👩 Flames on the side of my face...
Welcome to 2023. For this year's blog series I'm going to be doing something a little different. For the last few years I've chronicled different things that I love: movies, albums, board games, video games. For this year, I'm going to be focused on things that I didn't love, but had a very visceral reaction to nonetheless. This year's blog series is devoted to my favorite hate-reads, hate-watches, maybe even a hate-listen or a hate-play or two. Regardless of form, these are bits of media that I consumed either anticipating that I would not like them or that I consumed expecting to like and then... doing the opposite of that.
This is not as bleak as it sounds, I swear.
I love bad things. I enjoy looking at something that I don't like that everyone else seems to and trying to figure out why I reacted differently. I enjoy looking at things that were universally panned to try to understand where they fell apart. I willingly engage with the schadenfreude at colossal failures. And sometimes something just rubs me the wrong way and I feel the need to go off about how angry it made me.
There are a couple of things fueling this. The first is that I am no longer active on Goodreads and intend to take down all of my reviews there. I have collegial relations with a number of authors whose books I didn't like, and rather than post publicly how I feel--or lie--I have elected to remove myself from the platform. I may port them over to Storygraph, but I will be keeping my reviews to friends-only visibility and I will not be friending writers there. But there are a number of amusing one-star reviews that I would like to preserve, so they are going to be reproduced here, lightly edited.
Similarly, if you follow(ed) me on Twitter, you are probably aware that I like to hate-watch bad movies--especially on New Years Eve, but it can happen at any time through the year--and live-post my reactions. I am no longer on that platform either, as it is currently in a spectacular death spiral. So I intend to translate those tweet-storms into more coherent write-ups.
But it's not all recycled material. I'll also be writing new posts about things I haven't reviewed in either place before.
Now, to be clear, posting something here is not per se an indicator of its quality, only my honest reaction to it. I will not be posting about Thor: The Dark World or A View to a Kill, the latter being Roger Moore's least favorite Bond film but one of my favorites. They're not good movies, but I do enjoy them without irony. On the other hand, I will be posting about Joker and Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, both of which were generally positively well-received, but which made me positively irate. And you can bet you'll see some genuine turkeys in there as well, like Battlefield Earth or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Now, I don't want to get bogged down in negativity. Because if it stops being fun, I'm going to stop doing it. But rather, I'm hoping to bring some mirth and joy to properties that I otherwise perceived of as garbage. And possibly some genuine curiosity and insight as well.
So join me in 2023 for what I hope proves to be an engaging and entertaining spleen-venting. And we'll kick it off with the first book that I intentionally hate-read: Jonathan Franzen's Purity.