Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When You Fail Appreciating The Films Many People Love

When You Fail Appreciating Films Many People Love

Since I started writing reviews on this blog, I always try to balance myself by watching both newly released films and old films. It's simply because I believe that you will know movies better if you watch more. Thanks to many friendly blogger fellows and communities, I’m introduced with a bunch of films considered as great. You know, from lists like “IMDb Top 250” or “Academy Awards Best Picture Winners” or “AFI Greatest Films” or else, I get informed about films many people considered as diamonds—films that many people refer as something you must see before you die. Of course these lists raise my curiosity, so I start looking for those “great” films and watching them one by one. And, yes, I also start building my own opinion about them.

I believe that watching movies is a personal experience. I mean, when a viewer said that film X is good, I know that I cannot simply agree that that film is also good for me. We have a totally different viewpoints and tastes, and of course chances are we will have different opinions too about one movie. I always try to be confident with my own opinion, so when I feel like a film does not work for me, I gather proofs that support my contradicting opinion and then I write them down.

When You Fail Appreciating Films Many People Love
Without Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, I think "Silence of the Lambs" is not as great.

But let us put it this way. If two people watch one movie and however different their tastes are they end up agreeing that that movie is a good movie, although when you watch that movie you do not agree that it is a good movie, will you change your mind? How if three people agree with that opinion, will it affect your opinion? How if hundreds or even thousands of people? Or, the more extreme case, how if hundreds of people who call themselves movie-critics agree that this film is great; will you change your contradicting opinion about it?

Wouldn’t you question yourself, “Did I just miss something? Did I lose something that many people love from that movie?” Or would you just stand still with your own opinion without being bothered by opinions from other people—even professionals?

This happens many times to me. “Silence of the Lambs” is a thriller many people put in their all-time favorite film list, but personally I don’t think that that film is really that good (but I agree that Hannibal Lecter is one of the greatest characters ever made in a film). I wrote a review about it here and I also pointed out what works and what does not work for me from “Silence of the Lambs”. But the case does not just stop there. When I realize that it is not as great as I imagined, I always come up with a question to myself:

“Did I miss something?”
“Should I watch it again?”
“Was I in a perfect mood when I watched it?”
“Did something distract me from appreciating it the way many people appreciate it?”

Usually this strange case happens when I watch classic films (you know, most great films are classic). I watched “Rashomon”—which is currently on the Top 50 Sight & Sound Greatest Films of All Time—and the film was a black-and-white film with a story that i think was a bit odd at the first look. In a review I wrote here, I am trying to gather information about why “Rashomon” is categorized as a great film by many professional (and it turns out that the film pioneers the use of multiple storyline since the year it was made). I learned a bit about it just to convince myself that however strange the film actually is, history said that it really made a breakthrough—which is worth appreciating.

When You Fail Appreciating Films Many People Love
"Citizen Kane" is a great portrayal of a bold character, but really, I didn't enjoy it that much.

And so on. I can’t see films like “Citizen Kane”, or “One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest”, or “The Shining”, or even the latest films like “The Artist” or “Amour” are as memorable and astonishing as how critics and most viewers describe them. Of course, not all great films don’t work for me. I still find films like “Psycho” or “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Taxi Driver” or “12 Angry Men” are really as great as how people describe them. I just can’t find a real reason behind this strange case. But, still, I always believe with my own opinion even if it is so far contradicting to many people’s opinion—but then I had a task to dig more information about that film, even to rewatch it, just to make sure I didn’t miss something important that turns that film into a great one.

I also believe you have similar experiences.
What do you usually do when you fail appreciating a film that many people or critic consider as a great one?
Did you question yourself just like I did, or did you just simply shout “Screw the critics!” and wholeheartedly be confident with your own opinion?
You can share your experience in the comment box! 
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19 comments:

  1. Aaah I used to think like that, Bar. I was wondering when I don't necessarily like a 'great film' myself. Some of those films are really overrated, happened to me when I watched Gone with the Wind (really torture for me), The Shining, 2001, Seven Samurai (still don't understand whats so great about it), etc. But then, as time went by, I became less caring of those so-called critics' approval of masterpieces. I still try to watch the films from those list, though, for references and curiosity reasons. But if I don't like it, then I don't like it. So that's why I never really bother with Rotten Tomatoes score (or any ratings for that matter) anymore.

    I think it's a natural phase of movie reviewers to question themselves like this. It shows that we have watched many films and became more critical :) just my 2 cents.

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    1. Yeah, I agree that in the end critics' opinions are merely a form of opinion-sharing rather than a compass to guide movie-viewers to good movies. LOL, Gone with the Wind is a real pain! I still use scores from IMDb or Metacritic to help me, but it doesn't really become my guide.

