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Take it or leave it

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by downndirty, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. downndirty

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    Sitting around a barbecue, we started discussing current movies. This summer, I've seen exactly four movies, and none of them have been all that fantastic. Someone asked my friend what he had seen. "I haven't seen any movies in like 6 months. I've watched a bunch of documentaries, or just read. Honestly, have I missed out on anything great?" No one, out of the six of us, could tell him he absolutely missed out on something miraculous. Then, I extrapolated it. Of all of the movies of the past 4 years, I can't think of any that were truly life-altering. The far majority of them have been just a way of passing 2 hours in a more passive manner than playing video games. I can name a half-dozen books that changed my life, all of them fiction. I can't name a single movie that good that I've seen as an adult.

    We bitch about the state of movies, music and pop art in general. Why not just disconnect from it? What would you miss out on? Would you be better off? What would a disconnect get you? Is my buddy's artistic "boycott" going to make him a better person?

    I find this an interesting thing, because when you think about it, how long have any of us gone without watching a movie in one form or another? Or listening to distasteful pop music? It's everywhere, and it rapidly becomes a habit, at least for me and most of my circle. I took a long look at my dvd collection after this conversation and realized that it's at least 3 weeks of my life that has left me no smarter or aware of my world, much less richer. Mindless art turned into mindless habit.
     
  2. lust4life

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    I can't say I've ever gone to the movies for a life-changing experience. I go to be entertained (or out of parental duty). To change my life, I had to look inward, not at a screen.
     
  3. Misanthropic

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    I didn't watch "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" until I was 26 years old, after which my life changed dramatically.

    In hindsight, I might be better off right now if I hadn't had my skin dyed orange and my legs surgically shortened by 6 inches.
     
  4. Judas

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    I like to consider myself a bit of a movie snob and I would just like to agree with the points you have made. The last nearly 6 months have not brought anything new and fresh to the screens. The two movies this year that won a number of awards were a rehash of the Pocahontas tale and Twilight, both which when I heard people had actually paid movie to see, kind of made me want to give myself a concussion.

    I find with movies you can't go see a recent movie and hope it will be good, but rather be discerning and spend some time looking and trying to find older good movies. Some of my favorite movies are the Guy Ritchie english mob films such as Snatch and Lock Stock; both of which came out a long time ago (10 yrs ago for Snatch and 12 yrs for Lock Stock). There are good movies that you will feel entertained and like you haven't wasted 2 hours of your time watching out there, you just have to search and sift through the incredible amount of shit that has flooded the movie market to find anything with a lasting appeal.
     
  5. carpenter

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    About three years ago I turned off the radio and quit listening to pop music. If it happens to be on somwhere I am, it's ignored. Perhaps my life is worse off for not listening to Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, I doubt it. I'm not a music snob by any stretch of the imagination. I listen to pretty much anything except top forty. Music is usually background noise anyway. My personal soundtrack consists of a lot of foreign language swearing and the squeal of wood being cut. "What a wonderful world",(bruddah Iz's version) is constantly being played along with the sounds of someone beating the almighty shit out of a taper tie.
    As far as movies go, I saw Iron Man 2 a couple of weeks ago. Didn't change my life too much. It reminded me how poor I am and kept my attention for a couple of hours. There are plenty of good movies out there, I can't think of one that changed my life at all.
     
  6. Fernanthonies

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    There are some "cult classic" comedies (to use that phrase rather loosely) from the past that for years and years I could sit down and watch any time, especially if I was drunk. These kinds of movies are also especially good for quoting lines from while drunk. I'm talking about classics such as Super Troopers, The Big Lebowski, Wayne's World, Swingers and probably a few others that I'm not remembering. While I wouldn't call any of these films life changing, I would say that they were definitely influential in my early to mid twenties.

    These days most comedies are complete low brow drivel, and it is really disappointing.

    Also, while not a comedy, I feel that I should include Boondock Saints in that list as well. I always did love that movie.

    I just remember sitting around drinking in the afternoon back in college, and if you weren't really doing anything other than drinking, you could always pop in one of those movies and be completely entertained for 1.5-2 hours, no matter how recently you had watched that same movie.
     
  7. Beefy Phil

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    Isn't that your fault? You bought the DVDs. You built yourself a collection of mindless art instead of choosing films that might have been more fulfilling. The simple solution here is to stop buying and seeing crappy films.

