Oh, OK, I think I see where you’re coming from.
I agree with the fact that your impressions change throughout different stages of maturity and what you’re going through your life so sometimes it’s not even being dishonest to yourself, it’s just a matter of an honest progression. I used to love Anastasia and Mulan as a kid but I’ve literally watched them both too many times to enjoy it so I probably will avoid rewatching them as long as I can.
But I do think we are very capable of liking films that we think we ought to. Admittedly, I get that with old movies – like the American Golden Age of Cinema. Let me tell you when a 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, early 60’s movie is bad, it is so AWKWARD. I think even more-so than any other bad movies I sometimes happen to watch. I generally have the predisposition to like a lot of movies from that age and it’s hard when I don’t like something that my favorite actresses/actors are in. (It still pains me to this day that I think “Breakfast at Tiffany” is so overrated because I’m a HUGE Audrey Hepburn fan. I also didn’t enjoy “Two For The Road”).
For me though, my disappointment and displeasure is very pronounced so it takes a blatant self-lie to convince me of satisfaction I don’t have but I think I have been guilty of lying to myself. I just think I outgrew any lies may have told myself so well that I don’t even remember what movies I gave too much effort towards.
But I know what you mean. Sometimes I look at other people’s ratings and I feel like; “Would you rate this as high if a certain name wasn’t attached to the work?”
Objectivity is hard to achieve within your own subjectivity though.
…and it’s hard when I don’t like something that my favorite actresses/actors are in.
For me, this happens with favorite directors.
I would also say, people apply different standards to different sorts of films. A lot of it has to do with what you were exposed to when you were young. If you grew up watching space operas, you’re going to be more tolerant of flaws in a space opera than in a romantic comedy.
I don’t know why but I can deal with not liking every movie from a director (but I’ve never purposefully gone for movies for directors before this site. I seemed to be the one who noticed “Oh, all of these are by the same director”. Except in the cases of Billy Wilder and William Wyler). But still, that means my way of choosing movies was based on actors and actresses. If I usually like their performances, I can usually enjoy their characters.
That’s true - what you’ve been conditioned to. If the movie is obscure and doesn’t correlate with a universal base of values or storytelling, it can be hard to connect to. In those cases, I don’t think people should go “Oh, well, I’m never gonna watch that movie”. Just save the thought for another day or year. But honestly watching movies takes time so I don’t blame anyone for not watching a movie that they already know they’re not going to enjoy.
I’m prone to “overlike” a film because it contains one or two brilliant sequences. For example, after seeing Crossfire the first time, I was so overwhelmed by the dance scene between soldier and Gloria Grahame’s prostitute that I was convinced it was one of the greatest films ever made. On second viewing a a year or two later, I realized that one sequence brilliantly outshone a a fairly mediocre film.
its more common when you’re young and have less sense of self and confidence in your opinions. or are new to the world of film and trying to get a grasp on these things. when one becomes a surly old person not wanting to go against the majority is less of a factor.
maybe all opinions on movies need a sell by date, showing the last time one actually watched it
I do the same thing, but I don’t feel bad about it. Metz once wrote that all cinema has a little art in it, but few films have a lot of art in them. If a film has a couple of moments that are sublime, obviously the director has caught something of value.
it’s impossible to pretend to genuinely like something if you really do not, sorry. impossible. nope. maybe because i am not concerned about being culturally identified with the kinds of films i enjoy. which is where i think the majority of these ridiculous concerns stem from. tricking yourself into liking something for the sake of not being called a philistine? the notion is annoyingly adolescent, i think i was concerned with these issues when i was about 18
^ aha, i am eighteen, so that probably holds true for me. though i realized i would have no fun discussing movies that other people liked/respected that i didn’t especially if they DID think i liked them.
I do the same thing, but I don’t feel bad about it
When did Jerry say he felt bad about it? The important thing, and I realize i’m changing the focus of the OP, is that one thinks about it. Of course it’s silly to change your mind because you want to fit in with a group. What’s not silly is actually thinking about why you like something, or do something, and working through those reasons in your mind and heart.
Every reason we come up with to like something should never be considered simple “trickery.” That’s just a way of avoiding hard truths, such as: “if i touch that fire again, it will burn me, again.” I suppose that thought could be called trickery if you’ve philosophized yourself to the point of no longer believing you or the world exist, but I’d prefer to live and learn.
Films (and other art) don’t exist in the same way the world does, though.
Suppose, instead of the concrete fire example, we take smoking. You may get cancer from smoking, or you may not. The Japanese smoke as much or more than Americans but don’t get smoking-related lung cancer as much. There are other factors involved, some we may still not be aware of, in getting lung cancer from smoking besides the smoking. Nonetheless, we know smoking is dangerous because of the poisons contained in the product.
The poisons contained in films and art and certain emotional responses exist just as clearly, regardless of whether I or anyone else can currently articulate exactly what they are in every instance.
Either way, I’ll need a better word for what happens in our minds and hearts when we work through our reasons for liking things than “trickery.” That’s just philosophically giving up.
I do think this sort of thing occurred more when I was younger, but getting older doesn’t make you immune to it, either, in my experience.
Every reason we come up with to like something should never be considered simple “trickery.” That’s just a way of avoiding hard truths, such as: “if i touch that fire again, it will burn me, again.”
What’s an example related to movies?
Who and what are you referring to^?
Mike asked for a better word.
@Matt I didn’t see that post. Sorry.
I’m still not clear what you’re referring to when you say “trickery.” You seem to suggest that the reasons that one identifies as “wrong” (after parsing through the reasons one likes a film) shouldn’t be referred to as “trickery?” Or am I totally off base?
