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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Well, age will flatten a man.

It happens every year following the Academy Awards ceremony: all sorts of people see one of the big award-winning films for the first time and express sheer bafflement. "What's so great about this movie?" they ask. It's like they were tricked into seeing something supposedly great, but found it appalling. For me, all of this is kind of funny, but not in a snobby way.

I think the first time I saw this kind of reaction was when an older cousin of mine urged our great aunt to see The Piano. Aunt Jackie was a wonderful lady -- full of heart and humor, a great painter and someone with lots of stories to tell. But I don't seem to remember her talking about the kinds of movies she liked. Somehow she saw The Piano and from then on, she always said some sort of variation of this: "I saw that movie The Piano and I thought it was stupid."

A few years later, while visiting some old family friends in New Orleans, Barton Fink was brought up. But it wasn't brought up in a good way. More or less, it was the heard-great-things-about-it-saw-it-and-didn't-like-it-at-all response. I hadn't seen the film at that point, but I do remember seeing it receive a lot of acclaim during its original theatrical release.

I guess there's some sort of accidental trick with fooling people who don't normally see movies, even commercial ones, into seeing something like American Beauty, Million Dollar Baby or No Country for Old Men. In the case of my parents, they rarely watch movies like these. I highly doubt they would find plenty to marvel at a movie like There Will Be Blood. That doesn't make me think less of them, but it's just something I'm not going to pressure them into watching. My mom can watch her Fried Green Tomatoes and my dad can watch his black-and-white capers, but we can all agree on watching a Harry Potter movie.

Frankly, I find the most humor with the type of people that just want to see a new movie, no matter if it looks crappy or not. It's like they settle for crap because they just want to be entertained. To be moved to tears, be disturbed or challenged on their strongly-held morals -- that's not entertainment. They scoff at a movie like Funny Games, but find National Treasure to be worthwhile. I'll just say this: if I ever get to this point in my life, after movies have had a major impact on me since my youth, feel free and ask when did my tastes go awry.

1 comment:

Todd Carruth said...

I have been wanting to see Southland Tales...I forgot it came out on DVD-guess I will have to add it to the ole Netflix account.