I hope you’re right. With each passing year, the problem is only getting worse. :(
Love that chart, Lady Spiggott!
I think the first 5 stages of that chart are pretty accurate, but I’m not sure I buy into “Culluloid Sapien”.
By that I mean, I’m not sure I buy it as the Omega. I find it interesting that that chart is basically cyclical, by the end you come “full circle”. When you are in the first stage, you like whatever your watching at the time… aka, no standards. Then by the end you fully evolve…back to no standards.
I don’t know if the ultimate level of film connoisseur equates to reaching some “zen” where your attitude becomes “Hey man, it’s all good… I’m cool with everything even terrible films have their merits and respective audience.” (Which is actually true.)
However, having merits and having a respective audience doesn’t make it worth the 2-3+ hours of your life you spent to watch the film. There are more films out there than it is possible to witness in a lifetime, so you have to draw the line somewhere. If you don’t draw the line, your just accepting the fact that you will not be actively pursuing the highest quality films that you can squeeze in to your life, your just rolling the dice, taking whatever comes your way, maybe 80% “lesser” films and only 20% true films.
Regardless of whatever the actual numbers on “good vs. bad” films out there, if you’re just rolling the dice… I do not like those odds.
…you’re just rolling the dice, taking whatever comes your way…
The way life is.
What can you really do about that? Nothing. Except take your time with what you like. Don’t stress. No one can know everything about everything — meaning know the best of everything all the time.
Why are people putting themselves through such paces? For what reason? What is there really to gain by all this thrashing and worrying?
Riss—Transmorphers is one of those straight-to-DVD- films that companies put out to coincide with the theatrical releases of films like, in this case, Transformers. You see these at Blockbuster all the time, the thinking being perhaps that those who might not look too closely think they are getting the real thing, or at least trading on excitement for the real thing.
Can’t say I’ve ever seen one of these, but I’d expect SyFy movie quality ;)
I don’t know if the ultimate level of film connoisseur equates to reaching some “zen” where your attitude becomes “Hey man, it’s all good… I’m cool with everything even terrible films have their merits and respective audience.” (Which is actually true
I think there’s two ways of reading, “I’m cool with everything…” It could mean a) there’s a place for all types of films, including bad ones; b) one personally enjoys all films.
I read the last stage as “a,” not so much “b.” I realize the stages have a tongue-in-cheek tone, but I think they’re pretty accurate, too.
However, there should be another stage between the “Blockbustericus” and “Sundancicus” stages. I’m thinking something like the “Sirius Dramaticus Holliwoodus” stage. In that stage, people start losing interest with the fluffy Hollywood genre films and become more interest in the serious Hollywood dramas as well as some independent films that are close to the mainstream. Some film examples would be King’s Speech, Juno
The more films you see the more demanding you’re going to be.
But, you don’t necessarily enjoy cinema less, you just set the bar higher. I don’t think I enjoy mainstream films less than I did when I was 13, it’s just now I have alternatives.
@Several people saying it is a phase or a burn-out, etc: Perhaps I didn’t make this clear in my original post, but the problem is not that I do not enjoy films anymore. The problem is that I’ve become way more difficult to please. However, at a good time, I may see several great films in a row. I remember one day recently where, on a marathon on a boring Thursday, I watched Wings, The Ascent, Angel at My Table and Sweetie, 4 masterpieces, each as brilliant as the last. I will admit that I experience the burn-out every now and then. Sometimes, I just think I will never enjoy a film until another brilliant one sneaks up on me. I also sometimes experience a burnout where I watch too many films in a short period (for an assignment or something) and then I just don’t want to watch another film ever again, but that’s a story for another day.
I will, however, have to agree with something Axelumog said. While I have become more difficult to please, I have also become more difficult to completely disappoint as well. In my earlier stages of cinephilia, if I saw a film I didn’t like, I saw no redeeming values to it, but now, I do have something good to say about everything, whether it’s a line, an actor or a sequence. The second worst film I have ever seen, a terrible film called VS, that premiered at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival a couple of days before Halloween, had a great performance by James Remar as the villain. I would not have noticed a diamond in the pile of shit in my pre-cinephilia days, so there may be some hope yet!
