For more information on my writing, please visit my official author website!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Random Wednesday Conversation Starter

Cal had a post about "hype" the other day, in which he discusses the upcoming wedding of a couple of Royals in the United Kingdom. In the post, he describes some things he's avoided because of the hype surrounding them:

I am totally consistent in my attitudes when it comes to hype. I hate anyone telling me that I have to see something or read something or listen to something. Nine times out of ten their recommendations are correct and I may get around to them eventually but initially I just want to run screaming in the other direction.

For example:

I have never seen 'E.T.' nor will I ever see it. If they show it on a plane I will have to take a parachute and jump.

Now, this strikes me as odd, since the hype over E.T. happened thirty years ago, and now the movie is pretty much a classic. Some hyped things fade away, as you'd expect, but others demonstrate that they can withstand the Test of Time, as it were, so by this point, reacting against E.T. because lots of people like it seems weird. So I said so, and Cal responded:

I just don't wanna see E.T. because I want to have ONE movie I never see and that seemed like a good one. If I never see 'Smurfs' then I am a discriminating movie goer. If I don't see E.T. then I am just a freak and I can live with that.

Huh. Here again I'm confused; the very nature of time and the fact that I'll never have enough of it pretty much guarantees that I'll always have a movie that's a classic that I never saw. Same thing with books. Same with music. That realization can be a bit liberating, actually; I remember, back when I was an active film music fan, that there was a particular record producer whom I thought was just a giant jerk, so I publicly stated that I wasn't going to be buying anything from his label, ever. Someone else chimed in to say, "You're just depriving yourself!" My response was, "I'll never have time to hear all the music I want to hear anyway." Which is true. (It also helped that the records the guy makes -- re-recordings of campy sci-fi film scores from the 1950s -- are of zero interest to me.)

So where am I going with this? Where's the Random Wednesday Conversation Starter? I'm not trying to pick on Cal here; I was just thrown a bit by the resolute nature of his being against the hype for what is now an old movie. Scary thought: E.T. is older now than Casablanca was when I was born.

Anyway, here's the question: What highly-regarded movie, or book, or whatever, exists that you're pretty sure you're never going to see, read, or hear, for whatever reason? (And thanks, Cal, for the thought-provoking post!)


Jedediah said...

Everybody raves about Thomas Mann, but I'm fairly sure that I will never read his Buddenbrooks. I tried other books, but he bores me to death. I love reading about his life, though.
I probably won't read any more Charles Dickens for the same reason, so I'll be missing out on a lot of classics.

I probably won't ever see Avatar because I just can't muster any enthusiasm about it. We'll see how much of a classic it will actually become. And so far I have refused to put myself through the emotional trauma of Bambi. E.T. dying was bad enough.

I refused to watch LoTR and read Harry Potter for years because of the hypes. I enjoyed both (LoTR as fantasy movies, not as good LoTR movies, though) and I decided never to ignore anything just because of the hype anymore.

Roger Owen Green said...

I don't not see/read things because of the hype. I'll probably never see The Silence of the Lambs (I started to on HBO) because it creeped me out). Any number of novels I'll never read because I have too many nonfiction books waiting.
On the other hand, if everyone were watching the Real Housewives of Who Cares, I STILL wouldn't tune in.

Call me Paul said...

I remember when I finally saw Ghost, and it totally didn't live up to its hype. It was, in fact, a pretty piss-poor movie. I never understood why it ever got any hype. So, I'm always a bit skeptical of hype surrounding anything.

That said, I'm totally not interested in the whole GRRM phenomenon. Everyone I ever speak to about it sounds like you: "I like it, honest, I's just so long...and rambling...and I can't keep track of its cast of thousands...and he uses weird and arcane language like crazy...and he kills off every character I ever grow to like...and he's never gonna finish it anyway...but I like it...I swear." Now that's hype!

Lynn said...


I am extremely turned off by hype and I do often not want to see or read things because they are too popular. Unless it's science fiction; then I'm so sure I'll probably like it that I can't let a little thing like popularity spoil it for me.

But right now I can't think of anything specific that I have refused to see because of its popularity.

Tosy And Cosh said...

Have you read Linda Holmes' post from this week on thios very same topic?

Awesome stuff.

For me, it's likely classic literature. I've tried to read Don Quixote a few times, some Dickens, and while I like it, it just doesn't grab me the way a great modern novel does. My loss? Of course. But you can only bang your head on a wall so many times before just accepting that you like other walls better.

scribbler50 said...

Not to sound moralistic over here but I've never nor will I EVER take in one "Nightmare on Elm Street" or one "Friday the 13th" as long as I live. I'm not against a scary movie, the classic "The Spiral Staircase" (1945) comes to mind, but mindless gore I am and I just won't watch it.

And I've yet to read a word of Norman Mailer. I may bend on that one.

Matthew Jones said...

The one that pops to mind is "Requiem for a Dream". This is mostly because everyone I have heard from says (1) is it sooo depressing but (2) really good! First of all, I generally don't trust the opinions of others to sway what I do and do not want to see. However, if I am on the fence about seeing it, don't tell me it's depressing. The odds of me going through a movie catalogue of films and going "I'm in the mood to be depressed" are virtually nil. So, I'm sure it's great, but thanks but I'd rather watch Phantom Menace again.

SK Waller said...

I purposely never saw Roger Rabbit. People kept telling me I "had" to, so I didn't. I later found out that it was a good decision because of the noise level. That's also why I'll never watch it in the future. I'm quite skeptical where hype is concerned.

Carl seems a bit quixotic concerning ET though.

Kerry said...

I've never read nor will I read "Ulysses."

I've never seen nor will I see "Die Hard."

Ditto for "Glee."

I'm wavering on "Mad Men" and the Harry Potter books.

Quince said...

Guy Karavel

Jaquandor said...

Paul: I'm not sure about the "arcane" language of terms of language difficulty, he's no more difficult than GGK, and he's less difficult than some of Tolkien's loftier passages. I'd say that GRRM's strengths are that his characters really ARE compelling (it's easy to keep track of the "main characters"; it's the thousands of extras, most of whom have names, who get lost in the shuffle), and his ability to keep things moving. He's one of those writers who has so much stuff happening that you don't realize until later that you didn't move downstream much at all, in terms of overall plot. I also wouldn't say he kills off every character I like -- because some of them, I don't.

Steph: I'm confused a bit -- the "noise" level? You can turn down the volume, you know! If you grew up watching cartoons and loving animation, Roger Rabbit's a blast. If you didn't, I suppose it's likeable enough.

Quince: Google is your friend, if you don't know what his name is.

Roger Owen Green said...

To Matthew Jones: What you heard about Requiem for a Dream is correct, IMO. Ellen Burstyn should have won the Academy Award over Julia Roberts that year, merely based on merit. On the other hand, Erin Brockovich was a MUCH more likable film, so I wouldn't say that the Academy got it wrong.