Ever since I did my post on superhero movies I’ve been wanting to make a post explaining a little bit more about me and my likes and dislikes. Hopefully this will give my reviews some context and help them make a little more sense.
1. If someone asks me what my favorite movie is my go to answer is Up. To me it is perfect. In fact I like it so much I had this cake made for my birthday party/open house
2. My favorite book is North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.
3. My favorite modern book is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
In general I do not love YA novels and in particular could do away with vampires, warewolves and dystopian novels for the rest of my life and be a happy girl. I try to be open minded but I generally like memoirs about interesting people and the classics the best.
4. I am Mormon and served a mission for my church from 2003-2005 so for the most part if a movie came out during those years I haven’t seen it.
5. A follow up to the previous item I tend to enjoy Christian based films with positive messages or films with those values and there are a wide range of films I will not see because of content including all Scorsese films except for Hugo and all the Tarantino films. I take films on a case-by-case basis because I think the MPAA is a complete joke. I don’t think I am the biggest prude in the world but I will not be seeing The Wolf of Wall Street with 508 f words anytime soon…
6. I do not like to be scared. I know others enjoy the sensation and I respect that, I do not. Even movies which are overly grim and cynical do not appeal to me.
7. The first movie I remember going to see in the theaters and really loving was Little Mermaid.
8. The worst movie I saw as a kid was Return to Oz. The scene with the all the heads scarred me for life. It’s so dark and unpleasant and not in a good way.
Another prime candidate would be The Rescuers. The idea of a girl getting kidnapped by a mean lady and getting forced down into a tiny cave still gives me the creeps.
9. As a teen my passion was theater and less movies with Les Miserables being my obsession. I knew every line and saw it when I was 14 on Broadway and it blew me away. Just saw it a few weeks ago and it still has that power.
10. 2 movies I’ve walked out of in the theater are
Drop Dead Gorgeous (will always be my least favorite movie of all time)
11. The movie which made me laugh the hardest first was Home Alone and it still makes me laugh.
12. What I used to watch with my siblings- The Simpsons. Still watch it every Sunday.
13. I love scenes in movies where characters fly! So if it is in there I am going to be kinder to it than I might otherwise be.
14. I hate what I call ‘wink wink’ humor meant for adults in kids movies. Just be funny for both kids and adults.
15. In college I majored in political science with an emphasis on political philosophy so I love movies which dive a little deeper into human behavior and why we do what we do.
16. My family talks incessantly about Sherlock Holmes- how great Benedict is, how we hate the Downy versions, love the old Jeremy Brett, reading and discussing the stories. It’s kind of strange actually.
17. My favorite show growing up aside from the Simpsons was Boy Meets World.
18. My literary muse is Nora Ephron. I love her writing so much.
19. One of my heroes is Julia Child for daring to start over in her life and graduating from Le Cordon Blu when she was nearly 40. She inspires me daily.
20. I love action adventure stories that don’t take themselves too seriously.
21. I love movies about work. Why we work? When do we overwork? What do we accomplish from work? What is too much to sacrifice for work etc? Most of my favorite movies involve that in some way.
22. I love a good romantic comedy when it is done right. I highly resent the term ‘chick flick’
23. I love being in the water especially the Ocean and especially Hawaii. One of my biggest hobbies is open water swimming in the summer and I love being out in nature and swimming, so any movie that involves that I am going to be predisposed to like it.
24. I quit a job I was miserable at in 2007 and started blogging as part of my healing process in 2008. Check out my regular blog which is more personal and occasionally religious at http://smilingldsgirl.com.
25. I’m a reality TV game show fan particularly Survivor and Amazing Race although haven’t watched the Race this season.
26. I’m a pretty staunch Republican particularly Libertarian causes and issues and I believe the arts can be a tool to teach and promote empathy and understanding amongst all people no matter their viewpoints.
27. I consider myself a feminist when it comes to equal pay and a positive representation in the media but not on most politically charged issues.
