I’m sure it comes to no surprise when I say that your enjoyment of something directly correlates with your expectations.
I mean, it’s not exactly a realization for me. Or at least not a new one. It just seems that lately this statement has held very true for a lot of the events that I’ve been at. To be more specific, when June 30th rolled around (the exact middle of the year), one of my favourite blogs and one that I mention here a lot, Pajiba, wrote at list of their top 5 best and worst movies thus far of 2010.
And being me, I thought I’d rip it off. I mean, I see a decent amount of movies (probably averaging out to one a month at least). Sure, that’s not a HUGE amount, but hey, I don’t write a film review blog now do I? I don’t need to see movies for much more than the fact that they entertain me--or I’m dragged to them with a friend.
So, I sat down and tried to list all the movies I had seen in the past 6 months. I figured I’d just start there and start narrowing things down as I went. I had seen some really good movies: Shutter Island, Date Night...
Okay, yeah. Those were the only two.
You can kinda see the problem of trying to make a list of five.
The other movies manage to make it into one of two categories: boring or meh movies and just plain terrible. Thankfully I hadn’t seen many plain terrible movies. Most were just blah. Not enough to make it terrible but definitely nothing worthwhile. Unfortunately a lot of that had to do with my expectations going into things. Movies like Ironman 2 and Alice in Wonderland would have probably been much more enjoyable with lowered expectations.
The funny thing is that it works both ways. I went into Sex and the City 2 dreading the what I was already considering a tragedy to the series, especially after the first disaster. Again, that was a result of expectations being too high. However, I was surprised that I didn’t want to stab my eyeballs out--high praise considering the movie series.
This was especially true of a recent viewing of Knight and Day. Now, I will admit that I’m not a HUGE Tom Cruise fan or a Cameron Diaz fan--however, for some inexplicable reason the trailer got to me. It was fun, it was light. Action, pretty people, a few laughs. Given the right context, it doesn’t take much to please me. I went into it looking for a light popcorn and was given exactly that. Sure, it wasn’t laugh out loud funny and there were definite problems, but for what I wanted--with the right expectations, it was perfect.
So with all this talk of expectations and enjoyment, I guess it comes down to just lowering every expectation that you can possibly have. Sadly, that’s hard to do in today’s Hollywood where original scripts are now novelty. There’s always some sort of built in fan base for movies now a days, especially big blockbuster summer movies like the ones we’re stumbling upon now.
I get the appeal for corporations, fan base equals ticket sales. However, when you have other material to live up to, is it really the best idea? Can you ever lower your expectations enough to like a Last Airbender or a Prince of Persia?
Is it better to treat movie viewing experiences like hooking up in a bar, adding beer googles so that guy isn’t quite so skeezy? If you don’t look too close, maybe squint your eyes and turn off all the lights, it’s not so bad...
Or is it just better to be a cynic and expect the very worst in Hollywood? You’re either right or pleasantly surprised.