Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Do I Choose The Films That I Watch?

So awhile back a movie-loving friend of mine was making small talk and asked me "So have you seen those Bourne Movies, what did you think of them?"

I just shrugged and replied "Naw, I've never seen any of em', actually."

"Really?" he said with sincere surprise, "I figured you would have seen those by now, they're pretty good"

And so I explained the way watching films works in my world...

"Look man, it's like this, I can only see but so many movies in my lifetime. I have to make choices, and if I have to choose between Matt Damon jumping around rooftops and a 1970's Japanese nunspoiltation pinky-violence flick, the movie with the crazy nuns is going to win."

With only a limited amount of time in my life, it's become clear that I have no time to waste on movies that don't mean anything to me. I have to be picky and seek out films that will deliver what I want. So what movies do I want to see?

I want to see films that challenge me and the way the world looks to me. I want to see films that take me to places far away, from small towns in America, to small towns in China. I enjoy movies that take me back into a time before I was born and give me a peek into a context I've never understood, and I enjoy movies that are happening right now in the moment.

I look for movies that are overlooked and neglected, that barely saw the inside of a theater and wound up being passed around on badly dubbed videotapes.

I want to see movies that are funny, sometimes laughing at the subtleties of life, and sometimes finding humor in low-brow places. I want to see movies that were made by the seat of the pants, and movies that were works of self-indulgent love.

I want to see films that are heralded as classics. Some of these classics are wonderful examples of what the medium can do, but some are classics because they do everything wrong. I love films that are beautiful and uplifting, and yet feel drawn to pathos and sadness.

Seeing a film is somewhat like going on a trip, seeing things you've always wanted to see, and discovering things that never occurred to you. Often this takes you to far away places, and sometimes right next door. All that matters to is that I go somewhere.

As I said, I have to get a little picky about what movies I watch, I have so many to see and so little time to see them. This doesn't mean that somebody else's choices are below mine, if Transformers does that for you, that's okay. We all need to decide what's right for us.

So what you look for in a film, and what do you want it to do for you?


k said...

As you know, i love "classic films" which i guess is the term applied to "old" movies but even that is pretty broad. I eventually learned i didn't fit well into LJ's classic film community because they were purists for the "golden age of the silver screen." I've heard young people say they just can't get into B&W and i'm not that closed, but i admit that i ADORE technicolor. I'm drawn to movies with that specific look that dates to roughly 1957-1966. I made those dates up but i LOVE the look of the whole world back then and when i watch something made in that time i can pretend i live there... i mean, then. I love mod make up and fashion: bouffants, white gloves, pillbox hats, heavy black eyeliner and the Jackie-O look. I love mid-century cars and home furnishings and i love it when these things are shot with the warm fuzziness of Super 8 film and polaroid.
Sometimes i watch bad Doris Day movies and sometimes i watch worse Frankie & Annette-type stuff but there's not much better in life than a 1962-era bikini. Some of the best gems are the little travel shorts TCM will play between movies showcasing exotic places like Alaska or Hawaii. Film just looked different then.

supreme nothing said...

Awesome comment, Mrs. K! I know EXACTLY what mean about that era of film. I love the saturated look of the color, and naturally the look and style to everything. Like you said, even if the movies not technically "good", you can get so much from it!