Things are so insanely busy with the lead-up to the Toronto film festival that I'm afraid I couldn't generate any really interesting ideas for today's blog post. Fortunately, Jim Emerson over at the Chicago Sun-Times' Scanners blog has come up with a very sharp one, which I am delighted to expand upon.
Responding to a post on author David Bordwell's blog about the difference between "cinephiles" and "cinemaniacs" - basically, Bordwell theorizes that cinephiles are voracious consumers of all manner of genres and formats, while cinemaniacs tend to stick to a very narrow track ("usually American, often silent, sometimes foreign, seldom documentaries") that could be defined as American art-house. But Emerson considers the state of rapture shared by all movie lovers, folds in the lessons he learned in his own struggle with clinical depression, and comes to this brilliant observation:
"These days - perhaps because I do care so much about the medium that has sustained me in so many ways for so long - I find it difficult to stand the disappointment of a bad movie. Which is to say, the vast majority of movies. My feeling is that life is too short - and I never used to feel that way, but life wasn't quite as short then, either. I still maintain you can learn as much from an utterly misconceived, failed or incompetent movie (or war or political administration) as you can from a great one, although that doesn't make the former any easier to withstand while you're living through it."
I kinda want to put that on a plaque, especially since I seem to be living through more than my share of misconceived movies right now.
And just in case you were wondering, I probably qualify as a cinephile myself - as I said in a comment to Emerson's post, I'd much rather recommend a great movie to people than keep it to myself. That way, I get to have a conversation about the movie, rather than just sit there thinking about it in a dark corner.