The Movies You’re Supposed To Watch Vs. The Ones You Do
Am in the middle of a movie-watching situation that I’m sure is familiar to many: forcing myself to watch the movies in the genere of: The Ones You’re Supposed To Watch. As opposed to the ones you shouldn’t, or more so, the ones you end up watching that really aren’t all that good.
Why would anyone watch movies that you don’t really like? Well, in more familiar terms: take The King’s Speech. Critics agree this is a great movie, won tons of awards including Best Picture, it’s got Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, teaches you stuff about World War II, has great performances, etc. But it’s been sitting in my queue for quite some time, jumped over by lower-brow fare like Hot Tub Time Machine and Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2.
Why? I chalk it up to the difference between art vs. entertainment. There’s no question “art” is good for you, but often, after a long work day your brain is fried and you just want something mindless. Something that doesn’t need a lot of thought. Something you can put on in the background, not really pay attention, and still get the general gist. That’s Entertainment.
My thinking each time I chose not to watch The King’s Speech goes like this:
- I know this is a great movie and I really should watch it.
- But it’s mostly about an important British guy speaking. Sounds like a play. I’ll have to pay attention. I don’t want to think that hard tonight.
- This is about World War II? At least Atonement had Keira Knightley.
- Start up Meet The Fockers.
And then I feel slightly unsatisfied and unclean, not unlike after eating a cheeseburger and fries and feeling sluggish and weak a few hours later. It’s not total regret, but a feeling like I could have chosen a bit more wisely.
It’s time to make a change. Over the past two weekends, I’ve been plowing through the AFI 100 once and for all. Network, The General, The French Connection, The Wild Bunch, A Night At The Opera, The Last Picture Show – all movies I’ve been meaning to get around to for years and just never did for so many reasons – they were too long, silent, in black and white, had subtitles, or just sounded dull. And in each case it’s proved a worthwhile viewing if not much more.
It’s rather like eating vegetables or working out. During the first few minutes it feels uncomfortable, and the call of Surrogates is strong, but it always gets better, and I kick myself for not seeing the smarter movie before.
The hard part is getting over that initial “I don’t really feel like watching this right now” voice.
But no, I haven’t gotten around to The King’s Speech – working on it.