Movies and television make a lot of things look really romantic. When I was young and impressionable, pop culture taught me that kissing in the rain was about 100 times better than kissing in any other weather, and that you didn’t properly ride a Ferris wheel unless you were making out with somebody during it. Additional lessons included the appeal of the “up-against-a-wall” kiss and the shirt rip, all of which I enjoy watching and don’t have an issue with. However, there is one “romantic” gesture I’d like to address: The underwater kiss is not nearly as great as it is portrayed to be. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Pop Culture Pet Peeve (1-10 of 63)
From the very first episode, Breaking Bad showed us what kind of show it would be: A show that appreciates breakfast. Walter, Skyler, and Walt Jr. sit down at their dining room table in the pilot with plates full of eggs and toast in front of them. And then they eat.
This shouldn’t be anything special, but on TV, it is. So often, perfectly good breakfasts are left untouched, or a character takes one bite and then they’re off. Tell me, reader, would you really look at a plate of steaming hot waffles that your parent so thoughtfully made for you, take one lousy bite out of them, and then leave? No. (Unless you’re not a breakfast person, in which case, you’re excused.)
Trophy Wife is, sadly, guilty. In “The Breakup,” when Kate and her friend Meg are horribly hungover, Warren takes the opportunity to playfully gross them out. “Do you guys want my eggs? They’re super runny,” he offers as he lifts up a piece of the egg with his fork. Kate and Meg gag, and his dad takes away Warren’s plate. “Why don’t we get something on the way to school?” he says. Why don’t we get something on the way. He just took away a plate full of food from his son and is now saying Why don’t we get something on the way. Insanity.
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Living in 2014 means I am constantly surrounded by musical TV shows, even when I don’t want to be. It all started with Glee. Then there was Smash, and now I’ve got Nashville. I realize that I could change the channel if I wanted, but what’s the point? Even my non-musical shows have started including musical numbers. For example, I recently started binge-watching Hart of Dixie, and even that show has Scott Porter behind a mic every couple of episodes! The lesson: There’s no escaping the music.
The good news is that it’s not the music that I have a problem with. As much as I enjoy a singing actor or actress, I’m not here to talk about their beautiful (or not-so-great) vocal abilities. If they’re on television — and it’s not a live taping of The Sound of Music — they’re lip-synching. That is where my pet peeve begins.
Just to be clear, I don’t care about the fact that they’re lip-synching. I actually prefer it. I can’t imagine that actors singing live would sound very good, particularly if the song is part of an emotional scene. Nobody’s voice sounds good when they’re crying — what worked for Anne Hathaway won’t work for everyone. I get that, and I’m in full support of actors recording the music beforehand and then lip-synching on the show. However, there are a few people who could really use some help on the latter part of that process.
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The other week, in my holiday viewing, I re-watched an old Paul Walker film I own called Noel. It’s yet another cheesy Christmas movie about a number of strangers whose lives all intertwine on Christmas Eve, but for the time being, it was exactly what I wanted. However, I hadn’t seen it in a few years, and I had forgotten that it included a “twist.” Spoiler alert: Robin Williams plays a kind ex-priest who bonds with Susan Sarandon’s sad single older woman … or so it seems. At the end of the film, we find out Charlie (Williams) is actually about 30 years older than he seemed, and this entire time, he’s been unconscious in a bed at a geriatric home. Essentially, Sarandon bonded with a ghost.
I tend to let that sort of angel/ghost stuff slide with Christmas movies, but in Noel‘s case, it felt incredibly unnecessary. The story would’ve had the same amount of impact if he had just been a nice guy who helped out a lonely woman. Where is the benefit in making him a ghost? READ FULL STORY
I have an extreme fear/hatred/phobia of all things having to do with teeth. Growing up, the dentist’s office was my least favorite place in the world. To be honest, it’s still in my bottom five. And it’s not even necessarily about pain. It’s the chill that gets sent through my body when I think about the sound of dental tools or the smell of a dentist’s office. I feel like it’s a ridiculous fear, but I’m told it’s not all that uncommon. Therefore, I’m hoping that my teeth-related pop culture pet peeve is also not all that uncommon.
Basically, my least favorite thing in any movie or television (or book, for that matter) is anything having to do with dental work or torture. We will tackle torture first, because it’s the most relevant in my life right now. Why? I’m looking at you, Scandal.
In the last couple of episodes of Scandal, there has been way too much teeth action. First, Huck decided to torture Quinn to get information out of her by pulling her teeth. Keep in mind that Huck is a trained killer, which means he knows hundreds of way to torture/kill someone. In the seconds before pulling her first tooth, he literally lists all of the other ways he could make her talk. So why did he have to pull her teeth?! Surely it can’t be fun to film, and I assure you, it is not fun to watch:
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Hustle. Beauty. Pie. Idol. Gangster. Dreamz. Gigolo. Virgin. Violet. Outlaws. Idiot. Girl. Boy.
