By WALLACE McBRIDE
I've seen a lot of shitty movies.
That was the conclusion I reached after spending a few minutes on Letterboxd, a new-ish "social media" thing for movie buffs. The service lets you rate and review movies, make lists, interact with people, etc. Mostly, I'm just using Letterboxd as a tool to estimate how many movies I've seen during my short life. The odometer has already passed 2,000 films, which simultaneously feels like "too much" and "not enough."
Letterboxd has a list titled "They Shoot Pictures Don’t They?" which collects the top 1,000 movies as ranked by its users. There aren't many surprises there ... CITIZEN KANE, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, THE GODFATHER and SINGING IN THE RAIN all scored pretty well. STAR WARS is pretty far down the list, not even cracking the top 100, which should tell you something about the people using Letterbox. That something is either good or bad, depending on what you expect from a movie.
Weirdly, it's not the so-called "great films" that give me any real insight into myself. Who cares if I've seen CITIZEN KANE? It seems almost obligatory at this point, thanks to its holy status in film history. You can argue all you want about its merits (I love it), but it's such a touchstone that the only crime is haven't not seen it. You don't even have to like it, but if you haven't seen CITIZEN KANE you might as well keep your opinions on movies to yourself.
|74-year-old spoiler alert.|
It's possible to take things too far, though. Every once in a while a bad movie will bite back. DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (which you can see for free on Hulu, if you dare) left a such a bad taste in my mouth that it almost ruined movies for me forever. And I had to repress the urge to cry when I stumbled onto the listing for FEAR DOT COM on Letterboxd. If that movie had a face, I'd punch it. Then I'd peel it off and wear it around the house, Leatherface-style.
|I might be holding a grudge.|
I'm accustomed to making a jackass out of myself on the Internet, and even I had problems sometimes clicking the "like" button on some of my favorite movies. It's more complicated than it might sound, though: There were films I know are objectively good that didn't get a coveted "like" click because they didn't do much for me. HUGO, LINCOLN and BLUE RUIN weren't bad movies, but I didn't exactly love them, either.
Meanwhile, lower tier (for lack of another term) movies like JUG FACE, SPEED RACER and WILLARD gave me exactly what I needed from them. I didn't even flinch when pressing "like" and activating that little heart next to their titles. Do I think WILLARD is necessarily a better film than LINCOLN? Maybe? Sometimes all a movie needs to do is prompt an emotional response to win us over.
|SPEED RACER is awesome, btw.|
What I'm trying to say is this: If you haven't seen CITIZEN KANE, you should probably go watch it. And, if you're using Letterboxd, you can find me there at http://letterboxd.com/BarnabasCollins/