Five Rules of How to Watch Film.
Since I was a kid, maybe between from the age of four and until now, I’ve been a huge fan of movies. It probably began for real when public television in Sweden 1983 screened, for a whole summer, the Universal classics - Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Wolfman, Dracula and so on. It made a huge impact on me and plunged me into a new world of endless adventures, often with a darker streak. It was an incredible discovery, to say the least.
But it might have been the year before I really got my first taste in what from the year after bloomed into a passion, and that was Edgar Wallace’s and Merian C. Cooper’s King Kong in the summer of 1982. Even if my first memories of it was vague, I still remember I asked my dad if King Kong was real. He wasn’t. But in my mind he was more alive than ever.
At the end of the eighties I started to watch more and more movies, and also bought by first tapes. One of them was the Irwin Allen produced When Time Ran Out…, a highly generic disaster film starring Paul Newman. I liked it. Of course. The next wave of movie magic came in the spring of 1990 when public television screened four of Arne Mattsson’s murder mysteries, some kind of Swedish giallos, Mannekäng i Rött, Damen i Svart, Vita Frun and Ryttare i Blått. For some reason they left out the last, Den Gula Bilen. Wow, and I was hooked to an artform I never left since then.
During this time we also rented a lot of tapes, both on Betamax and later on VHS. When I visited my dad it was the highlight of the visit and I always got to choose one movie myself, and I always ended up with quality films like Jaws 3D, Jaws the Revenge, Italian action from the late eighties and stuff involving a lot of explosions. I wasn’t any different than any boy at the time, I demanded the trashiest and most exploative films the store had to offer - and it wasn’t just the movies we rented, it was all those awesome movies I wasn’t allowed to rent, from the horror section of course.
7000 films later in my collection and I’m trying to find the most interesting, most obscure, most fun and best films from all over the world, and this is mainly because I’ve identified five rules for watching movies - and these are rules I follow and I respect them and is the main reason I still love and enjoy the art of film so much after all these years. I’ve had these posted at every social media I’ve ever had and now it’s time to share them here on Ello, but with some added meat.
1. Just because everyone else thinks a movie sucks, it doesn't mean it sucks.
It’s about the herd mentality of course, but with a positive spin. I never expect a movie to bed bad or boring, and if they happen to be I never get disappointed. That’s why I loath when fellow film geeks warns about a movie. Why even do that? Why stop someone else from maybe enjoying something?
2. The only taste you can trust is your own.
Might sound obvious, but I’ve met so many people who seem to correct their own taste after what someone else thinks, says or writes. That’s so weak, so fucking sad, but if you’re a person who have problem standing up for yourself this is how you will act. I respect other’s taste in films, but I kinda don’t give a shit either.
3. The only bad movies are the boring ones.
What’s bad or not is about personal taste. Every filmmaker have their own thoughts how a movie must feel and look, and if they manage to create their own vision - even if it’s offbeat and cheap or whatever, it needs to be judged on its merits. And what’s left is if it’s a bore or not. If a film makes you happy, entertains you, how can that be a bad film? Really. How?
4. Country, language, budget, genre, digital or film - this doesn't mean nothing! Storytelling is everything.
Nothing to discuss here actually. If someone actually believes a film shot digital (for example), or is of a certain age, or lacks color, is better or worse than a bigger, more modern and colorful film - then they have no fucking idea what they’re talking about. In that they’re simply consumers of moving pictures and not lovers of film.
5. It's just movies, nothing else. Chill down.
Look around you. There’s a thousand things more important than films. Most movies are made to make a quick buck and then for most people disappear into oblivion, even the so-called art films. If you’re one of them who happens to want films to be more than for a quick fix on friday evening, good. If you rather watch boring soccer and read generic shitty Scandinavian Noir about an alcoholic inspector listening to jazz - fine. As long as you don’t treat films as something untouchable and holy.
I don’t expect anyone else to follow these rules of course, but for me these have made me a much happier film fan. It just feels so fucking nice to never be upset over a remake, sequel, prequel or what ever makes the geeks rage out there, because I treat every movie as its own entity - and if that means Children of the Corn 14: Demon Possessed Kids Attack Again And Again gets four stars out of five stars in my world, that’s all that counts.
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