28. In general am not a huge fantasy fan and enjoy things more grounded in characters I can relate to and worlds I understand but there are exceptions
29. Most of my friends are not big movie watchers hence my need to blog my thoughts and talk about them with all of you!
30. Things I think are boring (bc everyone’s definition differs so wildly) Contact, Dinner with Andre, Star Wars prequels, Dinosaur, Harry Potter 7 pt 1, The English Patient, Transformers 4, American Beauty, Last Airbender, Life of Pi, Terms of Endearment but for the most part movies that others think are boring I don’t mind.
31. I have a lazy eye and have had surgery twice on it in recent years. This is why I tend to not see 3D and do not play video games.
32. I love stories about redemption and think Christmas Carol is the best story ever written.
33. I’m from a family of 6 of kids and my Mom was pregnant when I went to college. Have siblings 16 and 18 years younger than me.
34. If I had to pick British loves I’d go with Austen and Dickens over Tolkien and Rowling.
35. I do not like violence in movies. It sticks in my head in a way it doesn’t seem to for others. Movies that most find harmless bother me.
36. I do not watch Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Newsroom, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Dexter or whatever R rated drama is the current rage. I do watch Once Upon a Time, Sherlock and Downton Abby though!
37. Current favorite scripted TV shows are The Goldbergs, Hindsight, Mindy Project and The Middle.
38. I hate the recent fairytale retelling trend but we’ll see if Cinderella changes my mind.
39. I loved How I Met Your Mother. After the Simpsons it is my second favorite series ever but hated the finale so much there are not words to express. Hard for me to watch episodes because I know how it ended. Darn you Carter Bays and Craig Thomas!
40. As far as music goes I love Josh Groban, Michael Buble, Norah Jones, Ingrid Michaelson, and Sara Barielles. But I like a wide variety with everything from jazz to hip-hop to classical to broadway on my playlists. And Disney soundtracks of course!
That’s probably enough for the moment. Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about me. Tell me a little bit more about you!
31 thoughts on “Getting to Know My Tastes”
It’s nice to get to know you a little better! I was also really into theater as a teenager, and still am (performing in community theater). I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on Cinderella – I just saw it last night and actually liked it better than I expected.
Thanks for reading a little more about me. I’d love to do theater again sometime. I’m just a really sucky dancer so that hurts my chances with a lot of musical roles but I love going to the theater and just saw An American in Paris on Broadway. Amazing!
I’m dying to go to Cinderella. Just have to get better from this flu I have and I can go.
I tried to enroll in a theater program once downtown and the only other person who showed up for that was a 10-year-old girl named Erin. Well, and the instructor’s boyfriend who showed up halfway through and sat in the vacant audience seats and was bored because he had nothing to do, no reason to be there. And rather than tell him to wait until she was off work Jackie naturally went to keep him company eventually and spent a lot of time whispering with him while simultaneously pretending to grade our improvisational work. And she had, of course, told me I could not eat a granola bar during the time I was timed off stage because even if you are hungry you have to wait for the break because it would be unprofessional to do anything like that during the show. So naturally she assigned us to write about what we’d been doing so she could have a proper excuse to just sit and whisper with Frank from DePaul University, then she invited him to come and sit on the stage with us and give us his definition of the word “dynamic” in a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that he had no right to be in that room at all let alone on the stage.
One thing I will give Jackie credit for is she told us she was disappointed about only having 2 volunteers and asked us if we thought it was worth going ahead or if she should cancel the program. She told us that if there were only 3 of us we needed to practice our teamwork and wrote out on a board the word “empathy” and offered various definitions for us to fill out. I offered “stepping out of yourself and thinking about other people” which I had got from Aunt Marilyn, and she thought that was great and told us we had both done a great job with the program and she looked forward to seeing us again for rehearsal tomorrow. The next morning Dad got an e-mail saying Jackie had disliked my performance, believed I was unfit for the program, and it would be best if I was removed. Dad went downtown to get the money back, and there was no rehearsal in session and it’s obvious there was no theater program to be unfit for and removed from.
Sad. You seem to have the worst luck.
No, no, there are far many people out there in the world who have worse luck than I do. But it’s a matter of perspective. Thank you for the thought.
That’s a good attitude. 🙂
Hey I just watched Waterloo episode to catch up. Pretty great. I liked how it was pretty much all about the workplace. Makes me excited for new season.