The ultimate film for the “snob” category in the chart should be Berlin Alexanderplatz or Sátántangó.
Not that they’re bad but …
@SHAKHA- “In my earlier stages of cinephilia, if I saw a film I didn’t like, I saw no redeeming values to it, but now, I do have something good to say about everything, whether it’s a line, an actor or a sequence.”
That’s the spirit!
I have that attitude for the longest time. Also, I always find a reason to give a movie I didn’t really like the benefit of the doubt. Except Paranormal Activity haha!
I don’t think one way is better than the other, but I do feel bad for so many cinephiles I encounter that are so hard to please. I mean, I certainly have standards, but I do like more movies than I dislike. I can’t imagine it any other way. I tend to see the good in movies before the bad and thank God for this! If I watched movies and immediately saw the flaws I’d be so much less happy.
I don’t know. I do think there’s a line where people become like Count Pococurante and while it’s totally their business if this is how they feel I do think it’s a shame.
Maybe this is related: I find it harder and harder to be pleasantly surprised by being introduced to a new filmmaker. The joy of watching a Tarkovsky or a Denis or a Kieslowski for the first time is irrecoverable, and I have to dig deeper and deeper to be wowed (which is not to say it doesn’t happen).
Also, I think the natural next step to oscar/subtitles are experimental films. After that there’s not much else.
I begun a game with a friend where we analyze commercials as films (which they are), making notice of narrative, cinematography, editing, acting, etc.
Why is it a progression and not an addition?
Why does it go Oscar –> Subtitles –> Experimental instead of Oscar + Subtitles + Experimental??
I don’t discover new cinema to replace the old. I don’t see the point in that.
Yeah, I mean, the common folk are overly critical of … critics. But really, it’s ridiculously logical (procure your notebooks in other words) … one who has watched more films and read more about films and has communicated with more people associated with making films will, inevitably, be more critical of what they see in film. Is this unfounded? Is this unfair? No and no. This is logical.
i.e. If all one has seen is work by Bay, Tarantino, Cameron, Spielberg, and oh I don’t know, let’s say, Craven, they will logically view films from perspectives carried by those filmmakers, but without the context of what those filmmakers have experienced. So, what does that mean? They are viewing film from the second-hand perspective of those who have been influenced by earlier and more original filmmakers. The filmmakers named above are referential filmmakers. Most of the public view films from this perspective; a detached, uneducated, completely superficial and purely modern view.
So, a cinephile, who is none of these things, who prides his or herself in an educated and intellectual pursuit of film; one who looks down upon those who don’t bother to actually be aware of the medium they’re witnessing regularly, must hate cinema, right? Yeah. They hate cinema. Criticism and free-thinking are evil, we should all take everything at face value.
… but then, on the flipside of that coin, a contrarian is the most despicable form of human to have ever existed, so it’s good to find a middle-ground somehow.
Looking back at the past seven movies I’ve seen. Hated one (Baise-Moi ); enjoyed aspects but not the whole of another (Cold Weather ); had a really strange experience with one (The Element of Crime); saw one repeat that I love ( _A Nos Amours); and got my ass kicked by three other movies ( Mysterious Skin, Like Crazy, and Melancholia). Not bad.
It is a shame, and it’s a bummer to tell you the truth. But I can tell you it is not by choice. I go into every movie wanting to be thrilled. When I leave feeling disappointing, the feeling is mixture of sadness and dissatisfaction. I even get this urge to see another movie, one that will make feel enthusiastic about it. In a way, it’s like a drug-addict who has to take more and more drugs to get high.
In any event, it’s not something I can really control. I’m not creating this list of standards and if the film doesn’t meet them, I feel disappointed. On the other hand, while I’m not creating this list, I think standards are being set and raised by the really good films I have seen. It’s like if you go to the best Italian restaurants in Italy and then eat at the Italian restaurants in your hometown.
