Sunday, June 7, 2009

Movies Are Supposed to be Escapism, Dang It

I should know better by now, I really should, but somehow I'm having trouble with my learning curve. I got some DVDs from the library. Independent/Artsy Films. Almost every time I watch independents, I'm disappointed. The pattern holds true for the most recent two.

Waitress: I had high hopes for this one, because, well, it has Nathan Fillion in it. But, it's a classic example of the previews mis-representing the actual film. Previews = quirky romantic comdey; Film = not rom. com. in the least. Instead, it's kind of depressing and complicated.

Lars and the Real Girl: Ditto on the previews vs. film disconnect. Ditto on the rest, too. It irritates me when the film company doesn't think the actual film is going to draw in a crowd, so they cut the previews to make it seem like it's something it's not. Makes me feel all deceived and mislead.

It's also strange to me how both of these movies had great comedic potential, but seemingly decided comedy wasn't worthwhile enough, that they'd rather go for serious. But, if only they'd done it Joss Whedon style by playing up the funny to highlight the sad, both films would have been more compelling. But, they tried to be too high-brow with the humor. Too dry. Didn't work for me.

Synecdoche, New York: Watched this one because of a blogger's recommendation and because I liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind okay. Yeah... about that.

My problem is all about perspective. Often, I feel like these types of movies come at life from almost a "too realistic" perspective. Life is quirky, complicated and messy. Of course, we get it. Life is also hilarious, charming, and lovely. These films stick with the first bit and skip the second. They try for funny, but the timing/tone/delivery is off and it becomes that joke that doesn't work. Though, I'll admit, there are oodles of people who'd disagree with me on this. Fair enough. Suffice it to say, these films are generally not my cup of tea.

The bottom line for me, is if I'm watching a movie, I want to embrace a more optimistic point of view. The good guy wins, the conflict gets resolved, and the conflict is big - not just about the banality of the everyday, blah, blah, blah. I want story, not reality. That's why I watched a movie instead of sitting on a street corner watching people.

We all know what life is, and we all know there's plenty of tedious, depressing stuff that goes on in it. We all know the score. It's not about life, it's about telling a story.

Anyhow, enough of the rant. On the flip side of the coin, there are some times when the Independent thing really works for me. I guess that's why I keep watching them - sometimes they're awesome. So, I'll add to this post a list of my favorite low budget/obscure/Independent flicks:

The Amateurs
Little Miss Sunshine
Smoke Signals
Blow Dry
Danny Deckchair
The Darwin Awards
Friends and Family
How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog

P.S. I know you could argue some of these are actually mainstream flicks, but I'm going off of the criteria that, for many, if I mentioned the movie in conversation, people wouldn't know what it was.

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