at Costco) and it cost $3.98 per can at your local Piggly Wiggly, why would you have a problem with saving 75% by buying 4 cans at a time?

Some real Americans actually need to save where they can these days to keep food on the table & a roof over the family's heads..

While your Coscto comments were probably in jest, some of us need the Costcos and Sam's Clubs these days just to survive.

Deb Montoya said...

jbryant-

Well, I can't speak for the original blogger, but I didn't interpret it as "anyone who likes an older film must be in thrall to something called "Classic Film Adoration". To me, the point was "if you don't happen to like a 'classic' film, don't be afraid to say so". Which is why I thought Ken might appreciate it.

And, btw, based on the FiveSprockets profile, Jess appears to be a she.

Mike Barer said...

I agree on Jim Carrey, and yes Hey Jude drones on. I think it was because the band was breaking up at the time and there attitude was F-it when it came to recording.
Costco, a Seattle company is in my opinion, a Godsend. It's Walmart that you can have!

-bee said...

I vividly remember the 1st time I saw "Its A Wonderful Life" on TV -- I was about 13, had never heard of it and had no idea of how it would turn out.

For most of the film, I was absolutely riveted - seeing the film as a tragedy about a man with glorious dreams of travel and invention who gets entrapped into a banal small-time life by a series of excruciating obligations.

I will never forget watching the heartwarming finale, (SPOILER) where the entire town comes together to save the bank, and I was absolutely incredulous, and was like, WTF??? THIS sentimental treacle is what this movie is all about?

Can't tell you how cheated I felt..

Years later, I was leafing through a biography of Frank Capra in the bookstore, and saw that he proudly proclaimed the secret to making films that Americans would eat up was to make "Tragedies with happy endings" and I was like, "Frank Capera, you're a hack and the poster child for sell-outs".

Frank Capra should have stuck with Harry Langdon. "Long Pants" is possibly the most bizarre film ever made in this country (in ways both good and bad).

Doug DeRoo said...

I can confirm that Ken is both a commie and a rich guy.

Back in the 70's, before he was either, he used to buy his underpants in the 12-pack at K-Mart for $1.99.

It's probably the memories of those days that makes him hate Costco.

Truck Ken Stevens said...

No comment.

toogoodtocheck said...

This reminds me of the daily show's old piece - "America is out of talent"

http://www.truveo.com/America-is-Out-of-Talent/id/2007953492

Carson Daly - "One person, with the ability of half a person, doing the job of four people."

Anonymous said...

"Hey Jude" is made slightly more entertaining if you listen for John Lennon saying "F*ck*ng hell!" at about 3:00.

Jennifer said...

This is a great list. I usually find myself out of sync with everyone else around me. Agreed with you on pretty much everything...the only time I truly enjoy Jim Carrey is in his more serious roles -- like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for example.

I don't even know what Pinkberry is - I thought it was another version of a Blackberry.