Last week, we talked about the widely beloved pop culture things we secretly despise. This week, we’re tackling that question’s sunnier opposite: What’s the entertainment you love, even though everyone else gives it a bad rap?
Ashley Fetters, EW.com news editor: There are plenty of unpopular things I like but can understand others’ hatred for: Auto-Tune, black jelly beans, the “hella good hair” part of “Shake It Off,” televised tennis. But I truly don’t understand why some people hate the live-action 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Not only is it the perfect outlet for the over-the-top Jim Carrey schtick I find unpalatable in almost every other context, but it also successfully infuses the twinkly cinematic world of Whoville with the vaguely unsettling, deeply weird garishness present in the works of Dr. Seuss. It’s not an accident that when I saw Moulin Rouge for the first time, parts of it reminded me of The Grinch. Also, duh, I never get tired of the post office scene.
Ariana Bacle, EW.com writer: I didn’t hate the How I Met Your Mother finale. I actually… kind of liked it. Yeah, it was rushed and would have been better stretched over an entire season than squished into a one-hour episode. But that ending, with the blue French horn and the Walkmen song? It made me cry and cry and cry—which is exactly what I want to do during the final moments of a series finale.
Kyle Ryan, editor, EW.com: Back when they were a ubiquitous pop phenomenon, it was deeply uncool to love Fall Out Boy as much as I do. I’ll throw down with atonal drone black metal and caustic hardcore with the best of ‘em, but I’m a huge sucker for big fat hooks, and the Fall Out Boy’s discography has them in spades. I could lean on our shared hometown of Chicago or having seen them at legendary punk venue the Fireside Bowl back in 2001 when they were practically a different band, but I didn’t really like them until they became pop stars. They’re the rare band that improved with slick studio production, and I was hooked when their 2005 major-label debut came out. When most of your friends are indie snobs, it’s a tough sell to explain why a band beloved by teenage girls is amazing, but I don’t care.
Neil Janowitz, assistant managing editor, EW.com: To the extent that you can call something so heavily produced and auto-tuned a “Paris Hilton song,” I really liked the Paris Hilton song “Nothing in This World” when it came out. Also, now.
Jeff Labrecque, senior writer: Some people have finally come around to appreciating the Seinfeld finale, which was roundly dismissed when it aired in 1998. I haven’t budged from my initial take: It’s superb, if not perfect. Let’s at least acknowledge that it was impossible for the writers to deliver something that reached the audience’s sky-high expectations. But I loved how my favorite New Yorkers were convicted for callously watching a crime unfold and then sentenced to jail. “I will never understand people,” Elaine once said. “They’re the worst,” Jerry agreed. This was the perfect ending—the only appropriate ending—for these delightfully despicable characters.
Kevin P. Sullivan, correspondent: My love of Prometheus is built on contradictions. It’s a big dumb movie that isn’t nearly as dim as most people think. It has one of the most precisely constructed tension sequences of the last decade (the alien abortion) and one of the least thought out (Noomi and Charlize running from the falling ship). It’s an illogical mess and also the the most satisfying Lost movie we may ever get. (When the film is about the problems with demanding the answers to unanswerable questions, it’s hard to not think about the smoke monster, the outrigger, and all of those pissed off fans.) Taken as a whole, Prometheus is a rare breed: a beautiful, ambitious modern sci-fi epic with ideas that make me forgive its blunders, and we don’t get a lot of those anymore. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Interstellar.)
Mandi Bierly, senior writer: I enjoyed Joe Versus the Volcano. Not when I saw it in theaters, but whenever I got sucked into it on cable later. So, to recap: I’ve seen Joe Versus the Volcano multiple times.
Joshua Rivera, EW.com writer: One day I woke up and discovered I had very strong feelings about Power Rangers. Like, completely out of nowhere. And then the next day I woke up to find I had written several thousand words about the Power Rangers. No, you can’t read them.
