Perfect movies are hard to come by, so we put up with a lot of imperfections when we watch them and it doesn’t, for me at least, kill the pleasure. I mean, you have to take the pleasurable parts of a film and sometimes ignore parts you don’t like. It’s a little like going to a restaurant where the entree is great, but the sides aren’t good, or the service sucks. I already talked about dumb plot points, but there’s plenty of other stuff that can really get in the way if you let it.
I rewatched ALMOST FAMOUS the other day, and I liked it even more this time. It’s really a good film. So what that the last twenty minutes are a dumb schmaltz fest. I’d have to be a real sour puss to let that ruin the enjoyment of the rest of it.
I always think of Luc Besson when I think of films that are frustrating imperfect. His films are, in some ways, incredible. Visually, there’s nothing like them. He has a sort of optimistic view of things that really sets him apart. But then he has that dumb sense of humor that keeps screwing things up. There always has to be a bad joke, or stupid comedy part, that you have to sit through. But it’s his film. He’s not asking me for my opinion. Maybe it’s those dumb parts that make his movies unique and personal. Without them, they’d be like all the other movies that don’t have those dumb comedy parts. He’s putting the movie out there that he wants to, and he’s inviting me to watch it for what it is and take what I choose away from it.
When movies are bad, they’re usually bad in every respect. I tried to sit through BEFORE AND AFTER today, and was amazed how there was just nothing to love (and a lot to, shall we say, not love). Tarkovsky used to say that you could tell if a film was good or not from just one frame. I know what he means, but if I just said no to everything, I’d hardly ever get to enjoy a film.