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Posts Tagged ‘context’

The Empathy Machine

June 11, 2015 Leave a comment

There was another version of this article that actually went on quite a bit of a rant, but I had to scrap it. I scrapped it not just for you, my reader, but also for myself, as I was writing more out of impassioned irritation than I was to make a coherent article about my relationship with film, as I had originally set out to do. I think this is a bit more focused, and a bit more biographical than that lecture, which I am honestly glad I had second thoughts about – and I do mean lecture as in “scold,” not “educational speech.” Part of what I almost lost sight of was an expression of my love for the medium of film, which, let’s face it, is the main topic of this blog is, after all!

Wall-E - Watching Hello Dolly

Wall-E

I do love film, though. I even admittedly sometimes love watching bad films, when the mood strikes, despite the fact that I usually end up griping about how awful they are by the time the credits begin – oftentimes earlier. I guess I’m a part time hate-watcher. That being said, however, I am admittedly an amateur when it comes to film appreciation. I’m rarely driven by more than gut instinct when it comes to analyzing the individual parts of a film, so I’m often left feeling quite inadequate to judge things like the composition of shots, the quality of the score, and the inventiveness of certain other techniques unless they really stand out to me. And, honestly, so long as those elements are either so well done that they either don’t call attention to themselves or are so transcendently novel that I can’t help but notice, I’m largely okay with that. For me, film has always been more than just the sum of its parts and more about what it’s actually saying on behalf of the artists involved and the subject it’s covering. (And, sometimes, films are mostly just entertaining, and that’s honestly okay, too!) Read more…

Spoilers: The New “Just Say No” Campaign

November 18, 2011 2 comments
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Click to see more Anti-Spoiler Campaign posters. Spoiler Alert: Possibly "offensive" language?

I know the world supposedly has a severe attention span problem, but seriously, why would you want to know the ending of something before you even bother diving in or before you’re even halfway through the movie?

Whenever I’m discussing a movie I’d like for someone to see, it’s almost inevitable that somebody is going to ask, in some shape or form or manner, “What happens at the end?” Why is that? Why would you want to know?

The movie, TV show, whatever you’re discussing, has been laid out for you already. If you don’t care enough about it, then fine, I get it. I reluctantly will stoop to spoiling it for you then, if you really don’t have an interest in seeing the film, though I’ll likely feel dirty doing it. But if you’ve already committed yourself to seeing it, even going as far as to sitting down and starting the movie, why would you then ask, “So why did that just happen?”

YOU WILL FIND OUT IF YOU JUST PAY ATTENTION.

When I go into the theatre or pull up a movie I have never seen, I want to know only one thing: the basic concept of the film. That’s it. That’s what informs me what a movie is about and whether it is worth my attention. Whether the film turns out good or bad, I have already decided to let the filmmakers tell me the story, not my friends, not my family, not someone on the Internet.

This goes along with my idea of art being a testimony. A film is more than just its plot — it is also the assemblage of its plot, the delivery of its plot, perspective of the plotters, etc. Context is everything. Consuming art from its intended context is how we get a full view, or at least begin to get a full view, of what the artist intended for us to take from it as an audience, and also what we as an audience actually do take from the film from our own perspective. Discussion of a plot before you know the outcome just ruins the experience of gaining that first impression from the artist themselves, rather than your friend’s rough summary of the experience. (On a related note, this is related to why it’s generally pretty rude to talk or make obnoxious noises during movies if someone hasn’t seen it yet, too.)

Even if you haven't seen this film, you probably know what happens in the end. Kinda sucks for you, doesn't it?

Once you have both seen the film, then by all means, discuss it and get someone else’s full perspective on it. That’s how we learn from art, and that’s how we get smarter, but we should always be mindful of the fact that there are others out there who have yet to be given the chance to experience some films, both awesome and bad, on a firsthand basis. And why would you want to rob them of that?

So I encourage you, if you spot someone about to spoil a movie for someone who hasn’t yet had a chance to experience it, stick up for the victim. Grab a sock and shove it in the spoiler’s mouth! And if the person you just stuck up for tells you they wanted to know the spoilers, give them a dirty look and say to them, “What’s wrong with you? You… you’re stupid, is what you are!” That’ll show ’em.

(Sidenote: Now I admit, I often do want to know whether the movie is good or bad, as well. I get the whole issue of having limited time, and I do not think reading a thoughtful review – one that is mindful of not discussing the plot in full detail, that is – is contrary to having a movie spoiled. We are limited in our time, and our time is often best served elsewhere. I also understand that my reviews are often filled with spoilers. I try to notify you of this when I can, and if I don’t, then I really do apologize. I tend to review older films, and so these reviews are often intended to be at least an attempt at going deeper into my opinions and thoughts on the film as a whole and encouraging discussion, rather than just telling you a plot summary and what my rating is, but this site is essentially intended to encourage the post-viewing discussion more than it is just a reporter of quality. … At least that is my intent!)

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