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A man and woman embrace in the rain in this image from New Line Cinema
Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in “The Notebook” (Image: New Line Cinema)

Most people ask you what your favorite movie is, but not many ask which one you hate the most. I usually find that disliking a movie is a stronger emotion — more visceral. You can’t help but scoff and shake your head whenever the film is mentioned. Sometimes you don’t tell people about it because it’s such a beloved film, and you want to avoid the judgment or controversial conversation that’ll come afterward. In other cases, it just needs to be said — so, here are the movies that I loathe with a burning passion that, for some reason, others love.

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‘La La Land’ (2016)

A couple enjoys drinks together in a jazz bar in this image from Summit Entertainment
Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) in a jazz bar (Image: Summit Entertainment)

I tried so hard to like this movie. It was so revered and well-received, with award nominations, wins, and rave critic reviews, that I felt I had to enjoy it. I also prefer to wait a while after the dust has settled before watching a film, afraid it won’t live up to the hype. Well, this one certainly didn’t.

I watched “La La Land” somewhat recently for the first time. Let me preface what I’m about to say with this: I love Emma Stone, so I wanted to love this movie. However, I just didn’t. The characters were so selfish and it was frustrating to watch. Not to mention the dance scenes — after growing up watching Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers, I can say the dancing in this film wasn't good. It was stiff. As a dancer, I couldn’t help but notice all the flaws, including the fact that choreography was altered to make it easier.

Honestly, I was glad when it was over and I could turn off the TV.

‘Arrival’ (2016)

A man and woman surrounded by research in this image from Lava Bear Films
Ian (Jeremy Renner) and Louise (Amy Adams) try to understand an alien language. (Image: Lava Bear Films)

Let’s start with the positives. I’m a huge Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams fan. The acting in “Arrival” was incredible, the plotline was complex, and I genuinely didn’t know what would happen next. The directing, CGI, and overall production of the movie were all fantastic.

Considering that language was the center of the movie and that I was an English major in college, I should’ve enjoyed this. However, the film's tension had my stomach in knots for two hours, and that sense of unease lingered for the rest of the evening. I prefer it when movies don't ruin the rest of my day.

‘Interstellar’ (2014)

Three astronauts discover a cryo-chamber in this image from Paramount Pictures
Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and David Gyasi (Image: Paramount Pictures)

I don’t enjoy movies about deep space. I don’t mind “Star Wars” or “Battlestar Galactica”; in fact, I love both of these franchises. The difference lies in the realistic nature of the setting. There aren’t any Cylons or stormtroopers running around in “Interstellar.”

So, of course, I didn’t enjoy this movie. Maybe it was made worse because I didn’t want to watch it, but my boyfriend at the time wouldn’t take no for an answer. Either way, I absolutely hated it. There’s no way I’ll ever watch it again.

‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004)

A man and a woman chat on the train in this image from Focus Features
Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet) meet on the train. (Image: Focus Features)

I could be completely biased about “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” because I watched it after a particularly nasty breakup, so my emotions were raw and I wasn’t ready to address them. This is another case of loving both actors and the movie's concept but just not enjoying it as a whole. Again, it could’ve just been the wrong storyline for me at the time since I basically sobbed my way through it, but it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, or what you would call a “good cry.”

‘The Notebook’ (2004)

A young couple in a row boat in this image from New Line Cinema
Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) take a ride in a rowboat. (Image: New Line Cinema)

Yeah, I know, every girl is supposed to love this movie. I didn’t. Sure, Nicholas Sparks is a master at romance; I’ll admit that I’ve read a handful of his books and that he knows how to tug at the heartstrings. I prefer “Dear John” (available on Netflix) over “The Notebook.” Both Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling are amazing in their roles as Allie and Noah, respectively. Maybe I was biased while watching it since I already knew the actors didn’t get along off-screen, but I didn’t enjoy seeing the two of them together.

It felt contrived and I didn’t like the main characters. Allie was self-centered and treated Noah horribly. “The Notebook” idealizes this behavior and sets the norm that if a guy really loves you, he’ll overlook how poorly you treat him. Essentially, it’s condoning emotional abuse, which is a hard pass for me.

