21 August 2018

Against the Crowd Blog-A-Thon 2018

We here at Norwegian Morning Wood are always very excited to jump in on someone else's great idea, so here's our First Ever participation in Dell on Movies' 2018 Blog-A-Thon.

Here are the rules, as per that site. I should note that I was turned on to this by the blog, Surrender to the Void.

1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of 75% or more on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of 35% or less on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.

4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.

5. Let us know what two movies you intend on writing about in one of the following ways:
Comment on this or any ACB 2018 post on this site
Tweet me @w_ott3
E-mail me: dellott@yahoo.com

6. Publish your post on any day from Monday August 20 through Sunday August 26, 2017.

So, let's get into this. My choices were instantly easy, because I just saw a movie that was highly recommended to me that I thought I'd love but I hated and there is of course the old staple that I love that no one else does.

Let's begin!

Movie Everyone Loves: Eastern Promises (2007)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel

Hidalgo himself, Viggio Morgenstein!

I enjoyed every single actor and crewmember involved in this and was pretty excited to watch it for the first time in the year 2018. Totally late to the party, but hey, I acknowledge that, and I sat down to enjoy some great Russian gangsters. A few weeks later I'd struggle to even recall the plot to you. It's all over the place with a large amount of characters that wouldn't be a problem, but tend to be able to stand in with each other. It's a sprawling, multi-decade narrative puzzle that never quite comes together, but it's really hampered by having no one character to anchor the film. Is it Viggo? Naomi? Anyone else? Every character feels on the periphery of their own movie.

Maybe that's the point - creating a world that we get as lost in as the characters. It IS Cronenberg and we shouldn't necessarily expect a traditional narrative, but I did not care about what happened. There are some great scenes of tension, especially in the first half, and the naked sauna fight is some spectacular choreography. Other than that it feels like a big MacGuffin race that never pays off.

Movie Everyone Hates: The Lone Ranger (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Director: Gore Verblinski
Stars: Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Tom Wilkinson

This train don't stop for no one

You know that I always appreciate moments to rant about how much I love The Lone Ranger. This is the kind of movie that popular nerd crowds always want out of a blockbuster. It's bombastic, clever, politically intriguing, has a strong message, doesn't care about Hollywood rules, and doesn't have any superheroes in it. Yet it's reviled.

There's this public domain aspect that Patrick H. Williams just critiqued better than I ever could. He essentially says what I've been hammering for years - that even though these properties have superficial name recognition, no one actually knows or cares about the historical narratives associated with them. We don't need a gritty revisionist Lone Ranger when no one can remember the last Lone Ranger and why this would be new, different, or we should care.

It's easy for me to get past all that. I don't care about the cultural context, although if you read this site, you'll know that's integral to our greater relationship to a given film. All this texture got in the way of text with The Lone Ranger and we ignored what should have been a riotous good summer blockbuster. It's iconic, fun, exciting, full of important stakes, epic in every sense of the word, and leans on the William Tell Overture with aplomb. I've ranted in much more detail over the years, so check that out if this is your first time snooping around here.

This was fun - feel free to scrooch and spread this on your own site for the Blog-A-Thon! And read Dell on Movies and Surrender to the Void!


  1. Thanks so much for participating! As for your choices, I'm with you on Eastern Promises. I fell asleep on it and never bothered to go back to it. I hate to say it, but I'm with the majority on The Lone Ranger. That movie just didn't work for me at all. That The Lone Ranger was a supporting character in his own movie didn't help. But this blogathon is all about different strokes, so great job!

  2. You're welcome. Sure, The Lone Ranger was bloated but it had moments that was entertaining.

  3. I can see your point about Eastern Promises but while I didn't think it was the greatest picture ever I thought it was a tense decent drama with a great Viggo Mortensen performance.

    I thought a lot of the problem with The Lone Ranger was it was just too long and drawn out. Cut about 45 minutes out of it and it would have been a much better film.

  4. I actually an one who likes Eastern Promises even though I want to duct 5ape Naomi Watts’s dad. I love that makes scene because I get to see Viggo:). The plot actually stayed with me and did not disapper into my sad memory banks that many things do. As for The Lone Ranger...I like it a song well. It’s fun and not to be taken seriously but I think the political correctness got hold of the film along with people who are tired of Depp. I used to watch the Lone Ranger with Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels and I enjoyed the tv show just as much.

  5. Cool picks! I haven't seen Lone Ranger, but I can't remember the plot of Eastern Promises for the life of me either. I don't even think I kept track of the story while watching it.


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