Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Movies You'll Watch Again - and Those You Probably Won't

I finally managed to catch a flick called Hot Fuzz the other day. I laughed and chortled and chuckled at all the right places. The spoof factor was high, and if you know about schlock horror flicks there's more in-jokes here than you can throw a stick at. The producers, directors, actors and everybody and sundry probably had a lot of fun making it, and so that's good. If you're not having fun making a movie, or are at least feeling good about it in some significant way, why bother—except for making money, which is a definite reason for many.

When Hot Fuzz was done, chortles and all—and many people I know think this flick is very, very funny indeed, and they watch it as comfort-movie; you know, when you're doing the ironing or having to sort out accumulated papers and such like—it occurred to me, and don't ask me where that came from!, that I probably would not trouble myself to watch it again. That would be a waste of time.

One might argue that watching it once would then also have been a waste of time, and maybe it was. Indeed, I often decide whether to watch something at all using a 'waste of my time' basis kind of assessment. Lots of people do this. Like I have some dear friends who will simply not go and see Australia, because they feel this way about that movie.

Others are differently disposed and will go and see a movie, or read a book, or visit an art exhibition or a concert, with what Bob Seger ('Fire Inside') might have called—and I transpose the words for the sake of narrative flow here—"the open minds [of] dilettantes", just because they think they ought to. They'll usually also finish books that really don't appeal to them, just because they think that that's the 'done' thing or they ought to or some crap like that. Like they owe the author anything. This whole issue reminds me of the 'Personal Message' at the header of the M'soft Messenger window of a colleague of mine: "If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything." Indeed, indeed...

Anyway, Hot Fuzz wasn't so unmemorable that it wasn't worth watching once; butmore than once? Not for me, chickadee.

To watch something again—and again and again and again and...—there has to be, I guess, to be something in it that speaks to you and resonates, and keeps on resonating. Something that's not only familiar, but in a friendly, embracing kind of way; even if occasionally it's not necessarily 'comforting', because there may well be unsettling movies or books that one comes back to. This doesn't happen as often, and they may well end up on the book or video shelf as reminders of what one has seen/read and maybe one day will want to revisit again; and to have the freedom to revisit it, not just by being able to get it from a rental store or library, but by actually having it at one's fingertips on the shelf, right there, sitting, staring at one, waiting.

All right! I admit, I have no idea where this whole discussion was going, and so I'll finish it. I guess it was just about sharing some stray notions of what's worth spending time on; if any. And why. Though, of course, I have no idea why—most of the time I really don't. I guess it's just all about narratives that wave into one's own, possibly to the extent of becoming part of one's own narrative fabric, so that by revisiting them repreatedly one strengthens that fabric—for whatever reason.

And for a different set of reasons, others just will not be allowed in there. They are and remain 'external'; something we watch with some kind of fundamental detachment, and though we may appreciate some aspects of them, they'll never become 'ours'.

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