Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Short Term Movie Memory

This is a conversation I've had somewhere around 500000000 times. Just thought I'd share.

R.P.: "So, film buff, what's your favorite movie." (R.P. = random person)
Uni: "Oh, definitely Kurosawa's Seven Samurai."
R.P.: "Never heard of it."
Uni: "Ah, yeah, I get that a lot. Japanese film, came out in the 50's, amazing epic, beautifully shot, great stuff. You should check it out."
R.P.: "Ohhhhh, ok."
Uni: "What about you, what's your favorite movie?"
R.P.: "Ummmmm, I saw Transformers 2 last weekend."
Uni: "Oh, alright. But what about your favorite movie? All time?"
R.P.: "I really like Transformers2."
Uni: "Yeah, but you just watched it, and only once. I'm talking all time. You know that movie you just have to watch over and over again."
R.P.: "I don't remember."
Uni: "I'm not asking you to remember, just name a movie you really love that you enjoy watching again and again. That defines favorite."
R.P.: "Yeah, I saw Transformers 2 last weekend."
Uni: ".......... I think we're struggling with communication here. I'm just curious about your all time. The big one. You're #1 favorite. Saw it as a kid, couldn't stop talking about it. Keep on watching it. The movie that most readily identifies everything you look for in a movie."
R.P.: "Hmmmmm. I watched The Hangover two weeks ago. That was good."
Uni: *hangs self*

This is a bit of an exaggeration of what I see happening far too often. Reading best of lists that don't pre-date the 1990's. All time favorites that just ramble off the 5 most recent films they saw. The sad thing is that many of them have seen, and absolutely love, lots of the films that are often talked about. Films like Star Wars and Jaws, but they're as quickly forced out of memory as they pave their way in. The only thing worse is when you ask them why it's their favorite movie. You get a blank stare as if you just asked them to solve an equation for relativistic energy. I just want you to remember what you enjoy, and express why! I don't think it's too much to ask for. And if you can express why, I don't care what you name as long as you're honestly passionate about it.

*Hops off soap box* Ok, it's now free for someone else to use.

16 better thoughts:

Simon said...

Reading that conversation gave me a headache.

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

I saw Robin Hood a couple weeks ago... ;)

Obviously you were talking to a someone with a serious mental disability, for two reasons. 1) they didn't understand the question which is not difficult. 2) anyone who answers Transformers 2 to a question that includes the words 'best' and 'all-time' is either 4 years old or got dropped on their head a few times as a child.

Univarn said...

@Simon as you get more and more into film blogging you'll partake in a couple of these

@MVP Well this wasn't a "real" conversation so much as it was a combination of conversations I've had. Basically it's when I talk to people about their favorite movie of all time and all they can mention is what they've seen recently that they enjoyed. As if they are unable to love anything outside some random window of time in respect to the current year.

The sad thing is, lots of them aren't mentally disabled, they're just too afraid of being considered "outdated" or "uncool" that they dare not name anything not recent.

TheAnswerMVP2001 said...

@Univarn - eh, I still consider that mentally disabled. If all you can think of is a film you just saw then somethings not sparking in your brain. And if there are seriously some people out there afraid to name old films in an attempt to be cool (which is a new one to me)then they have some issues that are more serious than their brain not functioning correctly. If anything it's "uncool" conforming to everyone's mainstream tastes in film. If they were sane in the membrane they'd realize that.

Andrew said...

I know the feeling dude... I once got into an arguement with someone who wanted to say that Scarface was better than the Godfather because there was more shooting in the former. And he fll asleep watching the Godfather. Same person tried to argue the validity of TF2.

Castor said...

You need to upgrade your friends Univarn ;)

Univarn said...

@Andrew Even that I can at least swallow if they could at least justify it with some measurable argument other than MTV told me too.

@Castor But I don't have any friends *cries in a corner*

Red said...

I hear exactly what you are saying. I loved it when somebody asked me for a recomendation and I handed them either a foreign film or an older classic(though I have admit I don't have near the experience with older classics are most of you). The look on their face was priceless.

Have to agree with you on Seven Samurai as well. Right up there with the all time greats.

The Mad Hatter said...

You'd get a kick out of this. The movie theatre chain here in Canada has this little knack of putting their staff's favorite films on their name badge.

Thus, on any given Friday, I can find myself buying popcorn from a helpful young lady whose badge tells me "Missy: MEAN GIRLS"...and then I can proceed to have my ticket torn by a young go-getter whose badge tells me "Robert: 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS".

My secret joy is to stand there and silently judge them.

That said, I have no problem with somebody seeing something and considering it possibly their "new favorite movie"...as long as whatever else is behind it isn't a mere six months older.

moviesandsongs365 said...

@Mad Hatter : Liked your little story, it's not a bad idea, but i'm not sure all employees everywhere would be audacious enough to put them selves out there (even though they get payed) For some fav movie(s) is a private thing you don't tell strangers immediately.

