Brandon, don't think I haven't given myself a mild complex over not being able to "get" these great directors. Maybe I will someday. But I have to be able to release myself from that before anything else. I guess, on a deep level, I feel that film should tell stories--important stories about what it means (or doesn't) to be human. Sometimes when I watch a film, I feel that story is being sacrificed for something else, to say something else--sometimes even to mock the story itself. And that just seems pretentious to me. It's not like I'm against the abstract in art. In many ways I prefer modern art to classical, and many of my favorite artists hail from the late-nineteenth to twentieth centuries. So I don't completely understand why I don't have a taste for abstract film. But, truth be told, on a deep level I feel that it's a waste of time and money. STORY! Film should be about STORY!
P.S. Don't expect me to be consistent about this. I won't argue with you if you try to point my inconsistency out, either.
P.P.S. It's probably to my advantage not to spell it out, but I don't want anyone to miss my title. Let's say, hypothetically, that it says something about how I feel about certain kinds of critics. And let's say that it also says something about why, while I don't agree with John that it's his best, I still consider Lady in the Water to be a vastly underrated and excellent film.