If you ask me where I stand personally in relation to films I'll tell you I'm a critic. Sure I watch a lot of movies just for the heck of it and have a library in my head of dates and names and titles and so forth, but even when it comes to viewing just for the heck of it, or to be caught up, the critical gears are always shifting. It's because I love writing. I love presenting arguments and working through them and I like to think that I have enough knowledge and understanding of both the artistic prospect of film along with the business side to create, for the most part, fair and honest assessments. However, even though I love being in the heat of debate, I also love sitting back and watching the way people behave and interact. I love walking down the street or sitting in a public place and hearing the conversations that are going on around me. Call it undercover sociology. I therefore sometimes like to make assessments on observations I've made. So here it is: there are two types of film buffs, Film Buff A and Film Buff B. Let's work through them. Film Buff A will watch just about anything. They are happy with just seeing a movie and see them out of the love movies give them. They love the social aspect, the feelings they get, the reactions they have and because of this, they aren't biased. They'll be just as happy sitting down to The Proposal as they are to Chloe because a movie is a movie. To them, The Last Song say, doesn't signal another horrible Miley Cyrus movie, but another chance for Cyrus to prove she can give a good performance in a sweet romance. Their weak point is that they can't always give valid or meaningful reasons for liking what they like and they sometimes have no idea what makes a movie good or not but that's fine; they are buffs not critics. Because of this though they tend to like trivia, which I guess, to some, passes as film knowledge. However, they are generally nice to be around. The glass is half full with them as they don't care about trailers or advertisements; they just want to see good movies and, at the end of the day, they know that anything can be made into a good movie with the right people under the right circumstances. In a way, even the seasoned critics can learn something from such purity and, in a not negative way, naivety: they think with their heart, find originality to be an abstract concept and look for the good in films, no matter how bad they may be. Film Buff B is the person who is always trying to out-buff you. No matter what you say they know one better and always have to have the final word. They don't so much debate as grace you with the pleasure of their opinion, are quite selective with the films they see (they only see good ones, you see) but see a lot of them, mistaking this for actually knowing something about film. To many of them them Antoinioni is God, contemporary mainstream filmmaking is to be left for the philistines and there is no way they will like movie X because it starred Y or because it's trailer was garbage or it's story isn't original. They employ the originality argument constantly, use trick words like 'interesting' or 'flawed' and usually compose, what they think to be great arguments out of no more than air because, after all, everything they say should just be accepted as fact. This is, of course, an extreme case scenario. In many cases, I suspect, that kind of attitude is unconscious and develops from a desire simply to appear to have a meaningful opinion on everything. These people love to categorize films, as if they should all have a designated place and also love to create lists, as if lists somehow make opinions more legitimate and make a good reference point for further conversation: "Oh yes, Out of the Past was my third favourite 1940s film noir but ranked second on my list of favourite Robert Mitchum films," prompting of course, if all is going well, you to ask what the other 2 were. Is it exhaustive to look at all film buffs in this light? Of course not, there are always middle grounds that exist between the boundaries when you present black and white portraits of two extreme types as I have here but, somewhere, between these two is where just about all film buffs lie. And remember, we are talking about buffs here (self-proclaimed or not), not causal viewers. I'd leave this little editorial with a question about what category you think you fall under but what's the point, just about no one would consciously admit to being part of the second group. But here's a test you can do to see what group people fall under. Write a list of movies on your blog that you plan on seeing in the next week. I'll do a hypothetical one: Transformers, The Notebook, Leaving Las Vegas and Millions. Film Buff A will respond by complimenting your list and saying something to to tune of "Ah yes, Leaving Las Vegas is one of my favourites, Nicholas Cage is fantastic, I haven't seen Millions yet but would really like to, and I hear the Notebook is really worth seeing," wish you a good week and be done with it. They target one or two they love, one they need to see and maybe some helpful advice they have heard and go about their business. They make no critical assessment of the films, only single out the ones they know about and leave it at that. Film Buff B on the other hand will compliment your list if it is up to their standards and then do one of two possible things. They will eaither provide their own little one sentence reviews of each film on the list, even the ones they haven't seen because, whether they've seen it or not, they must have their opinion. They will draw conclusions based on directors or actors in relations to their body of work and any other such thing to cover up the fact that they just haven't seen the movie. Either that or they will break films down into subcategories for you and rank them all. Personally I don't care much for film buffs because, as I said in the beginning, I like criticism and that's something that film buffs are sometimes (maybe most times) devoid of. Whenever I'm encounted with one, especially from category B, I always think of that great quote from Pierre Rissient, "It's not enough to like a movie, one must like it for the right reasons."