Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why Do You Go to the Movies?

It's possible we've talked about this before.

Why do you go to the movies? I've been talking with people lately about various films, putting some on our Netflix queue and ignoring others. The topic has come up when someone will say, "That's a nasty film." Nasty as in, bloody, gory, trashy? Nasty as in, carnal, erotic, slimy? Sometimes. Sometimes it's nasty because it's poorly filmed, badly written, horribly acted. Sometimes it's nasty because the viewer just didn't "get it."

Forrest Gump could be considered nasty, in terms of the "third dimension of nastiness." I have heard/read a few people saying, "It just didn't make sense to me," or "I didn't get what the big deal was." I know that, for me, it was a fun film, and I picked up some of its messages, but still feel like there was a large, underlying thought that just wasn't getting through to my brain. Bears of little brain have that problem sometimes.

I felt that Pulp Fiction fit into that "second dimension of nastiness," although I have to qualify that by saying I never really saw it. We rented it, put it in, and, after 10 minutes of watching, I asked John to take it back to the video store. I just can't enjoy a film that repeats the F-word that often. I don't know what it is about wretched language that does that to me. I realize they're just words, but there are so many better ones from which to choose.

The Die Hard movies fell into that "first dimension of nastiness" for me, although I watched three. Even enjoyed the humor of them. But I didn't need to see Alan Rickman's brains hitting the window to be satisfied that the truly nasty guy was truly dead. And that, generally, is my reaction to most shoot-em-up movies. (With a husband and three sons, I've seen more than my share!)

I like to go to movies to experience storytelling in a different way than orally or through literature. Sometimes I like a light, fluffy story, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Slumdog Millionaire (yes, I know there were deep truths in there, but I saw it as fluffy.) Sometimes I like a story that makes my brain work, like Forrest Gump (I have hope I'll get it someday!) or Babel. And sometimes I like the stories that aren't fun at all, that really stink and hurt and make me sad, like The Kite Runner, or Hotel Rwanda. If a film is well-written, beautifully filmed, and cleanly acted, all the better. But I liked The Sound of Music, too. Sometimes it's all about the entertainment.

Sometimes, about a film I've mentioned, someone will say, "Ah, don't waste your time." I realize that's just an opinion, and a valid one, but maybe I want to waste some time. Maybe I want to sit in a darkened theater, popcorn in hand, watching a story like Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, a truly wretched film that can be summed up in the lines, "Anakin!" "Padme!" "Anakin!" "Padme!" "You make me sad!" "I'm mostly dead!" (May have mixed my films there, but you get the idea.) Just because it's awful doesn't mean it's not entertaining. In fact, we have a blast here at the farm, throwing out cheesy lines from that film.

I don't know where you stand on this, and I would like to hear. I imagine I will find out that just as many of us like the high-art films as like the cheesy-happy ones. It's a good thing there's a little variety out there.


Elephantschild said...

I want to comment on this.

But I hardly ever watch movies, either at home or in the theater.

I wouldn't call Revenge of the Sith "truly wretched." I rather enjoyed it. Not because it was High Art, but because it was a Good Time.

I have a higher tolerance for cheese in certain kinds of Sci Fi, I guess!

Melody said...

Oh, I liked Revenge of the Sith, too. It was a Good Time. But, it was also wretchedly acted. That didn't ruin the good time, but it also isn't my favorite of the series.

I like cheese in my sci-fi, too. I was just saying that the film itself was pretty bad, if fun.

Elephantschild said...

Ah. Now I got yah.

Speaking of "nasty" films that we might really like, have you ever seen The Fifth Element? It's so cheezy it makes fun of itself. But hey - Bruce Willis.

Melody said...

I saw part of it. I was visiting relatives in Iowa City, and we put it in. I was asleep about 45 minutes in! But it WAS about midnight when we put it in.