This week’s PopWatch confessional was inspired by the revelation that EW.com’s fearless leader doesn’t like The Beach Boys (gasp!). It’s a simple question: What’s the beloved pop culture property you secretly can’t stand?
Kyle Ryan, editor, EW.com: When I tell people that I loathe Kiss with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, they’re generally understanding. But if I tell those same people that the Beach Boys do nothing for me, the room chills. Their reaction is usually along the lines of what Jeff Labrecque said when he found out: “Do you hate puppies too?” It doesn’t get more all-American than the Beach Boys—well, setting aside the drug use and mental illness, though those are also pretty American—so I might as well have a hammer and sickle tattooed on my face. I don’t have animosity toward the Beach Boys like I do Kiss; I mostly feel apathy. Every few years I relisten to Pet Sounds thinking that this might be the time it clicks, but I almost never finish it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go rejoin my proletariat comrades at demonstration.
Chris Rackliffe, senior social media editor: I can’t stand Adele. I don’t want to hear another word from—or about—her until she can actually set fire to the rain, okay?
Jeff Labrecque, senior writer: Hello. My name is Jeff. And I don’t like Radiohead. Oh, it feels so good to admit it! I really, really don’t like Radiohead. And what sucks is that I’ve told multiple people multiple times over multiple years that I really do like Radiohead. Because liking Radiohead is something, I’m told, that smart and sophisticated music people do. I’ve purchased Radiohead albums and downloaded the ones they’ve offered for free. I do enjoy the songs “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Karma Police,” which perhaps were the first signs that I was a poser, but I honestly can’t get through another Radiohead song without pressing Shuffle. Inevitably, it’s when Thom Yorke runs out of things to sing about and simply raises his voice a few dog-whistle octaves, shrieking to stretch the song to the four-minute mark.
Ariana Bacle, EW.com writer: I, generally, don’t like cartoons. Adventure Time, Bob’s Burgers, Rick and Morty, Archer—I’ve tried them all and just end up feeling bored and accidentally zoning out halfway through the episode. Even as a kid, I was more into Gullah Gullah Island and Pee-wee’s Playhouse than Rugrats or Hey Arnold! I just can’t connect with a two-dimensional animated character the same way I can with a human one (no offense, Simpson family).
Lanford Beard, staff editor: Just so we’re all on the same page, Lucy was terrible. Which is not to say Scarlett Johansson wasn’t kick-ass… but no thank you to the unnecessary, incoherent attempts to shoehorn Terence Malick/Stanley Kubrick “art” vignettes into a run-of-the-mill action movie. Also, she turned into a flash drive.
Jason Clark, senior reporter, EW: Whiplash just topped EW’s list of 2014’s best movies—and all due apologies to our supremely knowledgable film critic, but this movie just doesn’t make a lick of sense. Chiefly for one reason (spoiler alert!): in this Full Metal Juilliard-inspired world, a brutal music teacher (J.K. Simmons, very charismatic but truthfully did more developed work on Oz, for God’s sake) screams at, throws chairs at, and calls Teller’s character a “faggot,” among other things. How on Earth did this abuse exist without consequence at a major NYC learning institute for years and years? Given that Simmons’ character is eventually called into question for it (and a former student’s suicide), the movie clearly places us in the zero-tolerance-at-schools present—though many have tried to defend the movie’s actions as a sort of victim-abuser fantasia. For me, Whiplash played much like the student’s actions at its center: banging furiously away at a drum for results that never quite seem good enough.
Ben Boskovich, assistant social media editor: Instead of studying, I spent most of my college years looking at people’s Fight Club posters and wondering what all the fuss was about. I successfully avoided the “cult classic” until the age of 25, when I finally hit a level of boredom that warranted watching via Netflix. Final verdict: meh, too long.
Dalene Rovenstine, TV Recap Editor: Phil Collins. His voice is so unpleasant to my ears. I don’t understand how everyone else can listen to him at all… let alone love him. For this reason only, I’ve never seen Tarzan.
Darren Franich, Senior Writer: I see Ben and raise him: I don’t like The Films of David Fincher. This is a recent realization, percolating for awhile, which crystallized while watching Gone Girl. Gone Girl is the second time in a row that Fincher has taken a thrillingly bonkers, ludicrously popular pulp novel and turned it into a chilly, pretentiously static anti-thriller filled with well-dressed comatose actors and needlessly pretty scenes with snowflakes. (It’s also the second straight novel about a fantastically complex titular Girl Fincherized into a movie that focuses on a frowningly handsome male doofus, while the lead female actress is encouraged to go Full Android.) Every movie Fincher has made looks snazzy—has anyone ever looked cooler than Brad Pitt in Fight Club?—but somewhere between Panic Room and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the glowing surface of his work started to look like a mask for an empty, colorless, fashion-advertisement view of humanity. Some people hail Zodiac as a masterpiece of procedural ambiguity, but the only Fincher movie I ever really want to watch again is The Social Network, where the dissonance of overwrought Sorkinian banter and overwrought Fincherian chiaroscuro cancels out into something interesting. Even if Fincher can’t help sexing up his nerdy internet movie with ambient hot chicks.
Samantha Highfill, correspondent: The Big Bang Theory is not funny. Proof: They have a “live audience,” yet clearly still use a laugh track. Get it? Because NO ONE is actually laughing.
