Now and then I’ve seen a film that I found disagreeable, but come back to it for a second go. Other times, I’ve seen a film that puzzled me, and decided to return to it to put a few of those missing pieces into place.
The question that’s been looming over me lately is “why”?
Why would I take a spoonful of something, found it too bitter (or too sweet, or too bland), and not only swallowed it down…but actually served myself up a second helping on my plate?
Sometimes, it’s just as simple as wanting to be sure.
Seeing a film for the first time is like a first date: everybody’s nervous, the stakes are high, and all involved are so worried about that first impression. We might sit down to see a movie and think we know what we’re getting into, but sometime in the first act it’s clear that we were misled. But, ever the polite people that we are, we let the date play out and try to make the best of it. We might know by the end of the salad that we aren’t going to bed with it, or worse that there will never be another date…but our mind is made up.
But what if that film turns out to be the one that got away? We hear others talking about it with such reverence, with such joy…it’s like seeing the girl you never called on a date with a friend, a friend who brings out the very best in her. Suddenly you see what they see, and you wonder what dulled the chemistry on that first date.
Other times, its stubborn fascination. I get hung up on something, unable to forget about it – like a song that’s stuck in my head. I might not fall in love with it at first blush, but I can’t shake it either. It becomes something of a challenge, like one of those 4-D puzzles that would look like a mess of dots until you relaxed your eyes and finally saw the sailboat. These are the films I usually call “interesting”. I might not love them at first – hell I might not even like them. deep down though, I know that they won’t be easily forgotten. These are the films I believe are worth the effort, the ones that strive to be more than a disposable franchise entry. They are cold, dense, divisive, and ambivalent…but like so many things in life they are worth the chase.
Do I expect everybody to approach film like this? Certainly not. Some people like what they like. They will go to the familiar restaurants and order the usual selections off the menu. They will be satisfied when the bill comes and go home happy. Others don’t have the time. Life seems to be getting crazier everyday, especially for those with job and family responsibilities. Watching a film is a luxury, and not something that can be wasted to studiously retrace one’s steps. And still others want to keep the line moving. They have stepped off the train in a town that hasn’t offered them much. Sure they could hang around a few more days and see if they’ve truly soaked up everything the place has to offer, but the greater truth is that there is so very much else in the world to see.
For better and for worse I will continue to revisit the films that left me wanting. As much as I love spending an afternoon with a dear favourite that gives me everything I want, I also love coming back to the unfamiliar, and seeing what time and a fresh perspective bring to the situation.
Even if I didn’t go home with her after that first date…