‘The Matrix’ (1999)

A man slows down bullets in this image from Warner Bros
Neo (Keanu Reeves) slowing down bullets. (Image: Warner Bros.)

I know I’ll get some backlash on this one, as most people are astonished when I say that I didn’t like “The Matrix” or any of the sequels that followed. I’m sure it’s a cult classic for a reason, but I can’t pinpoint that reason. There was never a point where I became emotionally involved enough with the characters to care about what happened to them. The plot is hard to follow, forcing you to rewatch it.

As a side note, Keanu Reeves is a wonderful person. He’s kind and caring and genuinely a nice guy. But he can’t act to save his life. He has the same facial expression the entire movie. His acting skills aren’t believable, making the film even worse.

‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’ (1997)

A woman drives a man in her car in this image from Capella International
Mrs. Kensington (Mimi Rogers) and Austin (Mike Myers) riding in a car (Image: Capella International)

“Austin Powers” is a film franchise that should’ve ended after the first movie. Yes, I one hundred percent stand by this statement. It’s crass, horrendous, and honestly more cringeworthy than Michael Scott in “The Office.” I’ve never made it past the first 20 minutes of this movie, and trust me, I’ve tried watching it many times to appease friends.

‘Pulp Fiction’ (1994)

An iconic dance scene in Pulp Fiction in this image from Miramax
Vincent (John Travolta) and Mia (Uma Thurman) dance it out. (Image: Miramax)

Another cult classic I can’t get behind is “Pulp Fiction.” Sure, there are some iconic scenes and moments, and I can even understand the movie's appeal. The twisted connections between all the key players are a masterpiece. However, for me, it comes down to one thing: I can’t stand Uma Thurman. There’s just something about her, and it’s not good. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Quentin Tarantino has such a fetish for Thurman and her feet.

‘A Christmas Story (1983)

A young boy at Christmas in this image from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) at Christmas with his Red Ryder gun (Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

This last holiday season, I finally watched “A Christmas Story” for the first time, and I have to say, I wasn’t impressed. The acting was over the top (even that of the parents), and I didn’t care about the storyline. I found myself bored halfway through the movie and wondered when it would end. There was no character development to speak of and no background story arcs to save it. It was simply a movie about a bratty little kid obsessed with getting a Red Ryder gun, and I can’t help but think, “Why? What’s the point of this?” As far as I could tell, there wasn't one.

‘Blade Runner’ (1982)

 A man in a trench coat stands by a futuristic car in this image from The Ladd Company.
Deckard (Harrison Ford) stands by his futuristic car. (Image: The Ladd Company)

As mentioned above, I love “Star Wars.” I grew up watching Episodes IV, V, and VI, and I saw the next three in theaters. I also grew up watching and enjoying “Indiana Jones.” It’s safe to say that I like Harrison Ford. But “Blade Runner” (and even “Blade Runner 2049”) wasn’t good. When the sequel came out and was available on streaming services, my fiance and I watched both back to back — neither of us had ever seen the original, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. We agreed afterward that it was a total waste of time. Imagine all the worst things from ‘80s films crammed together in a hodgepodge manner; that’s “Blade Runner.”

‘Cool Hand Luke’ (1967)

A man gazes at a pile of hard-boiled eggs in this image from Jalem Productions.
Luke (Paul Newman) stares at a table full of hard-boiled eggs in despair. (Image: Jalem Productions)

The last film on this list is “Cool Hand Luke.” I’m going to be completely honest here, I don’t remember much about this movie, but I think it’s due to blocking it out. I do know I watched it as a preteen with my mom, aunt, and uncle. My uncle claimed it was a movie everyone needed to see at least once. Yet, all the women in the room were horrified. I also know my reflexive aversion to hard-boiled eggs is due to this movie. In one scene, Luke (Paul Newman) bets he can eat 50 hard-boiled eggs in one hour. After a while, it becomes so challenging that other inmates massage his throat to help him keep swallowing. I haven’t had a hard-boiled egg since.

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