@univarn I have a woman librarian friend who says users give her a funny look ,if she suggests one of the classics... Kind of what you've been arguing, but just books instead ;)

I doubt whether there are that many people who have just one favourite of all time that remains 'the fav' forever. I have several fav movies, the list changes as I grow older and hopefully wiser.

I prefer on my blog distinguishing between nostalgic movies, and current favourites. But that's just me. If you do that, then you can avoid being labelled as childish?

Univarn said...

@Red I think it'd be interesting to see a study done on why people avoid classics so much. Especially young people. How modern and fitting in are so integrated.

@Mad I would definitely judge the person with 2 Fast 2 Furious on their tag. In fact I would probably see that, and go: well, I think I'll try another counter. Not saying it's wrong, just saying in my opinion that movie makes its predecessors, and followers looks Shakespearean. But I'll definitely give you "new favorite movie" but that's still not a solid answer. A favorite movie should have at least 2 viewings under its belt (more or less depending on length)

@moviesandsongs I agree that there's no movie anyone loves forever. As a kid my favorite movie was Star Wars, then it was Glory, then Good Bad and Ugly, and now it's Seven Samurai. But if I was answer a favorite question I would consider any of those appropriate answers. Not the movie I saw yesterday.

Besides I still love many of the movies I saw as a kid. So no worries about being called childish here.

Rachel said...

I very rarely mention my love of movies or the fact that I have a movie blog to most people, because of morons like R.P. above. I'd rather just find fellow movie lovers online, so I don't feel like having a headdesk moment (though that can happen with fellow movie lovers too).

Heather said...

A lot of my friends are privy to the fact that I'm a movie person, some are even aware I have the website, and *gasp* some even read it. Nonetheless, the fodder of starting up movie conversations with me has not been discovered as moot arguments much to my dismay. From the NON movie folk that go opening night to anything that TV tells them is going to be the biggest movie of the year (this includes films of the likeness of Bounty Hunter, Sex and The City, Clash Of The Titans, etc.) and afterwords they often want to know what I think.

After they rave about how awesome it was because it was clearly "awesome" with no further explanation I open my mouth and close in again slowly, using every spectrum of my nerd strength to reel myself away from explaining exactly why the movie they just saw was smelly doggy poo poo. On the days my nerd filter doesn't show itself and I rant, I find them nodding their head either in confusion or listen to them as they agree that the movie now "sucks".

Of course this group of my friends consider themselves movie fans and when I look at their collection of films I feel myself overwhelmed with the urge to chuckle at the fact that they spent money on it. These are the people that purchase DVD's before even seeing the movie just because TV told them to.

In these situations I always find the urge to just shut the hell up, which is something I rarely ever do, and I'm sure is a sign of my disapproval. Still. It's better than pointing my finger and laughing at the smelly doggy poo poo.

Some people just love movies different I guess.

Univarn said...

@Rachel Interesting. I love hearing people's opinions on film, and I can't shut up about movies long enough for people to catch on.

@Heather Yeah, there's a lot of that going on. I think some of it has to do with people love Popularity. And commercials, tv, and all play to that love of being among the "cool people." So much so that people will just blindly watch and like anything they've been told everyone else will. Eventually many grow out of it, and become willing to see different forms of cinema. But not all.

The Floating Red Couch said...

Whenever I get a movie in from Netflix like Blues Brothers or Deep Impact or Taxiu dRiver, when I tell my dad, his response is inevitably: "But you already saw that."

Yeeeeah. I've already eaten pizza, doesn't mean I won't want to eat it again.

But, peeps with lives that stretch outside of the wide screen have this crazy notion that once you see a movie once, you're good on that one.

TJMAC510 said...

Yeah I realize I'm a bit late to this party but as I was thinking about writing something like this myself you took the words right out of my mouth.

I really do hate it when people don't really have broad spectrums when it comes to their favorite films. They either think of the last one they saw or latch on to hype created by fans. Like at my old high school I am Legend, Twilight, New Moon, Transformers 2, The Hangover and Avatar were named the top 6 movies of all time. That's just insane.

I mean I can understand age complications (like my cousin believing Batman Begins as being the first Batman movie since he wasn't born before the others) but jeez. I am 19. Granted I have a lot of 90s-2000s favorites but a lot of my favorite films are from 70s and 80s as well as some predating the 60s.

What's even more frustrating is this conversation.

Me: What's your favorite movie ever?
Person: I dunno Transformers...Avatar...I dunno.
M: OK..why?
P: I just do.
M: Well do you like any older films?
P: Oh yeah like Pirates of The Caribbean?
M: No like Godfather or Raging Bull or Scarface
P: Never heard of them
M: Ever heard "Say hello to my little friend" or "I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse?"
P: Yeah...from the Sopranos right?

*Punches self in head over and over*

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be a young person...being grouped with these people

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