Esther Zuckerman, staff writer: I really love season 6 of Buffy, and not just the musical episode, though obviously that’s great, but the whole messy, depression/drug metaphor thing. I know I’m not alone in this, but I also know that many consider it a low point for the series. Maybe it’s that I watched it when I was an emotional college senior, maybe it’s the amount of Spike in that season—but I love it.
Kurt Christenson, Photo Editor: I have many, many unpopular pop culture opinions, but music is where I take the biggest slack. I don’t care for Led Zeppelin which causes a pretty severe reaction, but when I say I love Insane Clown Posse, well, I’ve lost people in my life due to being a Juggalo. There’s a reason they are known as the World’s Most Hated Band. I’ve been a fan since 1995, just after Riddlebox was released, the third in their six Joker card concept albums. The beats, produced by Mike E. Clark, are always original and catchy, while the lyrics are filled with ridiculous, clever, comic book/horror fun. As a disenfranchised urban-suburban white boy who always wished he could bust rhymes, well, Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope spoke to the psycho-vigilante-superhero in me who wanted to fight back against the world.
Sure, the bulk of the best music is in those first six albums, and I’ve never been to a Gathering of the Juggalos—which looks absolutely frightening—but ICP has always been about cultivating a community and Clown Love amongst their fans. I’ll be down with the clown til I’m dead in the ground.
Carolyn Todd, intern: I love the movie National Treasure—no, not in an ironic way. I just genuinely enjoy watching it, every time. It’s basically The Da Vinci Code set in Washington D.C. You’ve got the, erm, historical aspect, the action, the dork-romance, the damn Liberty Bell, the conniving Sean Bean character, the Ben Franklin homages, the ever-enjoyable Jon Voight, Diane Kruger’s Heidi-Klum-level sexy/cute German accent, and Nic Cage’s captivatingly weird face. Plus, now that it’s ten years old, it’s officially gained, like, golden oldie throwback points.
Ben Boskovich, assistant social media editor: Dear John Mayer: I don’t care what you said to Rolling Stone or whatever. I love you, bro.
Andrea Towers, EW Community assistant editor: Marvel movies are my jam. And even though everyone consistently cites it as one of the worst MCU films, I will defend Iron Man 2 until the day I die. I’ve also been known to give up a productive weekend if I find it randomly on TV, even though I own the DVD. No shame.
Ray Rahman, staff T-Swift listener: Though widely mocked in many circles (particularly ones here in New York), Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York” is my freaking jam. The song is between, like, Robyn and Kendrick Lamar on my Going Out Let’s Party playlist. I could dance to that beeeeat forevermore and I don’t care who knows it. [insert pink nail polish emoji here]
Matt Bean, EW editor: I’ve got a thing for really, really bad science fiction, but of a certain era. So while I can’t bring myself to make it through Battlefield Earth, I’ll watch films such as Krull, Zardoz, and Dune again and again and again. Who doesn’t want to see one of Liam Neeson’s first roles (Krull)? Who can resist Sean Connery in a red diaper floating through an acid-laced landscape in a spaceship made to resemble a huge bearded head (Zardoz; Music editor Miles Raymer has the poster in his cube). And is there anything more brilliant than Sting in a winged codpiece? Well, I’m sure there are many, many things more brilliant. But I’ll still watch David Lynch’s Dune all day long.
Anthony Breznican, senior writer: My favorite Pink Floyd album is The Final Cut, which (I’m told, again and again) is heresy among Floyd enthusiasts.
Fans have a problem with this record because it’s essentially a Roger Waters solo album, with sprinklings of David Gilmour and Nick Mason, and nothing from keyboardist Richard Wright at all. These guys went on to continue with the Pink Floyd name, but I think Waters’ writing defined the band. His solo work feels more Pink Floyd than the Pink Floyd we’ve had for the past 25 years.