At the same time, if you see a lot of movies, how can you not get tired of certain things. It’s like that Kael quote. After seeing the same premise (sometimes not so good to begin with) over and over again, at some point, losing interest in it is understandable right.
Additionally, I think I’ve gotten pickier with acting—but that’s not by choice. I just notice things that I didn’t notice before; or certain performances that I tolerated before, I no longer do. I can’t help that. In a way, the change is a good thing, but it doesn’t make enjoying a film easier.
A lamentable scenario Jazz, I totally feel the same way.
It means you walk away from most films feeling at best empty and unsatisfied… but I always find just when I think “I can’t take anymore of this garbage”, I’ll stumble across something truly marvelous that makes it all worth it.
It’s a hard road to walk though, make no mistake. Rooting through the trash to find the hidden gems does mean you spend a lot of time digging through trash, that’s the reality.
“one who has watched more films and read more about films and has communicated with more people associated with making films will, inevitably, be more critical of what they see in film. Is this unfounded? Is this unfair? No and no. This is logical.”
It’s funny because I just read or saw an interview with Tarantino where he basically said the opposite. Of course I think this more applies to filmmakers than cinephiles but his argument is, you can find something good in any film. I think his exact quote was something to the effect of that you shouldn’t hate any film. You can find beauty, benefit, positive, whatever – in all films. Of course this just takes experience to be able to recognize (this is why I say this might be more directed towards filmmakers, who I think can recognize something good in a film easier than a non-filmmaker because of their specific experience and perspective).
Of course if you hate Tarantino and find him to be worthless, dismiss his perspective. But for me, while I don’t completely agree with his position, I acknowledge his intention behind it.
“They are viewing film from the second-hand perspective of those who have been influenced by earlier and more original filmmakers.”
There is no such thing “original filmmakers”. Everybody copies everybody. That’s the history of the medium. And most filmmakers acknowledge this (even encourage it, in some cases). For me as an artist, this is part of the appeal – the building of the past to create the future. Tarantino might be more obvious than Gilliam but Gilliam is no more an original filmmaker than Tarantino (Gilliam has said he’s blatantly copied everything he knows from Marcel Carne).
Yes! This is true, thank goodness! (Btw, “empty” is another really good word to describe how I often feel.) I mean, I do stumble across movies that make me feel excited about cinema, but it seems to happen less and less. But when I do, I love that feeling.
Btw, I’m thinking mostly of the recent films that I see in the theater. In terms of exploring older or foreign language films, the prospects of finding gems is a bit higher. Is this the case with you, Axel?
I’ve seen 31 2011 movies. The only one I disliked was Cars 2. Out of the other 30 I thought 18 of them were great.
Granted I try to only seek out movies that appeal to me, but still it’s clear I’m kind of a movie whore.
I’d urge you all to try and refind your inner movie whore. The more films you like the better. The more films you love the better.
" I go into every movie wanting to be thrilled. When I leave feeling disappointing, the feeling is mixture of sadness and dissatisfaction."
I went through this about ten years ago. I don’t know what advice to give you other than to say for me, continuing my education in cinema led me through the dark forest and eventually helped me out into the beautiful sunshine and flowers I now enjoy. :)
“At the same time, if you see a lot of movies, how can you not get tired of certain things.”
I think you just find different things to appreciate. You see films differently, your perspective changes. Yeah, if it gets stuck into one specific thing, that would suck. But hopefully you grow, you mature, and you find things that you never saw before. This is true for all art but it’s especially true for cinema given how many moving parts are involved.
SANTINO:“There is no such thing “original filmmakers”. Everybody copies everybody. That’s the history of the medium. And most filmmakers acknowledge this (even encourage it, in some cases). For me as an artist, this is part of the appeal – the building of the past to create the future. Tarantino might be more obvious than Gilliam but Gilliam is no more an original filmmaker than Tarantino (Gilliam has said he’s blatantly copied everything he knows from Marcel Carne).”
mate, this is the kind of relativism i can not stand. just because film makers all have influences it does not mean that no director is any more(or less) original than another. Are you telling me that Antonioni was no more ‘original’ than Tarantino because he was heavily influenced by other mediums and brought his influences into the medium of film?
