RR Films: Heated Arguments

The story that primary school children have lost marks in their Sats tests for misshapen commas is one bound to get Guardian readers arguing about punctuation standards, petty bureaucracy and, very likely, why should perpetually underpaid teachers have to deal with crap like this? The Daily Hell will, no doubt, get het up for other reasons.

So what about films that cause arguments? Have you ever watched something that you thought was profound/original/hilarious and you later discover that others disagree? Yes, you have, and you’ve also been the naysayer: What a load of pretentious crap/I could see the end coming a mile off/ I didn’t laugh once.

The most recent film that caused me to narrowly avoid an argument was Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert as a woman who reacts to being raped in an unexpected manner. I found it stunning, for many reasons; my friend thought it crossed a red line.

I’d be interested in others’ views of Elle (which I desperately hope is never re-made with a different actress), but I’m more interested in films about which you’ve had, or narrowly avoided, an argument. You may or may not be recommending them…..

17 thoughts on “RR Films: Heated Arguments

  1. Hmmm, interesting – a film about which we’ve had an argument, not one that’s about arguments?

    Oddly enough, one which comes to mind isn’t a film, but i’ve had a relatively recent argument in a similar vein to yours with Elle. Which would be about Game of Thrones. Remember when Cersei gets “raped” by her brother by the coffin of her (little shit) son with him? The Graun feminist brigade was up in arms over that one, spawned a bazillion articles. Was talking about GOT at work and said, well, let’s see. Would i rather be raped by my lover, or be castrated, or be killed and have my head put on a spike for all of my family to see, maybe i’d rather be shot with bows and arrows by said little shit. Or maybe be fed my kids in a pie. Let me think about this for a few minutes and i’l get back to you. But what does the media get all het up about. I can’t say it escalated into any sort of an argument though, my point was conceded.

    Last week the NYT had an interview with the actress who plays Cersei, she sid she didn’t really consider it rape in the show.

    Now to think of a film…

  2. Not a recommendation of the film, but I got into a slightly heated discussion over Starship Troopers.
    I flat refused to accept it as a “satire on fascism”. For me that was nothing but a convenient label with which to dismiss any criticism, allowing the film to pander to exactly the xenophobic populist dunderhead masses it tried to claim it was satirising. I hate that film with a passion, even more so because it’s so damned well made.

    • Totally agree with you.

      Ha! This is going to be films by Paul Verhoeven that really divide readers. Actually, I couldn’t see the point of Starship Troopers as it was too straight for me: “That’s not a satire. Most punters will be joining up because of that.”

      Anyway, RoboCop 1987 version,

      I watched it in the US with a film student and we had a great time. Coming out of the movie I said it was great because it ridiculed the excesses of capitalism and where it would take us. He called me a “trendy lefty” and said it was just an action movie. Then this student weighed in from nowhere with how I was only partly right and how this was a criticism of patriarchal society because only men would lead us in this direction and the robots all spoke with male voices. I said it was nowt of the sort, just the director failing to take into account women.

      A lot of “bollocks” and “BS” was talked and accused and for some reason we ended up talking about John Sayles films: Brother from Another Planet and Lianna. Then we talked Terminator and horror and scifi but she said “scifi was stupid” cos aliens would colonise without even coming here and they would do it like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. She also had this concept for a movie and it was basically “Species” cos why would aliens want to carry on doing the same shit humans were doing – they’d wipe us out. And that led to talk about the difficulty of being an outsider in a world of conformity cos that’s what I thought Body Snatchers was about…

      That was a good night of banter, BS and bollocks

      • Only one of his i’ve actually seen in Basic Instinct. Which was pure trash, but fun trash. Don’t think i ever got into an argument with abyone about it, it was what it was. Someday i suppose i ought to see some of the earlier ones with Rutger Hauer.

        I used to waitress at a beachfront cafe in LA. Verhoeven used to come in with his wife for breakfast and they’d read the bible together. Go figure.

        • Ha! He’s big into his bible studies, isn’t he. I think he claims Jesus was just a radical political activist and everything that came after that was just a a corruption of Jesus’s ideals. There were no miracles.

