Wednesday, June 4, 2014

5 Things We've Learned after 200 Film Reviews

Confessions of a Film Junkie:  5 We’ve Learned after 200 Film Reviews

A Joint Review by: Lauren Ennis & Brian Cotnoir

     Woo hoo!  We have officially surpassed 200 film reviews on Confessions of a Film Junkie.  You know after 200 film reviews, Miss-E and I had plenty of time to contemplate over all we’ve learned after reviewing 200 films.  So here are 5 we’ve learned after 200 film reviews.

1.)    We Love it when our favorite actors get type-casted into roles

One thing that I was surprised to learn in my reviewing experience is how much I love well done type casting. While the practice of limiting actors to specific type of parts has long been lamented for the damaging effects that it can have on actors’ professional growth and overall careers, it does have its practical advantages. When an actor is cast by type it is generally because they so excel at playing that specific type of character, and can bring that character to life in a way that is more vibrant and believable than a leading player could. For instance, while horror star Vincent Price proved himself adept at stage acting and conventional leads early in his career, his foray into horror is what allowed him to truly make his mark in cinema. Similarly, although James Cagney’s true love was for the theater and ‘song and dance’ work, he remains one of the most dynamic and memorable actors in the gangster genre. After watching these actors turn in extraordinary performances in niche roles it is surprising, and sometimes disappointing, to see them in other performances that do not utilize their well known expertise. As a result, the treat of watching these actors do what they do best in a way spoils viewers and leaves them consistently wanting more of the same thrill that they have grown accustomed to. During my time as a blogger, I’ve come to recognize that I am just as guilty as any viewer of falling under the spell of Hollywood typecasting. For instance, when searching for a film that suits a season or theme I often choose films in which I know certain actors will deliver in the needed genre. For instance, when I want to review a love story or tragedy, I know that there are few actresses who can bring me to tears quite like Greta Garbo; if I need something hard boiled I’m guaranteed to find a winner in a Humphrey Bogart film; and during religious seasons I know that I can’t go wrong with a Charlton Heston epic. In viewing and reviewing, I’m come to terms with my love for the much hated practice of type casting and its double edge of use and misuse by studios and audiences.

I'm Always Scary

I'm Always the Boss
I'm Always Dreamy (no matter what role)

2.) If you give Porn a plot and a budget, you can call it “art
So Much for "Artistic Integrity" 
Yeah, it’s quite impressive.  If you take an adult film, set in Europe, give it a plot, and a budget.  You can call it art.  I mean just look at films like “Room in Rome”, “Blue is the Warmest Color”, “Exterminating Angles”, and pretty much most films released in France.  I’m not saying that featuring graphic sex scenes in these films makes them any less better or important, in fact some of these films have gone on to receive a lot of praise and critical acclaim.  However, there is something about a sex scene that goes on for 11 straight minutes that just seems a trifle bit unnecessary. In America when a sex scene in a film lasts more than a couple of minutes it’s called “pornography”, but since the film is set in Europe it is considered to be “Art”.  Fine, whatever, now if you’ll excuse me I think my buddies and I will crack open a couple brews, pop in a copy of “Room in Rome” and enjoy the films for its “artistic integrity”.

3.) Oscar Nominations are No indication of quality

Why Not Leo???
Another thing I was shocked to find was how poor an indication of quality the Oscars are. While I had always heard the old rumor the Academy was rigged and that only top studio players or ‘challenging’ art house films are able to take home the coveted awards, I had spent years assuming that the entire Academy couldn’t be wrong, even though I did tend to disagree with them. As time went on, however, I found that a striking number of movies that are not only favorites of mine but also beloved classics failed to win an Oscar when competing with films that have since become obscure. For example, while Laura is today considered one of the greatest film noirs and murder mysteries ever filmed, the film failed to win any awards except for Best Cinematography. Similarly, The Color Purple was nominated for eleven academy awards but failed to win a single title, while the same year the now widely panned Out of Africa swept the ceremony. There are also numerous iconic stars and crew members who have failed to attain an Academy Award despite their work in various genres and legendary films, including Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, Alfred Hitchcock, and Peter O’Toole. While these icons have since gone on to claim their rightful place in cinema history, they were routinely passed over in favor of nominees who were either in the Academy’s favor, had been snubbed in the past and were promised a compensation award, or were producing more conventional fare. When examining the lengthy list of exemplary performances and films that were routinely ignored by the Academy, I was led to the conclusion that the Oscars are not only an unreliable indicator for quality, but also are all too often indicators for passing trends rather than genuine, timelessness.

4.)  You bet we love to rant

Who the HELL keeps casting Mark Wahlberg
We watch movies to be entertained.  Nobody wants to be bored while watching a movie, so if I’m tricked into watching a film by Netflix because it has a bad-a$$ DVD cover or features one of my favorite actors, you bet I’m going to rant about that film.  Why?  Because I just wasted 90-minutes of my life watching a garbage film, I can never get back those 90 minutes so I am going to b!tch, and complain, and tear a film to shreds in hopes that it will prevent people from wasting 90-minutes of their lives on a film that’s completely worthless.  And you know what, else I’ve discovered.  You people like it when we rant.  Some of our most popular posts on this blog are the reviews of the film that managed to psychologically damage me! You’re all a bunch of sadists, you know that?!  Oh well as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing (and putting my sanity on the line).

5.) “If the Movie Stinks Just Don’t Go”

     We both feel like Jay Sherman can some up our feelings for this last one the Best.  Thanks for your support these past 200 Reviews Everyone!

Well Said Mr. Sherman...Well Said :)

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