Sorry but to me that is a lazy argument that doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny. It’s an excuse to justify the creative lazyness around today. ‘oh who cares about thinking things through because, after all, NOTHING is original anymore, so fuck it, may as well just slap a few old scenes together and call it a day’
“mate, this is the kind of relativism i can not stand. just because film makers all have influences it does not mean that no director is any more(or less) original than another. Are you telling me that Antonioni was no more ‘original’ than Tarantino because he was heavily influenced by other mediums and brought his influences into the medium of film?”
Well I can’t talk specifically about Antonioni because I don’t know his work too well. But my intention here is that they’re all original because they all bring their own unique voice, no matter how much they attempt to “copy” someone else. I wish I had the interview handy because Coppola talked about this with James Lipton when he was on Inside the Actor’s Studio years ago. Essentially the point here is that the unique voice of the artist really prevents “copying” and that unique voice ensures originality. You know what I mean? Whether what Tarantino is doing has been done before or Antonioni’s creating something wholly new is not the point. You know what I mean? I think this is part of why I said this is something filmmakers are more inclined to understand. And if you see this perspective, it becomes much easier to find beauty (even if it’s something small) in something that may on the surface not appear that great. Does that make sense?
Joks, I don’t think Santino meant to go that route with what he said. But I’ll let him defend himself.
I wonder if people feel the same way about literature, music, etc. etc. — that they get all jaded about it after a while?
Something about this discussion is reminding me of addicts indeed.
Where is the clinic that cinephiles go to get “cleaned up?”
Has anyone ever heard Martin Scorsese say anything negative about a film?
^Drew, to be fair, a lot of filmmakers (particularly if they’re smart) don’t publicly bad mouth any films.
However (and this goes back to the difference in perspective/experience in filmmakers) filmmakers know how difficult it is to make even a bad film so they’re sympathetic.
HA HA HA HA HA
Santino, I had to laugh at that. That’s just an insane comment.
Let me rephrase…
Scorsese seems to praise all sorts of movies and praise almost every movie someone brings up around him in some way.
I’ve always viewed him as a cinephile who is still excited by the very idea of cinema as an art.
lol @ Odi – I didn’t mean that to be funny!
@ Drew – I think QT is the same way as Scorsese. Although they both have strong opinions and if you cornered Scorsese, I’m sure you could get him to talk shit on some film (QT is a lot more vocal about his displeasure on certain films – although like I said, as true film lovers these guys both can find positive things to say about anything).
Agreed! I just happen to agree with Scorsese’s taste more. hahaha
But I think their pure enjoyment of cinema is a lot more desirable than someone who sticks up their nose at the vast majority of films in order to favor a select few.
The more films you like the better. The more films you love the better.
Well, I’m open to suggestions on how to do this.
I don’t know what advice to give you other than to say for me, continuing my education in cinema led me through the dark forest and eventually helped me out into the beautiful sunshine and flowers I now enjoy. :)
Now, you’re gloating!
I think you just find different things to appreciate.
But wait a minute. Are you saying that you haven’t grown tired of certain film conventions, story lines, subject matter, typecasting, etc.?
Essentially the point here is that the unique voice of the artist really prevents “copying” and that unique voice ensures originality.
I just want to say that I don’t think a unique voice occurs automatically, though—especially if by “unique voice” we
something we really value and honor (i.e., something akin to originality). So I don’t think every filmmaker has a unique voice in the sense that we find meaningful and valuable.
Moreover, I do believe originality is possible. Filmmakers can borrow and copy ideas from other filmmakers, but it’s the way they use and express these ideas that can lead to originality—or at least one that I personally find meaningful and valuable. We’re talking about Woody Allen in another thread. You can see the influences in his films—Bob Hope, Fellini, Bergman, etc. But all those influences distilled and synthesized in films like Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters constitute something unique and original, imo.
That’s a good question. I don’t think that’s happened with me, in terms of music, although I’d have to think about that a little more.
I think it could happen with literature, though.