Movies Pessimistically Appraised : The Manifesto

I am a person who is over-analytical and also a pessimist at heart.

I love watching movies - but perhaps even more so I love the *process* of watching movies. I'm an analyst by day, and as a matter of course I can't simply switch that part of myself off when I watch a movie. For this reason, even when I like a movie, I can't help but analyse it as well. Could it have been better? Would I have done things differently?

I love watching movies, but I also love *the process* of watching movies.

Not because I'm an egotistical f**k (although perhaps...) but purely because I can't not. In part I'm also a frustrated writer. In part perhaps I also *wish* I was a perfectionist, and in part I also wish others were perfectionists. I don't like having my time wasted (or money wasted) by bad movies... but at the same time I feel little bits of frustration when I see GOOD movies where I think that maybe, with one or two changes, those movies could be even better. I also hate it when I watch bad movies - especially bad movies that seem to have arisen out of errors even I can identify. Because I'm not *that* smart and I have nothing at stake : why aren't people smarter and more talented than me.... BETTER?

It's very rare that I wholeheartedly love a movie. I can certainly love a movie, but there will always be something, somewhere, that I think could have been done differently. Most of the movies I watch tend to disappoint me in some way - they might be average, they might be adequate, but it sucks when movies are merely adequate and not better. And even if they're great... well, there's always one or two things to nitpick over. Not to be an asshole, but to genuinely try to understand the WHY of storytelling.

For these reasons, I find it almost cathartic to put down my thoughts whenever I watch a movie - to write down my impressions and thoughts. I've been doign this for some time, and I collate them in a powerpoint file - one page per movie (font size variable depending on how much I write). Since late 2012 I've kept them all in a document called 'First Watched' and they represent my initial thoughts upon first watching a movie, when my opinions are at their most raw and 'real'. As at January 2016, this powerpoint presentation is over 1,000 slides in length and contains over 460,000 words. This is both something I'm proud of and something I feel might be a problem!

I ultimately want to watch every movie I’ve been to the premiere of. Yes, even THAT ONE.

But there are many movies I've watched more than once, or prior to 2012. And I've gone to a lot of movie premieres. And that's where I devised an insidious idea : to ultimately watch EVERY movie I've been to the premiere of. (Yes, EVEN THAT ONE) No matter what. And of course, on top of that, write an analysis of the film. Not just a 'first watched' raw response, but a detailed analysis. But written from MY perspective. As a person who is over-analytical and also a pessimist at heart.

Hence the working title "Movies Pessimistically Appraised". Or, to be more catchy and eye-opening, "Why I Didn't like...."

And who am I to write about movies > do I think I'm better than Spielberg, Nolan and Tarantino? No, of course not. But when I watch a movie I think is sub-par, I think it's like paying money for a plumber who has done a poor job. I don't have to be a better plumber to say with some certainty that the kitchen is flooded, and that as a consequence the plumber has done a bad job. It doesn't matter that I can't do better : I paid the plumber - they should be the one who's better. And if I've commissioned an Artist to paint my house, then yes, they're an Artist. But I'm the client. I still get to have an opinion. I might not be able to paint the Sistine Chapel but I can still point to a part where that one dude is cross-eyed and decide for myself whether that's appropriate.

And that's where I stand on movies. Basically, I'd like it if movies were better. No movie is perfect, and no movie is made for me. But these are just my views. The process of finding flaws isn't an ego-trip, it's a form of analysis, of problem-solving. It's a way to show I'm either so engaged in a movie that I'm not judging it anymore (at least on first viewing) or its a way of dealing with the fact that the movie is failing to maintain my interest. It's something I can't turn off, so I might as well use it.

And since I go to a lot of premieres in London, this represents the other side of the coin : I love photography. But I also love movies. I'm always looking to improve my photography... likewise I'm looking for movies to get better.

You don't have to agree with what I write. You can have a different point of view. I bring my prejudices and predilections to every movie I've watched. I bring every movie I've already watched INTO every movie I watch subsequently. I've probably averaged about 200 movies per year for the past four years. That's not something I write to impress anybody, it's an excuse : an excuse for why I can't accept the same cliches because I've invariably seen them before. And I openly admit that this makes me non-representative of many people who watch far less movies than I do, and it certainly doesn't make me right. I've become accustomed to the idea that most movies are not made for people who watch too many movies! (Although paradoxically they're often made BY people who have also watched a lot of movies) (or made by shitty committees filled with accountants, yes-men, know-nothing focus groups, and people determined to take no risks whatsoever).

Long story short, our tastes may/will differ, and that's fine. Feel free to have an opinion that's 100% different to mine. It's okay to like what you want to like, and it's okay to hate what you want to hate. It doesn't make you a bad person, necessarily.

These are just my opinions, expounded at length.