The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hey, that was pretty good.

Recently, I was asked about movies I expected to hate and was pleasantly surprised by. It was a topic I didn't think to write myself, but it's a good one. So, I've been thinking about it, and decided to list five movies I was very stubborn in seeing.

"Kill Bill" - I loved "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction." However, I hated "Jackie Brown," and I despised "From Dusk Till Dawn." When I first saw the trailer for "Kill Bill" I thought it looked stupid. Not to mention I am not a fan of the Kung-Fu genre. Nor did I much like Uma Thurman (even though I loved her in "Pulp Fiction."

Then the movie came out, it got rave reviews, so I went to see it. I absolutely loved it. It was fun, it was suspenseful, it was fulfilling. Uma was great, the cast was wonderful. It became one of my favorite movies. Not in the Top Twenty, but definitely in the Top Thirty.

"Gangs of New York" - It was late December, 2002. I had no interest in seeing this. Why? Leonardo DiCaprio. I still thought of his overhyped appearance in "Titanic" when I hears his name. Also, I wanted to go see "The Two Towers" again, and "Gangs" was competing against it. So, I was already prejudiced.

But, I went and saw it... and I loved it. DiCaprio was great, but I was especially struck by Daniel Day-Lewis as William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting. The movie made a huge impression on me, and I started tracking down and watching every single Martin Scorsese movie I could find. Over the next couple of months, Marty became my all time favorite director and remains so to this day. Hell, I was even rooting for "Gangs" to win Best Picture over "Two Towers" which surprised everyone around me considering how obsessed with "Rings" I was.

"Lost In Translation" - I was just beyond skeptical when I heard about this. I wasn't sure if Bill Murray could do drama. I had no idea how Sofia Coppola would do as a director. She was a prime example of nepotism in "The Godfather Part III." And the trailer looked like the movie would put me to sleep. I was pleasantly surprised by a thoughtful and moving picture I can watch again and again.

"The Usual Suspects" - I resisted this one for one reason: my father liked it. My father and I had... issues. We didn't see eye to eye on anything, and that was the nicer part of our relationship. But when I was fourteen, he shoved the VHS of this movie into my hands and told me to watch it. Six months later, I did. It blew me away. It was brilliant, and to this day, it remains one of my favorite mysteries.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" - I'm sorry, I thought the trailer looked stupid. The commercials looked stupid. I had no idea why an actor like Johnny Depp agreed to be in it. And, it was based on a theme park ride! Seriously, how lame is that? While the movie is far from perfect (see my entry on Orlando Bloom), I enjoyed it a lot. It was better than it had any right to be. Depp created a wonderfully iconic character, and I really enjoyed Geoffrey Rush's performance. Sadly, the two sequels descended into the inane tripe that I feared the first one would be. Still, the first one remains highly enjoyable, and I really should pick up the Blu-ray.

"Chinatown" - I refused to see this movie for so long. Why? Because the director is a child rapist. Well, after being urged to see the movie anyway, it was one of the most brilliant pieces of cinema I have ever watched. Everyone should see this movie. Most of Roman Polanski's movies are gold, and he is a brilliant artist. What this here taught me is that I can enjoy brilliant works of art even if the artist is someone I hold in contempt. It didn't make my Top Twenty Favorite movies, but trust me when I say that it is #21.

1 comment:

  1. I'm generally in favor of judging a work separate from its creator. Sometimes knowing about the person or people who made something can be informative, but it can also create a bias. There is no rule that says a reprehensible human being can't also be a great artist. Sadly, the converse is also true. If you're a really good person, your work may still be garbage.