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6.05.2008

Pointless Points of Light

I watch a lot of movies. I like watching movies, even bad movies. But just because I enjoy the process of watching B-Grade Russian Action Flicks, that does not mean I find the films themselves entertaining or enlightening. A prime example of lack of enlightenment is found within "The Fountain".


The Fountain

Granted, as I've written about elsewhere, there is an audience for every film. But what is more telling is that even IMDB knows that certain films resonate with others. Glancing through the recommendations that follow "The Fountain", I see a bunch of films I don't like. If you like them, that's fine. But, considering someone on IMDB said of "The Fountain":

All summaries and attempts to present the plot are futile, because it's truly indescribable. Any summaries you may have read about the plot are null and void – truly, don't judge the film by what it sounds like it will be like. It's a movie you must experience for yourself.

I will not try to summarize the plot. I will, however, point out the weaknesses of this film, as I see it, in the hopes that we can all begin to think more critically of the films we watch. And that's the point of this post: No matter what films you like, it is good to think about them, why you like them, and take away lessons you can apply to your own filmmaking, whether you want to make B-Grade Action Flicks, Artsy Screensavers, or even Preachy Sermons.

The problem I have with "The Fountain" is that while there is certainly workaholism with purpose and relationship with feeling, the rest of the film is devoid of meaning. If you like the yellow wash, fine, but it's beautiful like the OSX or Vista screensavers.

The philosophy is cyclical: Death is okay because it is life, and so the living should learn to accept death as a path to life on earth... which does nothing to actually address the issue of death. I was a little concerned that my feelings were calloused, but thankfully I watched it with a good friend of mine whose dad relatively recently passed away. He too found the philosophy of death ultimately depressing and pathetic.

I felt the similar when I finished "What Dreams May Come". I know people really like those movies, and I guess I'd be interested in why.

I guess I would encourage you, as a media producer, to walk the delicate balance between aesthetics, entertainment, and meaning. What makes this so difficult to do is that people have very different tastes in what is appropriate, good, or enjoyable in the media they consume. And that is where you must learn to pick your battles.

I really wish I could say, "This is good, that is bad." But I can't. There are things that are just patently worse than others, but people even like the bad stuff. Odd.

Okay, I'm going to stop rambling now. I've got a lot on my mind, but typing about random things isn't going to help... and, worse still, it's going to bore you.

Thoughts?

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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