by Catriona Mills

Humiliation, Round Five: A Slight Difference

Posted 30 November 2008 in by Catriona

I’ve been slack on the blogging front the last couple of days, due to enthusiastic birthday celebrations. But a discussion last night that we should really have another round of Humiliation segued into a suggestion of holding a round of Film Humiliation.

That’s an idea I like, but it’s trickier, I think, than books.

For all Bayard argues that it’s not necessary to have read a book in order to claim to have read it, it is fairly straightforward—for the purposes of this game—to say, “No, I have never actually opened a copy of this book.”

But films—it seems to me that it’s trickier to say, “Nope, I’ve never consciously watched this film.”

And I’m not even talking about the broad tendency to use the television set as a kind of aural and visual wallpaper, because I don’t do that myself: I don’t put the telly on unless I’m actually intending to watch it (with the exception of test cricket).

But films seem to be more easily and readily quotable than books—or perhaps I mean that we’re more likely to recognise a quote from a film than from a book. It depends, of course, on the book and on the quote: anyone will spot “To be or not to be” or “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” but unless we’re actually looking for literary influences, more obscure quotes may well slip past in casual reading.

But I’m not convinced this works with films, when the quotations are as often visual as they are verbal, not to mention the broad geek tendency to speak almost exclusively in quotations from film and television.

I, for example, have never consciously watched Citizen Kane—how’s that for humiliating? But I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable taking that as my offering in this game of Humiliation, because I’ve seen the core scenes, The Simpsons episode based on the film, the episode of Mad About You that focused on when Jamie had seen the film, documentaries about Orson Welles . . . and so on.

But it’s been too convivial a weekend for me to work through these ideas clearly.

So, how about a round of Film Humiliation instead?

Same rules apply as in the book version: in the comments thread below, nominate a film you haven’t seen but that you think everyone else has.

Nominations will close on Tuesday 2nd December at 5 pm. Then I’ll open up a new thread for the voting. One point per person who has seen your film—and the person with the most points will be the humiliated winner.

Share your thoughts [35]


Wendy wrote at Nov 30, 11:54 am

hmmmm…I haven’t seen Titanic (and am never going to)

not sure if that’s a good choice though


Drew wrote at Nov 30, 12:12 pm

Fight Club, never seen it, don’t know who’s in it, but I hear it’s great, and beyond the obvious clues in the title, I’m not even sure what it’s about.


Drew wrote at Nov 30, 01:22 pm

Of course if you saw the Celine Dion film clip to the Titanic theme song, then you saw the film. There honestly wasn’t a single major plot point in the 3hr film that wasn’t in that 3 min film clip. Makes you wonder what the other 2hr and 57mins were for?


Catriona wrote at Nov 30, 09:44 pm

The other two hours and fifty-seven minutes of Titanic were mostly for showing off the dresses.

They were, to be fair, spectacularly lovely dresses.

I myself have never seen The Exorcist.


Leigh wrote at Nov 30, 10:54 pm

Ive not ever seen Breakfast at Tiffanys. Shame Shame Shame


Kirsty wrote at Nov 30, 11:48 pm

The first film that sprang to mind was The Deer Hunter. I know it stars Christopher Walken and Robert De Niro and it was directed by one of those famous Italian-American directors. That’s why I think I should have seen it and am convinced everybody else has. I feel there is a yawning gap in my knowledge of film. I’m going to add it to my BigPond DVD queue right now. shuffles away


John wrote at Dec 1, 12:23 am

Hmmm.. Well I was going to claim Citizen Kane, until Catriona demonstrated quite ably why I actually have seen it…

[To the examples above, I can add the late-1990s The Late Show spoof trailer, with Arnold Schwarzenegger (in T2 costume) in the lead role: machine-gun, rocket-launcher, flame-thrower, and “Rosebuuuuuddd….”]

So instead, I have not seen (takes breath)…

Batman Begins!



