Rant: On Managing Expectations

Ok folks, here’s the deal: Big Ron “El Junto De Pan y Agua” Lastnameovich and I are both in the midst of adding to our families. So, there’s going to be some gaps in our release schedule, and we’re thinking of posting some stuff un-edited so that we can just record and post for y’all without having to break our asses and piss our wives off. We will be back to normal eventually, so don’t lose hope, but until then, I’m going to try to throw up some more blogs so you can get your Un-Titled fix. Maybe I will review something; maybe I will just rant; maybe I will tell you how to make my world famous omelet (The secret? Use eggs). Who knows, but if you’re Stockholm Syndromed enough to miss us, read on…

So I’m sitting here in an insomniac haze, four games of knock-off Scrabble against the computer deep, and I’m amazed at what’s going on down on my television. More specifically, I’m two and two against the computer and I’m having an allergy flair-up so bad that I know a good night’s sleep is a dream I can’t attain because I’m not sleeping and therefore not dreaming of dreaming…I could go on all night in that circle, but I won’t. Anyhow, I’m up watching television, trying to think of something to write for y’all, and I’ve just watched Kingsman: The Golden Circle and I’m in the midst of watching Deep Impact. I’ve not only been watching them , but I’ve been so enthralled by them that I couldn’t write for the last three hours and instead played four games of knock-off Scrabble so that I could pay more attention to my television. Funny thing is this: I’ve seen them both already…and didn’t like either one. Yet here I sit, high on Mark Strong singing John Denver and completely bro-crushing on Treat Williams (the rich man’s Tom Berenger if you ask me). How could this be? How could I so decidedly not enjoy either film on my original viewing and now be falling in love with both of them? Well the answer lies in one simple word: expectations.

 I loved the original Kingsman folks. I saw it a good ten times in it’s original run on cable, and I will still watch it anytime it’s on. I actually went into it thinking it would be crap and was so pleasantly surprised that I showed it to anyone who would watch with me. Expectations folks. So with that love in my heart I ran to the theater to see the sequel! I was profoundly let down. I won’t get into it because you don’t care, but I will say that it felt like it lacked the charm of the original and just didn’t do it for me. Deep Rising was last seen by a late twenties Craig who had heard that it was the coolest piece of slick action schlock in years from his buddies at the video store. Yes, I had buddies who worked at a West Coast Video, because I’m a movie geek who was born in the eighties. I also have a bunch of movie tattoos; everything about me is a cliché. Anyhow, I popped the sea monster classic into my DVD player with joy in my eyes and was barely paying attention by the time the final roar was heard from the jungle (legend says that it was actually a backdoor Skull Island prequel). To be honest, my recollection of both viewings wasn’t disdain, just not feeling like I had seen anything special. I went into both flicks expecting greatness, and walked out of both thinking I had just seen not much of anything.  It would seem that my hopes were just too damn high the first time I saw either of these flicks. It would seem that I was let down by not having my expectations met. Second viewing though? Wow.

I’m going to cut to the chase here folks. I’m going to give you some advice that I hope you all heed: Next time you’re let down by a movie that you thought was going to be awesome, the next time you walk out of a theater saying “ Man, I really thought that was going to be so great, I’m so let down.”; don’t give up on it. No folks, instead I want you to wait about a year, maybe even more. Wait however long you feel is necessary to forget the finer details of the movie and/or to put you in a different headspace than you were in the first time you watched it, and watch it again. Go into it thinking it’s going to be garbage; thinking it’s going to be worse than the first time you saw it; have zero faith in it being worth your while. Do this and there’s pretty fair odds that you will be pleasantly surprised by what you see. I bet that once you strip away all the preconceived notions about the film’s greatness and walk  in thinking that you’re going to watch crap, you’ll find yourself watching something that you at least enjoy a bit.  

As always, I’ve taken the longest possible route to get to where I’m going, but hey, it’s the journey that makes life, not the destination. Anyhow, what I’m saying is that expectations ruin movies. Even if you’re expecting something great and you get it, wouldn’t it be better if it was even better than you thought? So much better! You better believe me. Sorry, I got addicted to typing the word “better”, it was like some kind of The Ring shit; I was just sucked into it. So yeah, stop having such lofty expectations for everything and you’ll like it all so much more. Stop pouring over every frame from every trailer. Stop watching them altogether if you can. Personally, I only watch trailers for things I’ve never heard of and/or I’m undecided on. I see most movies having only read a logline and a cast and crew list. What else do you need? If you love Tom Hardy movies and you love superheroes, do you really need to see a trailer for Venom? Love action-comedies, Ryan Reynolds, and Samuel L. Jackson? Then what else would you need to see before watching The Hitman’s Bodyguard? Do you even need to know if other people liked it? Maybe ask a couple of friends who saw it, at most, but why ruin it by reading a review that may contain spoilers and/or skew your view before you’ve even seen a frame?

That’s not to say that reviews don’t have their place. We live in a social media culture where everyone (myself included) loves to share their opinions. I see reviews and social media posts as the logical extension of the walk to the car after a movie. That twenty minutes after you see a flick where you and your friends shoot the poop about what you just saw, that’s what reviews are to me. They’re another way to see what everyone else thought about what you just saw; another way to get insights you yourself may not have had. Reviews and movies are great compliments to one another, we’re just consuming them in the wrong order.

So yeah, the moral of the story is that if you walk into every movie with a neutral attitude and an open mind, you’re more likely to enjoy it for what it is. Furthermore, if you do find yourself let down by a flick, go back and watch it again without all the extra baggage you walked into it with the first time. Trust me, you’ll enjoy things a lot more. I’m not dumb though, I understand that it’s impossible to have expectations, and that just knowing the written description of what you’re going to see can lead to you walking into the theatre excited about what you’re going to see, but we’re not going to just start walking into theaters blind. We have to know something about what we are buying a ticket for, I just think that we shouldn’t know enough to influence us too much. I also know that sometimes you’re let down by a movie and then you watch it again hoping it will be better and you’re let down even harder. I’m looking at you Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. This stuff is going to happen, I’m just trying to limit it and help you enjoy things. Jeez, lay off me, you’re not my real dad. End Rant.

P.S. The entire 3rd act of Deep Rising is a straight up roller coaster of awesomeness and I’m sorry that I ever doubted it. I can see how on my first viewing I let my attention wain during the second act because it plays a little more like a horror movie and i don’t like horror, but in my re-watch I realized how dope of a setup the first act is, how well the second act works when you let it, and how great the final sprint is. In regards to Golden Circle, when I watched it without being surprised by the rather sad first twenty minutes, I was able to appreciate how fun it is. I can now say that I love both movies and they will be re-watched whenever I come across them.

The Un-Titled Movie Podcast With Ron & Craig #26: Used Cars

We’re a bit behind on our posts because we’re too busy starting families to get out work done. Couple of slackers we are. Anyhow, this week’s episode is the Kurt Russell comedy classic Used Cars! One of the funniest movies of the 1980s was released in the very beginning of the decade! It’s got car chases, nudity, nuns being sprayed with hoses, and a full-on Weekend At Bernie’s situation almost ten years before Silverman and McCarthy evven though to walk around with a dead guy! check it out folks!