A couple of months ago I was searching for something to watch. I didn’t fancy anything too complex or sophisticated and wanted something I hadn’t seen before. I scrolled through Netflix and, after several considerations, I selected a movie- Reel Steel.
Reel Steel, released in 2011, is set in the year 2020 and features a world in which robot boxing has become a standard form of entertainment. Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a former boxer who now scrapes together a living using the aforementioned robots. After Charlie’s ex-girlfriend dies, his son Max enters the picture and soon they stumble across an old sparring robot which has a rare shadow-boxing feature. Soon father and son bond as they experience success against the odds and, by the end of the movie, Charlie is a better person.
It’s corny, predictable and I absolutely loved it. Reel Steel is fun, plain and simple. It never pretends to be more than that and is all the better for it. Some of my favourites movies include The Usual Suspects, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Captain America: Winter Soldier. A somewhat varied mix with one thing in common- I enjoyed them. Those three movies are generally considered great films, garnering critical and/or commercial success and may even appear on your favourite film list. Reel Steel, whilst not a flop or negatively received, is supposedly the type of film that is referred to as ‘a guilty pleasure.’
I’m meant to feel guilty for enjoying a movie? A movie made by a whole bunch of people for the express purpose of entertaining an audience. A movie that, while not Citizen Kane, Jaws or Dallas Buyer’s Club, leaves me feeling thoroughly entertained. Why should I feel guilty for taking pleasure in a fun, action-packed feel good movie? I also have a soft spot for The Mighty Ducks, The Sixth Day and Deep Blue Sea. All perfectly good movies; not award-winning but enjoyable in their own way but because it has become acceptable to deem these types of movies as ‘guilty pleasures’, I’m meant to feel ashamed of my affection for them.
Fuck that. And fuck anybody who makes me, or you, feel that way.
Be proud of the films you enjoy, whether those movies are academy-award winning, Daniel Day-Lewis starring biopics or trashy, snake-filled plane crashing, Samuel L. Jackson starring disaster flicks. Enjoy what you like and scream it from the rooftops as it is your opinion and (despite the fact I am using my blog to share my opinion on films) the only opinion that truly matters is your own. This is true for all movies, not just these so-called ‘guilty pleasures’.
By all means argue your opinion; promote your point of view. Debate with your real-life friends or within online discussion forums the merits of Con Air and Face/Off. Don’t insult their opinion. Listen, agree, disagree. Don’t be a dick about it though as their opinion is as valid as your own.
If we all liked the same things, the world would be a boring place. I can’t stand the Lord of the Rings trilogy and share a similar viewpoint as Randal in Clerks 2 (‘Three movies of people walking to a fuckin’ volcano!), however I have watched all three and have formed my own, valid viewpoint. Recently I have started to introduce my children to the Star Wars movies and they have enjoyed the prequel trilogy so far (Episodes 1 and 2 done). I was 15 when I saw The Phantom Menance and it was undoubtedly one of the biggest disappointments I have experienced in a cinema.
In my opinion.
Some people like Episode 1. My children like that stupid, borderline racist misfire of a comedy character called Jar Jar Binks because, as my 5 year old son puts it, ‘he’s funny’. As you can tell from my description of him, I’m not a fan.
So share your opinions, back them up with reasonable debate and allow others the freedom to have their own views.
And let’s dump the phrase ‘guilty pleasure’ down the toilet….
Where it belongs….
With the one ring…
And Jar Jar…
In my opinion.