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. Nurse Kelly

    I’m definitely somewhere in between with my taste in films. Depends sometimes on my mood as well. But I definitely don’t go to very many in theaters.
    Funny, my son has a class right now called, “Intro to Film Analysis and Production!” I wonder if I will see some artsy fart attitude coming out in him one day soon as well!
    And thanks for the book recommendations!

    Like

  2. Jennifer's Journal

    Depends on my mood, Carrie. Like I am with books, I have a wide variety of tastes. I love a funny movie, but they are hard to come by, it seems. So yes, I can watch almost anything — but not slasher movies!
    Thanks for the tip on the free book; I just got it for my kindle. 🙂

    Like

  3. Daniel Nest

    I think I’m a lot like you. I usually want “easy” movies, because I tend to watch them when I need to switch my hyperactive brain off. But I’ll definitely watch an artsy movie every now and then, especially if it deals with a topic I find interesting.

    It goes something like this: “Ugh, it’s one of those indie movies…okay, guess I’ll watch it. Wow, that was actually surprisingly refreshing and stimulating. But my brain needs a rest – the next few movies better be pure entertainment.”

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Exactly! Like you, movies are an escape for me. I once made the mistake of telling my son I didn’t want to have to think in movies. He now uses that phrase against me in so many ways…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. gerard oosterman

    Movies yes. Popcorn no. It is more than popcorn now-a-days. Whole meals are being brought into the cinema. I now check the seat in case of noodles or bits of cheese burgers or half eaten falavel . It must be such a harrowing experience to go for one and a half hours without eating.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I’m at the dentist office in the waiting room, and when I read your comment I laughed out loud. There’s now a woman looking at me oddly. Too funny. Thank goodness I’ve not yet encountered noodles or burger bits on my cinema seats. And I hope I never do.

      Like

  5. Pink Ninjabi

    Always great to see you writing… even if my brain is too muddled on a Monday to make sense of what is written, I appreciate your humor nonetheless…:)

    Like

  6. thatfunnyblogguy

    In my book, anyone who uses the phrase “And believe you me” is a bit artsy fartsy to begin with.
    …and yes, that is a preposition at the end of my previous statement.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I suspect the phrase qualifies me as old more than artsy fartsy. But I guess that’s not too great an option either.

      Like

  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

    I’m so far out of the loop I don’t know who Wes Anderson is and I’m still breathing. But—
    We are couch potato watchers of movies every day, so our choices are rampant. However, I ordered an old one for nostalgia’s sake which we watched last night. Probably the worst movie I ever saw even though it earned 6 academy award nominations: “My Man Godfrey” with Carol Lombard and William Powell. I have no idea How our taste in movies changed in the last 79 years. Yes, it was made in 1936. Don’t bother, and I hesitate giving it to the thrift shop.

    Like

  8. thefolia

    I wonder what my children’s movie genre preference will be…either way I give most movies a shot, however, the unnecessary violent ones I used to endure through I can no longer view. I especially despise the increase in volume and the constant can you turn it down because the action scenes bellow out at a much loader decibel than the dialogue.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      It IS frustrating to watch action movies at home on DVD because like you say, the explosions and chases are so loud, but the dialogue is difficult to hear. The constant shifting in volume gets tiresome.

      Like

  9. Jay

    I wouldn’t even count Wes Anderson as artsy fartsy. He’s very stylized and quirky for sure.
    I like good movies no matter what category they fall into. I hate on a lot of so – called popcorn movies not for their simplicity but for their cliches. And I hate that Hollywood doesn’t allow for MORE experimentation. It values blockbusters over art, which is a bit depressing. Books work the same way. James Patterson is cranking them out half a dozen at a time but he’s barely just changing character names and sometimes (sometimes!) locales and not much else. That’s not story telling, that’s story retreading.
    I don’t mind sacrificing a little plot if it gives me something meaningful to chew on or something beautiful to meditate on.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I’m definitely more ‘experimental’ with my novel reading, though even there I still prefer thrillers. But I hear you on the blockbusters. I’m sure it must be frustrating for filmmakers who want to get something different out there but have no one to back them. And when I say ‘action’, I don’t mean it has to be physical. A small act like loss of a job promotion can be action, as long as it moves the story forward or changes its direction.

      But it all comes down to I want to be entertained. I don’t necessarily care how a movie gets there, but as long as it does.

      Like

  10. Isabella Norse

    I’m a woman of simple tastes. I love action movies, fantasy, sci-fi, and the occasional animated flick. Artsy, fartsy isn’t even on my radar.

    I love the way you added a “shout-out” to the end of your post. I may have to steal – er, borrow – that idea!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, I think I’m going to do these shout-outs more. I’m going to write a blog post about it for next time.

      And I figured you and I would have similar tastes in movies, based on what I’ve seen on Twitter anyway! 🙂

      Like

  11. L. Marie

    Is your son a budding filmmaker?
    I like some of Wes Anderson’s films, but give me a superhero film any day. Sometimes I get an urge to see a foreign film or a chick flick. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie Rubin

      He’s interested in drama and filmmaking, but his true passion is card magic. He’s really, really good at that. I just hope he slips an engineering degree in there somewhere too. 😉

      Like

  12. rossmurray1

    I’ve become pretty bored with conventional movies. But my wife doesn’t like what she calls “a Ross movie.” Consequently, we don’t watch many anymore. Did I mention that there are no longer video stores in our town, Netflix is rank and the nearest movie theatre is 40 minutes away? No wonder we don’t watch movies.

