Thursday, April 3, 2014
Riske Business: To Queue or Not to Queue
A short while ago, I was at a crossroads. And I should only be at a crossroads if I’m about to watch 2002’s Crossroads.
Darkman. How about exercising tonight? Not so fast, fatty; The Lady from Shanghai isn’t going to watch itself.
It seems to be an obvious choice right? I should trash THE LIST and blow up THE STACK. Because that’s living. I have done this in the past and it’s liberating. I am taking back my life, like in the column I wrote about with walking out of a movie. But I can’t always do it. I have a movie sickness. I don’t want to miss anything great. I have this recurring nightmare that I’ll get to Heaven (which I’ve heard is "for real”) and Roger Ebert will ask me to come over for Steak & Shake and to talk about La Dolce Vita. “I haven’t seen it,” I’ll have to say. He’ll then call me a bitch and shun me for eternity. I’ll have to chase after him on my cloud dragon screaming “But I own Amarcord! Come baaaaaaaaaaccckkkkkk!” Or if Pauline Kael asks me if I’ve seen Last Tango in Paris and I say no but that I’ve watched Surf Ninjas maybe 20 times. Talk about a faux pas, yo.
This whole problem started back when I was in college. I was a big slut but I was watching garbage. My cultural acumen went from late high-school ambitious -- when I was seeking out Stanley Kubrick movies for the first time -- to watching Pay it Forward and listening to sorority girls talk about how powerful it was as we got drunk on lemonade mixed with Everclear. Then I took a film class and my professor gave us a syllabus of 25 movies to watch during the semester spanning the decades of the 20th century and touching on themes and events he wanted to use to provide examples of the times. This is how I saw Sunrise, Odds Against Tomorrow, Bonnie & Clyde and Dogfight for the first time. I not only enjoyed those movies, but got an invaluable living, breathing representation of the '20s, '50s and '60s in culture and attitude. I loved it and I wanted more.
And don’t get me started on THE STACK. Last September, I made stacks of movies I wanted to get through for Scary Movie Month and it was over 100. I would have to watch three a day, which means not going to work or talking to anyone for 31 days. If I did, I guess I’m a failure. What was I doing to myself? I ended up getting through maybe 60 movies last Scary Movie Month and I actually felt bad, as if I hadn’t done enough. What an idiot!
I came close to finishing THE LIST another time. I was in the last lap and checking off movies I needed to see at one of the old Music Box Massacres. I only needed to see Dark Night of the Scarecrow and I would be done. THE LIST would be finished and I'd be the best moviegoer I could be. The movie comes on and during the opening credits, G-d...my body...something led me to want to leave. RIGHT NOW. RIGHT AWAY. So I did and didn’t finish THE LIST. DNOTS was not on DVD at the time so if I didn’t see it at the Music Box, I was fucked and couldn’t finish THE LIST. It was a moral test of oneself. As I walked to my car, I felt great. Not finishing THE LIST made me feel better than finishing THE LIST.
Do I stress out that I’m missing a great indie or a classic movie? Yes, absolutely. But part of the fun of not having a plan is I always find what I want to watch when I want to watch it. I don’t have to grit my teeth and get through something and as a result I probably enjoy a greater ratio of the movies I watch. Odds are if it’s a great movie (and it’s for me), I’ll meet it somewhere down the road. I have to trust that in order to keep my sanity. The movie will be more enjoyable because I came to it on my own terms and not according to an overambitious quest I impractically assigned myself to see 1,001 movies that I need to see before I die. I’d rather just die than watch every movie on that list. It’s too much fucking pressure. Besides, there’s going to be a movie that’s added to that list after I’m dead and I’ll never see that one either. So me dying is going to be identical to walking out on Dark Night of the Scarecrow. Imagine that.
Movies are my favorite hobby. They should be a finite joy and not an infinite task. Plus, there’s some lady out there who has no idea that she’s going to have my babies. It will be unexpected and glorious and not because she read about me in Roger Ebert’s The Great Men.
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I set up lists for things like Scary Movie Month and last years Junesploitation, but mostly I view simply by what hits my fancy at any particular moment.ReplyDelete
Adam this is a tough one as it hits pretty close to home. Let's just say you aren't the only one that lists/stacks. However luckliy mine don't cause much anxiety as I reserved myself to the fact that it is not possible to see every movie (although I would if I somehow could, right?).ReplyDelete
I'm not sure if laissez faire is the right word - I definitely don't plan my movie watching very much, but I do frequently look at my collection, especially the dozens I've never even seen before, and agonize over what I'm going to pick. Occasionally I'll go at it with a purpose, but usually I make the same kind of bad choices I do at the food court when I'm considering a salad or a Big Mac. Hmm...maybe I'll finally watch Bonnie and Clyde...nah, fuck it, Tremors it is! Or: Cleopatra has been collecting dust for awhile, should I pop that in? Bah, too long, where's my Tremors at?ReplyDelete
I can appreciate what you're saying about liberating yourself from lists and plans but I feel like I need to find a happy medium where I at least dedicate myself to watching new (to me) stuff instead of so frequently chickening out and popping in an old favourite.
