Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Five Years Ago: The "More Movies" Fiasco Begins!

In 2007, I decided to watch and review all of the 100 films covered in Roger Ebert’s The Great Movies. Five years ago, at the beginning of July 2010, I had finished that project and was starting to miss writing about movies. So I did something pretty characteristic, which was to engage the readers in an elaborate, goofy process to generate a new list of movies for me. I called it the "More Movies" project.  It was great. There was a call for nominations, an unnecessarily complicated voting process, and then a final list of the movies to watch.

And then it all went wrong.

At least, that’s the way I remembered it. Actually, I really enjoyed a lot of the movies on my list, especially Rachel Getting Married, In Bruges, No Country for Old Men, and The Assassination of Jesse James etc. Even Avatar, with its copious flaws, was awfully fun to write about.

No, the problem was with the films I disliked – in particular, Up in the Air, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Ratatouille, and The Hangover. Not because I’m too virtuous to write a negative review – hell, of course it’s great fun to lay down an occasional negative review – but because I was writing negative reviews after having asked people to give me recommendations. I felt like I was doing this:
Michael5000: Could you recommend a movie to me?
Innocent Reader: Why, I enjoyed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly very much!
Michael5000: Yeah? Well it’s CRAP, loser!

I found this rather upsetting, and dropped out of amateur film criticism for a few years. This was no great loss for the world.  But, as you might have noticed, I’ve recently jumped back into the cinema-appreciation ring, but this time with a crazy new concept: I’m not working from a list.  Well, I'm certainly referencing the imdb 250, but I'm not tied down to a list.  I can watch anything I want! With no one personally recommending films to me, I don’t feel like I’m violating someone’s trust if I need to go negative. And besides, since I generally -- not always! -- choose films I expect to like, there are fewer negative reviews to write.

All that having been said, however…

If there’s any film you would like to have me evaluate, discuss, sharpshoot, analyze, praise to the skies, lambast, dismiss, and/or deconstruct, I’d still kind of like to hear about it. I like talking about movies.

4 comments:

mrs.5000 said...

Ha! I remember our disagreeing over The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. But good thing I reread the review, I'd forgotten my pledge to teach you Morse Code if you were similarly stricken.

Kenneth Noisewater said...

Have you seen "Boogie Nights?" It's my favorite of all time. Then again, if you lambaste it, then I might get mad. I saw the final film in the "Hobbit" series and thought it was quite good. Saw a lot of crappy reviews, but I thought it was the best of the three.

Michael5000 said...

Mrs: Well obviously I don't mind disagreeing with you...

Doc: See, what I could do is, I could watch "Boogie Nights" and, if I thought it was great, I could say so. And if I thought it stank, I could just keep my mouth shut, and we'd both forget you ever mentioned it.

lamanyana said...

I though Boogie Nights was really weird, but then I realized that I was coming down with the flu and had a high fever.