Lessons in Film Viewing Pt. II

These are things I learned in the course of watching 750 movies in 2009, presented in 4 parts.  Here's the link to Pt. I if you missed it...

13) I really like Cary Grant (my sister said, "What is Cary Grant?" ... I was shocked.)... and William H. Macy.  What an odd combo.  And for very different reasons.  Well, they both make me laugh and I enjoy them in almost every role.  But Cary Grant is also because he's nice to look at!  I already knew I liked Meryl Streep, though I've definitely seen her in roles I didn't appreciate.  I think she's become a better actress as she aged which is awesome.  I like Shirley MacLaine, too but I didn't like their film together (Terms of Endearment).  Go figure.
14) I really like classics.  They're generally so fun to watch though the love stories go from slightly unbelievable to downright ridiculous.  Really?  You fell in love after 30 minutes together?  *Eye roll.*
15) It's nice to be around people who are open to watching docs, fiction films and foreign films.  I have that in my classmates and even better, in Rashan.  I really enjoy being able to watch a huge variety of movies and have multiple people to discuss them with.
16) The most talked about foreign films are usually really worth the effort to get past the subtitles if that's your hang-up: Volver, Amelie, Life is Beautiful, La Vie En Rose, M.
17) Foreign docs are really difficult to get into sometimes.  I think more than any other genre.  The language barrier along with being dropped into a completely different culture can be overwhelming.  This doesn't mean I won't watch them, but it might take me longer to get into them.  That said, I LOVED "To Be and To Have," a French doc about a one-room school house.
18) There are lots of cliches in documentary, things that have been done to death: the Holocaust, the environment, the personal film, the war in Iraq.  And the market is so saturated with these types of films that it becomes a chore to try to watch one even if you've heard great things about it.  Particularly if the last -- ones were torturous or pedantic.
19) Narration is a horribly overused crutch.  There is no reason to put narration in every single part of every single film.  It's particularly excruciating in personal films where you have these people who should not ever be allowed to speak on wax or P2 cards or video tapes or film or cassettes or digital audio recorders because their voices and delivery are JUST.THAT.BAD!!  Ugh.  I had to take a voice & diction class as part of my journalism instruction in undergrad.  Why didn't you?
20) I can sense really bad movies very early on.  Structural flaws rarely wait until the middle or end to flare in the worst of the worst.  With those not as extreme, flaws often appear in the middle and end which brings down the quality of the film but doesn't kill it.  Terrible films get turned off after 5 or 10 minutes (The Good German).
21) I realized I don't really like watching films where I know the outcome sucks because it's based on history I'm aware of... I actually already knew this because when watching 'Titanic' in theaters I actually said, "SINK THE (expletive) BOAT ALREADY!!" But it became more clear over the last year.  Lol.
22) The more movies I watched the easier it became for me to figure out how I would rate them long before the end.  I usually wrote my ratings with more than an hour to go.  Sometimes as little as 30 minutes.  I would tweak if necessary but it often wasn't.
23) Oscars don't mean jack.  I never understood how people could say they didn't need to win awards or get accolades.  WHAT?!!?  I want to be recognized!!!!  And still do!  Lol.  But I can now understand what they mean.  You can love your work and produce some amazing films and not get the attention you deserve.  It doesn't minimize your awesomeness.  I feel you.  There are a lot of Oscar-nominated or winning films I have no affinity toward.  I still want to make one.


Ginae said...

I really like Meryl Streep a lot too. Have you seen "It's Complicated"? I saw it last week at the movies and loved it. She did a really good job in that movie, as did Steven Martin and Alec Baldwin actually.

I've been meaning to ask you for the longest...have u seen Slumdog Millionaire and did you like it? I loved that movie so much and was curious as to what you thought of it.

Jameil said...

Ginae... haven't seen it yet but it's definitely on the list! slumdog was one of the 750. i thought it was okay but i didn't understand why it was oscar-worthy. i might've liked it more if i saw it BEFORE all the Oscar nods. i'll watch it again.

Anonymous said...

I like some foreign films. One of my favorite is Motorcycle Diaries

Rashan Jamal said...

13 Cary Grant is the man, Not so much of a Shirley fan, but Meryl is cool
14. The classics and the falling in love mad quick is weird, i just usually suspend all doubt.
15. Yep, I don't like people that only watch certain types of films. Expand your horizons.
16. I love foreign movies. Amelie is my joint. French is my favorite type of foreign movie
17. I don't mind them so much. I like seeing a different perspective. It's like the littlest things are different and that's interesting to me.
19. You crack me up with your violent reaction to narration. LOL
20. I'm glad you 750 is over so we can not have to force our way through crap movies. Turn the mugs off.
21. Historical movies bug me, only when I know something about the subject. Titanic was an awesome display of filmmaking. I don't care if they took liberties or that I already knew what was going to happen.
22 I used to try not to rate in my head before it was over, but that's impossible now. I can tell from the get go most of the time too.
23. Award shows are opinion based, and my opinion is often different than other people. therefore I never really put in stock in them.

Jameil said...

epsi... that's on my queue! haven't gotten to it yet.

rj... 13) right!??! i'm less of a shirls fan than i sued to be. 14) SO weird. i just take it as a classics convention like indies have a nerd who magically finds love in the course of the film. 15) WORD. 16) i LOOOOVE AMELIE!!! 17) i wouldn't say i mind them but sometimes it takes me a while to get into them. 18) lolol 19) and it's SO real. 20) lolol. FOR REAL! though i've yet to do that this year. 21) i may try titanic again. MAY. my dad loves it. and watched it ad nauseum when we were younger. so maybe i'll still pass tho it sounded AWESOME on his 7-speaker surround sound. 22) lol. the more you watch the easier it becomes so i KNOW you should be able to do it! 23) oh you're so different... *eye roll* lol. i don't watch b/c they bore me. i just like the clothes.

Elle Willa said...

I like Humphrey Bogart over Cary Grant but enjoy both. Also, did you see Pan's Labryinth? If you mentioned it in the movies you've seen, my bad. I like your picks for foreign films too...loved La Vie En Rose...but found it too long. I took an intermission on that one. But still loved it. You should check out Love Me if You Dare (it's on netflix). Has marion cotillard before she was big time and it's a bit fantastical (is that a word?).

Elle Willa said...

p.s. @ Rashan... I agree about the Holocaust and Iraq movies.

Jameil said...

elle... I liked Pan's Labyrinth & loved Love Me if You Dare!! Two good ones! I like the fantastical! So fun! Long time no hear! Welcome back!