Iâ€™ve noticed that my taste in movies has deteriorated over the years, and I wonder if this is happening to anyone else?
I used to make a point of seeing good, mature, thoughtful films, often European, films that addressed so called important issues. For example, some years ago we drove into Beverly Hills to see â€œThe Europeans.â€
I watch films all the time but rarely in a public theatre. If you do that, you are reduced to viewing what the distributors are pushing and paying inflated prices to cover their marketing. A better way to go is to rent from mail order houses (like Netflix) or borrow from public libraries, which now have big collections of tapes and discs. Several sites on the Web (like secondspin.com) sell used discs at bargain prices.
Some of the excellent recent films I’ve seen this way include small independent pictures and documentaries. I recommend Iraq in Fragments, Maxed Out, An Inconvenient Truth, Who Killed the Electric Car?, When the Levees Broke, Shut Up and Sing, Jesus Camp, 49 Up, and Fast Food Nation. For fictional narrative, the best new film I’ve seen is Pan’s Labyrinth. Other good pictures were The Painted Veil, Dreamgirls, Little Children, The History Boys, Copying Beethoven, The Prestige, The Illusionist, The Queen, Hollywoodland, and The New World.
Also available is a large library of classics from directors like Capra, Ford, Houston, Hitchcock, Dassin, the Archers, and much of the inventory of BBC or TCM, who sell films from their Web sites. While I have fond memories of “going to the movies,” today I prefer the convenience of viewing at home and even taking notes, since films have become another kind of reading.
I’ve always enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. They tend to be very quiet (except at certain key moments, of course!) and you have to pay close attention to them - they’re very thought-provoking for me, a refreshing departure from the ‘make-it-loud-enough-and-maybe-they’ll-pay-attention’ movies that are so common.
It’s possible your taste is actually getting better. =-) Congratulations on shedding that most insidious of afflictions, film snobbery, and fully embracing an art form for all it has to offer. I think it’s wonderful that you’re the kind of person who can enjoy both a James adaptation and a Michael Bay picture, each on its own terms.
Lol. You know, before I even read your full post, I was going to say, “Whist I still love the films of Hal Hartley, right now I’m desperate to see Transformers…” and then you mentioned Transformers too.
Still, you know one of the Transformers story writers praised Scrivener on his blog? That makes me very happy.
And what’s wrong with wanting to see the Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons on the big screen anyway? Let’s face it, the new Bumblebee looks great… Oh no, I really am a geek. Help, please help.
Well, I know nothing about Transformers beyond what I have read in Wikipedia. I missed the cartoon and toys growing up. I can’t explain why I’m so stoked over this extravaganza. With Sin City, at least I read the graphic novels before seeing the movie and knew what to expect. Went to the midnight opening with two guys and a girl from the office. What a blast.
I assume, then, that I will continue to show developing taste by going to see DOA (Dead or Alive), an entirely plausible saga of three bikini clad female martial artists who apparently overcome great odds to save the world!!??
I saw DOA today, first day out in USA. I went to the first showing of the dayâ€”only one other customer, sitting halfway down, center seat.
I enjoyed DOA, despite bad lines and bad moments. I love martial arts, even when the director must cleverly compensate for actors who are not skilled. I had fun watching the attractive girls fly among the bamboo and vault up scaffolding 20-stories high. Except for Devon Aoki, who I saw in Sin City, I didnâ€™t know any of the actresses, or the actors either. Didnâ€™t matter.
Actually, I’m as fussy about my action movies as I am about my artistic movies.
They each have the same goal. Yet, I find a good action movie harder to find than an artistic one. The artistic one has the room and leisure to let characterization stretch out, postpone dramatic revelations, and slowly ramp up the narrative drive.
On the other hand, the action movie has no such indulgence from its audience. It has to start fast, squeeze in characterization while hanging from a train or falling off a cliff, and cannot afford anything leisurely, at all.
So, as a geek and a genre fan, I appreciate a good action movie more than I do an artistic movie, all else being equal. (Really really good artistic movies are like really really good artistic books; so rare I don’t get my hopes up.)
Genre movies, on the other hand, just have to be Good Enough to accomplish their goal. Geniuses are not required. Love of the material, and the skill to make it happen… that’s what works.
I’m hoping we will see a real action movie revival sometime soon. I hear Transformers is a real kick, and one of the screenwriters for that piece runs a blog I like very much.
Personally, I like a mixture of art and junk (but good junk, as someone said earlier - blockbusters need to have a bit of quality in something other than the CGI).
For example, I’m happy watching Begman’s five-hour epic, FANNY AND ALEXANDER (in Swedish, with English subtitles). And equally happy watching THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. I loved SAW almost as much as GUYS AND DOLLS and MANHATTAN.
Books are the same for me: Dickens is on my bookshelf alongside Stephen King and THE WATCHMEN graphic novel. Poetry by John Donne next next to the SPECTRUM BOOK OF FANTASY ART.
I’m confused, unpredictable, irrational, unconventional - and proud of it.
Indeed! I salute you, sir! I just wrote a memo to the Queen extolling your most imposing expression of character. I was informed that the Queen was uncharacteristically impressed and has sent you, in an elegantly wrapped parcel, the perfect recipe for a Rob Roy. If you are not fond of Rob Roys, would you kindly forward the recipe to me?
I took my husband to see transformers, and he was quite excited about the prospect. He does like his action flicks!
We walked out of the movie afterwards, and he was disappointed by it. After the initial great effects of the physical tranformation, the rest of the movie was loud and full of the same thing over and over.
I was quite incredulous, as that was exactly what I was expecting from that movie. In that regard it totally lived up to my expectations. But he’d expected something more unique.
I wondered if he’d expected it to be as thrilling to a 37 year old as it had been to an 8 year old.
I absolutely hate movies that expect their cutting edge effects to be enough to make them viable. Starship Troopers was perhaps the worst movie I have ever seen in my life EVER.
But as for my general taste, it’s such a mixed pot, but it certainly leans every so slightly towards the more interesting and intricate. I used to love horror books and flicks (I would bury under the covers and read stephen king with a torch until I was too scared to turn the torch off!) But the thought of seeing any of the SAW movies just doesn’t appeal.
I have to confess to loving a good old girlie flick like Notting Hill or When Harry met Sally though!
romance and terror I can see married together, but the whole lightness of a chick flick doesn’t combine well with the gore of a horror movie.
Although a truly terrifying movie is one that doesn’t show you much in terms of the fear or gore factor, but builds up the suspense until you’re practically gnawing your own shoulder off in delayed anticipation.