Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Lest we Forget
And then summer hit and for three straight months while University was still a distant concern, I played catch up. I had a girlfriend at the time who would tape me movies off of TMN (Canada's answer to HBO) which she had and I did not and so I juggled watching those while renting everything else to fill in the gaps. I also made a promise to myself that summer that I would rent everything new that came out on DVD that week as opposed to just the ones I had wanted to see as was standard procedure up until then. The greatest fear of any movie fanatic is to be asked questions about new movies and not having seen a one of them. I never wanted to be in that situation again.
Getting back on track, I finally decided that one of those films that had been taped for me and that I had watched was Basic. The thing was: I didn't remember a single thing about the movie. I'm generally pretty good in terms of long term memory and can usually walk away with something to remember almost every movie by even though I watch between 400 and 500 each year for the first time. However, nothing could bring back any memory of Basic. I knew it had John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson and was directed by McTiernan and I remember seeing ads for it on TV and especially an image of a darkened Jackson looming in a doorway (am I making this up?) and that I hated it, but what the movie was about, what happened and how everything was revolved in the end eluded me entirely.
There's been other movies since that I have mostly forgotten, which led me to ponder, just like if a tree falls in the forest for no one to hear, if you don't remember anything about a movie, have you actually seen it? Consuming so many movies, surely not all of them will be remembered, some rightfully so while others maybe not, and if a movie doesn't leave a lasting impression is that not more it's fault than ours? Of course, as is the case with the scenario above, sometimes I watch movies just to catch up, to say I've seen them and to increase my filmic vocabulary as much as possible. Maybe it all stems from that one fateful year where I decieded that, whenever someone asks about about a movie, no matter how great or insipid, I want to be able to say I have seen it.
But here's the problem, and the question I pose to everyone for debate (I haven't done one if these in far too long): should I have even wasted my time with Basic? Sure, I've seen it, and in the unlikely event that anyone ever brings it up, I'll be able to say "Oh yeah, I saw that a long time ago," but have I really gained anything other than to know that the movie was bad? It seems all I have is a blackout in my memory. It gets me one step closer to having seen McTiernan's entire body of work (and if nothing else I am a film history buff and therefore a director completest by association) but now I've given two hours of my life to a film that could have been spent with a better one; one I will remember. But then again, if I didn't see it, how would I know I'd one day forget it completely?
So what do you think. Is film completeism healthy or should we only base our time on consuming movies that appeal to us (I certainly had no interest is seeing Basic other than that I felt I should just to have seen it)? What do you do in situations like this? Are you the same way as me or do you think all this is insanity and a waste of time? Let me know.