Leapster has embarked upon a film review-a-thon. It should be well worth the reading given he's into the sort of movies one should be into: the ones he likes.
I love movies, of all kinds, and that sort of includes even a lot of the bad ones. At least I love to stick my head in the combat zone with most movies and grapple them within an inch of both of our lives. It passes the time. I figured if I’m going to be doing that once a day anyway, and I’ve got a website sitting there which is traditionally 99% antique wood-based old posts and cobwebs, I might as well combine both factors, and pass on some of the tedium to you. Thus the plan is, to write about the insanely divergent movies I’ll be catching up with on a daily basis, during my declining years, said rate of decline snowballing at a more impressive rate almost by the second.
Don’t look for any particular connection between these movies, because that way lies madness, I can assure you. The pictures will shuttle backwards and forwards all over movie history, not to mention genres, approaches, degree of inherent trashdom, ideal foodstuff to be consumed in accompaniment, aspic ratio, and any question of current availability. I’ll have grabbed them off the internet, out of JB Hi-Fi, off cable, or via some near-rusted-solid old videotape.
Whether it’s movies, music, TV or whatever, I’ve never bought the argument that the latest is necessarily the greatest, or the most worthy of being endlessly blathered about. An unconsidered popular culture leads to a puffy, foofy, bloated dead duck’s ding-dong of a popular culture, something that can be witnessed and confirmed on a daily basis in terms of the load of old rope put over as popular culture to an uncomplaining and thick-eared general public on a daily basis in newspapers, women’s toilet magazines, E! News type crap-storms, Ofrah Windsock, and the general downhill-run of network TV programming rosters. (Not to mention the aerated alfalfa that gets passed off as movie reviews in the mainstream media.)
From older movies (or albums, or whatever), and sometimes even stinky ones of a particularly arresting aroma, we can learn about where the popular culture has been, what bacterial strains of it survived, what didn’t, and why, and detect, if not an actual pattern, touchstones that trace a history of vital movie-making worth keeping, that still beats in the hearts of good, or at least galvanising, movies right now.
If all we see and talk about is the current megaplex cheese and its blue-vein ‘gourmet’ on a water-cracker art-house sidekicks, all we’re learning about there is, at most, contemporary commerce. Basically you’ll know what sells a choc-top this week. Not that that’s not an area worth keeping an eye on, but that’s business studies and nothing to do with any aesthetic of movie criticism.
Any form of pop culture criticism basically is the opposite of any code of football. The latter automatically requires air under pressure, and the former already has too much of it. Read the newspaper movie reviews and tell me I’m wrong.
No matter how many housing developments’ worth of bricks you can successfully manufacture without straw, you can’t make perspective without perspective. You got to see the movies. All kinds of movies. You got to get down in the pit and grapple with them suckers. You can’t just brush off the ones you feel inherently and mystically “above” somehow. That’s the Marge Pomerantz school of coffee-table reviewing.
It really helps if you love the idea – the medium, if you will Hortense – of movies. ‘Critics’ who think they’ve somehow become one of the cool kids just because they review movies are deluding themselves on the public’s time. They’re still the same Harry-high-pants nerdenheimers who got routinely victimised at school, proving that the whole area of bullying needs a comprehensive re-evaluation in terms of valid sociological benefits. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of them about, and they’re about as useful in the long run as the impacted movie-nerd types who write in critical jargon code to other movie nerds and leave basically the entire general public high and dry.
My movies and reviews might leave you none the wetter or the better, but I don’t just play favourites, I don’t care how old the movie is or isn’t, and I have no shame over whether the movie company I keep might inherently make me look like an idiot to some snooty espresso-breathing, black shirt buttoned to the neck, Hal Hartley jibber-jabbering horse’s patoot.