It all started on 4/20, 2001.
Well, not April 20. Maybe a few days after that. At some point in late April, I loved the movie that nearly everybody hated: Freddy Got Fingered. I was one of the very few people who saw Freddy Got Fingered in theaters. I saw it with my college friend; we went on a lark just as finals were finishing up. He was bemused by the whole endeavor, admitting the constant child maiming was funny but the movie was terrible. I, on the other hand, loved the shit out of Freddy Got Fingered. This was an absurdist piece of anti-humor that hated everything and everybody. Bunuel, eat your heart out. Freddy Got Fingered not only hated people, it hated the nuclear family. It hated all of the Hollywood formulas it abused. It hated its audience, it hated good taste, it hated taste of any kind. Freddy Got Fingered was a middle finger to mass society at large, and I loved it. Needless to say, it wasn’t very popular. That was just my first taste of the contention that defined 2001.
Immediately following Freddy Got Fingered was One Night At McCool’s, a movie where three very stupid creeps obsess over Liv Tyler who manipulates them into thievery and murder. McCool’s explodes the Rashomon formula into a tale told by the three male narrators who alternately see Tyler as a rampant sex pot, a glorified girlfriend, or a saint; but never as her own woman. Which is funny because she ultimately gets what she wants. The unreliable narrators dominated the screen with scummy men and Liv Tyler’s alternating personae had McCool’s declared as sexist or unlikable. It too wasn’t very popular.
In June, I found myself in love with Pootie Tang, Moulin Rouge! and A.I. Artificial Intelligence, both of which severely underperformed and were not well liked by audiences upon immediate release. People working at the movie theater absolutely hated Moulin Rouge! for its pretension and over-the-top eye searing visual aesthetics. And, nobody liked A.I.because it refused to give people what they wanted (of course, I still think the final segment is a terrible misjudgment).
Once you get out of the multiplex, my tastes were even more contentious. This was the year I got in a fight with a classmate over their hatred of The Doom Generation. I took a stand against the moronic Blow. There was something in Mike Figgis’ Hotel that I loved even if I didn’t even understand what I was watching.
This entry isn’t to say that my tastes are impeccable. This isn’t to say that I’m right and everybody else is wrong. Nor am I saying that my tastes are ahead of their time. This was the summer I learned that not everything I like has to be universally liked, and I was fine with seeing A.I. four times in a theater to my coworkers’ cringeworthy chagrin. This was the summer where I figured out that I liked what I liked, and if people had a problem with it, they could go fuck themselves. Also, Tim Burton, Planet of the Apes still sucks.