Yeah, I watched Waterloo twice then again with the commentary.
I’m going to rewatch Seven Twenty Three right now. It was the first episode I ever saw.
(Already re-watched Hobo Code, Shoot, Three Sundays, and Mountain King.)
Very interesting to read such a comprehensive run-down of your tastes. I saw a picture on Twitter once of an Up birthday cake that was even more top heavy than yours, to the point that I have no idea how it was balancing!
I’d need to think a bit about my own tastes film-wise. Things that do spring to mind are that I enjoy superhero films, and I like vampire films but don’t tend to go for other kinds of horror. Brainless action films are some of my guilty pleasures but I ultimately prefer more intelligent ones like Terminator 2. And I’m naturally drawn to films that appeal to my existing interests, like Apollo 13, Jurassic Park, and my favourite film of all time, Titanic.
Thanks. It would be fun to hear what those interests are. I feel like I am constantly saying things like ‘I have a weakness for….’ in reviews and so I thought I would just put it out in a post what I like, dislike, what makes me who I am. It was sort of fun to do.
I think I’ve seen that cake before. My 32nd birthday fell a week before I closed on the house I had been building for 6 months. It was a big accomplishment and I thought Up is my favorite movie and it involves a house and lots of balloons- perfect for an open house/birthday party! I’ve always wanted to do a fancy cake like the kind you see on TV and so this was my chance. A lot of fun. Mostly fun to celebrate with my family and friends the accomplishment of my house. http://smilingldsgirl.com/2013/02/09/up-housewarmingbirthday-party/
I met a man who said he did not watch Mad Men because he is more into fantasy. I like fantasy as long as it has ties to the real world which most fantasy actually does, but I do not like sci-fi worlds like Chronicles of Riddick, Guardians of the Galaxy, with no relatable characters where we are just meant to sink or swim. It takes a lot to pull off the story convincingly. I’ve actually always felt A Christmas Carol was a bit too simplistic for me.
I like old music much more than modern-day music and absolutely despise rap to the end of time. My siblings and I have loved The Simpsons for a long time but I stopped watching the new episodes long ago. I think it honestly should go off the air.
I find it a bit strange you connote Libertarianism with conservative policies. Plenty of Libertarians have been on the right before, but my father is a staunch Libertarian and he hates George W. Bush and everything right-wing, not voting for Bob Barr in 2008 for that very reason.
All good points. It’s true libertarians tend to be conservative fiscally and liberal on social issues because they’d rather have the government out of your life. If there was a viable Libertarian party I’d be part of that but when push comes to shove I agree more with the Republicans than Democrats especially on spending and abortion. But your right there are a wide range of people who take libertarian concepts and apply them to both parties. But anyway dont want to get too political on this blog. Just thought it might help explain some of my enjoyment of certain movies.
Oh and about the Simpsons it’s not as good as it once was. The heyday was really around season 4 to 10. But I still enjoy it and every season there are still 2 or 3 episodes that are brilliant. I guess it’s been a part of my life for so long it is kind of comforting at this point but I get what you are saying. At this point I’ll ride it out till the end. In recent years actually it’s gotten a little more bold artistically which has been cool to see. Anyway I love it.
I’m very much a science geek: my primary interest is zoology, but I also like astronomy and palaeontology. I was very into dinosaurs throughout primary school, then developed an interest in space travel in high school. I’m also into history, particularly English and maritime history.
That makes sense with your name Velociraptor256 that you like dinosaurs. Interesting to hear of your interest in space and history. It does help you get to appreciate the reviews a little more when you know more about them I think.
This is a very good idea for a post. I like the idea of using the Internet and your blog to help people get to know you better, and I think your tastes do definitely color how you react to something. And oh I’m so sorry your friends are not big movie buffs!
1. Up did resonate with me because it reminded me of my aunt’s long life with her husband who died before I was born but not enough to be a personal favorite. Regardless it was great, as were Ratatouille, WALL-E and Toy Story 3. I have high hopes for Inside Out.
2. I wish I read faster/as much as you probably do because I don’t have clear book tastes. I agree with your tastes on YA novels/classics and want to broaden my reading. For now 11/22/63 by Stephen King may be my favorite book if it continues the course it is on.