They’re a collection of words (or, in the case of “dreamz,” almost-words) that seem to have little in common, until you put the word “American” in front of them. Then each becomes a title, and not just any title — an evocative, slightly ironic title which promises a story that could only happen in these United States, one offering commentary on our shared national experience and way of life. It’s audacious, patriotic, grandiose — sort of like America itself, or at least the idea of “America.”
Either that… or the work’s creators couldn’t think of a good title, so they picked out a random noun and slapped “American” in front of it.
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I’m not your typical movie crier. Unlike most of my friends, I don’t tend to cry at big romantic gestures or when anyone in a Nicholas Sparks movie dies. But there is one thing that will always get me, as well as most of the other people in the theater: killing an animal. I just can’t. So this week, I quite literally have a pet peeve to discuss with Hollywood.
First things first, there’s a big difference between an animal film in which one dies and a film that includes an animal just to kill it. This particular pet peeve does not apply to the likes of Homeward Bound or any Disney film ever. At least with those, I know to bring tissues and have an episode of Friends waiting for me when I get home. It’s the movies that include a pet purely to kill it that really rub me the wrong way.
There’s almost nothing I hate more than walking into an action film, or a horror film, and finding out that the protagonist has a dog. From then on out, I do nothing but spend the entire movie covering my eyes and waiting for the horrible moment when that dog is going to bite the dust, because it will happen. It always does.
Take I Am Legend, for example. Will Smith is the only member of his family to survive the Krippin Virus outbreak, and yet somehow, he has his dog, Samantha. They sleep together in a bathtub and the poor clueless animal still believes she can protect her idiotic owner, even when he drives her right into the middle of a fight. Surprise! She gets bitten by one of the freaky things — do I call them zombies or not? — and despite his attempts to save her, Samantha eventually turns and tries to bite him. Smith is forced to strangle her in a scene that absolutely wrecks me (and is way too long). I knew it was coming, and yet I couldn’t emotionally prepare myself. It’s a trap that movies often catch me in, and I don’t appreciate it.
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When in a life-or-death situation, I love a woman who fights back. But as a woman who would like to think she would fight back in any given scenario, I have to say: Removing my heels would be my first move. That’s if I were wearing them to begin with.
For starters, wearing heels is completely optional. It is a choice. And no matter how comfortable a pair might be, they’re never going to be as comfortable or risk-free as something like a pair of tennis shoes. That’s just life. So why is it that in movies, women are constantly running and/or fighting for their lives while wearing heels? Wouldn’t running barefoot make you faster and lessen the risk of injury? Yes, yes it would. READ FULL STORY
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Special effects can be awesome. They can transport us to space with a stranded Battlestar or the USS Enterprise, take us everywhere from Metropolis to Middle Earth, make mythical creatures like dragons or sphinxes or three-headed dogs come alive — oh, I could go on forever. I love them, and I love what hardworking VFX teams are able to pull off.
But I’m not in love with unnecessary effects, especially when it comes to TV shows. When the special effects teams for certain shows are already tirelessly working away on a tight schedule (and often a tight budget), there’s no need to squeeze in elaborate shots that require green-screen heavy lifting. Fake backgrounds and awkward-looking scenes just take me out of what I’m watching. (Unless it’s Sharknado, of course.)
Exhibit A: Ringer. (Side note: Does anyone remember Ringer? …Bueller? Bueller?) The Sarah Michelle Gellar-helmed CW drama was axed after airing its first season, but aside from giving us plenty of groan-worthy lines between Gellar’s twin sister characters, it also gave us the following green-screened-to-death scene:
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When I was a teen, there was one summer that I designated as my soap opera phase. Every day, my best friend would come over at 1 p.m., and we would play cards and watch Passions and Days of Our Lives. The phase only lasted for that one summer, but there was a very important lesson that I took away from my days spent watching multiple actors play the same character and what was probably the worst/funniest tsunami ever shown on TV: Exposition is a must in soap operas … but that doesn’t make it any less annoying.
For those of you who don’t know, exposition is that moment in a television show when a character wastes his or her breath recapping background information that you already know in order to help you understand something else. It’s used a lot on soap operas because 1) They’re confusing, and their stories date back thousands of episodes; and 2) Most viewers can’t watch every single day, so it’s a quick and easy way to get caught up. It’s what most shows use the “Previously On” for, and yet there are still a few outside of soap operas that use a little too much exposition for my liking.
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