Wendy wrote at Dec 1, 12:26 am

I can’t remember if I ever saw the Celine Dion clip…perhaps I have blocked it from my memory. I think I saw French and Saunders do a spoof of it. I do know I heard the song a zillion too many times. Maybe I should try another choice. Cancel Titanic

I have never seen Jurassic Park…ever!


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 12:43 am

This is where it gets tricky, you see—that and the fact that my original post was rather (slightly, ever so slightly) hungover and incoherent.

Jurassic Park is a good choice—Leigh can give you several million points for that one, if we count each individual time her elder son has watched that movie. (I’m not going to do that, though.)

Titanic is seriously not worth watching, though, unless you meet any of the following criteria:

a. really adore gorgeous and expensive period clothing.
b. have a soft spot for either Billy Zane, Leonardo Di Caprio, or Kate Winslet—and it has to be a serious soft spot. I love Winslet (gorgeous and talented!) but not enough to make this movie worthwhile.
c. actively seek out overblown melodrama that has no internal logic.
d. enjoy watching historical movies just to see where they differ broadly and (when relatives are actually still alive) in some cases offensively from historical fact. (In which case, watch The Patriot. Apparently, English = Nazis!)
e. don’t mind waiting what seems like ten billion hours for the iceberg to turn up. No offense intended to those who died and suffered, but in a film about the sinking of the Titanic, you’d expect less Irish dancing, more iceberg.


Wendy wrote at Dec 1, 01:11 am

Points a-e have now reaffirmed my conviction never to watch Titantic (particularly e – the Irish dancing???)
thank you!

I also have a long held resolution never to watch Forrest Gump but unfortunately have been unable to avoid clips of it when it’s been on the tv (“run forrest run” etc) – so I couldn’t make it my choice here. But I will not willingly submit to it ever.


Nick Caldwell wrote at Dec 1, 01:11 am

I’ve never seen Apocalypse Now. But I did like the scene in the second Hot Shots movie where Charlie Sheen and Martin Sheen pass each other on river boats and shout to each other “you were great in Apocalypse Now”. Or something like that.


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 01:19 am

See, I’ve never seen Hot Shots 2. Maybe I should have made that my choice.

Nah. I’m quite proud of never seeing that.

And, yes, Wendy: gratuitous Irish dancing. I think the intention was to show that working-class culture is more vibrant (and alcoholic) than the moribund, aristocratic, champagne-and-caviar lifestyle in first class.

Either that, or to provoke a tear when everyone in steerage was locked below decks to stop them swamping the lifeboats.

I have seen Forrest Gump and would willingly claw back the two hours of my life I wasted on that offensive, sexist, racist, grotesquely right-wing piece of garbage at any cost.


Wendy wrote at Dec 1, 04:25 am

And while I’m slightly off topic – I’m also in two minds whether to see Australia or to take an irrational set against seeing that as well and add it to my list of movies I will never watch.


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 04:32 am

Feel free to go as far off topic as you like; I’m going to weed through here and repost all the information for voting tomorrow, anyway.

I don’t think I’ll bother with Australia; I have a soft spot for Hugh Jackman (certainly as far as Wolverine’s concerned, anyway) but I can’t stand either Baz Luhrmann or Nicole Kidman, and what I’ve seen and heard of the film so far doesn’t incline me to watch it.

Especially since the main thing I’ve heard is “Dear lord, it’s long!”


Nick Caldwell wrote at Dec 1, 04:48 am

I could tell Australia was going to be a massive, steaming flop the minute I read the pitch Luhrmann made before filming even started. Why does no one listen to me?


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 05:01 am

I listen to you. That’s why I cancelled my own pitch for a massively overblown, melodramatic, slightly racist, certainly conventional outback epic.

Didn’t I tell you?

I had a green light and everything, but I thought, “No—Nick says this will be a massive, steaming flop, and I shall listen to him.”


