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.