    Like

  13. Dylan Hearn

    The type of film I watch depends on what mood I’m in. I tend to like intelligent thrillers but I’m not immune to taking my brain out from time to time and luxuriating in brainless action. I don’t mind some art-house films but hate the type of film that shoves its intellectualism in your face. I see those as the avant garde jazz of the film world, you can admire the skill but it’s more fun to do than observe.

    Thanks so much for the shout-out by the way. I’ve been touched by the way you and others have been so supportive. 😊

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I love an intelligent thriller too. Those can be surprisingly difficult to find. One of my favorites is ‘Fracture’ with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. Really good film.

      And you’re welcome for the shout-out. I think I might start making these additions a regular thing in my posts. I don’t post frequently enough to devote entire blog posts to reviews and such, but this would be another way to support the authors I’ve read. I can put a plug in for their promotions and new releases. I think I’ll draft a blog post on the subject for my next post.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. pegoleg

    Your picture of the Rubins on their way to the cinema is from one of my hubby’s favorite movies. I think that pretty well sums up our movie-going philosophy, don’t you?

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Haha, I’m right there with you, Peg. We loved the first Dumb and Dumber. Still laugh whenever we watch it. The second one, however, was a stinker. That was something BOTH my son and I agreed on!

      Like

      • pegoleg

        The prequel was abysmal and I was afraid the sequel would taint my fondness for the first so we didn’t see it. I’m glad we took a pass.

        Like

        • Carrie Rubin

          Yes, you dodged a bullet. I think part of the problem was seeing an aged Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels still act that stupidly. Didn’t work quite as well. A few decades more on the earth should have given them a little more smarts!

          Like

  15. Dana

    I’m constantly hitting the fast forward, and yelling at the screen: “Get to the f*cking point!!!”

    So, yeah, not a fan of the fartsy.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Ha! Glad to know I’m not alone. That’s one of the reasons I wait until the DVD comes out for movies I’m not sure about.

      Like

  16. D. Wallace Peach

    A fun post, Carrie. Love the graphic. My husband is 10 so he likes action heroes. I watch them to be a good sport. However, myy preference is something with a bit more plot, and that covers a wide range of films including foreign films. My pea brain can’t really handle the artsy films – I have no idea what happened and everyone mumbles. Hubby and I spend the entire time asking each other, “What did he just say?” The younger generation thinks we’re annoying. 😀

    Like

  17. Elyse

    Your son will have a in with women.

    For our first real date, my now husband suggested a french foreign language movie with subtitles. My girlfriends were ooh’ing and ah’ing — “you have to marry this guy. FOREIGN FILMS!!”

    With the exception of the “foreign language filems” we watched while abroad, he’s never gone to another.

    And actually, that’s OK with me. I’m with you — I like a plot and a story line.

    I don’t like to read poetry any more, either!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      “With the exception of the ‘foreign language films we watched while abroad, he’s never gone to another.”–Ha! That made me laugh out loud. At least he knew how to snare you in!

      I rarely read poetry. There’s a blogger I follow whose poetry I enjoy. She’s probably the only one who could get me reading it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Sue Slaght

    Carrie I think I am all over the map on this one. I’m an eclectic movie goer. Perhaps kind of like the inner workings of my brain, much like a pinball bouncing about from one thing to the next. 🙂

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      It’s good to be that way. And I’ll certainly take some chances. But I’ve learned to wait for the DVD on the ones I’m not sure about. (Like The Grand Budapest Hotel. And let’s just say I made the right decision since I ended up going on Twitter while watching it as my mind started to wander. But don’t tell my son. It’s one of his favorite Wes Anderson films…)

      Liked by 1 person

  19. wheremyfeetare

    I don’t usually like those big blockbuster type movies, prefer a ‘quiet’ film. 2 of my all time favorite moves are Pulp Fiction (the dialogue is fantastic) and Fargo. Not sure it that puts me in your camp or your son’s. I’ve only seen Anderson’s Life Aquatic and wasn’t thrilled. Maybe I should see The Grand Budapest Hotel. I hate feeling dumb if I don’t ‘get it,’ and that’s how I envision feeling after watching a Wes Anderson movies. Yes to popcorn!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I loved Pulp Fiction and Fargo! They had plenty of great storytelling to keep me entertained. Action can be lots of different things–not just explosions and fistfights. If that’s all an ‘action’ movie has, then it will bore me as much as a Wes Anderson film. 😉

      (The Life Aquatic is one of the two I haven’t let my 15-year-old see yet, a fact he reminds me of daily…)

      Liked by 1 person

  20. annabellefranklinauthor

    2 hours is a lot of concentration for me, so a movie has to be pretty special for me to bother with it. Explosions and car chases bore me stupid – I like something a bit different, as long as it’s not totally obscure.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I’m with you on car chases. Why does every action movie have to have them? It’s those times my mind wanders.

      But action doesn’t have to be physical. It can be small and subtle things too. Something that moves the story along or shifts it into a new direction.

      Like

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