Stupid Tuesday questions, Sam Neill edition

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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120 Responses

  1. NewDealer says:

    Low Quality version:

    A very poorly miscast production of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. Septimus Hodge is 22 at the start of the play, not in his 40s!!!!! I walked out of this one.

    Spirit of the Question variant:

    Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola. This sort of overlaps with the low quality because I don’t think she is a very good director but I was bored by everything except the brief times that Kristen Dunst was nude. I didn’t agree or like the whole idea of portraying the Court of Versailles as a bunch of American-esque suburban, rich kids whose parents were away for the weekend/forever. Politically, I am also not really on the side of the monarchy either. There are people who love Sophia Coppola and what she does, I am not one of these people.

    Knocked Up was a movie that I consented to go to because friends wanted to see it. My choice was a Goddard retrospective at BAM.Report

  2. NewDealer says:

    Social Media version:

    I bristle at the mawkishness of stories from Upworthy and similar sights. I really, really bristle at it but my friends seem to eat the stuff up and post upworthy and similar videos on facebook all the time.
    The head lines are loathsomely manipulative and filled with the worst forms of Internet hyperbole.*

    *I went on a rant on Internet hyperbole recently. Worst thing ever!


  3. Kim says:

    Torture porn is one thing (assuming we’re talking about drawn stuff, not using actual people).
    Even the stuff where the writer has clearly been looking at
    medical drawings, and is trying really, really hard to make it look right.

    There are far worse things in this world. It is because of one of them that I am nominating Elfen Lied.

    I loved it the first time, but should I ever watch it again… It would not go well for me.

    Fiction’s great, so long as it stays conveniently fiction.Report

    • Russell Saunders in reply to Kim says:

      I am referring in this instance to films like “Hostel” and such.Report

      • Kim in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        Ah. I suspected we were talking about different things.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        You could make a pretty good argument that Elfen Lied is torture porn.Report

      • Kim in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        I didn’t mind it, so long as it was fictional.

        I’m generally rather loathe to call something porn
        without some rather damning evidence.

        was written/directed by some people who clearly
        had a pedophilia fetish (to their credit, i don’t think they
        ever touched a kid) — you can tell from the costuming,
        and from some of the more accidental wordchoices.

        Raita draws pedophile pornography in his spare time.
        When he goes to draw an anime and you see intricate
        machines and little kids… yeah, he’s having fun.

        Judging by what actual torture porn looks like,
        Elfen Lied doesn’t actually focus on similar stuff —
        and the audience is supposed to find it brutal.

        I’m certain there have been video games that have
        focused on voraphiles as a part of their target audience.
        (no clue whether the creators were interested in that).Report

      • Pinky in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        I don’t like the term “torture porn”. But as it’s commonly used, it doesn’t imply anything sexual.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Kim says:

      Elfen Lied is brilliant. It’s also the most abyssmal take on human nature I’ve ever seen. The violence is brutal. The sexuality is far more brutal and violent than the violence. If it were live-action, it would get a hard-R, maybe an NC-17 for the violence alone. For the sexuality, it would be illegal to show it or possess a copy of it in the US. I respect what the creators were doing. They were going for audacity, definitely, but not just audacity. They were peeling back the veneer of human behaviour and revealing something awful. You have to respect a show that voices a clear point of view, and this show’ POV was that we might as well try for moment of happiness when we can, because ghastly nightmares are just around the corner.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    Watching the Fairie Queen at BAM. The Fairie Queen is Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with music added during the reign of Charles II. The music and singing really distract from the play, which is my favorite Shakespeare play. Its the only time I walked out of a theatre production.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    I just read the Spirit of the Question answer. My tastes tend to be a bit more high culture than a lot of my friends although not to the extent NDs. What I really loathe are movies that intentionally aim for the lowest common denominator like slasher movies or where the characters are too buffoonish. My least favorite experience was watching Rob Zombie’s take on Halloween at a friend’s place. I did get a little revenge in that we put on M by Fritz Lang afterwords and the general reaction was “Damn it Lee, this is a real scary movie not a fake scary movie.”Report

    • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Oh, god… I know someone who once made a “really scary” haunted house.
      Humans have this funny response to extreme fear … they tend to piss themselves.
      (This is something you can easily evopsych, because it’s exactly what mice do).
      About a third of the patrons did so, during their time in the haunted house.Report

  6. Christopher Carr says:

    In the spirit of the question, I’ll offer “Inception”.

    Being a fan of “Batman Begins” and “The Prestige” (less so “The Dark Knight”), I went to see “Inception” in theaters and within ten minutes, I thought it was one of the worst movies I had ever seen. The exposition flowed like a Wikipedia article, and the film never finished exposing itself. It’s rated 8.8 on IMDB. The only other films I hate as much as “Inception” are “Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze” and “The Island of Dr. Moreau”, both on IMBD’s list of worst 100 films (at one time).

