by Tony Nigro
I love movies. I hate “we love the movies.”
Let me explain:
It’s not a paradox like “I always tell the truth. That last statement was a lie.” But how else do you describe the elation of watching a great movie without calling up the industry’s prepackaged, commercialized nostalgia of movie watching? You know the type: 1950s, Fade up on a point-of-view of a movie screen; track across rows of wide-eyed faces lit up by flickering projector; as the hero on-screen saves the girl (or something), romantic music swells and we close-up on timid hands, destined for romance, meeting on the sweaty top of a cola bottle. Coke is it. We Love The MoviesTM.
The celebration of watching movies seems to be taking away from the actual watching, feeling, and understanding that are the basis for discussing a film and cinema overall. It’s become a sales pitch for going to see movies rather than a focus on the films themselves, what draws us in and why. As we buy into that sales pitch, movies seem to be treated as more and more disposable. To critique a film is to find more meaning in it, make it more valuable. To think about it is to make it less disposable.
And it doesn’t end with the cinema. I’m just starting up the discussion there.