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    2. Mas Fariz serem gak suka 2001 sama Seven Samurai. - Dewa Kritikus Film Profesional Tanpa Bayaran.

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    3. LOL. Gw belum pernah nonton Seven Samurai, tapi harus diakui 2001 itu eye-gasmic banget. Keren.

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  2. Great post, Akbar! Well I often disagree w/ critics on what (or who) they think are the greatest this or that. Films are personal and what we like or don't like about something are naturally gonna be different from one another. If the cast and/or subject matter intrigues me though, I might give a film that's critically-acclaimed or that most of my blogger friends consider great. But not all, to this day I refuse to see Drive or No Country For Old Men. I just know I won't enjoy them. I know enough about my personal taste to avoid certain things. Oh and personal belief is also an important factor for me, which is why I'd NEVER see The Da Vinci's Code even if someone paid me!

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    1. Thank you! Right, knowing our personal taste is the first step to know what's great and what's not great for us. But sometimes following my curiosity, I usually try to get out of my taste and watch movies which I personally don't really like (which is a bit painful, but I think it's quite important to expand our insight about movies). But yeah, mostly I agree with you. LOL! Drive is beautiful, while No Country for Old Men is finely written. I don't really like The Da Vinci Code either, but its material is interesting

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  3. I think since film is first and foremost must appeal and engage you in a personal level the outcome of watching film can varied from person to person. Thats why good film vs favorite film are different no? worry not, i don't think there are right or wrong opinion, its just a matter of personal taste

    Critics or other people reviews are great to read to understand the different point of view, but your opinion should not be swayed :) so thats why movie you love and people hate and vice versa are not a bad thing :D (and uh, i still have this issue most of the times too)

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    1. Agree. Like I said, watching films is a personal experience. But somehow it tickles my brain when there is this movie that like hundreds of people love, which I don't even like a bit. It's interesting, though, because it's kinda becoming a proof that my taste might be so far different from those hundreds of people's tastes, LOL.

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  4. Well I've had several movies like that. There's Woody Allen movies, and E.T and The Graduate, and so on. I used to think that maybe I'm wrong or not watching it right. But movies are personal, so there's nothing wrong with not liking the movie that people love. It's just down to your personality and taste. There's nothing wrong with that. It's ok to be different, makes you stand out. Anyway, if everyone's have the same opinion, it would be a boring world :)

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    1. Love your statement! Yeah, if everyone has the same verdict, things are not gonna be interesting anymore :)

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  5. Setuju sama bos akbar, semuanya balik ke masalah selera dan taste masing2. Cuman kadang2 ada faktor macam salah mood dan kurang konsen, akhirnya ga ngerti itu film dan ga menyukainya, ini terjadi pas gw nonton The Master, gw ga ngerti sama endingnya, tonton ulang, eh tau2nya jadi suka. Jadi saran gw, kalo misalnya kita ga suka sama sebuah film, lain kali kalo ada waktu kosong, dicoba2 dulu di revisit, kadang2 kalo kita nonton film lebih dari satu kali, kali aja personal opinion kita berubah. - Dewa Kritikus Film

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    1. Nah, itu dia. Rewatch kayaknya bisa jadi solusi, tinggal masalah pengen atau enggak aja ngerewatch. Soalnya kadang karena merasa ga impressed dengan filmnya malah jadi malas nonton ulang, haha :v

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    ReplyDelete
  7. ZzZ..long time no touch..LOL

    salah 1 film yang hampir semua moviefreak suka..dan IMDb pastinya...Shawshank Redemption
    saya tau itu bagus, saya suka, tapi...entah bagaimana..saya 'biasa' aja kesannya , i can't say...Great !
    entah apa yg salah, atau karena ekspektasi saya terlalu besar pas liat ni film (2011 awal), ketika saya tau ni film jadi no.1 di imdb...maybe so...

    Tapi bisa jadi sebaliknya, film yang bagi orang lain ga se-Great yang mereka sangka...saya suka banget

    yah,,pada akhirnya yah mungkin bukan selera..tapi perspektif aja kali ya...
    dan perspektif bis aberubah juga dengan waktu...beberapa film besar akan tetap besar saat kita liat ulang di lain waktu, atau malah akan terasa biasa saja... (?)

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    1. benar, Shawshank memang bagus tapi menjadikannya nomor 1 di IMDB mungkin agak berlebihan. yep, waktu yang akan menilai kualitas sebuah film. :)

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    2. It concerns me when people declare a movie a masterpiece when it is soulfully superficial.... ^^

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