As usual, I feel the need to step outside the English language to express, in only one word, my life in the last few weeks: Oy.
Let’s see if I can use that to inspire succinctness in the remainder of this post. Brevity is going to be necessary. I’m in the midst of a writing contract, first off, and funny thing: when people pay you to write, they expect you to write. This particular project is taking such a grindingly slow, meticulous approach that I feel like I’m constructing the story molecule by molecule. It is such an antithesis of the way I usually work that I find myself sullen and depressed at the prospect of going into the file again. I generally produce work like Frankenstein’s Monster, birthed whole and gloriously misshapen, with additional surgery to make it more perfect (perhaps Moreau would have been a better simile). This is more like writing a novel the way a stalactite is formed.
So when writing becomes work and not a form of expression, all forms of it suffer, like this blog. I still love watching movies, though. My pal Dave once put it to me that all I have to do is play the movie and then write while it’s going on, but I can not do that. Like I said, I love watching movies. That means I only watch them when they can have my full and undivided attention. Those opportunities have become few and far between, what with building the stalactite, the show I do twice (and sometimes more often) a week, and my duties at the Municipal Channel and city meetings. I also like to throw my family a bit of attention every now and then, you know?
Cripes, don’t even talk to me about podcasts. My commute is ten minutes. No time.
So of course I got sick last week, and absolutely lost two days. Not kidding there. I have vague memories of walking to the bathroom and nearly not making it back to bed before collapsing again, but not much more.
I’ve been watching movies, though, when there was absolutely no way I could do anything else on any of these things without something breaking (likely me). I fully intend on writing about them (why waste that suffering?). It will happen.
In the meantime, there is one thing that mystifies me, and bears examination: it’s the taste of my fellow B-movie fanatics. I personally champion some incredibly disposable titles, but as we recall, I was moaning about The Visitor last time, and in the intervening time Drafthouse Films has come up with a 35mm print that is playing to some acclaim as an undiscovered masterpiece.
As you probably noticed, I didn’t feel that way. I felt it was crap. And not even lovable crap.
The first inclination is to doubt your own taste. Did the people whose raves I’m reading see something I didn’t? Has my own tour through the higher echelons of film blunted my taste for the absurd, for the cinema of lowered expectations? Good Christ, am I growing up or something?
The second inclination is to doubt everybody else’s taste, but that’s pretty short-lived as you hit on the probable reason for the gulf between the two schools of opinion: the people posting good reviews did so after watching one of Drafthouse’s presentations. In short, they saw it with an audience.
I have very fond memories of The Apple, mainly because my first viewing was at B-Fest, with a crowd buzzed on caffeine and high on their own creativity. That was a fabulous experience, and yet, I am positive that watching the very same movie, by myself, all alone, would be nothing less than a season in hell.
So, watching my Code Red DVD of The Visitor (which, like the Drafthouse version, is uncut) was possibly doomed to failure. I might have been more attuned to its *ahem* charms had I been in a hooting, hollering assembly… but I also think there’s still no way in hell I would ever consider it a good movie.
So bear with me. I’m still going to tell you about a bunch of movies I don’t consider to be good, either.
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