Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Search of a Masterpiece

Once upon a time in the far off and whimsical land of Jersey—the “New” version—a young girl dreamed movie dreams and begged her parents to take her to see Rocky as often as they could stand it. She and her older brother would listen to Bill Conti’s glorious theme and reenact the final, tear-jerking moments, complete with a gut-wrenching yelp of “Adriaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!” It was, in her 6-year-old opinion, the BEST MOVIE EVER.

A year later, she changed her mind, having been introduced to a new man—we’ll call him “Han” for short—and Star Wars ruled the day.

Years have gone by. The young girl is in her thirties and has loved many films and performances since those heady days of cheering for the contender. But her affection for him (and Han) lingers.

Of course, I’m referring to myself. And as I observe the debates over this year’s five Academy Award Best Picture nominees, I think it’s important for all of us to remember that inner film geek and how we got here in the first place. I’d guess a lot of us have “first film loves” that we cling to, even as our tastes have matured. I know that the Oscars are all about rewarding the “best” NOW, but I also think that whatever the film, it’s important to understand that our perceptions and feelings aren’t static. Despite this, most film reviews are the artistic version of a phone call to a friend after a first date. It’s all about snap judgments—over praise or dismissal in an instant.

Read the rest here.

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