Recently taking a listen to Eli Roth and Quentin Tarantino's commentary track on Hostel Part II, a lightbulb went on in my head. Discussing how Hostel Part II begins exactly where Hostel ends, Tarantino describes how he'd combine two movies onto one VHS tape and show them to friends. In one instance, he took Rocky, cut out the end credits and had Rocky II begin right away. Not only did I find that to be a pretty cool and fun thing to do, but I found something deeper with Tarantino's mention of Rocky.
If you're familiar with Tarantino, you've probably come to the conclusion he knows practically everything about almost every movie ever made. From the most obscure to the best known, he's probably seen them all (especially given his time working in video rental store). But what fascinates me is to hear a guy be so passionate about films in general, from the most commercial to the not-so commercial. And it's a good kind of fascination.
Now, maybe vocal moaners affected me more than open-minded folks, but for so long I thought most people who are passionate about film generally roped themselves off from any kind of commercial fare. For example, I'd hear about how The Matrix was a wimpy retread of Hong Kong films from the previous fifteen years. For people like myself who had never seen Hard Boiled or The Killer, I was uncool and unworthy in the eyes of the ones in the know. Once again, I have a hard time telling the difference between these conversations from the ones I heard in kindergarten.
I can understand the personal enjoyment of something when it's not so commonplace with people I don't really identify with. There's a pride in not following what the in-crowd appears to be into. Yet at the same time, there's this alienation from the world at large and it can get rather lonely.
Whenever I hear people around me talk about how they saw a really commercial movie over the weekend, a part of me wants to roll my eyes and be suspicious of their taste. It's so easy to and I must admit I have done this in the past. These days, I hear both ends of spectrum, but I see essentially the same thing: we all have our own reservations. There are those who thought Wild Hogs was a truly funny movie and could never fathom seeing Into the Wild because the main character dies at the end. Of course there's the exact reverse, but for me, there's no real formula for the kinds of films I like. I merely want to watch something I might get something out of. That "something" usually is a sense of depth. And it can come from watching The Muppet Movie, Eraserhead, Hostel or Lord of the Rings.
The peeling of onion I'm seeing is how common liking the ultra-commercial and the non- is. Looking at the queues belonging to friends of mine on Netflix, they're all over the place, just like how mine is. I think it's safe to say that I find comfort in knowing that it's not so off the wall to enjoy Undercover Brother, 28 Weeks Later and Knocked Up. Man, I wish I knew this back in college . . .