Thursday, December 10, 2015

Welcome to Schizocinema

There is no such thing as a good movie, objectively speaking.  Movies are art, and like all art, their value is up to personal interpretation.  The technical aspects of a movie can be judged more bluntly.  No one is going to argue that a film is well lit if no one can see what’s happening, or praise the camerawork if it’s all out of focus.  That is cut and dry.  But no one can tell you how a movie made you feel.

Sure, there can be a general consensus about what films are good or bad.  Ask most people and they will agree that THE GODFATHER is a great movie.  There will be some debate over whether THE GODFATHER PART II is a better movie.  There will be very little debate over whether THE GODFATHER PART III was the best in the series.  But I guarantee you there is someone out there who thinks that it is.  He might have severe mental and emotional issues, but his opinion is just as valid as the rest of us. 

Sure, society may attribute better taste and sophistication to the person who appreciates Kurosawa and Truffaut films over the person who loves Tyler Perry movies.  And that is most likely valid.  But that doesn’t mean YOJIMBO is a more enjoyable film that MADEA GOES TO JAIL.  Your mileage may vary.  Besides, I’m sure there are people out there who enjoy both Kurosawa and Tyler Perry.  Nothing wrong with that. People talk about “guilty pleasure” movies as an excuse, like they admit it is wrong, but despite their normally exquisite cultural taste, they like it anyway.  Why should we feel guilty about a movie?  Feel guilty about cheating on your spouse, not about loving Chuck Norris (unless you cheated on your spouse with Chuck Norris). 

I’m a fan of many generally agreed upon “bad” movies.  Some I like for specific reasons (LOST IN SPACE – Gary Oldman, robots, ludicrousness), others are a complete mystery (THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE - ???).   But I take particular joy in the more subterranean level of “badness”, movies that are so indescribably weird that you need to reconfigure your brain to properly enjoy them.  Sometimes you have to let go of concepts like logic, restraint, continuity, and talent, they just hold you back.  You have to let yourself dissolve into a movie like FROZEN SCREAM (which contains a flashback within a flashback within a dream sequence) and let it bash you around like a turbulent, nonsensical sea.  How else are you going to deal with NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR’s three unconnected movies edited down to incoherence and wrapped around God and the Devil riding a train through space with a constantly partying New Wave band?  Try watching Doris Wishman’s A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER in a rational mind frame and your head will explode.  You need a different set of rules to truly appreciate Schizocinema.

[That was actually my third choice for the name.  Do you know how many clever people are on the internet?  They’ve already taken every freaking name you could possibly think of.  Stupid clever people.]

We will also be applying the Schizocinematic eye to other types of movies here, many commonly considered to be "good" movies.  Even the most acclaimed movies have their share of quirks and seemingly odd choices, things that most people glaze over.  Those will be the bits that I and my fellow Schizocinemanics will focus and expound on.  In true schizo style, our outlook and opinions will be all over the mapMovie topics will likewise be scattershot.   Sometimes we will talk about obscure foreign films, or super low budget train wrecks, or Bond films, or Flash Gordon (that will mostly be me).  And largely we will be doing this to entertain ourselves, but if people who are not us get the occasional kick out it, that’s cool, too.

So welcome, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I guess that helps explain why my Jean-Luc Godard Collection is between Bubba Ho-Tep and The Pinky Violence Collection on my DVD shelf.