Noah asked me why I didn’t like the LOTR films, then added that he didn’t see the Narnia films because they sounded bad. For me that raises the question of how the Narnia films sound different than the LOTR films, aside from having little English kids in the cast. It’s still a lot of fantasy and swords and an epic clash between the deformed and the comely.

I get the same thing sometimes when I see a big Hollywood film that’s meant to be a blockbuster but flops. Sometimes you can tell they won’t make it, either because no one was on their game or because somebody with power made exceptionally strange decisions (Hudson Hawk, the magnificent Wild Wild West). Other times I don’t really get why the movie is singled out as being so bad. Ishtar, for example, strikes me as unusually good; I love Elaine May, and Warren Beatty gave one of his few decent performances. The Deep Blue Sea, which is about supersmart giant sharks, seemed like all the other big-monster action films. Maybe it was so run of the mill that people made it a scapegoat for the tons of other product they had sat through.

Then there’s Batman and Robin. I really can’t tell why it’s worse than the other Batman movies, by which I mean the ones that started with the Tim Burton film and ended, I guess, with Batman and Robin. I saw Batman and was pretty indifferent, tried to watch the second film and walked out, missed the third one. Then I saw Batman and Robin and was again indifferent, except that it had Uma Thurman in it and she was funny and looked great. Otherwise the movie seemed like all the other body-armored, black-metaled, big-shot-supporting-cast Batman footage I had seen.

I’m told Batman’s armors had nipples that time around and that it made a difference. Still doesn’t seem like much, though.

So the critical principle mentioned in this post’s title would be: If you liked all that other shit, what’s the matter with this shit?