Wendy wrote at Dec 1, 06:50 am


I’m just sad because I actually really like Strictly Ballroom where I think his “style” actually worked…but that was it.

Funny watching Margaret and David trying to say people should see it (because it is Australian) while implying that really it wasn’t very good.

Don’t get me started on Nicole…that skin is alienesque…and cate blanchett could act her off the screen any day of the week. I mistakenly watched the Oprah special and listened to Nicole talking about being an “artist”. It was difficult to stay in the room….


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 07:07 am

She does look rather like an alien now, doesn’t she? And yet there were photos of her in her pregnancy where she had to lessen the bleached hair and the botox and started looking like she used to again.

Well, like this before and after, for example.

Shame, really.

I admit, I’ve not seen Strictly Ballroom, but I don’t think I could watch it now without being annoying. Like everything Quentin Tarantino does.

But whatever Margaret and David say, I’m not going to see a crap film just because it’s Australian.


Wendy wrote at Dec 1, 07:57 am

no me neither…
quentin tarantino…why didn’t I make my choice reservoir dogs?! darn it!!!


Tim wrote at Dec 1, 08:00 am

> But films seem to be more easily and readily quotable than books—or perhaps I mean that we’re more likely to recognise a quote from a film than from a book.

I can’t agree with this claim. As you go on to say, you haven’t consciously watched Citizen Kane, but you know the story and have seen parts of the film (and many references to it). How is that different from someone who hasn’t read (or seen) all of Hamlet but knows the story and has read or seen parts of it (and many references to it)?

Conversely, I’m sure there are shots and scenes considered classic by film buffs that I would not recognise at all.

That said, I have never seen Forrest Gump.


Tim wrote at Dec 1, 08:01 am

> I admit, I’ve not seen Strictly Ballroom, but I don’t think I could watch it now without being annoying. Like everything Quentin Tarantino does.

Could you watch it without finding it annoying, though? ;)


Sam wrote at Dec 1, 09:20 am

I was going to say I’ve never seen The Dark Night, but Dad kind of stole my thunder with Batman Begins, so…

I’ve never seen Edward Scissor Hands.

On the topic of Australia, my FTV teacher told me I must see it for a number of reasons, one of which being it is actually fairly good (although not the heaven sent film to make everyone love the country as is suggested by the hype).
And apparently it is fun to play the game of spot the absent film star because so many Australian actors are there, any missing are really obvious.
I’m not sure when I’m going to see it though, but it’s a pre-requisite for next year so I’ve got to at some point.


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 09:27 am

Hmm, Tim. Good thing there’s a winky face after that comment. My parents actually knocked on my door as I was writing that comment, hence the not proofreading it properly.

Also, I am quite annoying.

And, Sam, if you have to see it, you have to see it. But I’m not convinced I’d enjoy it. There are plenty of “quite good” to “brilliant” films out there that are so not my cup of tea, and I won’t bother watching them.


Drew wrote at Dec 1, 09:29 am

mmm, I’ve not seen Strictly Ballroom either, was tempted to swap to that, but no, I’ll stay with FC. I will probably never watch Australia, since I don’t watch television (by that I mean live, free-to-air, I love films and television series on dvd) I have missed all the Aust-film hype and have only seen the soundless trailer broadcast in a shopping centre. That was enough for me – pass. I wish it was easier to find Bollywood films.

“But whatever Margaret and David say, I’m not going to see a crap film just because it’s Australian.” They want us to see it for that reason alone? hahaha.


Drew wrote at Dec 1, 09:43 am

On the Breakfast at Tiffanys point, the film doesn’t hold up very well although the ending is still very nice. Mickey Rooney’s portayal of a irate Japanese neighbour is pretty racist by today’s standards. Far superior is the modern French revisionist version: Hors de Prix (Priceless) with the adorable Audrey Tautou in the lead role.