Don't worry, Sol, Tremors is always the right answer.Delete
Thanks for the affirmation John - I was almost going to watch Barry Lyndon there for a minute - back to Perfection I go!Delete
The Barry Lyndon Blu-ray I bought last week is still staring at me.Delete
The Barry Lyndon DVD I bought in 1999 is still staring at me.Delete
Ha! I just got mine yesterday.Delete
The best time to watch Barry Lyndon is after 12am #LyndonAfterMidnightDelete
I don't want to be laughing at that as hard as I am.Delete
Hahaha! Nice. Riske, my friend, that joke is why you are awesome (well, one of the many reasons, anyway).Delete
I don't get it. Sol feel stupid. SOL SMASH!!!Delete
@Sol 12am is another way of saying midnight. Now do you get it?Delete
Even bigger hint: Lyndon sounds like a city in England.Delete
I thought I got it after Brad's hint but now I'm back to square-one.Delete
It's prolly because we don't have puns in Canada yet.
I too am a slave to THE LIST, particularly Ebert's Great Movies and 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. But I've never felt chained down by it, since I can pretty easily step back every now and again to explore stuff that sounds less like homework. But I actually enjoy having the goal since it helps me feel more rounded as a moviegoer. I've yet to watch an Antonioni film that I like, but it at least feels good to be a part of the experience and conversation now, and I've discovered lots of great obscure stuff as a result of stepping outside of my comfort zone.ReplyDelete
Also, may I ask my fellow F Heads what the motivation behind buying movies you've never seen is? Not that I'm judging, I would probably do it myself if my blu-ray budget wasn't so tight. Is it theoretically better motivation to actually watch a movie if you shell out the dough? Does its dust-ridden presence on the shelf guilt you into watching it? Is it just because there's a good sale? Or is it because, like me, you just want as large a collection as possible, regardless of whether or not you absolutely love everything on the shelf? I've been curious about this for a while. Maybe somebody should write a column on it.
I am certainly a "collector" and in my early days of blu-ray buying (never got into DVDs so my "double-dipping" is at a minimum at least) quantity certainly trumped quality when I would buy a lot of 10 used blu-rays for $50 or something. I've since become much more discerning and the bulk of the movies I own but haven't watched are bona fide classics that were on sale on Amazon or whatever and I've always done my due diligence (like consulting DVD Verdict for example!) so they're not exactly "blind buys" and I'm very rarely disappointed.Delete
It would definitely be a stretch to say I LOVE everything on my shelf...feel free to check out http://c.mymovies.dk/solott5/ for a few laughs!
Nice. I enjoy looking at other people's collections, even if it is just electronically. I need to do one of these. Uh, I may even have one, but if I do, I have I haven't updated in a while. You're about 100 above me in the movie department, Sol. Impressive!Delete
Oh wait, nevermind! This is the app I use on my phone, so I already have an account on the desktop version. Here we go!:Delete
Some say impressive, some say depressive...Delete
John, you're never going to catch up to me if you don't open up your heart and wallet to gems like Bangkok Dangerous (a bulk-buy that I still haven't watched - teehee)!
Seriously though, your collection is fucking amazing man - I couldn't find a single title to razz you for - nothing but awesome - makes me want to start culling the garbage from my own...
Ha, perhaps I'll get on that one (then again...uh, maybe not).Delete
Thank you! I appreciate the compliment, Sol! Yours is awesome as well! I try to trim the crap pretty regularly, so that helps. There are a few leftovers that could still go, but for the most part I enjoy everything I own to one degree or another.
This is like the F-Head version of showing each other pictures of our kids. This is Tron, she's 4 and really creative. This is Zodiac, he's 11 and very moody :-)Delete
These are impressive collections. I feel like all our kids are playing soccer and mine is the only one staring at a butterfly while all the others are scoring.Delete
I found footage of your kid, MykeDelete
So what you're saying, Myke, is that Ladybugs is one of your favorite movies in your collection? (My apologies if you don't get the reference)Delete
I like that analogy, Adam. Every one of the movies I own is like a special child, each of whom I love for different reasons.
Dang it, Adam beat me to it, haha.Delete
My kid definitely has ADD.Delete
Me too! What medicine does your kid take??Delete
My kids mom had written him a note (Again) to get out of sport today. She's worried that he'll get an injury so instead he's inside making craft.Delete
Don't ask why I'm still at the game.