The Guilty Pleasures

Travis McClain

Bats: R, Throws: R. How Acquired: Traded for a player to be named later. I hold a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Louisville, earned in history. I have lived with Crohn's disease since 2005, and chronic depression since my youth. I bring into each film that I view a world view shaped by those and other parts of my background. I try to be mindful of the socio-political themes and implications of movies, intended or otherwise, and that surely shows in my blog pieces. I also love doughnuts.

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15 Responses

  1. I like your idea that high seen + low winning percentage = guilty pleasure — in fact, I wish I’d come up with that theory! But Ricky Bobby seems like an unusual example. Isn’t there a vocal minority of people who love everything Will Ferrell does? And didn’t most people sorta like that movie? You know, all the hilarious Baby Jesus stuff?

    I think what this analysis may be missing — and that’s not me picking on your thesis, because what I’m suggesting would require going outside of what FC can measure for us — is the movies that you speak highly of, but other people haven’t seen precisely because they KNEW it would be terrible. It’s like when I tell people I like Inspector Gadget — you know, the one with Matthew Broderick. They don’t have to have seen it to know I am probably crazy for liking it.

    Better example: Wild Hogs. Sucks, right? Actually, it’s quite funny in spots, especially the end credits. But no one will believe me because never in a million years would they see it.

  2. Travis McClain says:

    Derek, would it not stand to reason that the only reason “Talladega Nights” has as high a win rating as it does, is because of that vocal pro-Ferrell crowd? Without them, I suspect it would win even less than it does…which is already less than 50% of its “Seen It” figure.

    Also, I have seen both “Inspector Gadget” and “Wild Hogs.” “Gadget” was disappointing, but I honestly couldn’t say why. “Wild Hogs” was better than I thought it would be, and my wife and I found ourselves rather enjoying it.

  3. I have the ultimate guilty pleasure for any straight man.

    I own Xanadu and watch it on occasion. It’s all about the rock, big band music scene.

  4. johnmason says:

    It’s a neat theory, at the very least.

  5. That may be true about Ricky Bobby. I guess maybe in my mind I’m grading it on a Ferrell Curve, where movies like Kicking and Screaming, Land of the Lost and (I haven’t seen but have to assume) Bewitched rank much, much lower.

  6. Travis McClain says:

    Johnmason, to which theory are you referring? That there might be an empirical measurement of a guilty pleasure, or that the win rating of “Talladega Nights” has benefited from the supportive pro-Ferrell crowd?

    If the former, then I don’t presume to have the answers, but merely an observation of relationships between “seen” and “win” figures. I leave it to more dedicated people possessed of a much keener interest in statistics than I to work on such things.

    If the latter, then I stand by my theory; I think some people love certain actors and will happily choose nearly anything from their filmography. Will Ferrell is like this. For my generation, I think the most beloved actor is Tom Hanks; I feel a small pang of guilt each time I don’t pick one of his movies.

  7. Clemontine says:

    Should I admit that I enjoy Wild Wild West? Probably not. Thats definitely a guilty pleasure.

  8. Travis McClain says:

    Clemontine: 65.16% of users have seen it, and it only wins 11.89% of the time. I think you’ve got a Guilty Pleasure on your hands with “Wild Wild West!”

  9. Derek Bowman says:

    I love the Scooby Doo movie with a passion. I know I’m the only one in the world, but it’s amazing and I don’t care what anyone else says.

  10. johnmason says:

    Travis McClain: I was referring to the empirical evidence of guilty pleasures, but I do believe you’re right on both counts.

    Clemontine: I actually like Wild Wild West, too. Don’t love it, or anything, but I’m far from hating it. (Still, I agree with Will Smith: Passing up The Matrix to do WWW was the biggest mistake of his career.)

  11. Nathan Chase says:

    Well, I guess Will Smith got his shot at flying around and dodging bullets in HANCOCK.

    What a weird movie The Matrix would have been though with him in it…

  12. Nigel Druitt says:

    Weird? I dunno. Might actually have been interesting.
    If nothing else, he is a better actor than Keanu Reeves. (Though I’m not knocking Reeves, necessarily; he is just fine in The Matrix.)

  13. Travis McClain says:

    Now that we’ve actually got a “Guilty Pleasures” sub-series I thought I’d look back on this piece. Having re-read it, I’m not really sure its new title (“The Guilty Pleasures: Grandma’s Boy”) is accurate. I originally wrote this merely as an introduction to the idea of guilty pleasures; a sort of starting point for further discussion. If I had to pin it down to championing one film, though, I think it’s actually Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby that emerges as the subject. Perhaps, now that we have an actual “Guilty Pleasures” sub-series, I should write a proper piece on one of these two films?

  14. Nathan Chase says:

    Travis, I edited it back to the original title. My intent was to tie it in to the category better, but I see your meaning that it’s not about one film over the other necessarily.

    I’d say you might choose another film for a full guilty pleasure breakdown, since the above two were already covered partially here.

  15. Travis McClain says:

    The idea of composing a brand new “Guilty Pleasures” piece has a lot of appeal to me. To be honest, Nathan, I think now that this series has a life of its own and a clear direction you could probably consider this post expendable entirely (though that’s of course your call entirely).