I’m basically saying that there is an actual difference between silly reasons for making one’s mind up about a film, work of art or anything or anyone, and valid reasons. I realize the v word is despised by some and usually inspires tiresome lectures about subjectivity but, there you go. At the risk of being called a nazi or something, i don’t think that the reasons I think are valid are only valid for me.
I don’t believe that we are all simply a collection of influences, I believe that there is such a thing as inspiration, springing from a place beyond our influences. I also believe that while some or even most of what is called common sense comes from influence, some comes from what i have decided, for lack of a better term, to call inspiration.
Mike said, "I realize the v word is despised by some and usually inspires tiresome lectures about subjectivity but, there you go. At the risk of being called a nazi or something, i don’t think that the reasons I think are valid are only valid for me._
Obviously, you didn’t see my posts in my discussion with Greg X and Purusa in the intersubjectivity thread! (Read: I do believe there are valid and invalid reasons—pertaining to whether a work of art is great or not. On the other hand, people like art for a variety of reasons and, in terms of what one likes or doesn’t, all the reasons are basically valid.)
I did this most recently with “Black Swan”. I love Aronofsky and all of his films, yes even “The Fountain”. But as much as I enjoyed parts of Black Swan the more I think of it the less I care to watch it again. For the record I’ve seen his films more than once, especially Requiem. But Black swan seemed like a cop out to me. But when asked up until a week ago, I lied and agreed with the mainstream folks. Maybe it was an attempt on my part to get them to watch his other, better films. Also am I the only one who thinks maybe he should stop with the Dardenne style, even though I do enjoy it? Oh and when watching Pi again recently it fell a little flat for my taste. I’ll give him a pass since he has matured.
James, fight the good fight with Black Swan! It’s a shame that movie was so widely and fervently praised, don’t be afraid to tell people how you really feel. I think the hype around it has substantially died down since the Fox promo machine has stopped.
Thank you. It’s nice to have someone who agrees with me. I’ve just joined this site and honestly its hard to find people to talk about real film with. and I live in NYC!
I live in Baltimore which has one good art house cinema and two good independent video rental stores which is more than a lot cities of comparable size can say but it can be hard to find people who want to see things beyond Final Destination 5. (how’s that for a run-on sentence?) I joined this site around February but I can assure you this is not the fanboy dogpile that IMDb and RT can be (at least not where Black Swan is concerned). I’ve never been a fan of Arronofsky’s but I will say I think Requiem is his best.
I definitely trick myself. One example I remember was Se7en. I was about 16 and me and a group of friends went to see it. As we came out of the cinema everyone was talking about how great it was, but I didn’t think so, until they said it. I think at that point my opinion hadn’t been verbalized and was still flexible.
But opinions are not permanent. I’m sure we’ve all rewatched films and had our opinions change.
I guess that opens up another theory. As your cinematic education progresses, all the films you watch affect the films you will watch. It could be argued that some films can only be fully appreciated after watching certain earlier films.
I hated Se7en when I saw it with My friends and they thought I was crazy. I didn’t mind being honest back then because I knew my film education was way more advanced than theirs. Slightly off topic I remember dragging my friends around to 3 or 4 theaters to see Fargo because it was sold out and they couldn’t understand why I needed to see that movie. alas they all hated it and I loved it.
But I guess it depends on who you watch a movie with. I would sometimes lie to my dad when I was younger and say i liked a movie cause I thought he would think I didn’t understand it. Later on we built a relationship on occasionally despising a movie the other one loved. Trainspotting comes to mind, I saw that 3 times in the theater and he hated it. Looking back now though, I have fond memories of that movie but it does not hold up. I think Shallow Grave is Boyle’s best movie. Am I crazy to think that?
I tried to drag my friends to see movies I was interested through middle and most of high school and eventually gave up. It wasn’t until college that I could find anyone who wanted to an independent film that wasn’t being distributed by Fox Searchlight. I had a lot of trouble with getting people to see anything with subtitles, because that was apparently too much work. It was disappointing for me because I loved the social aspect of going out to see a movie, and I didn’t want to see many date movies that I can recall. A more persistant problem is finding people interested in going out to rent movies, with netflix instant, on demand, and illegal downloading becoming increasingly popular. That’s too bad your friends didn’t like Fargo, it doesn’t seem like a difficult movie to like to me.
Growing up, my mother was always interested in less mainstream movies, though she was never a fan of sex or violence on film, so it limited her quite a lot. I more or less gave up trying to watch anything I liked with my dad because he basically said he had too many real life problems to deal with to watch movies that were thematically dark or depressing. I’ve never been a fan of Boyle’s films so I’m probably the wrong person to ask.
Well I must say, that Boyle no longer impresses me in the slightest. I guess when I first got into him I was younger so I was into his flashy and upbeat style. But honestly I no longer get excited when he has a new movie out. He has fallen flat on his face way too many times to be forgiven. To be clear, my dad is the reason I am into film. I had a steady diet of 3 to 4 movies in the theater a week. Not to mention the endless VHS tapes of movies recorded from cable that I saw. We would do the NYFF together every year ( he recently passed) and he gave me my sophisticated taste. I remember my dad let me skip school so i could see Three Colors: Red at the NYFF.My friends thought I was weird because I was going to see a polish film. This was in High School so like your scenario no really got it. I only think of that movie because I will be running the trilogy in early September at The Film Society of Lincoln Center. I hope I get to see it between changeovers ;)
I sometimes find that my immediate response after seeing a movie is quite often different to how I feel about the movie a couple of days later. Even more so if I watch the movie a couple of times. An example of this is Inception. I thought it was an excellent movie the first time I saw it. But once I had seen it a couple of more times, it didn’t seem so good. This has nothing to do with the fact that multiple viewings will ruin any movie because something like The Godfather (1 or 2) is just as good no matter how many times I watch it.