There are 2 things I want to talk about here in my .plan, but one will have to wait until tomorrow (or the next update).
As happens often, my judgement of “good” movies has been called into question. Mostly this time it was triggered by an offhand comment about my selecting Outland as a movie to go rent, and how I was full of it. So I decided that maybe I should fill people in on how it is that I judge movies.
First, never have any expectations. That’s my #1 rule because I find that if I believe the hype of a movie I am ALWAYS let down. The only times the hype ever helped a movie in my opinion were Batman and Independence Day. If you remember the commercials and previews for those movies, they gave absolutely nothing away. Hell, the Batman promos were just the Bat Symbol and the date it was coming out. Only later did they actually show you what Batman or the Joker looked like. The way they handled it, you were salivating whenever you saw a commercial because they new you already wanted to see it (I mean, who didn’t want to see Batman) all they had to do what make you NEED to see it. ID4 did the same thing by never showing the aliens, by only showing fast moving and fleeting shots of the alien crafts. Both movies promos made you feel like you needed to see the movie and kept enough from you that they delivered. Sure you can drive trucks through the plot holes in ID4 but who cares, you were on the edge of your seat anyway eyes plastered wide open. Jurassic Park is one I waffle on in this category because they showed a little more in the previews and commercials, but the fact that most theaters sold 7-day advance tickets for it shows that the campaign worked. A bad example of this, although I liked the movie, Deep Impact. About 80% of the movie was revealed in the trailer, so there wasn’t much to surprise me, I saw it all coming, but this is part of it. I prefer it if I don’t KNOW what the movie is going to tell me before I see it, but even if I know every step they will take I can still enjoy the movie. So to recap this, never have any expectations, or just have them low enough that the movie will exceed (i.e. – if you went to Godzilla looking for a monster to tear up New York, you were happy… if you were looking for an emotional struggle of the people who’s lives were affected by the destruction of the city, you were insanely stupid and hated the movie). I guess the true guide is, go in with basics, not specifics.
Second, don’t think. This one is where people get stuck. Most people have no problem with setting aside expectations of a film, it’s not hard. But to ask them not to think is hard. Now I need to explain myself. A movie is entertainment. Sure, it can contain a deep meaning and be socially important, but there IS a difference between a documentary and a movie. A movies is not just presented facts, it’s a story. I like to think of it as a ride. Let me give you a human example of what I mean. One of my friends, Joel, is a movie-thinker. It’s all he does. He wants to be challenged by a movie. We went and saw The Usual Suspects and The Game. He loved both of them for one reason, they beat him. He couldn’t out-think those movies. They took turns he didn’t expect and they gave him an ending he didn’t see coming and he applauded the movies for doing that. Now, I’ll admit, I’m being hard on him. For romance movies or for “classics” he suspends the “challenge me” attitude. And once a movie beats him once, he always respects it, so seeing The Game again wouldn’t make him hate it since he knows what’s going to happen now, he’ll remember that at one time it did win. My attitude is that the story unfolds as they tell it. I watch, I pay attention. I take notes of things, “He just put the knife in his own pocket and not the desk drawer”. But I don’t try to stay a step ahead, mostly because (to toot my own horn) I’m a smart guy, and I’d win too often if I tried to out-think a movie. The only thing that can ruin a movie for me storywise is if they say “Ah, remember! I put the knife in my pocket!” but they never showed it, either because it was edited or because it was left out on purpose (because otherwise you would have figured it out). Other than that though, I sit back at let the movie pull me along at its pace. That’s what I mean by “don’t think”. Don’t try to win. Let the movie tell you its story.
Third, it’s all you. By this I mean that there are some movies you are just not going to like. If you hate horror movies then don’t go see H2O when it comes out (Halloween: 20 years later, for those not in the know). If you hate disaster films, don’t see Armageddon. Remember what you like and don’t like, and choose accordingly. And if friends are going to see a movie of a type you don’t normally like, tell them, or get them to pay (there is nothing better than being able to say “Well, that movie sucked. At least I didn’t pay for it.”), or just bear it for one of 2 reasons. 1, tastes change, you may like something you previously didn’t. And 2, related to the hype thing, some movies get billed wrong (i.e. – If you saw Event Horizon what you saw was a haunted house movie in space, but all the commercials were pushing it as a SCI-FI suspense thriller, email me if you still don’t get the distinction and I’ll explain, I guess a better choice would have been to fine one of those “screwball comedies” that make you cry when you see them cause there are only like 2 jokes in the whole movie). So to sum up this one, keep in mind who you are.
Fourth and finally, opinions and assholes. Like the old saying goes, everybody has one. Remember that. You hate a movie, fine, that’s cool, say it, say it all you want. But don’t try to tell me, or anyone else, the I didn’t like it either. I say I like it, that means I like it. If you care and ask I’ll be more than happy to tell you why I liked it (I watch a movie called The Stoned Age once every couple of weeks cause, damn, that movie is just funny as shit). And I’ll be sure to ask you why you hated it. But never, ever presume that you can change my mind by repeatedly saying “That movie blew! It sucked ass!” or even “That was the best movie ever!”, the only way you can move me is to show me why I should move and allow me to move on my own, pushing just makes me push back (and most people are the same way).
That’s it… the “Jason Pace Patented Movie Viewing Policies”… Don’t expect more than the basics, don’t try to out-think the movie, remember who you are, and that your view is your “opinion”. And keep in mind throughout all of this, it’s just a movie. If you rent a movie I recommend and hate it, email me and tell me why you didn’t like it, but don’t expect a refund.
I guess I should also throw in as an after note, that some movies are viewed with a purpose, to see one scene or for a particular special effect or for an overall mood and not a specific story, and that should also be kept in mind in reading my recommendations.
Another long one… told you it would happen again… and I’ve got another that it in the wings…
Today’s Song: anything by Seven Mary Three. That’s not a song, take it literally. I’ve got both American Standard and Rock Crown in the player today and I stop every 2 hours to hear the local radio station play the new one (if you know when the release date is, email me). They rock… they roll… they are damn good… every albums gets better. I should also say, I guess, that I feel the same way about Better Than Ezra as I’ve got Deluxe and Friction, Baby in the player as well. I think SMT is coming to town soon, gotta check the TicketMaster page (all venues in Atlanta are TM venues).
Today’s Movie: Dogfight. I forgot how good this movie is. I watched Nick of Time again because I was feeling like it, and then decided to take on something a little more dramatic, so I popped in Dogfight. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the lowdown. River Phoenix plays a marine who is about to ship out to Japan right near the beginning of Vietnam (the real fighting hasn’t started yet, it’s still just “military assistance”). He and his buddies have what is called a Dogfight. It’s a party where everyone throws $50 into the pot, the dance hall, food and drinks are paid for out of that and the winner gets the rest ($100). What’s the contest, bring the ugliest date. River was always good in his roles, even the cheesy ones like in The Explorers, and Lili Taylor does a great job as the woman he gets involved with. Damn good movie. Go see it.