          I liked Total Recall. Arnie seems to have taken on a few of the ideas contained in it. Arnold is Governor of California – I have to keep reminding myself of that fact!

          • Was, was! They’ve had Moonbeam back in office for awhile now. Oddly enough, that cafe I worked in was right next to Arnie’s gym, supposedly he used to come in a lot and hit on the waitresses, but I never saw him.

            Verhoven’s films never really appealed to me enough to want to see them. Although The Fourth Man is supposed to be pretty good.

  3. I’ve probably gotten into arguments about Tarantino films. They can be (understandably) a bit too violent for some people, but there’s a lot of love in those films too.

    One i have gotten into arguments about long ago was The Piano. I hated it. When Holly Hunter told her daughter that her father had stopped listening, i thought, yeah, because you probably bored him to death.

  4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. My ex loved it. I just found it tedious in the extreme. I didn’t mind him watching it but we argued about his various attempts to get me to be enthusiastic about it. The other one he really liked was “The Crow”, which I found too violent, or gratuitously violent. (We did at least agree that we both liked Blade Runner…). I think I probably dislike almost anything that could fall into the category of “Movies for Men” (that dreadful TV channel) – I’ve probably upset someone else now!

    • I’m with you: CTHD was silly, as are all the subsequent films with people fighting on walls, trees, rooftops etc (except The Matrix, which has its virtual reality cake and eats it).

  5. I have arguments with my brother all the time about films, though generally they are good natured, and probably most of the time we agree. he does work in tv so has a slightly different outlook on things, I’m more about the story. in particular I think Seven is massively overrated and in the end a pretty weak film. We have a similar scenario about the usual suspects which he thinks a masterpiece – I liked the film but think it’s average and just a play on the viewer. i guess it sounds like it’s me being the wanker most of the time, though I just consider it an attention to detail.

    probably the most heated was with my sister who for a time kept banging on about breaking bad which I had stopped watching because I found it slow, not very believable and I didn’t really like any one in it. so yeah, all about me again. ;).

  6. Recently watched Krisna after being blown away by It Comes At Night & am still arguing with myself about whetherI enjoyed it or not. Biggest problem was the sound – impossible to hear a lot of the dialogue (think they were going for naturalistic & did too good a job).

  7. I thought Elle was really good. It WAS pretty shocking, but played just right.

    I recently had an argument about the Fast and the Furious franchise…they were saying it’s all about family and is supposed to be ridiculous. It may be true but that doesn’t excuse it!

  8. I avoided any arguments about Elle because I didn’t quite agree with either the rave reviews or the accusations of blatant misogyny.
    I don’t think it really worked and the main character’s motives often made little sense.
    Still, the idea that you were meant to extrapolate from her reaction to women in general was nonsense in my opinion. Her history was so bizarre you could hardly say she represented anyone. Isabelle Huppert brilliant as ever of course.

  9. I had an argument with my wife about There Will Be Blood, despite the fact that she’s never seen it. I’d been to watch it with a mate and she picked me up afterwards. I told her that I thought it was the best film I’d seen for years. She asked me what it was about and I gave her a plot summary. She dismissed it as the sort of film she wouldn’t like (true – which is why I went to see it without her) and then proceeded to critique my taste in films at length, which basically boiled down to me only liking films about men. In the end I had to point out that I hadn’t actually made her sit through it!
    I had a similar argument with a male friend years ago who accused me of having “misogynistic” taste in films. I took exception to this – I think there’s quite a jump from having favourite films that focus mainly on men to being misogynist. He challenged me over whether I liked Thelma And Louise. I didn’t but mainly because it felt tokenistic in some way. He also challenged me over whether I liked the character of Ripley in Alien. I like Alien but pointed out that as a character there was nothing particularly to distinguish her from a male character – which turns out to be true as Ripley was originally written as a male character.
    Oddly shortly after this we went to see Death & The Maiden starring Sigourney Weaver in the lead role. I thought it was really good, he thought it was crap. I felt that proved there was nothing intrinsically misogynistic about my enjoyment of films though.
    I’m still mates with him despite the nonsense he was talking over 20 years ago.

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