“Dealbreakers” Revisited

In March of 2012, I compiled two lists for TMP: 10 “Buzzwords” and 10 “Dealbreakers” that play into my decisions when choosing films to watch. This week I’ll be revisiting my dealbreakers, taking about how I busted a few of ’em. Stay tuned a week from today for a similar evaluation of my 2012 buzzwords!

The “dealbreakers” list in 2012 included:

  • Westerns
  • Vampires
  • NASCAR/Racing
  • Sports
  • Overtly religious themes
  • Love at first sight
  • Gratuitous violence
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Accidental time travelers (anachronistic background actors, i.e. someone wearing a tour t-shirt from 1994 in a movie set in the ’70s)
Gregory Peck stars in The Gunfighter -- one of my favorite Western discoveries. (Image via gmanreviews.com)

Gregory Peck stars in The Gunfighter — one of my favorite Western discoveries. (Image via gmanreviews.com)

I’ve busted five of these dealbreakers, beginning with Westerns. I completed a project on this blog called “Lindsey Tries to Appreciate Westerns” in which I, uh… tried to appreciate Westerns. And it worked! I discovered that the things that annoyed by most about the genre aren’t actually present in every single film, and that I’m perfectly capable of discovering Westerns that I love. I look forward to watching them now!

Sports films are another busted dealbreaker, thanks in large part to a certain Mr. Cooper. Gary Cooper, that is. I fell in love with his film The Pride of the Yankees and, as silly as it sounds, it really opened my mind to baseball. I’ve even gone to a few Tigers games! I used to consider the sport one of my least favorites, alongside golf and boxing, despite my childhood love of The Sandlot. No more. Now it’s second to hockey on my rank of “Sports, from best to worst.”

Overtly religious themes — the third broken dealbreaker. A mix of anger toward the bigoted side of organized religion and bafflement at the lack of quality seen in many faith-based films left me running for the hills every time I saw the words “Christian drama.” What I’ve realized in the intervening years is that these films aren’t made for me, or at least weren’t made for the very picky me of 2012. These films are made for a very specific audience and cater directly to that audience. With a few exceptions, they’re not trying to force themselves on or convert anyone. They’re made to uplift and inspire those who already believe. My new motto: “Let the people watch whatever the heck they want.”

(Image via Sports Illustrated)

Only Gary Cooper could turn me into a baseball fan. (Image via Sports Illustrated)

Perhaps I’m getting sappier as I get older, because “love at first sight” is another dealbreaker that no longer bothers me. I’ve totally given into my love of rom-coms and other cheesy romances. Banter-y, slow-burning romances are still my favorite type, but if two characters want to fall in love the minute they lay eyes on each other, who am I to criticize ’em? Movies don’t always have to perfectly reflect real life to be enjoyable. Sometimes you need a little bit of escapism, a little bit of over-the-top cuteness (especially when you’re down in the dumps). This dealbreaker will still get an eye-roll from me in certain films depending on how the romance is handled, but for the most part, consider it busted.

Most surprisingly of all, I’ve kind of warmed up to Jennifer Aniston. She was always my least favorite part of Friends, one of my all-time favorite TV shows. (Yes, very unpopular opinion there. A lot of people love Rachel or even consider her their favorite character. I will pause a moment for your tomato-throwing, Rachel Green lovers.) In the years since that series ended, her films haven’t impressed me at all. I just always, for some reason, found her annoying. It was one of those irrational, no-particular-reason annoyances. I still wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the actress, but I’ve come to tolerate her, and have even enjoyed a few of her films/performances (like Cake and Life of Crime).

There you have it — half of my original list of dealbreakers, scattered to the wind! I’m pretty proud of myself for overcoming some of these biases. A phrase I’ve often used since the beginnings of this blog is “I’ll watch anything once,” but I feel like that’s much more true now than it was four years ago, as I’ve given up on some of the pre-judgments I used to place on films.

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