The Final Cut may seem preachy and overly political if you know about the Falkands War and that “Maggie” in the lyrics refers to Margaret Thatcher. But when you’re an clueless teenager in the 1990s, watching the first Gulf War play out on CNN and wondering if this is s fight that will ever end, The Final Cut can feel like a barbaric cry against betrayal, mistrust of authority, our penchant for self-destruction—and some bloodthirsty mother-figure named “Maggie.”
Kristen Harding, visual projects producer: I would have watched The O.C. until the end of time. Was The O.C.’s fourth season good compared to season one? No, not really. Did I still love it? Hell yes. It’s my personal philosophy that you don’t just abandon your favorite TV show because someone decided to selfishly get killed off in season three and mess up the core four dynamic.
Chris Rackliffe, senior social media editor: Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2012 album, Kiss, is an incredibly catchy collection of pop music, “Call Me Maybe” included. Don’t lie—you know that when it comes on at the bar, you give your friends that look, shrug and dance anyway.
Samantha Highfill, Correspondent: I realize that the Landry murder twist in season 2 of Friday Night Lights is the show’s weakest storyline, but I don’t hate it. Not only did it give us more interaction between Tyra and Landry, but it was worth it solely for the scene in which Landry goes to confess. I will never hate something that allows Jesse Plemons to show off his acting chops.
Madison Vain, assistant to the editor: Mixology is funny.
Dalene Rovenstine, TV recaps editor: Ever heard of Terra Nova? EW recently included the Fox TV show on its list of the biggest pop culture flops (alongside Gigli and Robin Thicke’s Paula). I watched every episode, enjoyed them all, and was sad when it was canceled.
Elena Santos, photo editor: Did Shining Through really win Razzies? Maybe I’m a sucker for movie soundtracks that include “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Favorite movie.
Natalie Abrams, senior writer: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So many people gave up on this show in its first season, but I’m still along for the ride purely because when any comic book show does well, it only encourages more to follow in its place. Plus, the second second has really picked up steam with Skye being revealed not only to be Daisy Johnson, a.k.a. Quake, but also an Inhuman. Yes, it all sounds crazy—but the show has never been better.
Kelly Connolly, EW Community assistant editor: I loved the Lost finale, and I don’t care that it didn’t give us every answer. I forgot my questions a long time ago.
Kathryn Luttner, EW Community deputy director: I am an unabashed fan of Hart of Dixie, and I don’t understand why more people aren’t. Bluebell, Alabama citizens are just as quirky as Stars Hollow residents (one owns a pet alligator), and Wilson Bethel takes his shirt off. Repeatedly.
Darren Franich, senior writer: People rag on the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, because it’s not very much fun. To which I say: Oh, I’m sorry, did your kid-killing franchise suddenly get a bit too real for you, maaaannn? Mockingjay is a perfect ending, bleak and angry and tough in a way few other popular sagas ever even dare. It’s the YA version of the Sopranos ending. Oh yeah, and the Sopranos ending is perfect, too.
Jonathon Dornbush, EW.com intern: I… I really love Aaron Sorkin, even when just about everyone else can’t stand him. I know how people rightly criticize him for being preachy and sexist and pretentious—yet I still love watching anything Sorkin makes. Yes, even The Newsroom. I don’t necessarily think it’s great TV by any stretch, but even in its worst episodes—like last week’s campus rape plot—there are still moments of brilliance (like Sloan Sabbith’s story) that no one like Sorkin can write. Ever since I had to watch the speech from The American President for a speech and debate competition in middle school, I’ve loved his writing. And I can still recite that speech to this day.
When Sorkin is at his best, he turns dialogue into music. Saying that probably makes me sound like one of his characters, but I will always be happy to listen to Casey McCall or C.J. Cregg or Charlie Skinner for a few more episodes. More and more most have come to expect less and less of Sorkin—but give me another behind-the-scenes look at whatever industry is piquing Sorkin’s curiosity now, and I’ll be there on day one.