    But, yes, 2010 has been an atrocious year for film thus far. To be fair, though, don't most of the better films usually premiere in the fall months, closer to Oscar season? I remember similar circumstances in 2008. It was slow as hell until 'The Dark Knight' came out in July, and then it was a steady stream of absurdly good films from then until December. Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire, The Baader-Meinhof Complex, Frost/Nixon, The Wrestler, etc.
     
  8. Denver

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    Why do all movies have to be life-changing? Why does anything? Sure, if I stopped watching movies you could say I'm not really missing much, but you could say that for a lot of things. I could stop having sex completely and you might say my life wouldn't really change that much, but I'd argue it'd be a lot worse. I could stop paying attention to the news completely because hey, I'm not that important and it's not like anything I do has any effect on what happens in the big picture, so why pay attention? What I'm saying is you could take this argument pretty far to basically close yourself completely off from society, but then what's the point of living? Sure, not every movie is gonna be life-changing, but many will certainly be interesting, not a complete waste of time, and at the very least will give me something to talk about with those I associate with.
     
  9. Gargamelon

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    I see what you mean but I only half agree with you and I think what you're trying to say is a little convoluted.

    Maybe because its my media habits have always been unusual (compared to most people). I almost never watch TV except for a very few select shows that I specifically tune in for, rarely see movies in theaters unless it's something super hyped, and I never listen to the radio. Those are all very mass-audience distribution methods that, let's be real, shovel shit down the mouths of our population of retarded middle-class monkeys. That's half the problem-- don't get suckered in to thinking everything is bad when you're just going to the wrong source.

    It is liberating to disconnect, but that doesn't mean you have to stop consuming art. Be selective. It's odd for me since I'm a college kid and everyone around me is basically a prole who listens/watches the latest, most popular fad, whereas I've always been into some pretty niche/weird genres of stuff. I didn't even know who the fuck Lady Gaga was until like a year ago, and I wish I still didn't. A lot of my friends and I would guess people in general have weird, obsessive fixations on big-name celebrities like that and its fucking stupid. Stop filling the void in your life with in which rapper is getting in/out of jail, it's meaningless information. Tune out all that noise, and focus on the product itself. And more importantly, seek out good products, don't settle for what's convenient. If you do, you are wasting your time.

    As for no life-altering movies in the last 4 years? Come on dude, that's bullshit. I guess it depends on what you consider life-altering (and if a movie ever really can be) but there have been plenty of quality films (just not super recently, bit of a shitty summer). I'm not even talking about obscure indy shit or anything either--look at the The Dark Knight or Up. Maybe they aren't The Godfather, but they are still utterly fucking brilliant movies that elicit their intended emotions very, very well.

    Take it or leave it? Fuck no. If popping in a movie is just a habitual time-waster for you, than break the habit and fill the gap with productive shit. But there will always be a place for movies in our lives and there will always be plenty of good shit coming out if you know where to look.
     
  10. lostalldoubt86

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    I can't exactly say 500 Days of Summer changed my life, but it was one of the few movies where I left the theater and didn't feel like a part of my life was wasted. Please cite examples if I'm totally wrong, but I felt like it was a story that had never been told before.
     
  11. TheCapn

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    I probably go to the movies about once a month. I think the only thing this year that impressed me was Kick Ass.
     
  12. D26

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    I watch movies, play video games, and all that other good stuff. It is just something to pass the time when I am not out doing productive things (i.e. working on the yard, doing stuff around the house, studying, in class, etc). I always get annoyed when people say it is mindless and stupid. You can say the same thing about a lot of hobbies. I don't watch TV or movies to have my life changed or to see something truly mind blowing. I watch movies and TV shows to relax, escape a bit from real life. I spend most of my day with my brain running at high speeds, whether it be in class, figuring out how we're going to paint the new house or how I am going to fix things, paying bills, figuring out our budget... by the time I finally get to sit down, I just want to shut my brain off and be entertained, so I turn on a comic book movie or some Michael Bay "This makes no sense but shit blows up good" flick where I can just shut my brain off and be entertained.

    Also, What do you mean disconnect. Where does the disconnect end? You're reading and posting at an internet message board. Do you disconnect from that? How about from the internet in general? I mean, there is a lot of mindlessly stupid crap on the internet (see: 99% of YouTube videos). Do you disconnect there? Would you really miss much?

