Top Ten Movie Pet Peeves

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No, we’re not talking about people talking through the coming attractions and yapping on their cell phones during the movies, though those things are certainly annoying enough to warrant their own Top Ten list. We’re talking about things that go on in the movies themselves that make us want to toss what’s left of our popcorn at the screen. The Top Ten Movie Pet Peeves are:

10. Non-Virgins Being Killed By Psychopathic Maniacs


Jason, Freddy, What’s-His-Name from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. They all have one thing in common, besides homicidal killing sprees: they all seem to kill the girls who won’t be wearing white to their weddings first. We wonder what the origin of this movie prejudice is? After all, it seems like a girl whose really put herself out there (so to speak) has probably had her heart broken a few times might be a bit tougher and stronger than the delicate virginal beauty in white lace. Certainly, we can’t think of any physical reason why non-virgins would be easier to kill than virgins. For once, we’d like to see the chick (and guy) who are having the chaste conversation about waiting until their wedding day be the first ones to go, while the girl who has been around the block a few times is the one to survive until the end.

9. Trailers That Don’t Accurately Reflect the Movie


We’ve all had this happen. You see a trailer for what looks like a really funny, lighthearted movie, only to get to the movie itself and discover that it’s kind of a downer. This is the movie industry’s way of suckering you into see a movie that you otherwise might not: by lying. For example, I remember seeing the trailer for the film “Muriel’s Wedding.” The trailer would have me believe that this was a breezy, coming-of-age film about an awkward teen who grows up to accept herself for who she is. Oh, and it promised to be filled with ABBA songs! But when I actually saw the movie, it turned out to be a rather depressing study of one girl’s battle with her own self-esteem, which included her mother’s suicide, her best friend’s cancer, and her wedding to a guy who didn’t love her. And there might have been one or two ABBA songs. Clearly, not what I had in mind.

8. Giving Away the Whole Movie In The Trailer


Don’t you hate it when you go to see a really funny movie, only to realize that you already saw the best/funniest parts of the movie in the trailer? So do we. If you can’t come up with more than 3-4 really great moments in the movie, and you feel compelled to put them all in the trailer in order to convince people to come see it, you might want to head back to the editing room. Or send the movie directly to DVD. Nothing makes movie-goers angrier than shelling out $15.00, only to find out that they’ve already seen the only worthwhile parts of the movie in the coming attractions.

7. Bad Adaptations


“Bad adaptation” can mean so many different things: poor screenwriting, not being faithful to the original story, leaving out too many essential parts of the story, adding in or leaving out essential characters. Presumably, a producer decides that he wants to adapt a book for the big screen because the book was either extremely popular, well-written, or told a great story. Why then certain screenwriters feel the need to begin editing the essential story is beyond us. Books have a certain pacing and character development to them that screenwriters often seem to completely disregard, leading to movies that appear stilted, non-sensical, or emotionally devoid. While we certainly understand that no ever page of book can make its way onto the silver screen, screenwriters must understand that purchasing the screen rights to a book do not equal a license to start messing around with the story.

6. Poor Casting


If there’s one thing that can ruin a movie, especially one adapted from a book, quicker than you can say “popcorn, please,” it’s bad casting. Of course, every moviegoer has a certain idea of what a character should look like, and a casting director can’t take everyone’s opinion into consideration when choosing an actor for a role. However, sticking somewhat to the way a character is described in a novel, comic book, or well-known role goes a long way towards helping moviegoers out. For example, it was rumored that Nicholas Cage was originally being considered for the most recent Superman Returns role, which wound up eventually going to Brandon Routh. Thank goodness cooler heads prevailed, because Nicholas Cage as Superman would have been very bad casting.

5. Historical Inaccuracies


This is where the movie industry basically calls you an idiot, betting that you are stupider than the movie and that you won’t notice (or care about) glaring historical inaccuracies. Having a husband who was a history major, I’ve long grown used to the exasperated sighs and gritted teeth that signal every time a movie takes creative license with history. I have to admit that this didn’t really bother me, until a movie took license with the story of one of my favorite historical figures: Queen Elizabeth. This movie starring a young Cate Blanchett was beautifully done, except when it came to the most important part of the story: Elizabeth’s love affair with Robert Dudley. The movie flat out states that Elizabeth never speaks to Dudley again following his part in a plot to overthrow her, which is completely baseless, historically wrong, and an insult to everyone in the movie theater.

4. Girls Who Trip And Fall


There might have been a time, say, in the antebellum South, where women were unaccustomed to having to run at high speeds, making every movie in which a woman falls and twists her ankle while attempting to escape a murderer or monster somewhat believable. But in this age of Title IX, women are as capable as running fast without falling down as men are. In fact, we would love to see a movie where the man falls and twists his ankle, and the girl has to help him limp to safety. Now THAT’s an escape scene we would pay to see.

3. Gratuitous Gore


Don’t get us wrong, we appreciate that gore has its time and place in a movie. After all, who could forget the Nazi’s face melting off in Raiders of the Lost Ark or Anakin’s ill-fated battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of The Sith? But there are some movies that just cross the line, with a constant stream of disturbing images that wind up being in exercise in a) seeing which scene can out-gross the others and b) how long moviegoers can last before they get a second taste of their popcorn. The recent spate of super-gore movies such as Hostel, Saw, and Scream come to mind. Note to movie directors: if you can’t take out some of the gore, at least give us a chance to recover in between scenes.

2. Movies That Set Up Sequels


This isn’t to say that a sequel can’t be good, even great. But movies that are banking on a sequel before we’ve even had a chance to rave about the first installment are arrogant and tacky. A sequel should be made because the public is clamoring for it, not because the script and half the scenes for the second and third movies are already in the can. For example, a movie that ends without all the loose ends being tied up is trying to vault itself into the stratospheric company of movies like Star Wars, The Godfather, and Raiders of The Lost Ark, all of which gave us original movies that were able to stand on their own, despite that fact that two of three were part of trilogies.

1. Happy Endings


Sure, everyone loves happy ending, but after 70 years of movie happy endings, things are beginning to get a bit stale. Did Giselle and Robert really have to end up together in Enchanted? Wouldn’t The Wedding Singer have been a teensy bit more interesting (not to mention realistic), if Adam Sandler wound up alone and Drew Barrymore wound up with Billy Idol? Is there anyone out there who wouldn’t have loved to see what the Green Goblin could have accomplish if Spiderman didn’t keep getting in his way? Some of the greatest stories of all time have unhappy endings: Les Miserables, To Kill A Mockingbird, Jude the Obscure. So far readers, and moviegoers, have survived. Let’s mix it up a little.