June 27, 2014

The Cinematic Optimist

When you look around yourself, really look at the world, it is hard not be pessimistic. It sometimes feels like pessimism runs in my blood. No, not all the time, but when you think about the direction of a lot of things in society, when you witness the complete and utter marginalization of the middle, it can be really hard to think positively. However, there is one area where my thoughts completely flip around. Movies. Yes, that's right, movies. This is the area where I am filled with eternal optimism. New movies, old movies, expensive movies, cheap movies, all sorts of movies. I love them.

With that being said, not all movies are good, some are downright terrible. Still, I have determined that every movie, no matter how bad, has its fans, and generally speaking, there are going to be people who worked on them that were all about doing the best they could with what they had to work with. What does this mean? It means there is very often something worthy of praise in virtually every movie. It could be as fleet if as a shot, a lime of dialogue, a simple moment had by one of the characters, perhaps the music, or the base concept. I often make it my job to find that one thing in the terrible film.

Every movie I watch, good or bad, adds to my overall cinematic experience. The more hat experience grows, the better I am able to determine what I like, to recognize the formulas, and to just know more about movies. Sure, there will always be that go to genre where I will gravitate to more often than not (horror), but I think it is important to recognize that good and great movies come in all shapes and sizes and the really good ones will transcend their genre.

There is another tenet of my movie watching theory, one that has served me well over the years and helps to feed the idea that every movie has something to offer, no matter how small. That is the idea that not every movie has to be great, or world changing, or a classic, it is all right for a movie to merely entertain. I think a lot of people forget that movies can do this. A movie does not have to speak to the human condition, or comment on the current political state, it doesn't have to be the epitome of technical achievement, or anything even close. It is all right for a movie to simply make you jump, or laugh, or grip the edge of your armrest, or even cry a little, and do nothing else. If you accept this for truth, movies become much more enjoyable.

I find it is a lot better to accept this than to go into everything like a grumpy old man. Being grumpy certainly has its place and some movies are worthy of being grumpy about. I never said it was an exact science or that it was easy. Still, I watch movies because I like them, because I love them, they make me happy. Why would I ever want to go in with a negative mindset? Low expectations, perhaps, but always hoping to be surprised.

What does this have to do with anything? I don't know. Probably nothing. It may just give you an idea of my approach. It has grown and changed over the years and I'll co time to evolve the more movies I watch. What does it mean to you? I don't know, perhaps try to be optimistic about your choice in movies or in the movies you end up watching not by choice. I think I might be hoping my eternal cinematic optimism bleeds Ito other areas.

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Dell said...

Excellent write-up. It can be difficult for us bloggers to be optimistic about movies. We're so accustomed to nit-picking every piece of a film, we have to remind ourselves to notice the good. That said, I'd love for you to participate in a blogathon I've just started which gives bloggers a chance to be both optimistic about not-so-popular movies and contrarian about what the masses love.


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