What’s it worth? – Intermission – January 2020

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‘As the usher brings forth the Ice cream and snacks, we wait for the main feature to resume’

What’s it Worth?

There’s a trend in social media at the end of the year for people to list their favourite films or other media from the past year. It’s not a thing I’ve ever really got into, I’ll happily look at other’s lists but personally I find it difficult to pick favourites and classify them in any order.

The other day I was drifting around instagram and a person I follow had listed his favourite films of the year. His list included a lot of animation that is primarily aimed at a younger audience. Titles such as Frozen 2 or one of the How to Train your dragon films. There followed a comment by someone asking why so many juvenile films and why no quality films. The implication was that serious film enthusiasts only watch ‘quality’ cinema. Besides this opinion being of the pretentious kind it got me thinking about cultural worth of media and what you classify as ‘quality’ cinema.

Science Fiction in it’s very nature has always appeared from the less arty end of the spectrum. The pulp magazines and comics of the 1950’s were made to be throw away yet they contained stories and ideas from some of the most iconic Science Fiction writers. Science Fiction and fantasy has always been a way to get across ideas and opinions in a more digestible form, H.G. Wells War of the Worlds was a discussion on British colonialism for example or it has been used as a way to circumnavigate restrictions on free speech.

Discounting films because they are popular or do not adhere to what you think is cerebral enough, as well as being short sighted is discounting some of the most important literature and films throughout history. Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare were both populist writers. Do we discount them because they were seen as mainstream or popular? No one can refute the impact both these authors have had on culture and the arts, in the same way you cannot refute the impact Star Wars has had on culture.

What makes someone’s opinion greater than anothers? Just because I like Grumpy Cats Worst Christmas Ever (which I still think is a subversive take on Christmas, celebrity and Consumerism…honest just watch it if you don’t believe me) does not mean I cannot also like films like Black Klansman or love Kenneth Brannagh’s film of Hamlet (it’s long but well worth it). The reason there are so many different sorts of films out there is because we are not all the same, we all take different things from what we watch or see. Sometimes a deep dive into the sociological themes of an art house film will not effect you as much as watching E.T. finally set off home or Arlo from The Good Dinosaur finally making it back to his family. Just because something is seen as populist or aimed at a younger market does not discount it’s worth. It is also worth noting that the Instagram commentator mentioned at the start seemed to assume just because someone liked Frozen 2 meant they couldn’t like ‘Quality’ cinema which to me is a bizarre assumption for two reasons; 1.) What do you classify as quality? quality is subjective so what one person sees as quality another person might not. This does not demean anyone’s point of view as both are valid. 2.) Why can you not like what is pecieved as quality art house films as well as some more that are more mainstream and popularist. For example I love The Jungle Book but I also love a small belguim film called Man bites dog, in my world these sit together in my film collection.

I always think people should watch a variety of films because sometimes you never know what will end up surprising you. As much as Science Fiction is my first love I would never discount the worth of something because it does not adhere to my perception of quality. I am not a huge fan of Romantic Comedies but that doesn’t stop me watching a film from this genre as some might discount any film connected to this, a good example of this is I enjoy the film About Time and I never would of seen this if I had discounted it based on the genre it was given.

‘The lights dim, we now resume the main feature’

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