May 30, 2013 by Katia
I’m not a big movie girl.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about escapism, any display of great talent be it acting, directing or cinematography never fails to refuel me, while I just as easily melt into a mediocre + love story provided, of course, that the leading man is crushable and the leading lady is at the very least well dressed. I’ve never, however, been one to take pleasure in memorizing movie dialogues or catch phrases and pulling them out of my sleeve at the right moment, nor do I make movie references, offer or enjoy movie trivia or a long winded conversation about Wes Anderson’s latest work during a date with friends. Unless Wes Anderson is Woody Allen chances are I’m deep in dessert territory. I’m sorry movies, I just don’t love you like that. It’s totally me and I hope we can stay friends.
In the last few years I’ve noticed a new preference I’ve developed for understated movies. I love to watch a film where “nothing happens”, like Lost in Translation, Darjeeling Limited, Before Sunrise or numerous other movies I’ve watched and can’t remember because, you know, I’m not a big movie girl. You realize, of course, that by “nothing happens” I mean something HUGE is happening. Darjeeling is full of events, it’s just that they are not what the movie is ABOUT. The movie is about what had already happened before we tuned in, the death of the patriarch and the formation of the current dysfunctional relationship in the family. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke fall in love in front of our eyes on Before Sunrise, it’s just that there’s nothing grandiose about how they do it. They take us with them on their unplanned first date where they mainly converse and learn about each other through dialogue. Strip away Vienna and the colourful characters they meet and it’s almost like a real life date. Almost nothing’s happening on the surface between Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray’s characters in Lost in Translation, even the song they listen to at the Japanese Karaoke bar joins in on the lie or maybe Greek Choruses the future when it proclaims “More than This There’s Nothing” but we all know that that’s BS! Like in any good volcano most of it is just happening underneath the surface.
So why am I so drawn to this kind of movie? Is it simply a stylistic preference based on the notion that the understated just seems more tasteful than its counterpart the “I’m a (insert name of genre here and capitalize) hear me roar” overkill? Or is it because it resonates with me on a more personal level, legitimizing the way I handle myself in real life, often times not by choice, avoiding conflict, drama and the expression of negative emotions around people outside of my closest circle out of fear of alienation? Or is it yet a deeper preference for an hour and a half of a life about nothing? Am I so tired of being woken up at least twice a night by two kids, sterilizing bottles, teething, disciplining, negotiating my sleep, negotiating everything, feeling guilt, fear, uncertainty, worrying that someone is sick/will fall/choke/hurt themselves/will not have friends/socks/feel secondary or neglected – am I so tired of all of that that I just want my movies to leave me the fuck alone?!
In a classical indecisive non-committal me move, I’ll say that it’s probably all of the above. I don’t usually quote from movies, because, you know, I’m not that girl, but there’s a great non-(life-making)-decision moment in Lost in Translation when Scarlett Johansson responds to her husband’s “smoking’s bad for you” with “I’ll stop later”. I don’t smoke, but if there’s anything else you need me to stop doing, I’ll stop later, OK?
What kind of movies do you enjoy?
More Favourite Movies (Various Degrees of About Nothingness)
Being Jon Malkovich
A Serious Man
The Big Lebowski
A Single Man
This has been a Finish The Sentence Friday Post on the subject: My Favourite All Time Movie. Please visit our hosts:
Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Stephanie at Mommy, for Real
Dawn at Dawn’s Disaster