The thing about horror is I was easily traumatized as a child but now I think I may be more desensitized due to how much Doctor Who I have seen. If you ever watch the show, I would recommend skipping the episode “Midnight” or at least watch it with the lights on (I never have). The Secret of NIMH 2, The Swan Princess, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, and the TaleSpin episode “Balooest of the Blue Bloods” all terrified me as a child.
My brother actually loves the Robert Downey Jr. Holmes movies and he gave them to me for Christmas, assuring me that all they do is portray what was only said in the novels (i.e. Holmes: “I would have not succeeded if I had not been so good at short-stick boxing….”)
Me: But they do contain a lot of conventional action scenes, right?
Brother: Well, yeah.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It was fun to write. 🙂
Yeah with Downey they turn Holmes into a Victorian James Bond with explosions and dodging bullets and stuff like that. Holmes is special because of his intellect and while he does box in the stories it is a minor character trait and Guy Richie turns Holmes into a real generic detective when he should be so special. They arent the worst movies ever and Downey is fine but like you said very conventional.
I haven’t actually seen them in full and I have only read one Sherlock Holmes story.
From what I have seen of the first film I think I might agree with you. It’s probably the only way to sell Sherlock Holmes to a modern Hollywood audience, but the question is whether it’s done well and once I have read more of the original stories and seen the films I may comment further on my opinion.
As for Quentin Tarantino his main influences are a lifetime of watching very violent movies as he’s admitted. Django Unchained was a revenge fantasy, and while I liked it very much on those terms it holds no appeal at all to people who dislike that type of film. For me it worked primarily on the basis of how horrible slavery was. The film can’t be construed as moral at all but revenge fantasy isn’t. There are 2 kinds of violence presented: the type that is justified and that we are supposed to enjoy, and the type that is a horrific injustice we are meant to be disgusted at. I think Tarantino does a remarkably good job of manipulating the audiences’ emotions to be on board with him about both without ever making them question the hypocrisy. The rules of revenge fantasy are followed.
I watched one other of his movies recently, Reservoir Dogs, and it was a completely different genre, a crime film, and though both are violent it was remarkably different. The violence was only there in a few places, and served mostly to show all the worst aspects of the life of crime. It’s even surprisingly old-fashioned in how it follows the Hays Code model for crime films: never let criminals be rewarded. Innocent victims or no innocent victims, there were only 2 ways the movie could end for the leads: death or prison. It’s one of his more realistic movies in that almost none of the violence is there to be enjoyed. The sole exception might be the indulgent scene with the police officer being tortured to “Stuck in the Middle With You”. On the one hand, it shows a dark reality of the fact that if you dabble in crime, you may end up working with dangerous psychopaths,
but the humor in it doesn’t mesh and his trademark tone hasn’t been perfected yet. I liked the movie as a whole, and think it is well done, but also unpolished and a bit too “style over substance”.
I have seen one Martin Scorsese film, Shutter Island, and I don’t think it actually was very violent. It was a good adaptation of the book, which is a
disturbing suspense thriller, but only until we realize this is just because the climax happened 2 years ago, and once we learn this the book just becomes very sad rather than disturbing. Shutter Island is ultimately a romantic tragedy, not a thriller or a horror story at all, but the film’s ending wasn’t as clear so this didn’t come off very well.
Very interesting. I think you are right about those types of violence. I do also think there is a difference between historical violence like you are saying with slavery in 12 Years a Slave or war in Saving Private Ryan than what I call personal violence where individuals are preyed upon. I guess you just have to take it on a film by film basis but in general I try to be careful about violent content.
Both Scorsese and Tarantino films tend to have more bad language than I am comfortable with but if one comes out I can see I am more than open to seeing them
The Sherlock Holmes stories are really good. I highly recommend them. Benedict Cumberbatch modern retelling in Sherlock series are brilliant and the best traditional retelling is a PBS series with Jeremy Brett from the 90s. So good!
I watched an episode of the Jeremy Brett show that adapted the one story I read (Adventure of the Speckled Band) and it was a very faithful adaptation, mostly well filmed and acted.
Oh thats a great episode!
