Out of Step With the Prevailing Views

Some days I read things in the paper or on line that make me wonder if I am hopelessly out of kilter with a prevailing view; people praise things which I found execrable, or take dogmatic positions on issues which I simply do not understand.  Yesterday was one of those days.  The prompt for this thought process was relatively trivial, but, probably inevitably, it set me off to thinking of a list of things for which I don’t understand the apparent majority view.

Clearly, I don’t expect you to agree with me……

The movie adaptation of the play God of Carnage, retitled Carnage, presumably to avoid the attention of those people who might get themselves excited about the original name is due to open in London soon; the critics seem to love it.  I won’t be going to see it.

It is hard to describe how much I loathed the play.  I booked the tickets on the basis of the cast, especially Janet McTeer, Ken Stott and Tamsin Greig, sat through it stony faced, while the fools around me laughed like drains, and left the theatre utterly depressed that such a talented cast had been so comprehensively wasted, and worrying that they so wanted to work in the West End theatre that they were prepared to appear in such tut.  Any piece which relies on flim-flammery with a mobile phone, and vomiting on stage, for a laugh, is really scraping the barrel, isn’t it?

Why Polanski would want to make a film of it is a complete mystery to me……

Reactions to movies are personal and depend on many contributory factors and so we will never agree on the merits of this or that when it comes to awards season, but still, to see Midnight in Paris on this year’s Oscar list for Best Picture.  What can they be thinking?  It’s a light confection around a simple, rather clichéd notion of the grass being greener in another time and another place, which would be diverting on an intercontinental flight on a wet Sunday afternoon in November, but I’d not recommend it for any other time.

And now let’s get the big one out of the way.  Lord of the Rings.  Am I the only person who only managed to sit through the first hour and a half of the first one before, overwhelmed with the tedium of it, left to go and do something more interesting instead?  Actually, I know I’m not; my friend K, who was with me, was the one who suggested we leave, and I was more than willing to agree.

On another occasion, at Jerusalem, another highly feted, but in my view, awful, play, at the first interval I was prepared to discuss with S whether we would stay or leave, but before I could say anything she said ‘Let’s go, I can’t stand any more of this.’

So, what are the highly praised phenomenon that you don’t ‘get’?

Leave a comment


  1. “Janet McTeer, Ken Stott and Tamsin Greig”


    That is a good cast, hmmm.

    “Why Polanski would want to make a film of it is a complete mystery to me……”

    Polanski made a coupla decent films aeons ago, no longer. The stupid nonsense he created out of the magnificently frightening book, “The Club Dumas,” (Ninth Gate) proof enough. (There’s a lot of truth in the book-which is profoundly disturbing. I’m atheist, but I have investigated similar incidents.)

    LOTR was tripe, endlessly boring CGI tripe. How that bilge got Oscars can only be down to the money. I’ve never seen Star Wars or mission impossible:)

    In fact, if something is hyped, I generally won’t go and see it purely because they’re selling it so hard.

    Three things I now loathe to watch on screen, women vomiting or taking a discreet pee. There’s never any purpose driving the plot, it’s just because they can. Actors, so bereft of expression by the writer, forced to show rage or anger by sweeping all the treasured articles off a desk.


    • Ha Brendan. It’s more why would anyone want to make a film of GOC that mystifies me….but in this instance it just happens to be Polanski.

      Vomiting is never a good sign. Usually I’d agree with you on the sweeping everything off the desk move, but it was used to great effect, I thought in the final episode of Borgen, the Danish political drama that has just finished in The Killing’s slot on BBC4. I recommend it if you’ve not seen it yet. Two strong female leads, political drama, the struggle to retain ethics when in power….. Birgitte sweeps her desk after a whole series of keeping everything under control, keeping everything tidy. It was a powerful moment.

      • Rowena,

        Ah, Borgen.

        I’d download and watch that, if I were able to, here in Atlanta:)

        Nods as good as a wink, to a blind horse!


  2. Well…I turned my back on the Lord of the Rings series of ‘Movies’ until one day I realised my son finally had the whole set, ether bought by his father or posted from his Kiwi grandmother…
    One weekend I lay down and watched the lot, back to back, and did enjoy the complete experience, but so many potentially good films made today instantly fail for me when they add so much violent and unnecessary rip roaring special effects…sadly including the Lord of the Rings series.

    • I lost it with LOTR: when I left the cinema for a loo break they were being chased by one thing, and when I got back 5 minutes later, they were being chased by something else. I didn’t care if they were caught or not. So went for a coffee and a long chat and was still home before it had finished.


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