The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"I don't really know what kind of girl I am."

As a movie viewer, reviewer, and critical watcher, I find myself so often confronted with the problem of expectations, assumptions, and outcomes when going in to see a film, an issue I've talked about on this blog before, most notably in my post regarding my conflicting feelings for I Am Love. However, the problem here isn't so much a purposeful act of contrarianism, but self-imposed limitations in the range of films that I watch, and that I want to watch.

For example, when I see a trailer for a big-budget superhero movie or a goofy family film, I'm not nearly as excited or intrigued as when I see a trailer for a foreign artsy drama or a quirky indie comedy, mentally proclaiming that the former "are just not my kinds of movies".

The thing is though, when movies like the aforementioned I Am Love and other films I less than loved such as Precious and Up in the Air (all of which I was really excited for) fall flat in my estimation, while movies like Kung Fu Panda and Thor end up being highly entertaining and enjoyable, I can't help but question my own presumed taste (even if the formula does work the other way around, with many movies that I knew I would hate absolutely living up to their expectation).

The most recent example, and the one that prompted me to reflect on this topic, is Jurassic Park, which I finally saw for the first time only a couple of days ago. I was expecting to enjoy it, sure (it's not so popular for nothing, right?) but I wasn't expecting at all to love it as much as I did. I thought that there was no way that a movie about dinosaurs on an island could be that good and thus I was rather surprised when I found myself absolutely falling head over heels for it.

It's a problem that I'm not sure really has any solution, besides perhaps toning down my own snobbery and keeping an open mind to even the most unappealing of movies. That's not to say that anyone should go see everything because it "might be good" - I mean, that would be impossible! But, that perhaps good cinema can exist in many different realms and by widening our horizons you can get the best of everything.

Of course, I'm still young, and my tastes are still developing. What I find entertaining now I may find detestable later on - who knows what my cinematic tastes will be like in one, five, ten, twenty years - but I hope I can always examine myself and that I don't get in the way of my own moviegoing experiences.

P.S. This post obviously has nothing to do with the ever polarizing Juno, but the quote seemed appropriate.

Do you find yourself surprised by your own tastes and expectations? Are your tastes still developing? Love Jurassic Park? Hate Juno? Sound off below!


  1. well you've hit the nail on the head, we're driven to more interesting concepts of film by the constant barrage of shit thrown at us by mainstream cinema but in reality hollywood et al still have a lot to offer the cinephile. there is great cinema coming from america still, jsut less of it. and marking all independent and foreign cinema as automatically better really would be one of those film snob cliches.

    i fall in to the same trap but i've taken a more open minded view since i started writing my blog and in particular the weekly viewing posts. strangely i am now more likely to give some awful hollywood movie a chance before i watch something more challenging and interesting.

    and jurassic park is awesome. not least for the great novel by michael crichton which is unreasonably dismissed as junk fiction alongside less able authors such as deaver and reichs etc.

  2. Yes, you are a movie snob ahah ;) Jurassic Park is one of the best blockbuster of all-time! Personally (and like most people I think), I normally gravitate toward the big Hollywood production but I make a conscious effort to watch more indies and foreign movies.

  3. This reminds me, once again, that I haven't seen JURASSIC PARK. I am an anomaly.

  4. Toby: You summed it up perfectly. It's hard to find the balance but we have to try not to fall into that indie cliche, like you said.

    Castor: Haha, I'm working on it! And Jurassic Park is amazing, isn't it? I can't get over how much I love it.

    Andrew: Ah, you have to get on it! You'll be glad you did. And I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.


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