About Me

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I am the creator of steampunk reviews, a woman in love with history, mystery, and the fine things of life, though not necessarily in that order. As a self-styled aristocrat, I've aimed to cultivate an old world (real or constructed via movies being irrelevant to me) sense of elegance and taste, and have been going to great lengths to fulfill that goal. It is my aim to live a life that is enjoyable, rather than one obsessed with being 'perfectly good for me in every way'.

Monday, August 15, 2011

When a film fan becomes a film fail

I love art films. That’s just a given. I adore Pan’s Labyrinth, the 1979 Nosferatu, the short films of the Brothers Quay, and Koyaanisqatsi, amongst many other films of that ilk. Often, the weirder and more disturbing the movie is, the more likely it is that I am all over it like ants on a sugar heap. I really and truly love when films push my boundaries and expect me to think for myself. This, however, does not prevent me from enjoying more mainstream works. I adored Priest, Thor, Cowboys and Aliens, and the Hangover 2, and that’s just this summer’s roster of movies that I saw. Did I consider any of them to be extremely deep or meaningful? No, not really, but they entertained me, made me roll with laughter, hold my breath with suspense, and generally have a grand time with a bucket of popcorn on my lap.
So now, I offer a heartfelt rant to the world. All you snobby film viewers who insist on criticizing any film that doesn’t fit your concept of high cinema, please remove your collective head from your collective ass. I had to put up with one of your kind, a self-centered hipster who refused to give any credit to the actors (in her eyes everything was due to the magic of the director) or to speculate on the meanings of particularly arcane movies. She drove me crazy. All she ever did was quote essays about the films in question, never once producing an independent thought of her own.
Obviously, it was this hipster who fueled my outright hatred of film snobbery, but I feel everyone, especially those of us who love art films, should take this sort of behavior into consideration before you open your trap to lambast a film. Now of course I’m not saying that you shouldn’t criticize a movie you dislike (I’d be out of a job then), but I do suggest that you consider whether the film was really and truly *bad*, rather than it just didn’t make the cut for the Cannes Film Festival. And there are, in fact, plenty of films that are really and truly bad, (The Last Airbender, DEAR GOD, THE LAST AIRBENDER) and ripe for the shredding. In other words, here are some good, non-subjective reasons for disliking a movie: Wooden script, abysmal acting across the board, abuse of special affects for no good reason, and enormous plotholes. Here are reasons that may mean the world to you, but are in fact subjective and it may be better to keep to yourself: The film wasn’t directed by your favorite director, it was made by a big Hollywood studio, it was designed to entertain rather than to inspire nirvana….etcetera.
Also respect other’s right to dislike *your* movies. I don’t look down people because they didn’t like Black Swan or Inglourious Basterds. And I (and many others besides myself) would take it as a kindness that we be allowed to dislike movies regardless of the film’s perceived merit. As per example Citizen Kane just plain bores me to tears. Yes I know it’s supposed to be a classic, but I’d rather watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes than be forced to contemplate Rosebud one more time. Or hear a hipster dissect the symbolism of Rosebud one more time. In other words; film likes and dislikes are subjective, and disliking a film is not automatically a sign that one is an uncouth yokel.
Finally, one does not have to have read every book on film or seen every arthouse flick to have an opinion on a movie. I love Nosferatu for its powerful Memento Mori attitudes, and I do not give a specific DAMN about the New German Cinema style that produced it or its goals, nor do I feel any need to. Directors, after all, may make a film in a certain way and hope to send a certain message, but everyone will walk away with differing opinions. People filter what they see through their own experiences and perspectives, and if you find yourself filtering your films entirely through the lenses of others, you will end up like the hipster I mentioned earlier: a squawking parrot with no opinion of your own.
In summary, watch the movies you love, debate about them politely while keeping the subjective elements in mind, respect the likes and dislikes of others, and never feel obligated to watch a film you hate/have no interest in.


  1. I agree totally, film critics often suffer the worst from the aforementioned malaise.

  2. Absolutely. While I'm happy to be warned off really terrible films (again, The Last Airbender), some of my favorite movies of all time have been slammed by critics for various asinine and subjective reasons. It drives me a bit crazy.

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