As I attempt to write an article for the magazine Paracinema (a great genre magazine slowly building up steam in various markets throughout the country), writing reviews on some exploitation films Severin Films sent me recently to cover and also some book reviews for one of my favorite companies in the literary world, Hard Case Crime, I sit here and realize something very important.
After just watching the trailer for the new Shane Meadows film Somers Town (Thanks to Twitch Film and Empire for that exclusive), it had me just sit back and wonder what makes a great film a great film. Last year, there were a bunch of films that blew my mind away. Two grand examples being and No Country For Old Men and There Will be Blood. But the film that truly blew me away in 2007 was a small film from England called This is England. Just took my breath away and I’ve notice the older I have gotten, even with this year’s huge film The Dark Knight (which I did love), my favorite film of the year is the little seen and little known gem In Bruges by another up and comer filmmaker, Martin McDonagh.
These films (and especially Shane Meadows 2004 film that I rented on a whim because of the cover* Dead Man’s Shoes) just proves to me, time and time again that big films shouldn’t always equal big budgets. But we know that, we’re a film lover’s community. Critics, the lot of us.
Sometimes a character study within a film is all I need to enjoy 90 minutes, 2 hours, whatever the running time is. It doesn’t have to have huge explosions to get a thrill out of me. Not that it ever hurts though. Hence why I’ll bring up The Dark Knight one more time. It works in my opinion because each of the main 4 characters (Gordon, Batman/Wayne, Dent/Two-Face and the Joker) are all fleshed out characters, each developing on screen before us and in turn is why we care for them, why we fear them when they are broken to the brink of insanity or just love them for their chaotic way of life and anarchy is the name of the game. This is why I used to collect comic books like I had nothing to lose. This is why I re-read The Watchmen every year, sometimes twice, to relive that moment in time when I saw these characters in my own head and their constant changes and sometimes ultimate preservation or destruction unfolded before me.
Which brings me to one reason for this blog. Devin’s last article about people in general repeat viewings of The Dark Knight and other films just took me back a bit. I wasn’t angry at him, not in the least bit. It just showed me that film fanatics are different, every single one of them. And that’s a good thing. Opinions are a great thing for conversation as well. It opens up debate, draws political lines, all that fun stuff. He has a strong opinion about film, which is all well and good. He is a critic for one of the premiere sites online for us film fanatics. Which is why we’re here. Which is also why I wanted to write a blog for this site in the first place. A great meeting place for other film fans. I’ve already had conversations with a few of the other bloggers, and we all tend to be on the same wavelength when it comes to film in general. We might not all like the same films but we love the process of film making and hate films that take the easy way out.
Repeat viewing occurs on dvd all the time now, on vhs and beta max before and before that we had the good ol’ days of 8 and 16mm film. Why repeat view in general? Because you love the movie. Or better yet, you study film (like I tend to do) to the point of finding mistakes that you probably wouldn’t notice with one viewing. If I didn’t view movies repeatedly in general, I wouldn’t have a dvd collection at 1400 right now. And it’s of films and TV shows that I love and watch over and over and show friends who might not have seen certain films. Right now, for some reason, Idiocracy is a film that tons of my friends have never seen, so it’s been double feature night every Friday night in my abode. I tend to also showcase old trailers in between films, depending on the genre. Yes, that makes me an uber-geek, but what can I do about it? It’s something I’m passionate about, something I love to write about. Being an aspiring filmmaker too also showcases the reason to view and pinpoint certain aspects of the process.
Shit, I’m rambling now. I should stop and go back to writing this article. I just wanted to both defend Devin and other people like him but also show our side of the situation, where we love to go out to the theater to re-watch a film we saw only a day earlier. Some people can’t go and see a independent film, which is sad. But everyone should, if they are interested in that film. I know because of CHUD and Devin himself, I’m going to go check out Baghead the moment I have a chance tomorrow afternoon.
*A video store trick that still haunts me to this day. I remember when I rented Maniac strictly for the cover, and to this day it’s still one of my favorite slasher flicks. Long live Spinell!