Friday, March 25, 2011

Welcome to… A Second Opinion

Greetings film lovers from across the blogosphere! And welcome to the “A Second Opinion” column. Please allow me to introduce myself: my name is PETE (amateur blogger and opinionated film enthusiast) and I’ve known DAVE, and have had the pleasure of arguing movies with him, for a very long time. You can consider me something of a darker, more bitter, more jaded, less forgiving distant cousin – a yin to his yang; or, if you will, a Mr. Hyde to his Dr. Jekyll… you get the point.

Actually, to be completely honest, we agree quite often – much more often than not. When Netflix still had a “Friends” feature and we could compare ratings our tastes ran concurrent about 80% of the time. However, I think some of the films that we cherish most deeply and champion the loudest (or conversely, deride the loudest) tend to be very different, hence the birth of this column. Also, having a playful discourse helps keep us both honest.

Well, dear reader, I think the most important thing when encountering a new opinion (especially when it comes to movies) is to know exactly where that person is coming from; that way you can gauge your tastes against theirs and know if their opinion means a damn to you or not. For instance, I tend to agree with Roger Ebert most of the time, probably eight or nine times out of ten. He’s my go-to critic. If he likes something, it’s likely worth my time. If he passionately recommends something, I know I need to seek it out. So I say: Know Your Critic!

To that end, here’s where I stand… my five favorite filmmakers (currently) are: Oliver Stone, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, and Quentin Tarantino. I also really admire James Cameron, Wes Anderson, Werner Herzog, Patrice Leconte, Steven Spielberg, and Michael Mann. I prefer Star Wars over Star Trek, Temple over Raiders (though it’s painfully close), Casino over Goodfellas, and Harry Potter over LOTR. My favorite genre is crime films – both modern and also classic film noir. My all time favorite film is JFK. Some other favorites, in no particular order: Aliens, The Untouchables, L.A. Confidential, Almost Famous, Wonder Boys, T2, Boogie Nights, Chinatown, The Asphalt Jungle, and Natural Born Killers. Oh, and I’m a complete sucker for, and admirer of, great cinematography.

Don’t necessarily trust my opinion when it comes to comedy. It’s probably my least favorite genre and I’ve been told repeatedly that my tastes are both off and also too narrow. I don’t have a very open mind when it comes to laughs. That said, the funniest things ever are: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show.

I do believe in a star rating system as a useful way to discuss and evaluate films. When I submit a review it will contain one of the following designations:

1/5 stars – total offensive sh*t and a complete waste of my time; the filmmakers should be ashamed.

2/5 stars – mostly forgettable crap, but with some redeeming characteristic such as a good performance, good effects or a well executed set-piece.

3/5 stars – most movies, for me, fall into this category. Good, but not great. If it’s reasonably well-made, entertaining and passes the time effectively then I’m glad I saw it and it did its job. If you see it you won’t be sorry, but if you miss it it’s not the end of the world.

4/5 stars – a very, very good film, worthy of a second viewing and usually stimulating on multiple levels. A don’t miss.

5/5 stars – I don’t dole this one out lightly. It’s reserved only for the very best films I’ve ever seen – films that are transcendent in their ability to transport me to other worlds on a deeply spiritual level. These are the movies that I love.

To conclude, dear reader, now that I’ve wined and dined you on my personal tastes, we may commence our relationship.

Or as Lena Leonard once said to Barry Egan, “So, here we go…”

1 comment:

Dave said...

Welcome aboard, old friend! May your blogging experience be as pleasurable and cathartic as a 5-star cinematic feast. I look forward to the debates!


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