Friday, April 4, 2014

The Movies on This Blog

Why make an article on the movie citations of this blog?  I had been weighing back and forth for a while.  I have already addressed some of the issues here in my Mission Statement post.  There was still more to say, though, and I wanted that all in its own post here.  I also have that geek's interest in writing about movies directly and an obsessive need for explanation and deconstruction.  Lastly, I just like the visual aesthetic of movie posters on the page and I wanted to introduce some of these movies sooner in the post order.

This blog is primarily about broad topics and only incidentally about introducing people to specific movies.  Thus, I never bring up a movie, especially as a singular mention, just to bring it up or because I like it.  Everything has a purpose.  I encourage people to watch the movies on the blog because it makes the blog easier to follow, it removes spoilers, it removes the inaccessibility found in many movie blogs, and lastly, as I said, it incidentally introduces people to a broad set of mostly-great movies.  So many movie blogs and books, including those addressing broad ideas, needlessly name-drop everything, making the reader feel lost.  They mistake knowledge for wisdom and only repeat pre-existent data.  Ninety percent of the internet is redundant.  I mostly avoid being encyclopedic and pedantic.  I try to cite as few different movies as possible.  Why would I brag that I've spent way too much of my life in front of a screen?


The movies I bring up on this blog are generally types.  I use individual movies as stand-ins for broad things.  It could be an aesthetic approach, a famous film movement, critical acclaim, etc.  All it often takes is one movie to get a point across.  If readers like what they see, they can go further and explore that corner of cinema on their own with the help of other resources.  Some readers may wonder why certain terrible movies are cited so many times.  These movies are what I call scapegoats.  They are stand-ins for a lot of terrible movies and they represent broad problems with cinema, especially mainstream movies.  I desire to discuss what is relevant and not just what is good.  My top 50 page, though, is my one respite to directly endorse movies that I definitely like.  These movies, though, are not absolutely tied to the rest of the blog in the way that everything else is.

Movies are more than just types.  Movies are first and foremost experiential, singular works of art.  They shouldn't absolutely need context to be appreciated.  While learning about movies shouldn't hurt the experience, and for many, it enhances it, sometimes it's good to shut off your knowledgeable geek side and just let a work of art wash over you.  Just enjoy it in a state of semi-innocence.  Sometimes, I find it's a pleasure to just watch a movie with friends who are not as into this stuff as you are.  It's like seeing something afresh.  The main reason anyone cares about film or art history in the first place is that these are gripping works of beauty on an individual level.  If not one movie was individually good, or at the very least, if the medium itself was incapable of individual greatness, film history would not be an attractive area of study.  Lastly, art is primarily emotional, not intellectual.  We use our intellects to logically analyze our intuitive emotional response.


There are three ways to go through the movies on this blog.  The first is to watch as you go.  Before reading each article you may watch the movies that go with it.  That means whenever you watch a movie, it should be followed by a relevant article.  This is a nice way to get a good mix of movies.  Also, there should be less movies to watch as you go because citations repeat and you only have to watch something the first time.

The second approach would be to watch the movies in chronological order.  This creates a journey through film history.  All the movies are watched first and then the blog is read.  Thus, nothing is broken up.  This arguably better allows the viewer to enjoy the movies as signature works of art and not just examples.  The one problem to this approach is that the worst movies are disproportionately saved for last.  New movies have a relevancy largely based on their newness which is neither here nor there in terms of their greatness.  Old movies barely register in the conversation unless they are classics.


The final approach is to go to the most cited movies page and watch some incomplete amount of the movies based on which ones are cited in the most posts.  All the movies on this post are top cited.  If you just watched the nine movies on this page, you could have a much deeper understanding of this blog.  If you mixed one of the other approaches with skipping all the single citations, you would only have to watch about half of the movies on the blog.

The movies on this blog are a broad, but relatively small set, acting as examples, but also appreciable as individual works of art.  They may be approached in different ways and in different orders.  I hope you enjoy watching them as you read along.

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