    The truth is that television, movies, the internet, mobile phones... these are all pervasive within society, now. They are part of society whether we like it or not. Its amazing to me that I am 28 and can remember the 'good old days' before cell phones, but now they are everywhere. Sure, you can go out of your way to shut everything out. Get rid of your televisions, never go to the movies, but that is kind of a sad existence, isn't it?

    My point is that movies, television and things of that nature are so ingrained in society that the only way to truly disconnect completely is to remove yourself from said society. You can't go outside and drive in a major city without seeing billboards for movies or TV shows. Walmart has TVs running advertisements constantly in their checkout lanes, now, and I've noticed other places starting to follow suit. You go to talk to your friends at work, and there is a good chance that, if they're not discussing work, they'll be talking about some TV show or movie they just saw, and you'll find yourself left out. Maybe they're talking about sports, but since you've disconnected from television, you really only get what you see in the newspaper. People will want to discuss some current event they saw on the news, but since you don't watch TV anymore, you might find yourself out of the loop, and not being able to discuss it. Even if you still read newspapers and magazines like Time and Newsweek, you'd still be behind when you consider the fact that, when something major happens, the world literally knows about it within minutes, thanks to TV and the internet. If you're completely disconnected, no radio, television, computer... something like 9/11 can happen in New York, and, if you're just sitting at home in the midwest, reading books all day, you wouldn't even know about it until the next morning when you got your newspaper.

    Is there mindless shit out there? Of course there is. Not all movies and TV shows have to be cutting edge and revolutionary, or super intelligent. Like I said, there are a lot of people like me who spend their entire day running at full steam, and just want to relax and shut their brain off a bit before going to sleep at night, so they watch mind numbing crap. But, it is like the old saying goes: you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. In this case, you don't throw out the "good" stuff (i.e. being constantly up to date on current events, being connected with society as a whole) because you find some of it mindless and silly. Just ignore the mindless and silly part (I've still never heard a Katy Perry or Lady GaGa song the whole way through), but don't disconnect entirely.
     
  13. BL1Y

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    I thought the Sherlock Holmes movie last year was pretty good. I liked the humor, and enjoyed the way you would see Holmes think through the moves of a fight before seeing it happen in real time.

    But, I also liked Sex and the City 2, so what the hell do I know?
     
  14. MoreCowbell

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    Sex and the City 2? Apparently you must 'know' the cock, in the Biblical sense.
     
  15. BL1Y

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    Spoiler alert:

    The chick from She's Out of My League is in several scenes, and she still doesn't wear underwear. And, Miranda quits her law job. I'm a sucker for both those things.
     
  16. swaggamcdagga

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    The longest I tried cutting everything last about a little over three months. Then I took a second bite out of everything I had bought over the past few years. Mostly VHS movies I had gotten from small shops (at three to six dollars each a steal) and DVDs bought from browsing movies mentioned on the internet. A lot of awesome movies don't get their due until many years later, but a tip if you want to see a great movie that was released in North America in the last six months is A Prophet. A french movie with subtitles (Un prophete), it has a 97% percent review on Rotten Tomatoes. We are so bloody lucky these days, exposure to movies from different countries, making movies with cheaper budgets, how could you dismiss everything! The same goes for music, there are so many other artists that speak and sing in english, you just have to look at acts from England per say. All you have to do is pick up an England equivalent of a American Men's magazine to get started. Hell you could even do it for news, I'm not Asian, however I read up on atimes.com a lot because it has a different perspective on happenings in different regions around the world. How could you not pick up on something?
     
  17. Crown Royal

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    As far as "life changing" pop culture, I can think of very few to recommend.

    Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral
    Of all the tens of thousands of songs I have listened to over the years countless times with my obsession with music, nothing compares to the 14 tracks on this album. You've never heard anything like it, a monolithic puzzlebox of sex, gore and tragedy streamed together concept-wise into something so beautiful and original it buzzes in your ears for days. In my opinion it's the best album ever made by any artist, jumping genres with ultra-heavy guitars and dance beats that can't be imitated.

    The Thin Blue Line (1988)
    This is easily the greatest documentary film ever made, set to a hypnotic music score by Phillip Glass. Errol Morris sets out to prove a drifter didn't murder a Dallas policeman (and was put on death row), and that the scumbag that ratted him out was the real killer. The film had such a deafening impact that they re-opened the case after its release and exonerated the original suspect. Powerful stuff, to say the very least- and unforgettable.