No More Dirty Names Please

Labels are such nasty little things.  To be called a “movie buff” just seems vaguely insulting, a “cinephile” sounds like a kind of pervert, and a “film connoisseur” is just too pretentious for words.  We don’t care much for the nicknames given us I assure you.

I will admit it may be somewhat unhealthy the way we obsessively seek out unavailable and out of print titles to see (almost as severe as the time spent reading books upon the subject of film).  The time invested into collecting titles that have yet to find their way to DVD or BluRay is staggering.  The money invested in original one-sheet movie posters may be liberally considered ludicrous.  But the fact of the matter is we are better for it.  It is indisputable that the cinema is the art of our age, and to be an aficionado of the medium only has its upsides.  We even go so far as to champion one critic over another, and will defend our favorites to death.  And when it comes to directors, we will defend our favorites beyond the grave.

Once steeped in cinema culture, it’s amazing what one is capable of.  Better than being decent critics ourselves or even filmmakers in our own small way, we can in five minutes relate Freddie Got Fingered all the way back to To Have And Have Not with a few references to Rip Torn and Norman Mailer along the way.  Such prowess may well be called “nerdy”; I assure you it is not.  For instance, if one were to play the same game of relations from the work of Chris Burden back to Giotto, that person would be considered an intellectual or scholar (perhaps we should just call ourselves “film scholars all”).

Each “film scholar all”, and I speak now of the beautiful friends I cherish, has a unique specialty.  Mine is often considered New German Cinema, my buddy Dan has Robert Altman and Robert Bresson, Neal has Stephen Frears and the Turkish cinema, and my pal Josh has simply Bob Dylan everything.  When gathered around one another, we faithfully illuminate one anothers opinions and perspectives with feverish debate.  This is our true ritual above even the most compulsive collecting of filmic artifacts.  There is an inherent romanticism to the cinema, and the now mutated café culture of casual film criticism (oh to live in France during the 1950s).

We all even have our own humble beginnings.  There are four films I do not remember seeing for the first time, they have simply always been there.  They are, in no specific order The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse, The Crimson Pirate by Siodmak and oddly enough two films by Richard Thorpe, The Knights Of The Round Table and Vengeance Valley.  These early cinematic experiences forever color the trajectory of our journey through film, and these titles are always beloved favorites for the rest of our days.

We “film scholars all” are obviously such sweet tempered and kind people that one must now think twice before labeling us unjustly with some ghastly name such as “movie buff”.  We harm no one, are generally not too snobbish, and are quite capable of overlooking the fact that it was not everyone’s middle school dream to track down a VHS copy of Hopper’s The Last Movie or college fantasy to see the first cut of Shadows that Ray Carney has locked up in his basement.  Those are simply trivial oversights on your part after all.

-Robert Curry

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Filed under Spring 2012

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