I love swimming as well. It’s been my favorite thing to do at the YMCA for as long as I can remember. I like films and TV (i.e. Mad Men) based heavily on psychology and why humans work, too. It would be nice if you have any recommendations?
I hate most romantic comedies. I stopped watching The Proposal early on because I realized I had seen every lol moment in the last rom-com I saw (Holiday in Handcuffs) and this was exactly the same movie and would have the exact same ending. I like older ones (Pillow Talk, Sunday in New York) and OHHH THAT PICTURE! DO YOU LOVE THE APARTMENT AS MUCH AS I DO? IT IS A FLAWLESS WORK OF ART THAT PUTS ALL THE CLICHED ROM-COMS AND THE SO-CALLED “RAUNCHY RISQUE” MOVIES OF TODAY TO SHAME!
The Apartment is brilliant but I dont think it’s a romcom. It has comedic moments but definitely a drama. The Apartment would be so different made today because they would focus too much on the sex and not enough on the people. I love it for lots of reasons but mainly bc you have this man who has to decide how much he will compromise to be happy at work.
There are tons of terrible romcoms but when the writing is good and performances appealing I love them. The Proposal isn’t one of the worst but not a favorite. I’d agree pretty cliched. One’s I love are You’ve got Mail, Bringing up Baby, When Harry Met Sally, Return to Me, Pillow Talk etc.
That’s cool you like movies about work too. Mad Men is most interesting when it’s about work and less about the sex life of the people which to me became very predictable. Some others about work are Stranger than Fiction, Office Space, Devil Wears Prada, The Incredibles, Its a Wonderful Life, Holiday, Mr Deeds Goes to Town, Defending Your Life, Death of a Salesman, Locke, Truman Show. Some are comedies. Others dramas. The Apartment and Stranger than Fiction are probably my favorites.
I wrote about it here if your interested
Thanks for the great comment. Fun to hear more about your interests.
I agree completely. That’s one thing I think might actually have been good about the Hays Code is that it forced filmmakers to concentrate on other things. I don’t know if I really want it brought back, but I agree with you completely about what The Apartment would become today. Most comedies are extremely raunchy and probably even the good ones focus on sex humor as opposed to human interest.
One of the most striking things about the film is it is somewhat difficult to classify in terms of genre. I think you could actually make a case that the first act is a comedy, the second act is a drama, and the third is a romance. I love how the characters feel like real people, they are flawed but very likable. The ending is a cliche but that’s why I love it because the movie is an “audience picture” and unpretentious that nevertheless is more realistic than we would ever expect, and we get so much tragedy and frank cynicism in exploring the characters’ likes, we really want that ending and feel they have earned it through the decisions they finally choose to make and the realizations they come to over the story. It really is a great film.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town was good and horrifyingly enough it was actually turned into a raunchy Adam Sandler comedy which unfortunately more people have seen. I remember my brother rented When Harry Met Sally and called his girlfriend over to watch it with him to debate whether men and women can be just friends when she wanted to be just that with him. (I also find it disappointing that I know the answer in that film is “no”.)
I think the focus on the characters’ extra-marital affairs in Mad Men fit well with their work lives because what they do at work is sell people on some shiny product that will solve their problems and make them happy unconditionally. But their own marriages are that lie, the idea that breaking the rules and cheating on their spouses will get them satisfaction is a lie, because they get next to no fulfillment from it and Don and Pete’s marriages eventually collapsed because of it. The show never glamorizes adultery. We see in Season 6 the toll it has all had on Don in the very first episode when he says “I want to stop doing this” as he is doing it and it’s visibly tearing him apart but he cannot stop. The rest of the season focuses on how he was emotionally damaged into being this way. Pete realized what he was doing and why, too, he admitted it to the woman he did with after she had no clue who he was and what it meant, then in a year’s time he destroyed his marriage anyway. Even greatly moral people can fall into these general patterns and it exposes the tragedy of the human condition.
Very well said. I agree with what you are saying about The Apartment although to me it is always pretty dark and the ending works. You needed some redemption, some happiness for the character especially with his deciding to give up the promotion.
