With all my talk of fictive worlds and collective dreams, it shouldn’t have been a shock that the second of these was met with resounding silence. I think when most people watch movies they are generally unable to express what it is they like about them. In fact, they are discouraged from voicing their reasons. Much like romance, a lot of value is put on undefined silent rapport. To dispel the magic, to expose our predilections, is something akin to betrayal.
I should note now that I get that this is coming from around my block in East Coast Small Town USA. There is one theatre here that plays the most middle of the road stuff you can imagine. To see anything else is a two hour ride/ drive to Philly. When was the last time you did that, drove a long distance to see a film? I don’t recall either. So I know it is presumptive but I am working from what I get from where most of us get our real movie news. Family and co-workers.
And those people do not care about sleeper hits, directors, or guilty pleasures. They want to get that sugar hit which only Hollywood can deliver. I am sure behind every ardent movie geek is an indifferent relative who just gobbles up the latest releases without a care. I would go so far that it is these sort of people which the movie geek make into an effigy, the enemy of “good taste”.
I am skeptical of the idea that the intentions of the movie-maker are very important. There is something childish in this sort of thinking. To like something is neither a condemnation or an approval. Is it necessary for us to feel that an entertainment or art object is understood by us alone? Much of this seems like the work of marketeers seeking to create a customer. It has little to do with the relationship between the viewer and the viewed. It has everything to do with people seeking people, seeking to belong to a group.
It is this culling of canon and non-canon, of cool and crap, that perplexes me. Branding cuts both ways. While it makes it easier to locate the type of films we love through recommendation lists and consumer circles, it dulls the discovery process. The integrity of a collection becomes more about totality than tonality. Swallowing entire filmographies whole seems a disservice.This confusion strands me between two spheres, art and commerce.