Whereby I discuss the choice to pay to watch a film …
Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed a back-and-forth between myself and a number of other bloggers regarding writer Adam Batty from http://www.hopelies.com and his twitter-comment of the recent Hitchcock. He wrote:
“Hitchcock was dreadful, and in Hopkins contains the worst performance of the year, if not the decade.” – @AdamHopeLies
I think the big issue is regarding my own RT of his tweet – despite not seeing the film myself.
Should I remain resolute? Should I cease to comment or reveal my incoming-opinion, formed by the writers I read?
The nature of film-blogging and writing on film, often gives the impression that we are on a quest to view every film on release; that we staunchly hold our judgement until we watch the film. There is a truth to this when those who haven’t seen a film passionately defend or insult a film – clearly that is an uninformed and uneducated opinion.
But we are all a product of our own foibles and experiences. We know what type of film we like and what we will expect when viewing a film. Trailers, reviews and ‘tweets’ all give a hint about what we could expect.
Though critics and opinions can be completely against our own, the opinion on Hitchcock is out. Adam’s tweet – alongside countless other critics negative views – means that the film is unlikely to be a knockout. Maybe I’ll like it a little bit more than the general consensus – but statistically, its is exceptionally unlikely that it will get into my best films of the year. I’ll reserve any type of true judgement until I see it – but the bottom line is, I have to make a decision as to which films I will watch; and which ones I don’t.
And Hitchcock, despite being a fan of The Master of Suspense’s canon, I don’t initially plan on seeing. And I make no apology for this. If I am sent to ‘cover’ it on behalf of a website or publication; I will. Happily. But to pay for it? Nope. I’ve yet to see Amour, Silver Linings Playbook or Seven Psychopaths. I also have a stack of films on my ‘to-watch’ list including New York, New York, Crimes and Misdemeanors and The Rescuers. My time is too precious – and they all take precedent.
I will not watch a film because it is touted as an Oscar contender (we shall see…) – and I surely won’t pay to watch it purely for an opinion. There are hundreds of films that are in the vessels of history that have earned awards – but I haven’t seen them. This time next year, I ask myself, will Hitchcock be remembered? Indeed, will it earn any awards at all? Why should a film, simply due to its timely release and excessive publicity garner my attention over others? It needs to be relevant and important enough to gain my time and currently, Hitchcock has not gained that attention from me.
Ironically, I saw a trailer for the ‘other’ Hitchcock-bio film – The Girl, and, so far, it has gained my attention.
I don't have a problem at all with you taking the words of others into heavy consideration when not only thinking about whether or not to go see a film, but also when considering your eventual opinion of it, assuming you eventually see it.
This was what made my eyes bug out a bit: “Such negativity means it can't be even an 8/10.”
I had to ask you if you meant for Adam (which seemed obvious, given his tweet) or yourself, just to confirm, and you said for yourself.
Truth is, even prior to your reading of his tweet, there was a solid chance that the film would be a 7/10 (or under) in your eyes, mathematically-speaking. Toss in the words of a trusted colleague and your odds of being correct might even rise close to 100%. But the fact that it was you of all people would write off (or close your mind to the possibility that it could be good in your eyes) a film having not seen it (and it's not like this is the latest Sandler flick or anything) was what shocked me.
My response to your tweet was merely to show that there isn't just one opinion out on the film. Maybe that reviewer you RT is very align with your opinions so you trust him. That's totally cool but the response to this movie hasn't been overwhelmingly negative. The Rotten Tomatoes score is at a 67%.. surely not the best score ever but also not trash.
I wasn't really trying to convince you to see it before any of the other films you mention.. just not to completely write it off.
I'm sort of confused what your main point is though. I get that you're saying there's plenty of movies that need to be seen so you're not going to seek every single movie out. That makes perfect sense. Are you trying to say though that you'll only watch movies that will be knockouts? You won't just watch a movie for entertainment value?
Or are you mainly trying to make the case that this wasn't the “right” Hitchcock movie? That a better film about the man deserves to be made? I get the too, but I don't see why you say you are “gutted” (from your tweet) about this movie you haven't seen? So are you saying based on some weaker assessments of the film you won't see it because it doesn't give the man due credit?
C'mon – you get cliche, boring comedies ala Adam Sandler whilst you can also get cliche, boring dramas ala The Trouble with the Curve. One is not better than the other – but you can tell a mile off if a film is not worth watching. Such passion for a film which doesn't require passion in any manner says to me something bad. So I steer clear … and i haven't got a problem with explaining why.
I think the mediocrity of 67% means I'll stay well away. I'd be more interested in watching THE ROOM for its awfulness than watch something so bland.
But I think yes, any NEW film, I would like to think that – going in – it could be the best film ever. Why not? And I'll watch a film for mere entertainment – you can get good entertainment (Avengers, Skyfall, Batman…) and you can get bad entertainment (prince of persia, et al).
I think I have two points: (1) I am happy to defend the reasoning behind why i won't watch a film and, to some extent, I'd like to think I can read between the lines and know whether something is for me or whether its not and (2) the reason i am more vocal about this with HITCHCOCK is because I wish it was good and clearly, the general consensus is that its pretty middle of the road. Which is a shame.
I totally agree that you can use intuition, your reaction to trailers, and others opinions to inform your decision on whether to seek out a movie. My issue is making a personal judgment on the actual quality of the film, which you seem to have done. I'm in no way advocating that this film is one of the best of the year or that 67% promises a great film. But, on the same token, Cloud Atlas has a similar score and people seem to either think it's one of the best of year or the worst, so it's unfair to use consensus to judge a movie – only to decide if you will seek it out. Get me?
I also just think that being “gutted” about a movie that is being generally assessed as middle of the road is a bit extreme. I thought it did the man justice in his portrayal, but the script could have presented a stronger story. Nothing to be particularly gutted about (not that I'm trying to direct your feelings, but it just seems like a strong word).
Anyways, you know I respect your writing on film and think highly of your work. I just thought it was odd coming from you to make your mind so seemingly absolutely about a film you hadn't seen.