    Why do people like this movie?

    (For the record, I’m a huge “Event Horizon” fan.)Report

    • Glyph in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      Yeah, I didn’t get the Inception love either.

      Also on the J G-L tip, 500 Days of Summer. Was dragged by my wife, though I was sure I’d hate it. Actually ended up hating it slightly less than she did, because my expectations going in were pretty much met.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      I don’t really remember it anymore but I liked it at the time.

      Though I liked your wikipedia zing!

      The Dark Knight is a movie I liked at the time but does not stand up upon deeper thoughts while still being entertaining.Report

    • Surely I’ve shared my opinion of “The Island of Dr. Moreau” with you, no?

      I adore that movie. That movie is amazing. I will happily watch it many times, though ideally in the presence of a certain best friend. It is the apotheosis of movies that are so bad they’re good, and also a really stunning philosophical achievement. You can, at any given moment, pause the film and declare authoritatively “It is metaphysically impossible for this film to get worse. It has reached the nadir of possible badness,” resume playing and lo, it will get even worse.

      There is so much to love. Brando completely off his rocker. Kilmer having flagrantly declined to learn a single one of his lines, and poor David Thewlis desperately feeding them to him. Fairuza Balk really, truly trying to turn in a good performance in defiance of the total shitshow she’s found herself in. Writing so hackneyed that I’ve seen better prose on the back of sugar packets.


      My beefs with “Inception” were:

      1) We were apparently meant to care about the outcome of what amounted to corporate espionage. I did not.

      2) We were apparently meant to care about Leonardo DiCaprio’s complicated relationship with Marion Cottilard. I did not.

      I am sure, for horror fans, that “Event Horizon” has much to recommend it. I would rather eat a copy on DVD than watch it again.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        One day, you will have to explain “so bad it’s good” to me. I think I lack the camp gene.Report

      • Kim in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        people trying really hard, and screwing up awfully anyhow is terribly funny.
        Imagine someone trying to write a bad tv show… and screwing it up.Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        @newdealer The key to watching bad movies is that it’s a social activity. You get a group of friends together and revel in the ridiculous awfulness of “The Room” or whatever. I wouldn’t want to watch it on my own, but it’s hysterical in a crowd.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Russell Saunders says:


        I’d rather just watch a movie that I thought was good and enjoyable. Snark has taken over the culture though.Report

      • Kim in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        well, if you don’t think moviewatching is a competition —
        That Means I Win! ;-P

        Seriously, isnt’ it fun to watch people cut loose every once in a while?
        Break all the rules and still make something watchable (Xanatos Gambits and all?)…Report

      • @newdealer I wouldn’t say my feelings about “The Island of Dr. Moreau” are quite the same thing as “snark.” I have actual affection for it. I’m glad it exists. My world is a happier, funnier place with Marlon Brando in a muumuu, kabuki make-up and a metal hat for holding ice.

        I don’t think enjoying this kind of thing is something that bears explanation. Either you grok why it would be fun to watch Val Kilmer turn in a gloriously terrible performance or you don’t.Report

      • Will H. in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        The Dr. Moreau that I remember was the one with Michael York & Barbara Carrera.
        One of my favorite flicks of all time.
        Haven’t seen the new one. Always seem to like Val Kilmer though.Report

    • Kim in reply to Christopher Carr says:

      Um. Yeah. Inception is quite difficult for me to watch,
      due to an incredibly annoying post-hypnotic suggestion.

      I think that actually answers the question more properly
      than my original.Report

  7. Glyph says:

    Event Horizon is not very good, but I’ve watched it twice anyway. There is a good movie in there somewhere (I think the concept is actually pretty great).Report

  8. Christopher Carr says:

    “The Hangover” is another really crappy movie that everyone loves.Report

  9. Patrick says:

    Does it have to be a -going experience? Because my least favorite movie is “No Way Out”, but I saw that on VHS.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to Patrick says:

      If you couldn’t think of a way out of that situation, you might have a problem 😉Report

      • Patrick in reply to NewDealer says:

        We watched the first 60 minutes, and then decided, “Okay, if nothing happens in the next ten minutes, we’re turning this off” and literally nine minutes later Gene Hackman throws her off the ledge, so then we felt obligated to watch the rest of it.

        It was a trap. Nothing made up for the plodding, boring-ass 60 minutes of setup.Report

      • Pub Editor in reply to NewDealer says:

        “Okay, if nothing happens in the next ten minutes, we’re turning this off” and literally nine minutes later…

        Heh. Reminds me of some friends who were about to walk out of Oliver Stone’s “Alexander,” but then Rosario Dawson started taking her clothes off, so they sat back down. It was a perfectly timed hook.Report

    • I think there’s something magical about the horrible experience being in a venue outside the home. It gives added weight to the wretchedness.

