Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Random Film Thought: Missing you?

Warning: This post is a product of insomnia conjoined with hours of reading Diablo Cody's blog and the Onion AV Club's top films of 2007 list. You'll inevitably encounter vain attempts at being clever alongside nonsensical, incoherent ramblings. Enjoy!

As I slowly begin to prepare my final top 20 of 2007 (which by the way is at any time or place, including well into 2008, up for revision) I've begun to ponder, does distance help or hinder what one thinks of a film? Pauline Kael would infamously only watch a film once (she would rarely revisit) and only once to put it under critical analysis (but fuck that, I'm a Sarris boy). I can see Kael's reasoning though. The critic's opinion is undiluted, pure, unfiltered feeling and rationalizing right after seeing the subject. There's been some to consider but the film but for the most part it's fresh.
When you've first seen a film, say in the first day or so of its release, maybe you've only gotten a minimum of advanced word, maybe read a review or two before you headed into the theatre so as a result that first impression is pristine. Whatever you think isn't being subject to anyone or anything but you. But see a movie a couple of weeks into its release with some critical leg-work behind it or some bad word of mouth and that's going to affect how you look at it. "Obviously", you might think to yourself. Now I know I have plenty of strong independent thinkers who read this blog and would never stoop (stoop? yeah stoop) to let their own opinion be guided by what a critic has to say, or betray their own passion just to fall in line with what's popular. But the fact of the matter is we are all effected by our environment (unless of course we're all wingless angels guided like puppets by lil' Georgie's lord) however imperceptibly and it gives me pause to think "do I like/dislike No Country for Old Men because I liked other Coen brother movies and since everyone else likes this one I ought to. Furthermore as I get farther away from it will it become clearer that I admired it on a technical level but am losing a personal interest in a cinematic but still fairly rote adaptation of the book?" AHHHHHHH! Perspective, where did you go? Probably down the well into the land of no-happily-ever-after. (And with that my once an entry mention of Enchanted quota is FILLED).
What the hell am I getting at? Do you ever find yourself altering your opinion because of critical consensus? Have your feelings about a movie ever radically changed depending on when you saw it? Let me throw out a few examples. I saw Lost In Translation several months after its release at which point critics were tripping over themselves to sing the flick's praises. I thought it was perfectly pleasant but hardly the world breaker everyone had been trumpeting. On the other end of the spectrum is the delirious religious experience of being first in line at the old Mann Valley West 7 a very special May 1999. The nerds know what I'm talking about. Oh man, there were a lot of delusional nerds in a state of faux-euphoria walking out of the theatre that day. UGH! I liked the Phantom Menace, but I promise I only liked it for that first week I swear. What? I was going to say I didn't like it? I'd only been waiting for a new Star Wars movie since I was five!?!?!? Oh how I pity high school me. So what of it mesa-bloggers (BTW that was a Jar-Jar reference not a geographical one) how has time shifted your feelings on a film either positively or negatively.

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