I gave myself a lot of movie-related goals this year. Some involved classic movies on the big screen, some revolved around great directors, still another was all about watching films from a certain era. They were a loose confederation of resolutions but the overarching idea was to stop being closed-minded about film. Generally speaking, I think I’ve done a respectable job of learning to like new things and appreciate why OTHERS appreciate certain films. But there’s still a certain level I can’t get past. Call it the Crash hump.
The name, of course, is derived from my feelings about Crash (2005). My feelings about that movie are generally well-known. Succinctly, I thought it was a pile of trite garbage that approached a very serious topic ripe for honest discussion- race relations- and turned it into a Magical Realist nightmare drowning in stereotypes. I could continue but I won’t.
And I call this phenomenon the Crash hump because there are certain things I haven’t been able to get past, no matter how much I try. I caused a little bit of a stir in my comments section several months ago when I confessed that I thought Titanic and Avatar were horrible films hiding behind spectacular effects, shining proof that you can let a 12-year old write your screenplay if you have the cash to compensate with effects. The action genre is another hump of sorts. I really enjoy well-done action films but most of the average or worse action films make me roll my eyes. Even some that are allegedly good make me roll my eyes.
Other films fall into this category. I’m not sure I’ll ever get beyond making fun of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. As much as I love horror, you’ll be shocked to know that my first instinct about slashers- especially the classic slashers- is to wince a little (more on this in a second). I made a little headway with Brian DePalma this summer when I greatly enjoyed The Phantom of the Paradise, but I still have very strong anti-DePalma feelings.
But it’s all about the effort. I’m trying. I swear, I’m trying, even if progress is slow. I have three perfect examples: Frank Capra, romantic comedies, and musicals. I’ve found my stride a little bit with rom-coms and musicals in that I can at least appreciate the best of the best. I can finally see the appeal, which is a huge step in the right direction. As for Capra, I still find the saccharine storylines nauseating but I’ve found that I can appreciate some of the humor, and I can also understand why others like it. I think that’s at the heart of matters more than anything. I don’t have to like everything I see, but I’d at least like to understand why others enjoy it… and of course, not be a jerk when others say they like something. After all, movies are meant to be enjoyed and the medium offers so much to so many for so many different reasons. Who am I to rain on someone’s parade?
As for the aforementioned slashers, there’s been a little progress in that realm. Amazingly, three Nightmare on Elm Street sequels wiggled their way onto my TV set this past summer and I don’t feel an ounce of regret about it, despite the fact that I sort of loathed the original. The films didn’t get better. My attitude did. Instead of looking for reasons to dump on a film, I looked for what was good about it, and clung tightly to it like those stupid assholes in the ocean with the wreckage at the end of Titanic. Oops… there I go again.
Stay tuned, folks. I’ll get the hang of it some day. I’ll get over that hump eventually. Just don’t hold your breath on Crash.