Saturday, May 17, 2008

Blockbuster Coward

Why Can't I Just Watch?

After I saw Iron Man three weeks ago at the start of the summer blockbuster season and the film defied my expectations, I told my friend that I'd try to see all of this summer's blockbusters. But I lied to my friend.

What Iron Man had was a majority of good reviews; the "summer blockbusters" that have followed (what do you call a presumed summer blockbuster that bombs?) have not.

Take for instance, Speed Racer. The Wall Street Journal said, "This toxic admixture of computer-generated frenzy and live-action torpor succeeds in being, almost simultaneously, genuinely painful -- the esthetic equivalent of needles in eyeballs -- and weirdly benumbing, like eye candy laced with lidocaine." Do I want to spend money to see that? No and I didn't.

Then this week, the second Chronicles of Narnia movie, sub-titled Prince Caspian wasn't torn apart by reviewers, though less than three years ago, views of the first film were better. I won't see Prince Caspian in theatres (or at least I don't plan to) but I'll probably see it on DVD.

Two questions must be asked:

1. Am I film snob?
2. Why do I rely so much on reviews?

To answer the first, I would say that I appreciate good movies, no matter the genre or time of year they are released. That I try to stay away from movies that aim for the l.c.d. and accept clich├ęs as well as unbelievable narrative twists is hardly what I would call snobbish behaviour.

This year I've seen the following in a theatre:

Funny Games
Iron Man
The Savages
There Will Be Blood
Vantage Point
The Visitor

I've only disliked Vantage Point (and I disliked it more than just a bit). I don't think the above list says I'm a film snob but I probably wouldn't use it as evidence that I'm not.

My answer to the second is that my bank account is not self-replenishing and I value my time a bit more than spending it watching crap. Reading reviews and seeing those films that have earned multiple good ones is my way of spending money and time wisely. I don't understand why anyone would waste time watching shit. Unless it's shit that they happen to enjoy.


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