It all started with RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Last weekend, a friend and I were recapping how amazing CABIN IN THE WOODS had been and somehow the Apes reboot came up. She’d seen it and loved it. I had absolutely no interest in seeing it. She was baffled that I hadn’t even given it a chance. My short answer was that the movie didn’t need a reboot and truly James Franco as a headlining star wasn’t enough to sway me otherwise. As the words left my mouth, I couldn’t help but think the following: Had film school turned me into a complete cinema snob? I do find it difficult to silence my inner film kid, but what else am I supposed to think after four years of re-education. I was a romcom/Disney/blockbuster regular youth until freshman year of college. Now today, I walk around with all of these film terms, history and aesthetic rules floating around in my head. I chose to not see THAT specific industry reboot (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) because I have developed preferences, not because I think I’m above such things.
Going to the movies is also VERY expensive. I’m fortunate to live in a town with a $3 movie theater, but I’ll stick to matinees at the megaplex if I’m trying to see a premiere. I had a friend tell me they saw THREE bad movies in a row. I just don’t have the funds to devote to the cinema like that. If I’m not impressed by the 2 minute trailer, chances are slim I’m going to happy through 2 and half hours of mediocrity. Pompous? Well, maybe. Economical? Absolutely!
I’m also a stickler for not following the Hollywood star system. Just because you slap Zack Efron in a Nicholas Sparks movie does not mean I will flock to the theater. Perhaps back in my tween days when I was spending my allowance. I’ve got student loans so it’s going to take more than a pretty face to convince me to part with my paycheck. Show me a film with a compelling story, dynamic cinematography, sharp dialogue and you’ll have my full attention.
Sometimes I do believe the “film snob” title is thrust upon folks just because they went to college to study film. As someone with a film degree, I feel there are two very common reactions from people who studied other subjects regarding my film viewing habits. It’s either disbelief that I haven’t seen every movie under the sun OR that I happen to occasionally enjoy mainstream studio films. Why all the gasps when I say I’ve never sat through any of the STAR WARS series? “How can you be a film major and not have seen that movie?”, they say over and over. It’s impossible for a single person to see every move in existence. We have lives, people. And why do they shake their heads when I say I sat in line for 2 hours to see the premiere of 21 JUMP STREET? As one friend put it simply: “I didn’t think you’d see that kind of movie.” That movie just happened to be a free screening at SXSW and I’d seen several bad indie films in a row that week. Again, sometimes it all comes to down to economics.
Going to the movies has always been about the experience. I want to lose myself in someone else’s story for 90 minutes. That’s the point of it all, right? Overacting is for soap operas. Cheap laughs belong on “taped in front of a live audience” sitcoms. I want cinema. More specifically, I want cinema that falls closer into the line of films I aspire to make. If I’m paying for it, does it make me a snob to want to be inspired? Is it pretentious to know that my ticket sale for a small independent film could possible determine whether an indie director gets the greenlight for their second film? If so, I’ll wear my Mr. Monopoly monocle and top hat with a smile, thank you.