Wednesday, April 21, 2010

the glamour of critique

Wow, you'd think that seeing free movies three or four times a week would be a dream come true for an absolute filmic nut like myself.  And to a degree it really is.  I love going to theater.  Love sitting amongst a crowd and watching a film, be it big and dumb or small and intimate or just a standard old Hollywood clunker - I love the theatrical film experience.  As I've gotten older though, finding the money or time to get to a movie in the theater has gotten harder and harder and my precious moments spent amongst the cinema's open arms have become less and less frequent.  To the point where I'd actually started to think that perhaps home theater experiences (tiny lap-top, bed) were more enjoyable than a trip to the local moviehouse.

Thus when the opportunity to review films came along I nearly lost it.  This would mean a few things: I'd be able to see films - for free -; I'd be able to write about films; and I'd be able to head to the theater on a near weekly basis to immerse myself in the strange sweetness of the theatah. 

My little heart pittered and pattered with joy.

It's been almost three months now since I started reviewing and in some way, the glossy sheen of excitement as worn off.  It's not that I don't love films and reviewing films, it's more so the films that I'm given the opportunity to few on a weekly basis, are well, for the most part, pure shit.  I'm not joking here. I've seen five films in the last two weeks and two of them were amongst the worst films I've ever seen with one bordering on a high school History Day project and the other two sating me at least a little bit.

What I guess I never understood about being a critic is that all the shit that you get to avoid as a discerning viewer is thrust upon you in waves and instead of being able to duck out, eyes closed, screaming for the exit, you have to sit amongst it.  The Criterion Conquistador and I have sat through some truly terrible films lately and if it was not for her presence I think I might've cracked.  Even scarier, the studios do such a good job of profiling these pictures that every audience seems completely and totally won over by these horrid flick.  So not only am I permanently scarred by a J-Lo rom-com and Pierce Brosnan crying like a clown, but I have to deal with the fact that people actually enjoy these films.  That these films will make money.  That perhaps my dislike of shit-piles like The Greatest or The Perfect Game are the minority amongst a culture in love the fart jokes and melodrama.

I stand outside of almost every film I see and wonder why exactly I do this.  And I think, I hope, it's because I love movies and my need to see all of them is some sort of unending quest to find gems amongst the shit piles and not some perverse need to punish myself.

Alex and I were slowly, dazedly, walking away from The Back-Up Plan last night in near silence (a real stinker can do that to you) and as I started to chatter about my dislike of the film, my dear dear lady friend said just this:

"Maybe you shouldn't see every film they offer you."

So true.  So very, very true.


Criterion Counsel:  Saw perhaps a minute of Big Deal On Madonna Street (113) last night before those strangling arms of sleep took me under.  Looked good though, let me tell you.

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