Saturday, January 21, 2006

I met a fellow film critic at a Chamber of Commerce event this week and during the course of the discussion he mentioned that I liked “crap” movies. He said it with a smile on his face and I know he didn’t mean to be insulting but it got me thinking.

I’m in between two close friends when it comes to film appreciation. My buddy Steve uses the word “great” to describe damn near everything. My buddy Mark hates practically everything.

Both of them will dispute my characterizations, I’m sure. Sorry guys! I love you!

The bottom line is that at age 51 I know there are a lot of films I’d like to see, many articles I’d like to write and dozens of filmmakers I’d love to interview. They are not all “mainstream,” though, and perhaps in a lot of people’s eyes they would be “crap.”

My tastes in film run counter to conventional wisdom. For instance, I’d rather watch an afternoon of obscure silent cartoons than to be made to see the last few Disney animated features. I don’t care if I’m “supposed” to see something. If the film isn’t of interest to me, then the hell with it.

A long time ago I got over the expectation that as a film guy I was supposed to be open minded enough to sit through stuff the big city critics had dubbed as “art.” I was opened-minded to suffer through three inexplicable turds: Santa Sangre, Twin Peaks Come Fire With Me and Faust.

Make that four: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.

Never again.

Still, I consider myself an adventurous guy film-wise. Little known Hong Kong movie? I’m there. Low budget independent? I’ll try it. Poverty Row B-Western? Definitely! Silent movie that hasn’t been seen in 70 years? Oh, yeah!

Here is a short list of films that I have seen that I never want to see again no matter how artistically correct they are:

Gone With the Wind (I’ll watch the scene with Tom Tyler again, though)


Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Lost in Translation

Anything by Ingmar Bergman (except The Seventh Seal)

Dogville (I have it 90 minutes when I saw it at Sundance and then walked out)

Here are some films that I’m suppose to see but I won’t:

Brokeback Mountain (no gay-bashing here, I just don’t want to sit through a depressing picture about people who can’t be themselves)



Damn near any glossy “classic” MGM made in the 1940s

Here are films I’ll watch over and over:

Keaton’s Sherlock Junior (hell any of Keaton’s silents)


Damn near anything by Von Stroheim

The Adventures of Captain Marvel

The Big Lebowski

The Last Outlaw

Citizen Kane

Touch of Evil

Brides of Dracula

Richard Gordon/Radley Metzger’s The Cat and The Canary

Peking Opera Blues

Dinosaur Island

Footlight Parade

Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil’s Son in Law

The Bride of Frankenstein

Chinese Ghost Story

Jackie Chan’s Police Story series

Damn near any documentary by Ken Burns

Are there nuggets of fool’s gold in my pan? Sure. I can’t defend Rudy Ray Moore or Fred Olen Ray, except to say I find some fo their films very entertaining.

Crap or not I know what I like.


SRBissette said...

Way to go, Mike! Great lists.

Now, off to screen my von Triers collection...

Marky Mark said...

Marty said...

It's TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME. And you're wrong for not appreciating it as a great movie :)

I just remembered you hated PRIMER when I loaned it to you. What the hell, man?

Mike Dobbs said...

Marty: Sorry about the title screw-up and PRIMER...well we'll just have to agree to disagree.

SRBissette said...

Marty, you and me, man.

Dobbsie loathes movies that set out to disturb -- and whoa to any filmmaker who dares to flaunt human deformities, threaten kids or animals, etc. And I was the one who dragged him (and Dan Grenier) to TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, FAUST, and SANTA SANGRE -- all flicks I loved and love. More Lynch, more Svankmajer, more Jodorowsky -- more!!!