      Yet another friend of mine and I would amuse ourselves by comparing terrible movies that we’d actually paid money to see. Eg. “I saw ‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead’… in the theater!Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        I know a lot of women around my age with a serious fondness for that movie.

        And not just because of the Vassar shout-out.*

        *Vassarians love pop culture references to our alma mater even if there is some mockery to the references. We might be among the smallest schools with the most references (who talks about Haverford?). I can think of at least three Simpsons references because I think Matt Goering’s mom went to Vassar:

        1. In a really early episode, Homer spends the family savings on group therapy and Lisa sighs “there goes my dreams of Vassar.”

        2. In the teacher strike episode, Lisa panics about not being at school and whines “At this rate, I won’t even get into Vassar.” Homer sends her to her room saying “I’ve had enough of your Vassar-bashing”

        3. A later episode had Lisa being offered a full scholarship to the Seven Sisters school of her choice if she threw a spelling bee. She dreams of the Seven Sisters personified as muses and a Vassar student says “Non-conform with me” as she lifts her arms to show hairy armpits. I think Mount Holyoke was portrayed as a drunk, Barnard as a nerdy girl, and the rest were given Sapphic odes.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        Probably the most unpleasant moviegoing experience I had was “Powder”.

        The movie itself is vaguely creepy, but if you go into it knowing the backstory of the writer it’s much more creepy. It wasn’t exactly a date movie, but a “we’re friends and she wants to go”, I found out about the writer after I’d agreed and it colored the whole experience in a bad sort of way.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        who talks about Haverford?

        Aziz Ansari.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Russell Saunders says:


        My wife has the same feelings for a different small school…

        “I knew a girl from Bryn Mawr… she ratted on her roommate and was strangled with her own brassiere!”Report

      • The “Vassar-bashing” line is one of my all-time favorites.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Russell Saunders says:


        Come to think if it, I think Dave Barry went to Haverford and talks about it.

        New Question:

        Who talks about Grinnell?Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        ND, my friends Gideon and Mimi who went to Grinnel and met there.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        Patrick – I haven’t seen Powder, but I did see most of Jeepers Creepers II by the same director. It’s about a creature that sets its sights on healthy teens and can’t be stopped during his killing season. Think about that.Report

  10. Will Truman says:

    I saw Event Horizon in the theaters and liked it. A couple years ago, I saw it on sale on the $2 DVD rack and decided to buy it. I watched the first few minutes and wondered what the heck I was thinking. I liked it, but I never wanted to see it again ever. I can just go watch Solaris instead.Report

  11. Chris says:

    I went to see Blindness on a date. Having read the book, I strongly suggested we see something else. Strongly suggested. Practically begged. It is not a date movie. It’s not a movie you want to be associated with via a date. (The book was much better, of course, but the movie was very… graphic.) She hadn’t read the book, and had decided she really wanted to see it. Any time I think of a bad movie experience, I kick myself for not deciding I was too “sick” to go on that date.Report

  12. Christopher Carr says:


  13. Kolohe says:

    This is a tough one. I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘bad’ performance experience* – if I don’t like something, or if it just doesn’t capture my interest, I’ll normally just fall asleep.

    I suppose also that I’m not a fan of anything 3D; the couple of movies I’ve seen invariably give me a headache. (I think I would have actually liked Gatsby in normal viewing)

    I did catch Rage Against the Machine before they broke up, and it was a decent show, but I found the tickets way overpriced for erstwhile communists that performed in front of what was just a giant (arena sized) mosh pit – and I was getting a little too old for that scene.

    *except maybe being too far away from the show, which has been most of my Broadway experience, or too close to the screen, which only happens when I try to see something everyone else is (which is increasing rare – though iirc Star Trek: Into the Lens Flare was a pretty packed house even in the second week of showing, so we were way up front).Report

    • Glyph in reply to Kolohe says:

      Heh. We saw RATM at Lolla II, and they were giving the crowd some “class struggle/smash the system” rhetoric along the lines of “look how many of *us* there are, and there are only a few cops!”

      My friend turned to me and said something to the effect of “dude, those cops are the only thing stopping me from storming the stage and stealing their musical gear, ‘cos it is NICE.”Report

  14. Kazzy says:

    “Event Horizon” similarly fooled me, though I watched it at home. I thought it was going to be a sci-fi flick, with maybe some horror elements a la “Alien”. I did not anticipate blood orgies. Ugh.Report

  15. Jaybird says:

    I don’t know that I ever told my third matrix story. Saw it in IMAX and it was, seriously, excruciating.

    I had been married for 5-6 years at that point and figured “heck with it” and started making out with Maribou because, hey. Movie theater, right?Report

    • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

      Heh heh. I forgot about that one. Doesn’t really qualify as a horrible experience to me since I was all “This movie sucks… this movie sucks… HELLO.” and then I quite enjoyed myself for the rest of the time.Report

  16. Christopher Carr says:

    Grave of the Fireflies is another.Report

  17. Christopher Carr says:

    I think my wife would offer Game of Thrones.

