What I Watched, What You Watched: Installment #1

When you run a movie website you will undoubtedly come across people and commenters that say one of two things:

  1. “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that movie!
  2. “You need to watch more movies!”

Depending on the site you run and the attitude you have I think these are two entirely legitimate comments. If you (in this case myself) intend to give an opinion on movies you should at least know a little something about what you are talking about, and not merely one single genre unless that is your site’s target demographic. You can go back and look at reviews I wrote back in 2003 (when I started this site) and easily recognize how little I knew. I was overly congratulatory and simply inexperienced and tried making up for it with forced writing. I recognize it, but have only used my inexperience as a means to realize there is much, much more I need to see.

With RopeofSilicon I attempt to find quality and enjoyment in all movies from the most generic romantic-comedy to the most obscure classic films. However, I can’t say I am well versed in all of these genres and have never attempted to claim I am. Instead I try to be as upfront and honest about my film watching history as I can, but I am also doing everything I can to improve on what I know and what I have seen. Not only does it allow me the opportunity to say, “Yes, I have seen that film,” but I believe it gives me a larger collection of films to recommend and discuss with my readers, as well as affords me the opportunity to say, “If you liked X then you might like Y.”

In the online world of film discussion there consistently appears to be negative connotations associated with someone that hasn’t seen a specific movie, shaming people into believing they can’t discuss movies unless they have seen a specific list of films. Such attitudes ultimately cause people to find little interest in returning to the discussion and most likely missing out on films they would otherwise enjoy and possibly enlighten others to details they have never thought of.

There is such a thing as a film snob, but it is oftentimes incorrectly associated to one group of people. A film snob is someone that looks down on others for what they have and have not seen and what they believe to be great. It’s an inability to allow others their opinion through closed-minded attitudes. However, being a snob works both ways.

The typical categorization involves focusing on people that prefer art house films as snobs because they can’t find intellectual stimulation in the majority of summer blockbusters. However, to label such a moviegoer as a snob is to be one yourself. Movies are movies no matter what genre they fulfill, and to judge someone based on their preference is silly, it’s a closed-minded approach that only limits you and limits your ability to persuade and engage others. There is no right and wrong kind of movies to like, there are just movies and my hope with this new feature is to open up the opportunity for quality arguments and open-minded discussion on everything from documentaries to visual effects driven films.

With “What I Watched, What You Watched” I will detail the movies I have watched in the past week. Some I have seen once, twice or more and others will be my first time seeing them. I will give quick comments on each, and I encourage you to share the movies you watched over the past week, discuss those I watched and offer up suggestions. My Netflix queue currently holds 435 for home delivery and another 315 in my Instant queue… Suffice to say I have a lot to watch and re-watch, but I am always looking to add more.

This week I have listed 14 films. Since this is the virgin installment this is actually a list of films I watched over the last week-and-a-half so there are a couple extra included. I hope some of you have things to say about the list and my comments, and hopefully have some films to suggest and discuss simply based on the ones I have watched.

One last thing before we look at the list, if you are a Netflix user you can click here to connect with my Netflix account and take a look at my upcoming queue, the films I have watched and rated and vice-versa. I haven’t really used the Netflix “friend” feature to any real extent just yet, but it would be pretty cool to be able to see what everyone else is watching and see how our tastes differ and how they are similar. After all, differences in opinions are often more interesting than similarities as long as neither side is personally ridiculed for their opinion.

Next time around I don’t expect my intro to be so damned long. Apologies, let’s dig in…

2 or 3 Things I Know about Her (1967)
QUICK THOUGHTS: I have only just recently started getting into the works of Jean-Luc Godard and I believe 2 or 3 Things I Know about Her takes some serious knowledge of the director to really get into it and appreciate it. It’s definitely nothing like the three previous films of his I have watched (Breathless, Band of Outsiders and Alphaville). I will be reviewing the upcoming Criterion release this Tuesday, but for now you can check out the trailer below, which does contain a little bit of nudity for those of you that may be watching from work.

Alien (1979)
QUICK THOUGHTS: Last week we discussed how Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut turned ten-years-old, but can you believe Ridley Scott’s Alien is 30-years-old? Personally this is my favorite of the Alien franchise and I can’t even begin to think about how many times I have seen it. I love the opening title sequence, if for no other reason than I always think they won’t be able to fit that last line in the middle to create the “E” (there just doesn’t seem like there’s enough room). Also, Dallas’s (Tom Skerritt) death is one of my all-time personal favorite scary moments. That alien screaming and throwing open its hands is picture perfect editing and sound design. Makes me jump still to this day.

Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
QUICK THOUGHTS: I had never seen Louis Malle’s 1987 classic, but I can now understand why it’s considered one. This film was fantastic from beginning to end. It manages to capture both what it means to be a child as well as create a thrilling scenario as it is set in a French boarding school during World War II. Definitely give this one a watch.