I was a bit like the OP when I first got my projector. Once I'd learnt how to calibrate using a meter (and gone through all the pain and learning curve that entails) I found that I could just sit and watch different films without needing to fiddle. Once you know the display is correctly calibrated, then you know you're seeing it as it was intended...if it's a dark film then that's how it's meant to be. Some films don't have good blacks, but that's not a cue to start adjusting the brightness control it's just how they are. The colour pallet of some films isn't as you would see if you just looked outside your window, etc.
I found it quite liberating in the end (and continue to be that way) so when I get a new display, I calibrate it, then leave the controls alone.