You've got me curious. You've read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies, listened to a lot music, viewed a lot of television, and you seem, from what little I know intimately (that is personally) about you (and granted what I do know is based solely on thread posts), to like nearly everything. But it only makes sense that you'd not be too fond of at least a few examples from each genre. Is this true? If so, what are a few books, movies, etc. that have curdled your insides with their worthlessness? Cyniclad.
Cyniclad, hmm. Weeelll. First I want to apologize at answering you with such a ridiculously long response. I don't blame you if you are not inclined to read the whole thing. But know, that I took your question to heart...and viewing and reading is something I take very seriously...and my philosophy around such. Maybe we should exchange e-mails as I have taken up so much space here at the forum. Sorry. (I think I've actually managed to post a longer comment than the redoubtable Ken, Peter or Bob G...my kindred souls in marathon forum posts! heh!)
Yes, I guess it does seem like I like everything, heh heh. I am actually a massive snob. I do not like totalitarian agricultural economy or name-calling or big-box stores. I think totalitarian agriculture is a desperate matrix for survival in lessening resources so I can see how it developed, but I don't like how it dominates the way we make a living or share resources. Name-calling either of an article, human activity, product or each other has reduced so many potentially interesting discussions and human relationships to petty brief chit chat. And big-box stores colonize land instead of offering residences above them and send profits to central offices and only a few personal pockets rather than the community they are supposed to serve. I am not crazy about politics either, especially politicians...although there have been some community leaders and civil servants I admire here and there. I blame totalitarian agriculture on our allowing a system that lets politicians think they are leaders, rather than civil servants.
I tend to be a person who is interested in nature and human activities. I just find life very fun and the things that humans do, for the most part, absolutely fascinating. I find things far more interesting to think about in general than my own personal taste.
I can't say I was always like that though. I went through a phase when I was an early punk that I rejected almost any thing that didn't come from or associate or was in tune with the punk aesthetic. Henry Rollins has discussed how fascist this trait for rejecting so much of popular culture in the punk movement was back in the day. I couldn't find his quote, sorry, because he says it much better than I can.
But there was a time when I rejected the music my parents listened to, I didn't like the Beatles or the Eagles Barbra Steisand, country-western, opera, or anything "over-produced" in music. Fortunately this phase didn't last that long. I had fallen into a nihilistic funk if you will. I was reading Nietzsche and existentialists. I was listening to Crass, The Swans, Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, The Birthday Party, Bauhaus, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Throbbing Gristle. I saw The Clash five times during this period and they are probably still my most nostaligic "favourite" band. I immersed my self in "art house" films. I thought Disney sucked.
I was a sprocket long before Mike Myers portrayed how hilarious we were back then. Or the Prince of Abyss.
I don't know exactly what happened, I kind of just bored myself out of it. It was intensely poetic time of my life, studying art and poetry, nightclubbing. And then I just realized...hey I find a lot of things really fun.
Fortunately, I was influenced by friends, who were musicians, housewives and a variety of sods and pisspots who taught me about music history and introduced me to a variety of movies. And forunatly, I was young and not stuck in a rut. I've sen many people get stuck in such a rut. There are all kinds of mindsets that are the death to insightful reading, viewing and criticism.
I still mostly, when alone listen to my goth and punk roots.
I have also always been what might be stereotyped as a "people person". I am really a lover of meeting people and one of my favourite past times is to hang out, shoot the shit and drink coffee. That has always been my lifestyle. I am really into hearing what people do, how they spend their time and what they are interested in. And I love big fat discussions.
I have a group of friends that share this past time with me. And each one of them is massively opinionated too. I have a friend Mister Anchovy who is kind of like, forum webmaster Rick Wallach separated at birth. In attitude. He mainly focuses his listening to folk music, say Bob Dylan and obscure accordion music: he is bewildered at the popularity and media machine of Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears. (but he is a "go-to" guy when it comes to folk traditions) It makes no sense how we became soul mates. Our friendship began over arguing about Eva Hesse and Di Chirico and Philip Guston etc etc. And music and movies. From our first studying art and music and such...we have always had massive discussions. My friends do not agree with me on just about everything. I have hardly any friends who like U2. And they are one of my favourite bands. and my friends don't always understand my rejection of totalitarian agriculture. Most of my friends think I am nuts...and well, I think so too, ha ha. But friends don't care if your socks don't match. And over the years we have learned how to have disagreements and long running discussions despite many of our differences. Friends don't care if your socks don't match. And... my friends and I being so opinionated...we joke that we are friends because no one else wants to hang out with us.
So...at one point I had a kind of personal moment when I realized hey, I like stuff why am I restricting my life to one kind of music. My friends music was important to me. Other people's interests are very important to me. As I studied painting I realized, it doesn't make sense for me to hang on to "favourite colours". There is no room in art for favouring colours over content. Is it true, form follows content?
I think walking into a movie theatre or an art gallery...is much more powerful when one tries to just learn.
