Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I wouldn't dare begin to count the number of times I am asked to name "one classic film you haven't seen" in a year. Yet, as per custom would dictate, I always give an answer. But I have to admit, I'm very seldom 100% honest with it. Yes, the movies I name are classics, and they are ones I haven't seen. So in that regard I'm golden. However, I'm not answering the question with the utmost regard to its original intention. That being, the desired "name one movie that just about everyone who is anyone has seen that you haven't so I can go 'wow, you haven't seen that!?'" Trust me on this, experience dictates that's the flow of that conversation about 90% of the time. The other 10% being on the rare 'me neither' reply scenarios.
What often transpires after these conversational setups are what I call the '10 minute sale.' Following your admission on a classic you have failed to see, most bloggers will begin telling you all the reasons you should see it, followed by their opinion on the film, and if you're unlucky a handful of spoilers tossed into the mix. If you're lucky you get a sound 'I'm not going to say anything, just go see it now' reply.
The problem is, like many bloggers I fall into the former category. It's no fun typing 'just see it' over and over again until your head begins to spin and your hands start doing it on autopilot. "How was your day?" "Just see it" conversations take hold and your family and (social network) pals begin to look at you funny. So, we go into detail and try to amp up the film in the hope of building up their desire to see it, in turn controlling their mental viewing queue. It's the side effects we don't often see.
When I first admitted years ago that I hadn't seen Chinatown, I got a speech that would make Rush Limbaugh seem tame and short-winded from a fellow blogging buddy. The movie just so happened to be his all time favorite film, and that's where I went wrong. The depth to which he analyzed, described, and preached the movie to me was a 9 on the Lean-length-scale. It was all incredibly insightful and technical stuff, and at the time I lacked the heart (or courage) to say 'just shut up and let me watch it.' So I've spent the last few years meticulously trying to forget everything (for the most part) that he told me.
I fully understand where he was coming from. You mention you haven't seen a Kurosawa film and I'll whip out the soap box quicker than Charlie Sheen at a 'winner' convention. But in some cases I don't want to get that speech. You'll either have created a level of expectation that in no realistic way the movie could ever live up to, or you'll have given away so much that me watching it will be diluted into me 'waiting for moments' to happen.
Neither of which are conducive to an optimal movie watching experience. However, I don't think the '10 Minute Sale' is necessarily a bad thing. It is human nature to want to express things to which we are passionate about, and so it should come as no surprise that we take an opportunity to do so. Just don't be surprised if I'm not a hundred percent honest because I want to avoid getting it... or even worse, asking you to shut up about it. And of course, don't be afraid to return onto me the same treatment.