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Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006, 10:54 am
paranoiaebw: a question

When I first came to university I had already decided that somewhere down the line I would like to go to film school and become involved in making movies. I had a good taste in movies and a somewhat good eye for what are big pieces of shit. Yet I really didn’t look at film the way I do know until I took a few film classes at my university.

The major point my professor makes about films is that we are entertaining ourselves to death. We are ambushed by so much Hollywood shit that we aren’t thinking about anything. Now, my professor goes a little extreme saying that there is NO place for entertainment (as I feel you need a healthy dose of both) but he did open my eyes to thinking about how I watch film.

One of the biggest things I came to realize is that films have become the narrative of our generation. Literature has taken a step back. There is still a lot of reading going on (don’t mistake me for a second) but the majority of our storytelling comes through movies. So don’t they have the same responsibility as good literature to have meanings and messages embedded in the stories (ones that aren’t cookie cutter meanings that studios like Walt Disney have been throwing at you sense birth)?

Now I realize because of the wonderful lust for money that this isn’t always so. Hollywood is a money-making industry. Sometimes we have some amazing films that come out of Hollywood but that’s usually when a director can work within that system, manipulate its resources, to produce a result that is an amazing piece of art.

However what about filmmakers that work outside the system creating wonderful pieces of art? Truly they exist right? Sure they do. We’ve seen many great examples of this time after time.

So my point in this entry:

Recently I get pissed off when having conversations with friends who are like “No, your wrong, it’s all about entertainment and that’s it”. I’ve had people suggest to me that I’m taking “movies” too seriously and I need to lay off of it. That any movie that is a piece of art is “accidentally” a piece of art. So am I going completely insane?

I understand there are always going to be people out there that would rather watch “Dukes of Hazard” all day long then anything challenging. However, Is it wrong (or maybe pretentious) of me to try and show them the “errors” in their ways?

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:09 pm (UTC)

Not at all. Films can definitley be an artform. I think the problem may lie with the people who you talk films to. Are they people who go to the cinema to watch a film as entertainment (hence their enjoyment of these dumbass movies) or other people who enjoy film for the artistic merits and possibilities of intelligent questions and observations about diverse topics.

I know i avoid talking to many people i know about films as their extent of film viewing runs the gamut of peurile, poorly made, shallow mainstrream movies.

As a filmmaker I think making a shallow movie is such a waste of all the tools i have. And i can be entertaining whilst transmitting meaning.

And no, you are not taking movies to seriously at all. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to the cinema, but you cant make him watch anything intelligent.

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC)

As a filmmaker I think making a shallow movie is such a waste of all the tools i have.

or a way to make money to fund your real film.

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)

ahh yes. Safe film, art film. Safe film, art film.

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)

Yeah, it is one possible way of doing it. I know there is a long tradition of it throughout film. Its something ive yet to work through. Does making a dumb film to fund a smart one cheapen the effort that i make and does the dumb one devalue my work (ie my entire film career/ouvre)as a whole.

But being realistic and aware of the economics of film making i often think this isa viable option, but maybe with a pseudonym to separate the works of intelligence from the economic need works. A tricky dilema i feel and one worth more thought, though your suggestion is entirely valid. :)

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC)
molotovnitemare: in my humble opinion

that's why psuedonyms were created, haha. ;)
but it's nothing new. lots of fantastic authors whored off their writing just to support themselves while they worked on their "serious novel" (twain wrote for TONS of magazines and newspapers). still happens today. their is nothing really wrong with it to use your talent to make money. the real tragedy is to focus on only the money and lose sight of the art.

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
samuelsapien: Re: in my humble opinion

the real tragedy...

Absoloutley agreed. I think you've hit upon the thing that makes me the most sad when looking at films. Its about the film, not the box office.

Hmmm, *wanders off to think up a pseudonym*

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
molotovnitemare: Re: in my humble opinion

how 'bout sam spadien?


i kill me.

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
samuelsapien: Re: in my humble opinion

HA :)

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC)

I know it has alot to do with the people i'm talking to. I do have friends that agree with me but friends that don't. The ones that don't I'm just trying to show them something different. The sad thing is I actually work at a movie theatre which just adds to my frustration.

And I love your "saying" at the end.

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)

Firstly, thank you.

I turned down a job at a movie theatre as i knew id explode. A friend of mine suggested id probably run amok with implements through the queue for dumbass teen movie no6 and generic lazy thriller 4. I have growled audibly at a friend of mine who lauded a film i felt dirty from watching. AS a result we came to an unspoken arrangement where i go to the cinema with only certain friends and they with others. :)

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
molotovnitemare: serious reply

those that think film is "only entertainment" are fools. that's like saying comic books are only for kids. they say this because they either never really saw anything amazing enough to make them care, or they are too narrow to try to look past a simple story.

art is everywhere. it invades ever medium you can think of. it's in comics, film, even children's books. some people are dead inside and don't see the beauty and awe in everyday life. those people need help. they may not take it, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to show people the art of living.

good luck with your art.

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:14 pm (UTC)
paranoiaebw: Re: serious reply

Thanks very much for the reply. I guess it just frustraits the hell out of me when people are so ignorant to the wonderful art you can find in all mediums (as you mentioned).

Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
pettyharvey: Re: serious reply

It is a pain, but some simply opt to not look deeper than they should. Hell, my Dad still calls comics "funny books," something that, to what I read, would never be considered funny (well, there's humor, but . . . forget it). The truth to the matter is that it's much easier to be mindlessly entertained than to ingest something with substance. And if those people don't care to see it, then don't waste any time. I wouldn't call it ignorant, just the easy way out.

Example? 2005's crapfest Fantastic Four grossed double what Brokeback Mountain pulled in.

However, there are times when you just want to be mindlessly entertained, but that doesn't mean we should neglect ourselves the finer art that can be found in movies. It's there. But just think that despite all those who shut off their brains, there are many of us who like to look a bit deeper, who can both enjoy both a beautiful brain-buster and fun entertaining romp.


Mon, Mar. 20th, 2006 03:56 pm (UTC)
molotovnitemare: Re: serious reply

my Dad still calls comics "funny books,"

i hate that. if you take a beutiful picture, it's art.
write something thoughful and stylish, and it's litterature.
put beautiful pictures, and stylish thoughtful writing together, it's crap that rots your brains.

Tue, Mar. 21st, 2006 06:51 am (UTC)

I was just talking with my friends recently about this and film is:

A lot of writers state that if material read does not make some sort of impact on you is not worth making. I take film very seriously, just as I would any piece of art. There needs to be some statement, some ingenuity (whether it's story, acting, cinematography, special effects, writing, etc). I think that your complaints about film (being cookie-cut and having good films break the standard) were probably being make hundreds of years ago about books and plays. The thing that we forget is that the plays and books that we read now have been selected to stand the test of time and thus we assume that the past had a plethora of great art and little of the crap we suffer through in the present. So I think we're okay with where we're at so long as films like "Waking Life", Focus Features productions and Johnny Depp keep working