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 10:53 am

Oh, the Mickey Rooney Japanese neighbour is beyond “pretty racist,” frankly—it’s nauseatingly offensive. I can’t believe it wouldn’t have been offensive when the film was made, but then I suppose it was barely fifteen years after the atomic bombs were dropped.

I’ve not actually seen David and Margaret’s take on Australia, Drew: I’m paraphrasing from Wendy’s paraphrasing in comment seventeen. But it wouldn’t surprise me. I gave up on those two before they left SBS before of a (perceived) inability to adequately judge genre films.

Plus, is Australia that Australian a film? Where’s the money coming from?

It worries me a bit that this might be like Lin Anderson’s argument that Braveheart helped bring about the 1997 establishment of a Scottish parliament, although she admits that devolution might have come about without the film. (Really? I think it would have come about roughly a year after Scotland was tied to England in the first place, if they could have found a way!)


Drew wrote at Dec 1, 11:09 am

Margaret lost me years ago when Laurence Fishburne’s Othello came out and she said: “I just don’t get Iago, why is he doing all this? It just doens’t work for me.”

But yes, David doesn’t cope with genre films very well either.


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 11:59 am

Margaret’s the most implacable, I think. David can be resistant to genre films—and, really, there’s nothing wrong with preferring art house, but then why review genre films, if only to compare them unfavourably to something that’s operating in an entirely different marketplace?

David, at least, can make a distinction between adult’s and children’s films.


Wendy wrote at Dec 1, 12:15 pm

Well I do like that David’s favourite film musical is Singing in the Rain, but his set against hand held cinematography is getting very old and grating. It also annoys me that David has no awareness of all of television (he’s never seen the Simpsons I seem to remember!). We all have our own particular views i guess. I like that Margaret can be a little more idiosyncratic and changeable in her views, even if many times I disagree. I hope I haven’t misrepresented their review of Australia to you all but that’s just how it seemed to me.

I’ve seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s – I didn’t even realise that was Mickey Rooney! For goodness sake…how dreadful!


Catriona wrote at Dec 1, 12:26 pm

Sadly, I’m actually with David on hand-held cinematography, but that’s only because it makes me horribly motion sick (as, in fact, does viewing microfilms and also the opening credits to the first Spiderman movie, with the zooming through computer-generated webs, or DNA, or both. I can’t remember: I had my eyes closed.

Oh, but the not watching television angle annoys me. I adore television: frankly, I enjoy it more than most films, because I’m a sucker for good serial story-telling (and if it comes from the nineteenth century, I’m a sucker for bad serial story telling).

There’s an enormous amount of rubbish on television, but even then it all gets lumped into categories, like “reality TV,” and the assumption is that it’s monolithic: all reality TV is bad. All soap operas are awful and only watched by hysterical housewives who should get a life. And so on.

Drives me up the wall. I’m not much of a telly snob (though personally I have no real interest in soap opera—used to watch Eastenders, years ago—and zero interest in fly-on-the-wall reality TV like Big Brother), but so much amazing stuff is happening on television these days, like Deadwood, True Blood, Dexter. And not just on the premium channels, either: we’re big fans of 30 Rock.

But this is a rant that I need to stop ranting, for the sake of my own mental health. And I know I’m preaching to the converted, here.


Drew wrote at Dec 1, 01:35 pm

Deadwood. Sigh. It’s inconceivable that the universe should one day end without the final season of Deadwood being made.


Tim wrote at Dec 2, 04:59 am

We live in an uncaring cosmos.


Catriona wrote at Dec 2, 05:16 am

We live in an uncaring cosmos that also includes Jonathan Coulton’s plaintive, soft-rock version of Sir Mix-a-lot’s “Baby Got Back.”

There’s always a silver lining.


Tim wrote at Dec 2, 05:33 am

Uncaringness works both ways.


Matthew Smith wrote at Dec 2, 06:21 am

Pulp Fiction. And I agree with everything said in the above comments. Sorry I didn’t check back here until now!

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