This is the Life of a Redhead

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Movie Epiphany

I’ve always been a really big movie person. I can’t go far enough to say that I’m a film buff, but I know that I enjoy good cinema. I feel that there are a few things that qualify me as a movie lover. First, there’s the fact that I used to be the assistant entertainment editor for my high school paper, which allowed me to write a movie review or two. Though not a professional setting, I can always discard the “high school” part and tell people that I’m a published movie critic. There’s also the fact that I’m incredibly picky with my movies. I think there’s something in my subconscious telling me that I have good taste, because without even trying to be pretentious, I find myself generally agreeing with film critiques and squirming in my seat at the hoards of stupid comedies that litter theatres each year.

Needless to say, picking my favorite movie has been a big ordeal. I have seen countless films, and disregarded most of them as being decent, while others I discarded as trash. There are a lot of classics I have not seen, which might invalidate my love for cinema, and it spans a wide array from the arguably best movie of all time, Citizen Kane, to every film Martin Scorsese directed. Still, I’ve seen my fair share of cinematic masterpieces, as well as movie duds, to do the grueling task of picking a favorite.

My shelf of DVDs can give a good guess at what type of movies I like enough to purchase. There are no horror movies in my collection, and action movies are sparse. There are a few comedies, teen movies, and romances here and there, not to mention a handful of foreign films. Most of the movies I own are almost genre-less. They have some drama in them, but it’s counteracted by comedy. There are romantic tensions, but plenty of other plot devices to pull away from the romance category. There really is no singular type of movie that I like, apart from what I consider to be the “good” type.

Most of the movies in my collection have won or been nominated for a few awards, and some of them are even Oscar winners. In fact, my favorite movie had been nominated for the Best Picture category, and even won two Oscars in categories that many didn’t care about. Still, when I declared my favorite movie as Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” people took it as a shock.

“Moulin Rouge!” is a romance musical. Though there are two other musicals in my collection, (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and more embarrassingly, “Rent,”) it does not seem like the type of movie that would land as my favorite. Perhaps this is the reason why, after three years of declaring it as my favorite, I moved it down my mental list and dethroned it of its former title.

Demoting “Moulin Rouge!” stemmed more form the fact that people would raise their eyebrows and silently judge me when I shared my love affair for the movie. It came from a sort of epiphany I had on a Saturday afternoon. I was browsing through my movie collection, trying to find a flick to watch in lieu of doing schoolwork, and I had a hard time making a selection. I wanted to put in “Moulin Rouge!”, but I just wasn’t in the mood to watch the dizzying first half hour of this quick edited flick. It was then that I realized that I was never in the mood to watch this movie. Even if I were in desperate need of a love story, I would settle on “When Harry Met Sally” or “The Princess Bride”. I had even recently purchased “Paris, je T’Aime” for days when hoped for romantic stories and the language of love. I could always think of a million reasons not to watch “Moulin Rouge!” and the only reason I ever had to watch it was to blow the dust off this unused disk.

On this Saturday afternoon, I popped “The Fully Monty” into my DVD player, and the realizations kept coming. This movie was probably the most watched in my collection. The witty, hilarious, and heart felt tale of six men trying to score some quid during a recession by taking their clothes off was a gem of a movie, and there’s almost never a time where I am not in the mood for this charming tale. It was about five minutes into the film when I covered my mouth as I gasped dramatically. “The Fully Monty” is my favorite movie.

I wanted to shout this relevation out to the world, but instead I played it cool. While I had to go out of my way to weasel into conversations about my favorite movies, when I dropped my British comedy bomb I got wondrous responses. The people who had seen this movie admired my sophistication. This wasn’t a film that just anyone could appreciate, and it appeared that only a truly witty and intelligent person could put this flick on his or her top-ten movie list. Others were impressed by my favorite by the obscurity of it. While not unheard of, many I’ve encountered have never seen “The Full Monty.” It elicited responses from those who had been enthusiastic about seeing the film, but never got around to doing so. Age played another factor in the unawareness of the movie. “The Full Monty” hit theatres when I was eight years old. I didn’t even see the film until I was 17, but luckily for me it was within months of the 10th anniversary edition of the movie, and I was able to purchase it in a timely manner. Still, most people my age haven’t seen this movie because they were too young to process it’s greatness when it was released, and it isn’t regarded as classic enough to be forced to watch it at a later period in life.

I guess this puts my taste in film with middle-aged people, but I feel that some undesirable assumptions are the burden one must carry for the sake of being open with personal preference. Enjoying a film like “Moulin Rouge!” would place me with my younger peers, but I want to be one with my movie loving self. I am a cinema coinsure, and whittling down every movie I’ve seen to one ultimate favorite is a job that I should be proud of. With every movie I see, I dread that I will become enamored with these new flicks. The idea of ridding “The Full Monty” of its “my favorite movie” title is almost too much to bare. This must be the trouble of loving film. People expect you to have a favorite and be steadfast on that favorite for a lifetime, but as we movie lovers keep adding onto the list of flicks we have seen, we threaten our taste and have to be prepared to change our mind on our favorites. In my mind, this is where being picky is beneficial. My mind isn’t going to change any time soon. “The Full Monty” has buried it’s way into my heart, and it won’t be replaced until I see another small film ten years after it his Hollywood.

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