Intermarkets' Privacy Policy

Donate to Ace of Spades HQ!

Recent Entries
Absent Friends
Bandersnatch 2024
GnuBreed 2024
Captain Hate 2023
moon_over_vermont 2023
westminsterdogshow 2023
Ann Wilson(Empire1) 2022
Dave In Texas 2022
Jesse in D.C. 2022
OregonMuse 2022
redc1c4 2021
Tami 2021
Chavez the Hugo 2020
Ibguy 2020
Rickl 2019
Joffen 2014
AoSHQ Writers Group
A site for members of the Horde to post their stories seeking beta readers, editing help, brainstorming, and story ideas. Also to share links to potential publishing outlets, writing help sites, and videos posting tips to get published. Contact OrangeEnt for info:
maildrop62 at proton dot me
Cutting The Cord And Email Security
Moron Meet-Ups

Snowmageddon Open Thread | Main | Saturday Overnight Open Thread (12/9/17) Lacking Current Events and Politics Edition
December 09, 2017

Saturday Evening Movie Thread 12-09-2017 [Hosted By: TheJamesMadison]


unpleasant 1.jpg

There’s a class of protagonist in storytelling. This particular class are those types of people you wouldn’t want to spend any time with in real life. These characters range from finding an actor’s voice grating to thinking that the character is a moral reprobate and deserves no sympathy whatsoever. You know the types. Not just certain bad guys in movies (Blofeld feels like a bore, and Boss Paul from Cool Hand Luke feels generally detestable), but also certain "good guys" like Jake Gyllenhal's character in Nightcrawler. Dolley hated Nightcrawler because she hated Gyllenhal's character so much and wanted him to die, which he never did. And yet I loved the movie.

The difference between my enjoyment of Nightcrawler and Dolley's hatred of it seems to stem from how we view the purpose of main characters in storytelling. Dolley wants to watch someone she likes. I want to watch someone interesting. Neither of us are right, of course, but the difference is still interesting to me.

Daniel Plainview

unpleasant 2.jpg

The towering example of this phenomenon in my mind is Daniel Day Lewis' character of Daniel Plainview in There Will be Blood.

Plainview is a bad man. He's driven almost purely by his misanthropy. He acquires wealth in order to secure himself from the rest of the world. When he must operate in the real world with real people, he puts on a façade that allows him to deal with the people he obviously disdains. He adopts a son, but the boy is never more than a way to ingratiate Daniel to the people he's trying to deal with, a distraction from himself.

I've heard and read people who hate There Will be Blood and it almost always has to do with the fact that people hate Plainview himself. And yet, he's still fascinating to me. His ambition and greed, masked by some level of inauthentic ease, is always great to watch. His speech to his supposed brother about how much he hates people is engrossing. And on top of all that, Paul Thomas Anderson builds a wonderful movie around him.

unpleasant 3.jpg

But that’s not the only complain people level at the movie. The other main character, Paul Dano’s Eli, is just about as reprehensible as Daniel. Watching the film, I never get the sense that Eli is an less misanthropic than Daniel. He seems to use people to his own ends in much the same way that Daniel does. They’re really two sides of the same coin, and the conflict between them is what drives the picture and makes it compelling.

But, if you just simply don’t like watching movie with unpleasant main characters, I can totally see how There Will be Blood would be a tough slog.

That’s Not Entertainment

I guess this conflict of visions about movies comes down to how one consumes media. Some of us see movies as akin to a night out with other people. You wouldn’t want to spend a night at a bar with someone you couldn’t stand, so why would you want to spend two hours in a movie theater with someone like that? There’s nothing wrong with that vision, it just means that there are going to be movies that I love but I know aren’t going to be for you (Man Bites Dog comes to mind).

So, what about you? Do you need that likeable main character to get through a movie?

Movies of Today

Opening in Theaters:
Just Getting Started
The Disaster Artist

Next in my Netflix Queue:

Movies I Saw This Week:
Coco (Netflix Rating 5/5 | Quality Rating 4/4) Poster blurb: "Absolutely wonderful entertainment." [Theater]
Django (Netflix Rating 4/5 | Quality Rating 3/4) "It may not actually be good, but it’s damn entertaining." [Netflix DVD]


Email any suggestions or questions to thejamesmadison.aos at symbol gmail dot com.
I've also archived all the old posts here, by request. I'll add new posts a week after they originally post at the HQ.

digg this
posted by OregonMuse at 07:00 PM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
It's me donna : "We have gone from near certain victory to unknown ..."

Ripley: "This sucks big time in that it gives the Deep Stat ..."

Gref: "588 She will say the most idiotic things, and the ..."

18-1: "[i]She will say the most idiotic things, and the m ..."

davidt: "Donors will get onboard with Harris as they are ea ..."

Nova Local: "585 @584 >>Whoever said this is a done deal has ..."

It's me donna : "588 She will say the most idiotic things, and the ..."

ShainS -- Trump 2024, Now #1 With a Bullet! [/b][/i][/s][/u]: " >>So Hunter dropped his lawsuit against Fox. He w ..."

vmom stabby stabby stabby stabby stabamillion: "That's vmom level tweeting right there Posted by: ..."

runner: "She will say the most idiotic things, and the medi ..."

18-1: "[i]>>The independent review panel of experts from ..."

ShainS -- Trump 2024, Now #1 With a Bullet! [/b][/i][/s][/u]: "Matt Walsh @MattWalshBlog My 7 year old came int ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64