    We watched together up to about half-way through Season 3, which she described as “an endless string of people getting things cut off”.

    (More blasphemy I know…)Report

  18. Maribou says:

    As part of my job, when professors (or other patrons) complain that a movie is in bad shape, I send the DVD over to Audiovisual to get mended and then afterward I watch it to make sure it runs now. (AV treatment fixes about 80 percent of the DVDs, and costs us 2 bucks, and I watch the movie while doing something else, so the economics are good.) I’ve seen some really fun movies that way.

    However, one of the MOST popular movies at our school is The Shining…. and I feel the same way about horror movies that Russell does (possibly more so? although I don’t mind certain kinds – like Alien(etc) are just fine, because no such thing as facehuggers). The first time through, I said, “Oh, self, this is just psychological horror, and you’ve seen it before, it’ll be OK.” and it… kinda was? The second time was dreadful dreadful dreadful (the level of dreadful described in the OP). The THIRD time the movie needed mending, I had a mini-breakdown in front of my officemate and said, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I AM NOT WATCHING THIS MOVIE AGAIN EVER WE ARE BUYING A NEW COPY.” It’s weird, because I’ve read The Shining at least twice and loved it. I enjoy horror NOVELS – even splatterpunk, just hate the movies.

    The worst moviegoing experience I ever had though, was watching a movie I quite enjoyed (Prometheus)… in IMAX 3D. I was so interested in the movie that I stubbornly ignored my IMAX-3D-induced growing headache, nausea, and vertigo … until it was almost too late. Had to rush out of the movie theatre, sat on a bench outdoors for 30 minutes until Jaybird and Fish came out at the end of the movie, and the world refused to settle down for hours afterward. Ugh.Report

    • Anyone putting “The Shining” into a device that plays movies will trigger an immediate “NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE!!!” from me as I hastily flee the area.

      I do not think it is possible to hate horror movies more than I do, but since I am far too fond of you (and, frankly, myself) to consider any kind of experiment to determine whose reaction is more rapidly and intensely negative, I’m willing to call it a tie.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Maribou says:

      I saw Twister in a non-IMAX theater, but I was sitting in the second row. My brain couldn’t process the enormous, frantic images zipping across my whole field of vision.Report

  19. Burt Likko says:

    Horror, suspense, and a fair amount of gore don’t bother me.

    But the climactic dinner-for-one scene in “Hannibal” (the one with Julianne Moore as Clarice Starling) was seriously fished up. I get the squirming ookies just thinking about it.Report

  20. johanna says:

    Count me in with the “hates horror” particularly slasher type flicks or blood and gore in general which leads me to my worst concert experience. I was taken by a friend to see Skinny Puppy. Behind, above and beside the stage were very large screens showing clips of mangled war atrocities, vivisection, and snuff films. This was one of only two concerts I walked out on. Needless to say I no longer had any interest in seeing them live again or listening to them for that matter.Report

  21. J@m3z Aitch says:

    I doubted there was money in the world sufficient to get me to sit through “Hellraiser.” And it’s true! If you said “Russell, we will hand you a cashier’s check for [astounding sum of money] if you sit, open-eyed and with fingers out of your ears, through that movie from opening to closing credits,” I genuinely doubt I could do it.

    Russell, Bill Gate’s check for one billion dollars will be donated to the charity(ies) of your choice.


    • I’m not saying I wouldn’t be willing to try. But actually making it through under the conditions stipulated would be… very, very challenging.Report

    • Pinky in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

      Hellraiser was a worse experience than Event Horizon. It was a far worse movie, and far more gruesome. It put me off horror movies for a few years. It wasn’t about suspense, or shock, or panic…it was about mutilation. It was a movie about mutilation. I don’t need that.

      Years later, I saw one of the Hellraiser sequels. Hilariously bad. Definitely cleansed my palate.Report

  22. Will H. says:

    I’ll sit through pretty much anything.
    As far as horror flicks go, I’m immune.
    Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things was the only film that ever made me feel really, really uncomfortable (and that lingered for quite a few hours following).
    It’s the last scene as the credits are rolling that did it.

    But I’d watch it again. It’s a cool flick.Report

  23. joe says:

    I couldn’t finish “Irreversible.”

    I’m in the middle of watching “Only God Forgives.” I can only handle 10-minute bursts before bed…seems that long cuts of Ryan Gosling staring, expressionless, in a poorly lit room/hallway/kickboxing ring put me right to sleep.Report

  24. Kyle Cupp says:

    Probably the movie “Hannibal,” which had none of the drama, excitement, and insight of the other Lector films. It just wallowed in grossness. I felt sick watching it in the theater.Report