And I do believe in life long learning. At the risk of sounding hopelessly Oprah in a hostile environment, heh heh I love aha moments. And I love transformative art...and surrender is part of that process: of viewing, making and discussing. In my opinion. In my personal experience.
To just open up and see where the narratives take one. Plus, I just plum find it fascinating to expose myself to an art show. I don't ever read movie or art or book reviews. Sometimes I will cut them out and save them to read later after I've seen for myself. Many critics now have kind of resorted to a Seinfeld mentality of criticism. Revealing a plot and dismissing particular shallow traits in their observations (can't date her she has "man hands" "eats peas with only one pea on a fork"). (I loved Seinfeld show, but not because they are cool, but because they were funny because they were all disturbed and not well-adjusted and of course they all had to land up in jail..where else?). The trend I see in criticism has lost the flavour of how does one feel about the characters, story, and turned into a more "rational" approach to studying and commenting on art, books. In my opinion, a critic actually needs to have as vast an imagination as the art and books they critique.
Now, Steve, you ask me to share movies or books I found "worthless". You know, that really defines the difference of approach I take. I am a people person. I really enjoy life and nature. I just don't see something people do as worthless. It seems so negative a way of approaching the vast history of objects and stories people share.
Nothing about human life or activity is worthless to me. It might be horrific (war and cruelty) it might be shallow or incomplete in it's intent...but worthless?
No I think it's possible to even find some value in a weak movie or story. I am also thinking there is a value in "bad art". I was turned on to the The Museum of Bad Art recently (thanks Wes). The existence of this museum makes perfect (and often funny and even touching) sense to me.
Part of the human condition is the urge to make or lay claim to something. To try to share something important...and as humans...we make mistakes. Those mistakes are as fascinating to me as the successes.
There are all kinds of books and movies I don't like. I read On Beauty with a book club last year. I thought it was a failure. For one the characters were all rather unlikable...but not in a purposeful manner. And I believe Zadie Smith made a huge oversight. She introduced a stolen painting in the novel...and totally didn't use such an excellent plot device. The stolen painting was wrapped up as an afterthought. I dod however like Francine Prose's novel Blue Angel more and I comare them because they had similar content and settings and themes.
I once read a book I really really hated. A friend had wanted me to read it so we could discuss it. I read it. And I said, I will never read another book by that author. Yuck! I didn't like the style of writing, I thought there were actual sentences that sounded phony.
See, I am suspicious of phony things and people.
Then... months (years?) later someone mentioned a book they thought I would enjoy. I love novels with adventure, action, intense styles and often taboo subject matter, interspecies relationships...it's not a "rule" but it's a preference for me. So they said, this book had animals, the ocean (I love ocean adventures!) and some other aspects I look for in novels. Yes, I was totally interested in this book.
Oh no. It was by the same author of Self the very same author I said I would never read again!
Steve, I am a Buddhist and there is a word we have called "lila" and it is when the universe plays a joke on you. It is often a sense of fun and testing for the practitioner. And really, I tend to not take "reality" or "realism" as seriously as some folks in North America and Europe. My meditation and study of both Hinduism and Buddhism has likely been a force on how I feel about reading and viewing.
What a lila!
It turned out that in fact, I LOVED The Life of Pi and even funnier...it went on to get several awards. Shows what I know about myself.
My likes and dislikes are not always the way I move through the world of reading and viewing.
I don't like Margeret Atwood. I've often said I would rather drink a glass of saliva than read another of her books. You know, and yet she is so immensely popular. I know it's me, and also I know she writes interesting things. I do happen to like her novel Surfacing. I thought it was really cool..now I also read that when I was a kid...and the subject matter stills interests me.
I used to not liek Julia Roberts. Although she is gorgeous on camera and has a lot of charisma...I used to not like her acting style. I wasn't a fn of the movie Pretty Woman. I prefered the dark anecdote, Whore by Ken Russell.
Then she blew me away in her role in My Best Friends Wedding. She really touched me with her portrayal. And although I am not a superdooper fan of Pretty Woman I have become a fan of Roberts.
I am not a fan of classical music. I find it depressing. I was introduced to classical music through movie soundtracks. I love 2001, Clockwork Orange, Indiana Jones, Star Wars (the movies as well as the soundtracks). So..I don't hate classical music, and over the years I've gotten way more familiar and enjoy much of it. But I don't generally choose to play it say, around the house, or for a party. It depresses me, like my actual metabolism heh heh.
I watched a movie the other day called In The Land of Women and it was okay. I was a little uninterested during the movie and that was sad. It had some humour...but it had the potential to be a lot deeper and funnier considering the interworkings of the characters, the subtle humour, and the heavy subject matter. And the untapped talents of the actors like Meg Ryan and Olympia Dukakis. I have never walked out of a movie, but I almost thought about not finishing this one. I love the actor Kristen Stewart (the daughter in Panic Room the teen hobo in Into The Wild) I think she is utterly compelling onscreen. I can't look away from her. And so far in her young career a awesome actor.
I am not crazy about chamber music or duelling string ensembles.