I have a confession to make: I like my movies and TV utterly vanilla.
Adjective: having no special or extra features, ordinary
Just about every time I’ve watched a movie or show that was quirky or artsy, I found myself not into at best, confused, or, at worst, uncomfortable. Movies that mess with your head, that blur lines of reality, just leave me feeling frustrated (I’m thinking of Vanilla Sky and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). I hate, hate, hate feeling like I don’t know what’s going on or who is who.
No, movies and TV for me are the ultimate form of escapism, even more so than books. I like to tune in and turn my brain off (unless I’m watching Jeopardy!). I like a plot that moves forward in a mostly linear fashion. I like to suffer and celebrate vicariously. I like to judge people much more freely than I would ever allow myself to in real life. I especially like a little romance, and I like it when the underdog inexplicably wins at the last second. I don’t need to believe it could actually happen in real life in order to enjoy it happening in the movie. In fact, that’s the whole point! It’s not real, and I don’t particularly care if it comes across so.
As I’ve written before, I am no longer ashamed to admit that I’m a fan of Nicholas Sparks. In fact, it was going to see his most recent book-into-movie phenomenon yesterday that made me realize how much I appreciate a good ole vanilla movie. I had read the book of Safe Haven but as is common with me couldn’t quiiite remember the ending, so I was on pins and needles as it all played out. I did more than tear up as the inevitable conclusion came to be: if I had been in the privacy of my own home, let’s just say I probably would have been bawling. I felt deeply satisfied as I left the theater still sniffling. That’s all I ask of a movie.
I know many people disagree with me; a lot of people hate this kind of movie, and as a self-proclaimed intellectual a part of me wishes I could. Up to now I’ve sort of loved to hate them, if you know what I mean. But I think I’m just going to own it. I like cheesy movies, I like tearjerkers, and I like a nicely wrapped up ending. So sue me.
What’s your favorite kind of movie? Do you have a guilty pleasure genre (or maybe one that’s not so guilty for you anymore)?