Forsgren: 5 movies that made me want to be a movie reviewer
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The first thing I can remember wanting to be when I was a kid was an astronaut. That was followed by the desire to be a Ghostbuster, which was followed by the desire to be a rock star, which was followed by …
I didn’t always want to be a movie reviewer.
That was something that came along as I grew and was exposed to different genres of film. When I look back, I can pinpoint the movies that inspired me to start critiquing movies and sharing my opinion on them. Here are five of them.
Last Year At Marienbad (1961)
Of all the movies I saw in film school, this one was the most fascinating. It’s an ambiguous piece of cinema, with many different interpretations viewers can arrive at. I watched the film several times and came to the conclusion that it was about the unreliability of memory.
Others have come to vastly different interpretations. I’ve read piece calling “Last Year at Marienbad” a rendering of the main character’s dreams or that the film depicts dead souls in limbo. Whatever the message, it something that you have to dig up for oneself. Putting the pieces of this cinematic puzzle together, figuring it all out, excited me and compelled me to try to analyze other movies.
This movie really motivated me to try to share my opinion about films. The reason: Because it was so bad! Seriously, take away the visuals and the historical content, and all you have is a love triangle that isn’t particularly interesting. To paraphrase my buddy Erik, it was the story of two libidinous kids on a boat that sinks. What was the big deal?
And yet, the film scored rave reviews and won a boatload of Oscars (pun intended). I couldn’t understand the spell this movie had people under and felt it was my responsibility to tell folks, “Yeah, it was OK. But it wasn’t the greatest movie ever. It’s not like it was ‘Star Wars.’”
The Fifth Element (1997)
This was kind of the flipside to “Titanic.” While “The Fifth Element” made bank and did relatively well with critics, it also seemed to divisive. People loved it or hated it with no in between.
I didn’t get its reception because I absolutely loved it and saw it in the theater at least 10 times. And not really understanding how Oscar movies are chosen, I was super angry when the nominations came out and “Titanic” was nominated for EVERYTHING. “Titanic” was something I could never see again and be perfectly content, but “The Fifth Element” was life, and I took it upon myself to to tell everybody what I thought.
I wouldn’t say I enjoyed “Eraserhead.” It’s an ugly, noisy, relentlessly bleak film. Yet, this movie was completely worth seeing. A twisted tale of promiscuity and fear of fatherhood, this movie intrigued me with its imagery and unconventional storytelling, and it basically dared me to dig into it to find some meaning.
“Eraserhead” taught me that movie don’t have to be fun to have worth. Sometimes, you have to dig a little to find the good stuff, and that’s something I try to keep in mind when I review a flick. “Try” being the operative word.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
When I first saw this movie, it hit me like a speeding train. It moved me to tears. And I loved it. Unfortunately, few people in my area had seen it. So I took it upon myself to tell as many people as I could about it.
And, ideally, that’s the job of a movie reviewer: to alert people to really cool stuff that they might not know about. That’s also the most enjoyable part of the job. I love blowing my trumpet in support of movies I really love, and telling people about movies they might really like yet aren’t aware of yet. That’s what makes sitting through all the crumby cinematic dreck I end up seeing worth it.
P.S.: You’re welcome.