Movies For The Sake Of Friendship

Evening comes, and a friend says, “We should go see a movie.”

You look at the list of films.

Nothing looks interesting or pallatable to your tastes.

What do you do?  Do you stand for your artistic and aesthetic standards?  Or do you enter the darkness of the theater, hoping the film is better than the trailer appears, all for the sake of friendship?

The movie theater is as much about social gathering and atmosphere as it is about the cinematic experience.  We gather, we sit, hopefully enraptured by a story, and then we leave and discuss the film.

And, who is the first one who admits the truth?  Who is the first one in the social setting to admit this film was terrible, and all of us just wasted our time and money?

Some groups, this is possible with.  Others, this can lead to rifts and divides.

Some friends will see the positive in all things, and refuse to let a movie just be bad.  “Well, I thought this 90’s pop culture reference in a 2013 new release for children was hilarious,” even though the 90’s reference is beyond the children the movie is aimed for.

Other friends will embrace the terrible and the rest of the evening is spent riffing on the lack of thought, or the over-thought in the film.  This is the kind of group and film that is better in a home setting, where everyone can participate in the Mystery Science Theater-style commentary.  For example, the other night my mom, sister, and I were watching a 2012 action film.  Every time the main hero would leap across a large gap, which was often, we would shout ‘Parkour’.  Granted, this is the same group I watch American Idol with and we play a non-alcoholic drinking game every time Randy Jackson says, ‘In it to win it,” “Best performance of the [night, show ever, in the universe, etc.]”, “You could sing the phone book.”

Sometimes, I’m the culprit who dragged everyone to the movie.  In my younger, less wise years, I did this with Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.  The trouble is, Episode III is a movie only a Star Wars fan can love, and this group lacked Star Wars fans.  The other night, I did this to my brother and sister.  Fortunately, the movie was at the $3 second-run theater in town.  Out of politeness, we held back giggles as everything in the film unfolded in the most generic, unoriginal, and expected way.  While this led to a fun discussion on the way home, I was a touch disappointed I had suggested the film.

Others, I wish I could unwatch.  This is the most difficult when other people in your group happened to like and love the movie.

The best, and most rare, are the unexpectedly good.  You may enter with low expectations, but exit satisfied.  It’s not necessarily a great movie, but at least enjoyable.  A prime example is Cowboys and Aliens.  While my expectations were less than high for the film, I was still pleasantly surprised.  I still don’t think it is a great film, but it is a lot of fun.  For about 2/3rds of the movie, it’s a great western with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford glaring at each other.  Then, it remembers it’s supposed to have aliens, and the fun diminishes.  Still, for a movie I went to see because a friend wanted to hang out, it was a good time.

Despicable Me is another example.  I saw it on a day out with my youngest sisters.  Despicable Me should win for the absolute worst trailer for a good movie.  The trailer has nothing to do with the story, and does not capture the wit and charm of the film, and the excellent substitution of a nose for a unicorn horn.  I’m now looking forward to Despicable Me 2, and hanging out a little longer with the minions.

So, here’s a salute to all of you who have plugged your noses and stepped into the unknown, unwanted film for the sake of friendship.  And here’s hoping you’ve found something surprising and fun along the way.

What’s the best movie you saw for social purposes?  What’s the worst?  Why do you choose to see a movie?  What’s the best film to make your own commentary for?

9 thoughts on “Movies For The Sake Of Friendship

  1. I don’t remember the best movie, but the worst has to be The Love Guru, a movie so bad everyone left the theatre except me and my friend; I think we were rooted to our seats… in shock, haha.

    This weekend my friend and I watched Oblivion… mostly because we wanted to try out a new cinema with the largest screening room in the region. We had low expectations, but ended up really enjoying it!

    As for Despicable Me… it’s a truly charming movie and I too look forward to the sequel!

    • Love Guru seems like the sort of painful you can’t turn your eyes from, even though you know you should.

      Oblivion seems to at least be super-shiny, and have a cool soundtrack, so I might check it out at the second run theater in town.

  2. I don’t really go to the cinema much. My husband and I every so often say “Why don’t we go and see a film?” and then we check the listings. Then we realise that there’s nothing on that both of us want to watch enough to pay for tickets, especially in a cinema where they don’t sell Butterkist. What kind of crappy cinema doesn’t sell Butterkist? They only do that stuff that they make out of those little polystyrene packing beans, probably out of the boxes they get the films in (re-use is better than recycle). Well, that’s what it tastes like.

    I like a film that’s fun. Death, (aversion of) destruction, responsibility – that’s the day job. I don’t want to go and see more of it in the cinema, especially if I have to pay for the privilege – but I can’t stand the trend for ‘screwball comedy’. My husband likes war films and disaster movies. Now you know why we don’t go to the cinema much!

    Last film we went to see (ages ago!) was the new Star Trek – which turned out to be a good night out with friends. But it’s not films I dread – it’s Games Night. I am not a natural game player; ‘cut-throat’ rather under-estimates my level of competitiveness, and it’s not conducive to a relaxing evening. But I did get introduced to a now-long-discontinued card game called ‘Lawless’, which involves a lot of stealing other people’s (cardboard) cows. That was fun… I stole all my husband’s cows and built a railroad through his pasture. An evening well-spent.

    • Game nights are fun.
      I really enjoyed the 2010 Star Trek, and am looking forward to the new one – you probably noticed that if you read my recent post Star Trek: Into Sherlock. Being single, I have to admit, makes movie and TV choices a little more flexible.
      Also, I wouldn’t call the current trend of terrible romantic comedies ‘screwball comedies.’ That is a blight on the name of great screwball comedies from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. It Happened One Night does not belong with films like This Means War.

  3. Best: Die Hard. The first one. The only really good one. For some reason, I thought it wasn’t going to be good. By the time Hans Gruber and friends showed up, however, I was filled with an insatiable — and not unwelcome — bloodlust. “Wow!” I thought. “Look at him go! In bare feet! And he’s really hurt!”

    Worst: The Adventures of Ford Fairlaine. I just knew this one was going to be crappy going in, but I was outvoted. It was a film that reached the bottom of the quality barrel and then started digging. Awful. Just awful.

    • I had to research the terribleness of The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Apparently, it is an award winning movie… Meaning, the Razzies had a great time with it that year.
      Oh the things we do for friendship against our better judgement.

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