Movies and Me
I’m a cineaste. This differs from a cinephile in that in addition to just a pure love of movies, there’s a fascination for the process of film-making. I love films and movies and I use those terms as a personal shorthand to distinguish the tension between artistic/aesthetic and commercial/entertainment considerations of a production. Some are trying to be films, others just want to be movies but there’s always cross-contamination to some degree. Okay, maybe not always, there are films that are so terrible they’ve failed miserably on all counts of artistic and entertainment merit.
Looking at that list and given the above mentioned criteria, Ed Wood has to be disqualified because he has cult status and all cult films have by definition, entertainment value. There is one film that meets the criteria for certain and that is “The Creeping Terror.” You’ll have to trust me on this one. While there is nothing in this film to offend anyone’s sensibilities, there’s everything there to insult everyone’s intelligence. The effects alone make Robot Monster feel like Alien.
On the other end, you have movies that are commercially successful, entertaining and have high cerebral massage value on all counts. Jaws (a baffling 56 on the AFI top 100 list) would definitely fall into this category, at least for me. All this being said, the website has to have a section on movies because I’ve had a close relationship with movies over the years.
Moving forward, the vast majority of posts will be movie reviews but I’m hoping to start a public forum so we can discussions on film related topics and vote. I should probably explain the latter.
In the early ‘oughts I had a film forum called The Multiplex where a good sized community had discussions on just about everything you could imagine that had to do with movies. The server space was free but eventually the company that owned the servers folded and that was that. A co-host revived it as a facebook page called The New (but not improved) Multiplex and members adapted to the new platform. However, I find facebook too ephemeral. It’s just not as conducive to dynamic conversation as threaded forums, so I’ve participated in discussions in a limited manner.
When I started The Multiplex, CBS’ Survivor was probably into its third season and I thought it might be interesting to play Cinematic Survivor in our forum using the AFI Top 100 list and so I ran the game until its conclusion. It was popular, so I ran subsequent Survivor games in a number of categories, sometimes based on Oscar nominations, such as Best Actor, Actress, Director, etc., other lists I’d make up myself. Best Cinema Heroes, Best Villains, etc.
Sadly, when World Crossing went under and The Multiplex died, so did all those lists. These were comprehensive categories. The best actor/actress survivor had a couple of hundred nominees. Early on we’d vote em off in blocks of 10 or fifteen and would pare that down as the list dwindled until it was one at a time when it came to the top ten.
We had some very interesting and insightful discussions. I’d like to run Cinema Survivor again here, with whomever would like to participate. I’ll run the game and I’ll have a sub-page with the lists when the game is done. If anyone is interested, let me know and hopefully this will be viable.
I guess sometimes I just find lists… interesting.
As I mentioned, the discussions that would result both prior to the votes and after the results were knows were dynamic and for me, fascinating. I miss those discussions. However, there is one aspect I do not miss that would occasionally rear it’s head.
People can tend to be very sensitive about their taste in movies and this can lead to caustic exchanges. I don’t particularly like to be party to caustic exchanges because they’re counter-productive, generally lack substance and stop an otherwise stimulating conversation dead in its tracks.
I understand the underlying dynamic. When I love a movie, I want to share that with people. However, when I hate a movie, I also want to share that with people. Who knows? Maybe The Creeping Terror changed your life for the better. The creature helped you get over your intense fear of shag carpeting. Now as I’ve just made abundantly clear, I think it’s a waste of time. But please remember this at all times. My opinion isn’t a judgement on your taste level, or reflect an opinion of your intellect. There are plenty of other movies I’m sure we love together. Just not this one.
I’m calling the movie category Grapefruit as that’s what opinions are, just grapefruit. Maybe you love grapefruit, it’s the best fruit ever. Maybe once you lost your fear of shag carpeting, you went on a grapefruit diet to lose weight and it saved your life. I get that, but personally, I still feel that grapefruit is a vile, sour tasting, poor excuse for a fruit. It’s Satan’s produce, pure and simple. That being said, would you take my personal verbal loathing personally? Of course not. It’s just grapefruit for Pete’s sake. So for me, movies and opinions are grapefruit, hence the name in connection with a movie forum.