"No, you just didn't understand it."

Does this happen to anyone else? It seems that whenever someone finds out that I didn’t like Kill Bill Vol.1, Kill Bill Vol.2, Fight Club, Saw, Saw II etc., etc., they jump on me and say that I obviously just didn’t understand the complex plot of X film.


I’m sorry that our opinions may differ, but that doesn’t mean I lack the skills to comprehend such in-depth moives as House of a 1000 corpses and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Has anyone else encountered this with fans of a certain genre? People that can’t seem to grasp that it is possible to watch/read/whatever something, understand it and still not like it?

(fake edit: sorry if I posted this in the wrong forum, however, since I’m talking about popular media and this really isn’t a pitting 'cause I’m not angry, I thought it seemed the best place)

Nah, it’s okay.

[sub]Even though you OBVIOUSLY don’t understand how the various forums work around here[/sub]

Oh my God, really? :confused: Ugh, words can’t express my embarrassment. Err, could you move it? Or… maybe we could pretend that this thread never happened.

dies of embarressment

There was something to understand about Saw? I didn’t, heh, see it.

Instead of getting into a discussion about any of the movies you mentioned, most of which I haven’t seen, let’s say there’s a hypothetical movie that does have a complex plot and something to “get” that’s not necessarily immediately obvious. Now, someone who didn’t like that movie is less likely than someone who did like it have “gotten” it. Some people will “get” it and still not like it, but the population of those who didn’t like it will mostly contain those who didn’t “get” it. And some people won’t “get” it and still like it, but those who like it, for the most part, “got” it. You see what I’m saying?

So when someone tells you that you must not have understood the complexities, that’s when you start discussing what you didn’t get and whether or not there was anything to get. Neither party should be treating the discussion of a movie as a way to prove how smart or cool or hip they are. Maybe they will be able to point out a subtlety that passed you by, or maybe you can point out how their interpretation of the film wasn’t supported by anything that happened. Either way, it’s just a movie.

Nah, it’s a good idea for a thread, don’t worry.

When your friends do this, do you ask them what it is about the movie that they like? I’m not crazy about explicitly violent movies either, but I recognize that there might be something to appreciate about them. Maybe there’s a coherent plot with a nice buildup of tension, characters to care about, a theme I can relate to (fear of aging and death’s a good one), good special effects, etc.

Your friends should either help you understand the appeal of these movies or shut up and leave you to your opinion. So ask 'em.

I agree with Howie. Often “You didn’t get it” is a cop-out, but sometimes it isn’t. I’ve heard people villify a work and then go on to describe it in a way that’s just objectively wrong. They either failed to understand it, or went in looking for a reason to hate it.

I think in the OP’s specific case, what the friends are suggesting isn’t that the OP didn’t understand the plot (which was pretty simple in all of those cases), but that he failed to grasp the more subtle nuances, the references to earlier films and the social commentary.

That may very well be so, but IMHO, a film should not have to be critically analyzed to be enjoyed. I’m not saying that a film can’t be challanging, but it still should be enjoyable at a surface level, just be watching the plot and characters. More detailed movies are more rewarding, but if a film fails in its essential duty as a narrative or character portrait, then it has failed altogether.

You can “get it” and still think it is a steaming pile of shite. De gustibus non est disputandum.

First thing you need to do is stop wasting your time and money going to see films you don’t like…

I’m just now watching Natural Born Killers for the first time and have to admit that what I don’t get is why this overly-artsy and pointless movie was so famous.

I hate this argument. It makes me see red. All too often, it’s used as a way to just dismiss the opinions of one’s opponents, and it sucks.

My usual response is something like “You know those bad jokes and awful puns I make that you never laugh at? Does that mean you don’t like them, or don’t get them?”

Of course, a lot of my friends refuse to discuss movies with me anymore.

It’s possible to do the opposite, of course - like a movie but not really understand it. I had a female friend who loved Freeway and would talk about the feminist leanings of the film, the empowerment, etc. Then we rented it again and listened to it with the director’s commentary track running. Well, that took care of that appreciation. I’m trying to remember when she managed to pick up her jaw again.

Well, it depends. If, for example, you had someone ranting about how Stephen Colbert is a right-wing Bush sycophant and that he needs to stop kissing the president’s ass, well, then obviously, saying, “you just don’t get it” would be legit.

On the other hand, sometimes, you have to just say, “Oh, no, I understand it. I understand that it sucks.”

I’m going with Menocchio on this one. It does happen that something about a movie’s plot or message just doesn’t click with someone; there are real circumstances when people miss something.

But if a lot of people “miss” something, then I think the problem is with the filmmaker; a movie should not require that much digging to be enjoyed. If “understanding” a movie depends on having all the right literary references, then the filmmaker simply bites.

And then sometimes there’s people disagreeing on whether a movie is good or not; I mentioned Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm as one of my favorite movies in a conversation with a friend of mine who I see a lot of movies with. It turns out she loathed every moment of it. I know my friend well enough to know that she “got” it (to whatever extent there was something that someone might not get in the first place.) She just didn’t like it. It happens. And my opinion of people who condescendingly explain that I must not have understood something just because I didn’t like it is pretty much on par with yours.

(I do have to wonder if anyone actually enjoyed von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark, though, or if they only “appreciated” it because it was von Trier.)

lissener…paging lissener:smiley:

There is something to be said for both sides. There are the obvious “you missed the point” problems, and then there are the “No, I got it, I just thought it was stupid” problems. You tend to find the former among inexperienced filmgoers. I rarely see any of my teenaged students get subtle metaphors or symbolism that I find heavy-handed. OTOH, I miss the real subtle touches that an auteur might revel in. But in the end it all ends up in the director’s lap. If he was trying for X, and got Y, then it isn’t the audiences fault. It’s his, and in this instance he has failed in his job.

Or, on preview…what Excalibre said. :smiley:

I agree with the general tenor of this thread that “You just don’t get it” is pretty lame.

On the other hand, said “pretty lame” statement was often used towards Dopers who didn’t like Arrested Development. In one memorable thread, one Doper said (paraphrased) “I get it, I just didn’t like it. It’s nothing but pratfalls.” That particular Doper clearly did not get it.

That is a cheap shot, besides do you really want hat started up again? :wink:
Otherwise I am just agreeing with what you and **Excalibre ** said.


The cheapest shots I’ve ever found were $.25 shots of Jaegermeister at a bar in Eureka, CA back in the 70’s. Now that was a cheap shot! :smiley: