No, not THAT dirty. Just dirty movie secrets I keep- things that I generally don’t say out loud because I know it’ll make someone else angry. It’s much like Peter Griffin’s confession on Family Guy that he didn’t like The Godfather. Even if you really do think that The Godfather “insists upon itself” and you preferred The Money Pit, you’d be wise to not bring it up very often. There’s also the notion that it’s better to keep some things to yourself for fear of how you’ll be viewed among your peers. I’m hoping that there are at least a few people out there who agree with me on these. I also hope that half my readership doesn’t view me as some sort of angry ogre after finishing this article. So without further adieu, here are 10 Dirty Secrets That I Keep.
1. I like Kevin Smith, and I like his movies
This puts me in peril of losing a lot of credibility with a lot of people who take films very seriously. You know what? I don’t care. Clearly, his movies (other than maybe Clerks) aren’t beacons of cinematic accomplishment. But they make me laugh. I even liked Cop Out. Hell, I liked it quite a bit. His schtick about being an outsider who broke the system gets a little tiresome, but I’m not going to hold that against his films. And he seems to be a genuinely good human being (if you don’t mind the vulgarity and crass topics, which I clearly do not).
2. I thought that Melissa Leo’s performance in The Fighter was awful
She’s nominated for several supporting actress awards for her turn as the mother in The Fighter. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Her performance was way over the top and hackneyed. Her dialogue was cartoonish to the point that I expected her to rub her handlebar mustache, adjust her top hat, and say “Mwaahahahahaha” as she continually played favorites with her children, leaving Micky Ward/Mark Wahlberg out in the cold. I found it to be a serious detriment to the film. In her defense, it could very easily be a function of what kind of performance director David Russell asked her to give.
3. I didn’t like 2001: A Space Odyssey
It’s consistently mentioned as a crowning achievement of American cinema. I’ll meet the fans of 2001 halfway. Visually, it was amazing. From an auteur’s standpoint, it had a really awesome, really cool feel to it. But the plot or story or whatever the hell happened in that movie is completely inaccessible to the casual viewer (which is what I was when I first saw it). I’m pretty sure that upon a subsequent viewing, I’d have a kinder opinion of the whole thing. But when I first saw it, when I had less refined cinematic tastes, my reaction was “What the hell just happened?!?!”. And not in a good way.
4. I didn’t like Annie Hall
This is one of the more vexing items because I generally like Woody Allen. I love his dramas, and I even like a lot of his comedies. Bananas and Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex* (But Were Afraid to Ask) are two of my favorite comedies. I love that he has an infatuation with Ingmar Bergman, just like me. But his character in Annie Hall– Alvy Singer- is completely unlikeable. Simply being annoyingly neurotic doesn’t work on its own. You need something more. It does not click for me. Take my Film Nerd union card away.
5. I liked Shutter Island, The King of Comedy, Bringing Out the Dead, After Hours, and The Color of Money
In other words, I liked all of the less popular Scorsese movies to varying degrees. I gave all of those movies at least 4 out of 5 stars on Netflix. After Hours got 5 stars. There’s something brilliant in Scorsese’s uncomfortably obsessive characters. And even if you don’t like the characters, the pure art that goes into making his movies is incredibly impressive.
6. Even though I have no children of my own, I will occasionally watch kids movies
It probably makes me look a little creepy when I have some crazy horror flick at home at the same time as Up or The Muppet Show: Season 1. But whattyadonnado? A good movie is a good movie. Some films in the newer batch of childrens movies are particularly impressive. Wall-E, which pays homage to silent comedians and film history in general, comes to mind. I’m not going to miss out on good movies just because I look either stupid or creepy for watching certain films.
7. I have never seen Avatar or Titanic
Every single review of Avatar that I’ve read indicates that it’s basically a really highly polished turd. The plot is allegedly clichéd and the only reason to see it at all is the visuals. There’s also the hubris that went into the marketing of that movie. The trailers on TV at the time were using phrases like “James Cameron has changed movies forever” or something in that vein. I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. Movies were great before, they’re great now, and they’ll be great in the future. Movies didn’t need 3D smurfs, least of all 3D smurfs that are packaged with an average/bad/clichéd story. As for Titanic, the mythos behind the wreck is fascinating. But it took a really wonderful mythos and turned it into some sort of romance. And as the joke goes, “You know how it ends”. There’s really nothing that appeals to me about that concept.
8. Frank Capra annoys me
I wouldn’t dream of denying the quality of his films. I also wouldn’t dream of denying his place in American film history. But they all end with this nice neat little cherry on top. They’re just so gosh-darned saccharine sweet. You know how when you were a kid, you’d get a ton of candy on holidays? And then you’d eat as much of it as possible. You’d almost literally make yourself sick. That’s how I feel watching the sugary sweet endings in Capra films.
9. I think John Wayne was a horrible actor
Don’t misunderstand me here. I love a lot of his movies. I think his agent or whoever chose his films for him did a spectacular job. His movies are classics, and deservedly so. But Wayne? In the words of a friend of mine, he was “a conservative cartoon character”. It’s no surprise that I liked the Wayne-less version of True Grit so much more than the original.
10. I don’t understand David Lynch movies
Believe me, I wish I did. It seems like it’s right up my alley. I certainly don’t hate his movies. I just don’t understand what the hell is going on in them. Obviously, he has some more accessible films like The Straight Story and Blue Velvet, but those aren’t the films I’m talking about. I’ve tried and tried and tried but still nothing clicks. I’m holding out hope that one day, I’ll pop in a Lynch film and suddenly the lightbulb will go off over my head and everything will be cool as cucumber.