Emily Blake EW.com west coast news editor: I have nothing against Haim. But the only reason I have nothing against Haim is because there’s nothing remotely disagreeable—and, by extension, nothing too tantalizing—about them. So I can’t understand the Days Are Gone-is-my-heroin sort of obsession that seems to be sweeping the nation. I get that a large part of their appeal—especially for female twentysomethings like myself—lies in Haim’s “relatability.” They’re what you imagine it’d look like if you and your sisters decided to throw on leather jackets, don some oversized shades, and start a pop-rock band. But to me, their music is more bland than “girls next door;” I’d like something with more of a kick to it.
Kelly Connolly, EW Community assistant editor: I’m into boxes of chocolate, pleasantly large gingham print shirts, underdogs, inexplicable dates with history, and Tom Hanks on a bench. I’m just not into Forrest Gump. There’s only so much narration a person can take.
Nina Terrero, correspondent: I watch House of Cards, but I don’t love House of Cards. Kevin Spacey is great, and Robin Wright’s performance veers towards pretty darn good. But for real political hijinks, I refer people to my personal favorite, the decidedly better—but sadly, underrated—Boss. Sure, it aired on Starz (womp womp), but the short-lived series delivered power politics in a way that makes House of Cards seem weak (BBQ rib) sauce in comparison.
Carolyn Todd, intern: I hate musicals. Hate them. If forced to watch one, I involuntarily wince every time a new number starts. And the more a character sings, the more I loathe them. If it’s a sad song, stop wailing. If it’s a happy song, quit gloating already. This would all go a lot faster if you just talked like real-life people.
Matt Bean, EW editor-in-chief: The Island of the Day Before, Umberto Eco. He’s a revered author, and I’m a sucker for 17th century magical realism mixed with pseudoscience (see: The Baroque Trilogy). But this book was like Groundhog Day crossed with Robinson Crusoe, minus any discernible storyline. I don’t know. Maybe there is a zen wisdom to be gained from sticking with such an impenetrable, unrewarding exercise. I’ve certainly struggled through a number of dense books only to find them open up like a tight wine after time. And it could be very well be that Eco’s ending offered true enlightenment: Maybe the guy made it to the island after all, encountered a bounty of riches, or at least a piña colada or two. I’ll never know. Like the protagonist, I jumped ship.
Danielle Nussbaum, Senior West Coast Editor: I’ve tried to watch Alias multiple times, and it’s so boring—which is not how a spy drama is supposed to be. As a Buffy and Veronica Mars superfan, I know I should be enticed by the girl power of it all, but the only things that mildly piqued my interest were the Felicity-esque drama scenes and Michael Vartan. It makes me feel like a traitor to the genre. (Michael Vartan, though. Somebody give him a show, please.)
Natalie Abrams, senior writer: Veronica Mars. I tried to go back and watch the first season, but I was so bored. I just don’t care to know what a Marshmallow is, or why the fans are called that.
Miles Raymer, EW.com music editor: I think Quantum of Solace and Skyfall are both perfectly fine Bond movies. This seems like a not-totally-unreasonable opinion to have, but when I tell people they often give me a look of astonished offense. Like I just pissed on their sofa.
Ashley Fetters, EW.com news editor: It took me three tries to get to the second episode of True Detective, and even now that I’ve seen the whole first season, I think it’s, at best, a decently entertaining detective story that benefited greatly from the lack of an obvious successor to Breaking Bad. It has some breathtaking high points, of course: that nifty reveal of what really happened at Reggie Ledoux’s, for example, and, sure, we can include the tracking shot (sorry, excuse me, The Tracking Shot). But for every one of those, there’s at least one “You’re the Michael Jordan of being a son of a bitch”—that is, a dramatic Tough Dudes Straight-Talkin’ declaration that a less self-serious show would smirkingly acknowledge as a punchline.
James Hibberd, EW.com TV news editor: From The Long Walk to The Running Man to Battle Royale to The Hunger Games to Red Rising, I love dystopian deadliest game novels. Yet reading James Dashner’s The Maze Runner just made me angry: Flat characters, expository Q&A dialogue, a dragging narrative, and an ending that left so many questions unanswered in hopes of sucking readers into another book. Ray Bradbury could have knocked out a better version of this in a five-page short story.
Mandi Bierly, senior writer: Some moviegoers and TV viewers appreciate ambiguous endings because they get to decide for themselves what happened next. I’m not one of them. I prefer to know what the person who created the characters and spent years crafting a story believes happened. (Then I can decide for myself if he or she was right.)
Andrea Towers, EW Community assistant editor: This one time (Sunday night after San Diego Comic Con, to be exact), my Newsroom-loving friends gathered together in a hotel room to watch an episode. Everyone was off-the-wall excited. Me? I fell asleep on the floor. (Sorry, Sorkin. You may have snappy dialogue, but it’s just not my jam.)
Esther Zuckerman, staff writer: I just don’t get the Ryan Gosling obsession. Maybe it’s because my initial recognition of him came more with Half Nelson and Lars and the Real Girl than The Notebook, or maybe it’s because I just find his face pretty bland. That’s not to say I don’t think he’s a good actor or generally attractive, I just don’t think he’s the end all and be all Internet made him out to be. Slap feminist quotes on pictures of Andrew Garfield and then come talk to me.
Marc Snetiker, correspondent: Morgan Freeman’s voice is fine.
Hillary Busis, staff editor: Citizen Kane is garbage. Just kidding; I still haven’t seen it!
Joshua Rivera, EW.com writer: I hate cats.