John Walker's Electronic House

If You Like This Blog Post, You’ll Love…

by on Jul.15, 2009, under Rants

In the wonderful world of criticism there are lots of horribly lazy phrases people fall back on. For people who care a weeny bit more about what they’re writing, such phrases cause everything from wincing to full body spasms. And these phrases have a king.

When trying to convey to the reader whether they may like the product one is reviewing, the very easiest way to put this across is to explain, “If you like [similar product] or [another similar product], then you’ll love [product being reviewed].” There’s a parody by which this most awful and lazy of devices is known. It is:

“If you like this sort of thing, you’ll like this sort of thing.”

Not only is there the inherent redundancy, but it’s also the most massively unhelpful sentence to read if you a) haven’t heard of the compared products, or b) don’t like them for specific reasons that may not apply to the current subject. It should never, ever be written. Ever. By no one. If you see it, write the author’s name down in a list of people you’ll roll your eyes at, or car over.

And if you’re looking for this at its absolute worst – to a point where it creates convulsions in all right-minded people – you want to make your way to the Odeon website.

Let’s have a look at some of the film descriptions for the currently showing films at the Odeon in Bath.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs:

If you liked ‘Bolt’ and ‘Finding Nemo’, you’ll love ‘Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs’.

Let’s see. There’s Disney’s Bolt, a film about a dog who believes he has super powers, but spends the movie learning that he does not. And there’s Finding Nemo, Pixar’s remarkable comedy drama about a fish separated from his father after the tragic death of his mother and hundreds of siblings. The idea of putting the two films in the same category is peculiar enough, let alone implying that liking either of them will cause you to escalate your feelings in response to the third, and most poor, Ice Age film. Two CGI children’s films were plucked out of the air, with Bolt thrown in to avoid including two Pixar choices. Perhaps, “If you liked Ice Age and Ice Age 2, you’ll love Ice Age 3” might have been slightly more relevant.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

If you liked ‘Babe and ‘Good Boy’, you’ll love ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’.

Possibly the title alone is enough to tip you off that Beverly Hills Chihuahua isn’t reviewing all that well. The New York Post wrote, “The film is Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The audience is the fire hydrant.” So there’s a good chance that if you “love” this film, your taste in the films you “like” is going to be suspect. But what choices! Good Boy, which I’d never heard of before, is the straight-to-video tale of a dog from space visiting Earth. Babe is the vastly successful story based on Dick King-Smith’s The Sheep Pig, that saw a generation of children refuse to eat bacon for about two weeks. One’s about a dog, the other’s got, um, talking animals in it? They’re bound to lead to your enjoying the tale of a rich, spoilt LA Chihuahua lost in grubby poor people’s Mexico.


An easy one, right? Sacha Baron-Cohen’s third film. His third film taking an old character and seeing how much trouble he can get himself in with it in America. Ali G, Borat, Brüno. It’s a simple formula.

If you liked ‘Borat’ and ‘Yes Man’, you’ll love ‘Brüno’.

Um, half way there. Yes Man is last year’s poorly received Jim Carey movie vaguely based on the idea from Danny Wallace’s book where he said yes to every offer for a year. Which has precisely what to do with Baron-Cohen pretending to be gay to aggravate rednecks, or pratting about at fashion shows?

It then gets too boring to carry on. Fans of gangster movies will love The Departed. Those who enjoy comedy films will love a comedy film. Those who like special effects will love special effects films. But then there’s one shining example of this horror hidden in the site. Not to be released at the God-forsaken Bath Odeon (lest they not be able to run Harry Potter on all seven hundred screens at once), the extremely excellent-looking Moon is due to be released this Friday. Old-school hard-scifi, with rarely more than one character present, focusing on isolation and minimalism, it brings to mind obvious comparisons such as Solaris and 2001. But not to the Odeon’s mind. Where most critics have referred to the quietness, delicate pacing and reminiscence of classic 60s and 70s science fiction. The Odeon, they say,

If you liked ‘Transformers’ and ‘Star Trek’, you’ll love ‘Moon’.

Because they’re both in space too! Apart from Transformers. Oh, they’re all about robots! Except that Moon and Star Trek feature computers. They’re both… They have… WHAT?

15 Comments for this entry

  • ImperialCreed

    It’s ricockulous, to be sure, but rather unsettlingly I quite liked Star Trek, liked Transformers (for all its faults) and I haven’t been as excited about a movie in ages as I am for Moon.

    Maybe there’s some horrible, grotesque logic hidden beneath the stupid.

  • Maxwell Moonshine

    Such simple formulas make for an interesting view on life. I’m sure they plug those movies into a very large and complex algorithm to determine those equations.

  • The_B

    I hope that one of these days the Odeon website will soon have some more accurate descriptions. “If you liked pissing on your childhood memories you’ll love Ghostbusters 3!”

  • Ecko

    The Odeon’s bleh. Go to the Little Theatre or w/e it’s called, far better place! Plus the tickets are cheap as Hell there. It’s near Gamestation I think.

  • John Walker

    The Little Theatre is wretched. I want to support the local independent cinema, and I want to see the more interesting selection of films they show, but I’m not prepared to pay money to sit in such hideously uncomfortable chairs with no leg room, appalling tiering of seats so you see mostly the person in front’s head, abysmal projection (I’ve yet to see a film that hits the screen, and not the black curtains surrounding, sometimes by as much as a quarter), and absolutely dreadful sound and sound proofing. I may be Mr Picky, but I don’t think you should have to listen to the other screen during your film. In a seat made of barbed wire and broken glass. Staffed by an astonishingly rude old man.

    Gah. I wish Bath had a decent indie cinema : ( Still, Watershed is within reach.

  • Jazmeister

    If you like little crappy cinema’s, you’ll love my local cinema up north. It went dark during the bar brawl scene in Star Trek. Was it a good scene, does anyone know?

  • Patrick

    Some good came of bath odeon. I don’t keep tabs on films usually, and I meant to do the edinburgh film festival but forgot. Anyway, because of this blog post, I’m going to go see Moon at a local indie theatre.

  • John Walker

    I shall be seeing Moon at the splendid Bristol Showcase. Not indie, but then none of the indie cinemas are showing it.

  • Pace

    Yeah, cheers for the heads up, I’d never heard of Moon till now, but it looks like something I’d like to see. (actually I hated Transformers 1, does that mean Odean is telling me not to? I think I’ll take my chances.)

  • mister k

    Yeah the little cinema is kind of wretched. Still, at least with the Odeon there its better than when the only choices was that horrid ABC cinema (or whatever it was called) and the little cinema…

  • Diogo Ribeiro

    It’s like that time where recommended me a Barbie horse game because I had browsed for Oblivion and Mount and Blade on their site. o_O

  • Jazmeister

    Diogo: If you like Oblivion, you’ll LOVE Daikatana.

  • NM

    Are there any cinemas left which which show films in black darkness rather than an auditorium of bright orange haze?

  • Jockie

    You lucky people with your Cinemas. My town’s only cinema got turned into a Walkabout, back when Australia attempted to invade us around 2003. Cinema trips now involve meticulous planning and multiple cars, being late and having to sit apart from friends due to the aforementioned being late.

  • Ian

    If you like cheese sandwiches and PG Tips commercials, you’ll LOVE John Walker!