Saturday, 12 July 2014

Against the Crowd Blogathon

Marie Antoinette: A queen against the crowd, a film against the crowd

Ingenious is the idea created by Wendell over at Dell on Movies for a film blogathon. It's concept allows for film bloggers to shed light on the much-loved films that we despised and the hated films we could not help but love. The notion of this blog is so core, so representative of the ideals of the film blogging community: our opinions are valued, they are equal and they are heard. 

The rules of the blogathon are as follows:

1. Pick one move that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 80% on Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 30% on Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter score of both movies 

The two films I almost chose but couldn't due to the Rotten Tomatoes restrictions were Saving Mr Banks and Adore. I found Saving quiet tedious despite my absolute adoration of Emma Thompson. I considered the plot wandered too much and it was very dull at too many an occasion. It scored 79% unfortunately. Similarly, I found Adore refreshing, haunting - supreme filmmaking but it scored 31%. Many of the films which claim a "rotten" status on the website I consider amongst my favourite films (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Marie Antoinette) and vice versa for those which claim a "fresh" status. 

Film I Hated:

It's no secret that I am no fan of Bhaz Lhurman. But no Lhurman film has earned my disapproval more than his debut feature, Strictly Ballroom. The 1992 film was chosen as a unit study for my high school english class when I was 14. Whilst it is common for films watched in school to be despised by its reluctant student viewers this was not the case with me. I watched in awe as films such as To Kill A Mockingbird, Slumdog Millionaire and My Year Without Sex were shown during class. In complete distrust of my skewed 14-year-old perspective, I sought out a copy of the film and gave it a re-watch. But nothing had changed. Let me explain:

The film falls victim to several fatal flaws. This formulaic, cliché feature hides behind a façade of idiocy and pretence. "It's a mocumentary" it claims - "it defies the arch-types of the dance genre". Make no mistake, Strictly Ballroom is just as predictable and unoriginal as the female-orientated dance films which grace our cinemas every year without fail. You've got boy and girl: both engaged in different genres of dance, from different sides of the track, coming together to create some revolutionary dance that is supposed to explode across that cheap vinyl dance floor and change our lives. Throw in some confetti, pretty costumes and a makeover and you've just about won over our hearts.... or made me puke inside my mouth. 
Strictly Ballroom also harbours a crew of supporting characters who act weird simply for the sake of sensationalism, a script so tastelessly dull eyelids will be made heavy and bizarrely disjointed sequencing. This outlandish, incontinent mess of film is actually the 7th highest grossing Australian film of all time. I can see how this film can easily capture the interests of dancer, feeding passions for movement without really trying. But as for the rest of the audience: please consider selling your soul for something a little more original. 

Film I Loved:

When I first saw this film I knew nothing about its context, its synopsis, its audience or critic response. Lions for Lambs came to my attention when I was 17 which was about the age when I first became seriously interested in politics. The antics of politicians once obscure and meaningless notions became the forefront of my endeavours. And this film fed my ambitious, idealistic silly soul with feverish enthusiasm. I had never seen anything like it. The intellectual repartees between journalist and senator, student and professor carried an unhesitating allure to a young mind. 
The script was sublime - engaging dialogues to which I held onto every word. Critics called it nothing more than a series of lectures, and whilst this is technically true it never felt like it. I mean a series of political lectures executed by Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Andrew Garfield, Tom Cruise and Derek Luke? Take my money!! I was truly transfixed for the entirety of the film. Unparalleled was my shock upon learning of such a low score for such an incredible film. I remain defiant however, my opinion of the film is as high as ever and I consider it, a cinematic essential. 


  1. Yours is the first entry of which I've not seen either film. I just never had any interest in seeing Strictly Ballroom. Lions for Lambs just snuck past me. I just never got around to it. You've put it back on my radar. Thanks for that. Very good entry.

    1. Thank you. I had such a great time putting it together. Yes, I really don't think that Strictly Ballroom is worth a watch at all. No worries at all. I'd love to hear what you thought about.

  2. I haven't seen either of these, but Lions for Lambs does sound like it has a great cast. I avoided it from the reviews. Maybe I'll catch it on TV some day.

    1. That's how I saw it. I just happened to stumble upon it on TV. It really is a wonderful cast. Hopefully!

  3. Lions for Lambs has a 27% rating?! Jesus, I actually liked that film, had no idea it was so shit on. Glad you defended it here!

    1. Believe me, I was just as surprised. I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it too. Thank god I'm not alone on this!