I actually think the answer in When Harry Met Sally is a little more complex than a no. They clearly are friends for many years without sex so it can be done. But I also think it is usually true that we want to marry our best friends so its not necessarily a bad thing. I love Nora Ephron’s writing, the characters, the story. I think the end message is you can be friends and sometimes you actually want to marry that friend, not just have sex with them, which surprises the Crystal character.
Anyway, as far as Mad Men I agree with what you are saying. It just becomes very predictable when they go through the same storylines and behavior over and over again. Why not have one character who makes different choices? I’ll still watch the final season but after a while I became bored because I knew what was going to happen. And I lost someone to root for. For a long time I was able to root for Peggy but eventually she became less sympathetic and it was hard for me to be as engaged. But it is super well acted and has a lot of interesting things to say about marketing, work, morals and everything else. It’s a good show. Don’t get me wrong, just got a little repetitive for me and less compelling.
I loved that scene in The Apartment where Baxter rejects the promotion because it genuinely engaged me and I wasn’t actually sure what he had done. The movie had already surprised me with how dark it went (with Fran attempting suicide), and I thought it was the key to the executive washroom, but then when Sheldrake took the key I assumed I was wrong. Basically I booed him then I cheered him and it always made sense, in contrast to a very old Mary Pickford film I saw (My Best Girl) where she inexplicably revealed she had been lying about her motivations, then inexplicably took that back and admitted that was a lie too.
I see your point about Mad Men but I think Don did go through a new storyline following Season 3. Then after the Season 5 finale which suggests a return to the old behavior I liked that it did at least start off with a very fatalistic tone and Don’s “I want to stop doing this” again. And thankfully after that affair ends Don really doesn’t go back to adultery. He actually manages to remain faithful and we even see him turn down his secretary’s advances in Waterloo. This suggested real improvement, and I was surprised at how hopeful the ending actually was. It was as if Don was seeing a vision telling him to appreciate the small things in life, and embrace what he has and what money can’t buy.
I also think Sal made a different choice, he made the right one and only ended up badly due to the time period he was in. Also in the same episode that Lane’s cheating was revealed his father (albeit through abuse) quickly ended it and it ended up being pride that did him in a season later. Harry also made a remarkable choice in actually confiding to his wife and apologizing, and while he was kicked out of his house and this caused problems at the time it seemed to save his marriage in the long-run. Roger also chose to end his affair with Joan and then both of his marriages for greatly different reasons, which I thought was interesting. Even he shows some advancement in the monologue he gives to the psychologist in the Season 6 opener. Ken Cosgrove is, I think, the definitive exception. He seems to always be faithful to his wife, and prioritizes his wife and family above his work, unlike all the others. It’s just that we don’t see him explored very much.
I actually think Peggy became unsympathetic as early as Season 2 through denying the responsibilities of parenthood, then claiming God would not judge her for it and callously telling Pete that she gave his child away without any real thought to how cruel that was both in doing it and in telling him. She was still the most likable from that point on, though (I’m curious to know what your breaking point was with her).
That’s just my take. Overall I genuinely don’t know what is going to happen in any of the 7 episodes to come and I’m on the edge of my seat watching the trailers and waiting for April 5.
You make me want to go back and binge watch because I lost interest in season 3. To me the whole Don and the school teacher was like “this again”. Betty has her sexual experience to get back at Don and Pete is such a jerk. Peggy is cold and unfeeling which she probably has a right to be. Joan is kind of interesting. I always liked Layne and was very sad when he committed suicide. I don’t know. Will have to rewatch to get ready for final season.
That’s actually the point I started watching the show. I got bored with Season 4 and watched the whole show from the beginning long after that.
And the show did change so much after that! No one expected Betty discovering Don’s identity, the dissolution of Sterling-Cooper! “Shut the Door, Have a Seat” honestly felt like a finale the first time I saw it.
I did like Lane mostly (due to Jared Harris’s acting primarily) but I was sadly spoiled for his death. It’s actually my favorite episode, though, despite all that.
I read the Alan Sepinwall and A.V. Club reviews after every episode and I think that gave me a better appreciation for it. I recommend them, for they’re very intelligent and analytical. In any case we will both be watching on April 5 together!