Random Factoid #552

31 01 2011

Today in my English class, we talked about how the system of moviegoing we have in place skewers our opinions of what we watch (as a branch of another conversation).  The perfect example given by one of my classmates was Oscar season: now, you don’t go see “The King’s Speech,” you go see the critically-acclaimed Oscar nominated “The King’s Speech.”  These are two entirely different beasts, and the expectations are skewered entirely.  The experiences completely changes as you watch a movie to check off boxes of approval, not just watching to watch.

That got me thinking: is it possible to see a movie without expectations?  To have the pure experience of moviegoing in our hands?

The closest thing I could think of was film festivals.  Even if we haven’t heard a review of a movie, we make assumptions based on the genre, the stars, the director, the trailer, and even other advertisements.  But at a film festival like Sundance, people just walk into movies with little to no idea what they will see.  And what we get are the best indicators of a movie’s actual worth.  (Judging by reactions, “Like Crazy” is great.  No one had ever heard of Felicity Jones before the movie, and based on the performance alone, she has been lauded … well, like crazy.)

I’d love to attend a film festival like Sundance or South by Southwest (Cannes and Venice are way out of my price range) simply to have this experience of unadulterated moviewatching.  I want to watch a movie to watch a movie, not fill out an approval ballot in my head.  I don’t think we were destined to watch movies like this – thanks a lot, mass media.

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4 responses

2 02 2011
Rich

I think it’s absolutely possible, although I’d argue that it’s harder to do so for Hollywood movies (and even more so if you’re a movie blogger.)

3 02 2011
CS

I think it is possible, especially with smaller indie films and foreign flicks. Film festivals are good and bad in the sense that early hype and buzz can spread like wildfire. Half of the time it is just based on who is in the picture and/or what time slot is the film shown in (i.e. gala screening, midnight, etc). 70% of the time, the most hyped films at festivals end up being duds while several extremely good films fly under the radar.

3 02 2011
Marshall

That’s true…I listened to an interview with Darren Aronofsky recently, and he said the first time he saw “Black Swan” with an audience was at the Venice Film Festival opening with Natalie Portman on one side of him and the Italian president (not the one under fire now) on his other side. How’s that for over the top?!?

4 02 2011
Andrew

Possible? Sure. Tough? Oh yes. It’s really quite difficult in the Internet age to walk into a film with absolutely no expectations and let it speak to you without any variety of prejudice getting in the way. I think the last film I saw that met that criteria was probably Ondine— I had no idea what to expect from it, for good or bad, and wound up quite liking it. But when it comes to movies like Black Swan, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, and so on, yeah, that’s a Herculean feat if ever I’ve heard of one.

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