I like period pieces or realism too, but I can't say I have much preference for it.
And it isn't aesthetics that win me over on things, to be honest. It's usually some fundamental premise or symbolism.. or just good storywriting (which I guess can be associated with aesthetics). This is definitely one thing where I feel like less of an SP. I never like art for it's own sake. Some things may be highly stylized, but I can still be somewhat disappointed. Since you mentioned Coppola, I thought Lost in Translation was a lot of style over substance. The whole film is beautiful, but it feels like it's meandering.. inconclusive. I'm not sure what the point is. Which is more like real life, I guess. People don't live out "stories", but just experiences. It's just not my thing exactly. The same need can be translated into horror, where I prefer a clever, underlying plot or some symbolism before I can enjoy the individual scenes, gags, and shocking elements. Some horror films pull off both though.. Dawn of the Dead (both versions) is both clever and done well, aesthetically speaking. Dracula isn't scary, but it's badass on multiple levels too.