Conventional Storytelling Or Unexplored Territory—What’s Your Movie Preference?*

Youngest teen son says I’m a casual because I have no taste in movies.

You see, while I like straightforward entertainment, he prefers artsy fartsy films with quirky writing, visual imagery, and whimsical camera techniques. For example, Wes Anderson. (And believe you me, son constantly reminds me about the two R-rated Anderson films I haven’t yet let him see. Repeating that conversation in Groundhog Day fashion is loads of fun.)

His highbrow cinematic taste is obviously a genetic mutation, because neither the hubs nor I flock to those films.

We just want to be entertained.

Mr. Rubin and me on the way to the movies. (Original image Bing search/public domain)

The Rubins en route to the movies.
(Original image Bing search/public domain)

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll do artsy fartsy. But nestled between the art and the fart, there better be a good story in tried-and-true three-act structure.

I know, I know, what about experimentation? What about novelty? What about outside-the-box?

Hey, go for it. But keep me entertained in the process. If I wanted to see two people talk for thirty minutes while lounging around, I’d peek over the fence at my neighbors. Give me action. Give me escalating tension. Give me plot.

And please, please give me popcorn.

How about you? Highbrow or lowbrow or somewhere in between?

*Alternate title for this post as suggested by youngest teen son: “Do You Hate Good Movies Too? If So, Read On.”

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Rubin4Carrie Rubin is the author of The Seneca Scourge and the upcoming Eating Bull. For full bio, click here.

311 Responses to “Conventional Storytelling Or Unexplored Territory—What’s Your Movie Preference?*”

  1. thelonelyauthorblog

    Great post Carrie. Artsy fartsy is ok, but something needs to be happening; not necessarily action, but there has to be CONFLICT. Some kind of tension. I am surprised how many movies are actually produced. There are so many I shut off after 20 minutes. Every time I stop by your blog, I find another diamond post.


  2. Darren

    Hmmmm, I hadn’t even thought about it until now. I love the Coen Brothers films, particularly The Big Lebowski, so does that make me unconventional? After all, the story being told is evidently about a rug…isn’t it (well, it did tie the room together)???
    I don’t even know anymore. Thanks for making my head hurt, Carrie!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. maisymak

    Ha! I’m with you. Rarely like the artsy-fartsy. I tell my children I like to be firmly grounded in reality – they do not. I suppose that’s the prerogative of children 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie Rubin

      Well, they have to be different from us, right? It’s not cool to like what your parents like. 🙂

      Thanks for the Twitter share, by the way!


  4. earthriderjudyberman

    Carrie … Your son is a trip. I love his alternate title. But, by his description, I’m a casual, too. I love a good story. Is “Dinner with Andre” an artsy-fartsy film? I thought it was boring. I’m also one of the few that hated “Pulp Fiction.” No, I do not need my stories in linear fashion as one “high-brow” said dismissively. I just want a story.

    My tastes range from Jim Carrey’s “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” and “Vertigo.” Of course, I’m also a sucker for “Charade,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Ruthless People,” and disturbing, thoughtful films such as “Awakening” and “Grapes of Wrath.”


    • Carrie Rubin

      Sounds like we have similar tastes in movies. I love Hitchcock. Haven’t watched his films in years, but my son actually agrees with me on those, so we might watch some together. He also loves Jim Carrey, but he’ll probably no longer admit it. 😉


      • earthriderjudyberman

        I am a huge Hitchcock fan. When I was at Onondaga Community College, film critic Doug Brodie taught a class on sound film and had a special showing on Hitchcock films at the Everson Art Museum. What a treat that was. It gave me a much deeper appreciation of the Master of Suspense.

        I wasn’t a fan of Carrey’s “Dumb and Dumber.” But I found Ace Ventura (only saw the first one) hysterical and found “The Truman Show” to be touching and very thought provoking.


  5. Inion N. Mathair

    Oh, Mathair and I are all about the high intensity of a big budget film and a lowbrow plot. 😉 A movie with an artistic flair is nice every once in a while but it’s nice to shut your brain off every once in a while and just be entertained.


  6. Sue Archer

    It’s the same thing for me with both books and movies…please, oh, please, give me something with some sort of plot and preferably a character arc! Almost any genre will do, as long as the story is coherent. I have found that if something has won some kind of literary award or praise from film festival critics, it’s usually something I should avoid. Nine times out of ten I don’t like it because it’s boring, depressing, or confusing. This is one of the key reasons I didn’t go on to take my PhD in English — I LIKE reading Stephen King, darnit, and I’m not going to apologize for that! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie Rubin

      “I have found that if something has won some kind of literary award…it’s usually something I should avoid.”—Yes! Same here. For example, the book ‘Tinkers.’ I know it won a Pulitzer, and most everyone else in my book club loved it, but I just couldn’t get into it. And like you, I don’t want to apologize for that! 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Kate Johnston

    I’ll watch most anything except gory horror and what I call “useless, stupid humor” — films where I can’t believe people can be that pathetically brain-dead and still get the girl. I know — I’m in the minority on this one. I love comedies, I love to be entertained, but I want a sensible, satisfactory, believable payoff at the end.


    • Carrie Rubin

      Nothing wrong with that. 🙂

      I like horror movies that deal with paranormal elements, but I avoid the slasher ones. I watched one of the ‘Saw’ movies, and that was more than enough for me. Ugh.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. frederick anderson

    I get tired of CG and constant car chases, pyrotechnics bore me (how come every time American cars hit something they explode?), so I guess I align more or less with t’lad. But still, you can only watch ‘Seven Samurai’ so many times until that, too, becomes repetitive. The great asset of Bertolucci-type movies is the rather more casual relationship you can form with them: it’s nice to feel you can get up and go make a cup of coffee, knowing when you return the plot won’t have moved forward an inch. Loveerly colors, too!


    • Carrie Rubin

      I don’t get car chases either. I love a good action movie, but I’ve yet to enjoy a car or motorcycle chase. And yet all action movies seem to have them. That’s a good time for a bathroom break.


  9. Kourtney Heintz

    Definitely depends on my mood. Sometimes I want something really commercial. Sometimes I like something artsy. But artsy is not my default. 😉


  10. 2bcreativeblog

    Action all the way, but I will watch about anything. Mostly, depends on the mood for all other movies. Definitely, popcorn with lots and lots of butter. 🙂


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