I was reading an article recently posted on Cinema Sins concerning the state of the action genre, using the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron as a platform from which to launch their argument. As an advocate of original cinema the second installment in The Avengers franchise didn’t get a rave review from me, or anyone for that matter. While I enjoyed the article and agreed with much of what they had to say it was a comment from a stranger that inspired this article.
"It is due to CinemaSins that I critique every single movie I watch nowadays, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but you know what they say: Ignorance is bliss."
It’s these immortal words, “Ignorance is bliss”, that really stirred my inner cinephile to a rousing and somewhat prophetic article on the state of cinema.
What I love about movies* is their enduring power to entertain, challenge, inform, inspire, and conspire. Films that can do all five are bloody ridiculous and although they do exist, and I’m thankful for their ambition, it isn’t a necessary requirement. I’ve sat through my fair share of tripe, huffed with dissatisfaction and even taken toilet breaks without pausing all in the name of enduring crap to reach Level Five Laser Lotus status in the church of Reformed Neo Buddhism (Community fans should enjoy that one). However, the quest for quality films with original screenplays is unfortunately overshadowed by the behemoth of Hollywood’s money printing machines. Film festivals dish out a healthy dose of alternatives for the avid moviegoer but limited releases and discussions relegated to internet forums, community bloggers and twitter reduce the majority to the shadows. The ones that break through often go on to cause a stir and get picked up by a major wealth weilding studio that demands a wide release and, so the PR campaign swings into action.
But in my time of watching films I notice myself giving most the benefit of the doubt. I’d never let the odd faux pas, glaring goof or crumby continuity ruin my movie experience. Take my review of Iron Sky for example. No amount of bad acting, phoney accents, or sacrilegious sci-fi fare will deter me from finding something enjoyable about a film. Iron Sky had me feeling nostalgic at one point, back to my days as a kid playing the ‘Command & Conquer’ video games, it had me laughing, smiling, sighing, and tutting all in one sitting and I wouldn’t have it any other way, that was my experience and I’d do it all over again.
"entertain, challenge, inform, inspire, and conspire."
Iron Sky never takes itself seriously. This is where some films fall short and get torn to shreds by internet critics, broadsheet bandits and bitchy bloggers who compare everything against their beloved Pulp Fiction, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Citizen Kane. Modest-budget films have just as much right as Hollywood blockbusters and low-budget films to attempt serious storytelling but it’s no secret that a lot of it falls on deaf ears to an audience unwilling to see past the shortcomings.
I’ve only reviewed a handful of films relative to the immeasurable number of films I’ve seen. I thought for a long time that I was a film snob, but it turns out I just like watching good movies, who doesn’t right? But there was a time when I’d watch Spider-Man 3 and think it was really good…don’t, just don’t. Yet sites such as Cinema Sins have hit upon a largely cynical niche that pokes holes in classics, laughs at blockbuster hits and sneers at everything in between all because they can. Not because of the right to free speech or any of that legal jazz but precisely because films give them the chance to tear them apart, in the words of Arnie they are literally asking for it, “Come on! Kill me! I’m here! Come on! Do it now! Kill me!”
That’s not to say that Cinema Sins, or any other pedantic peddling heathen hates movies, on the contrary. I don’t know who they are but I do know that they lack a particular set of skills. Skills that I have acquired through the appreciation of film’s finer and/or shittier details. Skills that make me a rarity amongst their cynical clientele. Skills that enable me to see beyond a slipple nip, nipple slip, uh slip up.
I’m capable of recognising clichés, of recognising a poor script, poor editing, poor direction, shitty acting and poorly delivered dialogue, even trashy trailers and redundant promotion but I’m not petty enough to let it dictate my reaction to a film. I appreciate cinema for what it is. It is an art form and no art is objective or without fault. Often you’ll find film lovers ‘enduring’ crappy flicks and spurning the title for years after. My ability to endure crappy flicks lies in my appreciation of the little things.
That’s not saying that I’ll pick up any old film whack it in and have the time of my life. No, no that would be silly. Huh, would you look at that, I’m a snob after all, who’da thunk. Instead, if there is a shortcoming that doesn’t immediately come out on paper when I’m drafting a review then the high chance is that I’ve subconsciously overlooked it for the sake of the cinematic experience in its entirety. I refuse to succumb to quantitative evidence as substance for a review. I honestly couldn’t care less if there is a conveniently placed embassy on the street Jason Bourne is being chased down. I couldn’t care less if directors choose to reiterate their trademark philosophies over the course of their filmography. Chances are if you liked it once you’ll enjoy it the next time. Heck it beats regurgitating sequels and ersatz rip-offs right? People who take this much time to make these petty qualms an issue have way too much time on their hands but if people are eating it up then I guess props to you guys who found a market to rant and rave to.
No matter how many face palm moments you endure I suggest the following approach:
Enjoy the little things. Appreciate cinema. Endure the flop. Ignorance is bliss.
*What I Love About Movies is also the name of a beautifully crafted collection of answers to the question, “What do you love about movies? from some of the greatest directors and actors in the business. Collected by Little White Lies.
Happy Viewing – Peace and Love – Micturance is Piss