Friday, January 7, 2011

Staying Together For the Kids

We touched a little on your topic, Ben, in a little discussion about film critics John and Brandon and I had a little while ago. I am not well-versed in that subject and have been impressed/daunted by what John and Brandon have exposed themselves to. I am a skeptic when it comes to a lot of art criticism, really, because I feel that the enjoyment of art is so personal and visceral that when you try to be objectively critical, you're removing a crucial variable upon which art appreciation depends.

It is true that there are different levels of skill involved in any art form, and if we were comparing home movies to Scorsese's films, you could certainly make a judgment based upon objective elements. But in the professional film-making business, there are a lot of folks who have spent a lot of time studying their craft, and are good at what they do. So it comes down to taste, ultimately. I'll watch a ridiculous movie like Disaster Movie, and be dismissive of it until I watch the special features and see how much skill goes into even a throwaway film like that. I'll still think it's crap, maybe, but more respectable crap that is aware of its purpose--and is not without its fans.
I love reading Roger Ebert's reviews because it's obvious that he likes movies. He'll admit to his not liking a film being simply a matter of taste. I respect that. I think subjective discussions of film are much more enjoyable and fruitful, as opposed to trying to determine whether a film is "good" or "bad." I would have never referred to myself as a cinephile before John called me one, and it's because I associated cinephilia with elitism and criticism. But I'm learning that's not necessarily the case. I love movies. I don't know what's good, but I know what I like. I am a cinephile.

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