film and the new agony

for some reason, i no longer think that a film has to be brutal to sit through in order for me to judge it a “good” picture. i suppose my taste has changed a lot. i still enjoy films that challenge me, that are challenging to watch, but i no longer like films that are tortuous.

there are many categories of film. i tend to break them into two. 1) film that is aiming at a “deep” meaning. 2) film that solely aims to entertain. most fall somewhere between the two. i used to only watch and judge films of the first category, and dismissed all others as “mainstream” or “hollywood” or both. now, i can appreciate film of the second category, although i still may not judge such a film good or even likable.

i understand that not all film is made with the intention to produce or provoke a meaningful response in its audience. sometimes a cheap laugh is all that can be expected, and that is good enough. still, there are only so many dick and fart jokes that can be told before the gag reaches a level of stupidity that is no longer amusing.

i still tend to avoid mainstream and hollywood movies as much as possible, but, if subjected to them, as i sometimes am, i no longer unleash critical negativity upon those subjecting me to such indignity. (sorry guys.) i’m sure i’ve put some people through some tough viewing love; the kind of movies i like aren’t for everybody. it sometimes seems as if they’re for nobody but me.

with film, it comes down to two things for me. 1) Did I like it? 2) Was it good? i’ve liked films i thought were not very good; and vice versa, i’ve hated films i thought were very good. “liking” a film is aesthetic, a matter of taste. thinking a film is “good” is more of a personal ethico-moral judgment i make based in relation to others, my peers. if i think a film is good, i’ll probably end up recommending it to people. if it’s merely a film that i like, i’ll probably keep it to myself. this does not undermine the aesthetic value i find in the films i like. rather, it accentuates it. my taste becomes more my own this way.

on the whole, i find most people do not have a “taste” for cinema. the films they like or the films they judge to be good, if they were to list them, indicate, not a taste for a particular “flavour,” but a tastelessness that too much mainstream cinema (like too much fast food, or too many novels on the best seller list) will do to a person. i mean, as a friend once remarked to me, “even vanilla is a flavour.” and that’s the thing, most movies aren’t even “vanilla-flavoured,” their sole property is to be consumed.

i’ve been called a snob. perhaps i am. but if craving something more than ninety minutes of vapidity makes me a snob, then so be it. i can handle the mainstream in small doses. i can handle hollywood on occasion. but if my visual diet consisted of merely these films, then consider me an anorexic or bulimic or whatever it is young girls do to keep thin nowadays.


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