No, when people ask me what I am, I don’t like movie buff, I don’t like movie fan, because a fan is both complacent and hard to please, a fan is both dumb and too smart to enjoy what they enjoy, a fan will not notice when they’re being taken, yet they refuse to allow changes in anything they love.
Movie fans, movie fans are the worst. I’m talking about many movie fans, particularly the young ones.
One day at my family’s house, I was basically visiting the home of someone I dislike even if she is my family, and I found myself talking to a relative I haven’t talked to in years. It was a holiday and since my mom wasn’t cooking her famous feast that year, I was forced to go elsewhere.
So, we’re catching up, and we’re talking, and we’re laughing, and I’m anxiously trying to think of something to talk about but I’m a boring guy, so my fail safe for any topic is “Seen any good movies lately?” Hey, I dont like sports, I don’t like reality shows, and I’m not a music fan, so that’s all I have. It’s either that, or I’m there making random noises.
Most times the person responds, and the conversation is off, and sometimes they’ll say “No”, and I’m sitting there nodding my head like cenile grandpa at a family reunion. He has no idea where he is, but he knows he doesn’t want to be there.
So, anyway, talking to this person, we begin talking about movies, or “films” as I say, only because I’m a pretentious a*****e cineaste. Yes, I labeled myself. Anyway, while we’re talking, he says passively “I probably know more about movies than you do.”
Right there is something you shouldn’t tell me. Even if it’s true. If you ever meet me, you should know not to tell me that because I hate to be made to look inferior and that’s a declaration of war on my part. So, this piss head tells me that half-jokingly, and I sit up and in my mind I’m thinking “Okay, you wanna go bitch?”
So, I say “Oh really?” And he nods with a cocky smile that says “I’m just kidding, but I really mean it”. So I reply with:
“Okay, do you know Hitchcock?”
Some soft pitches just to get the game going.
“Do you know Tarantino.”
“Yes, I LOVE him!”
“Do you know Allen?”
“A-Allen? Never seen a movie from him.”
I flash a condescending furrowed brow.
“Do you know Kurosawa?”
He looks off to his mom who’s standing there possibly thinking “Oh f**k.” So he nods with a smile, and I say:
“You’ve never seen Rashomon or Seven Samurai? Those are masterpieces!”
“No,” he replies blankly.
“What about Fellini? Zefferelli? Truffaut? Robert Wise?”
His face was a mixture of both surprise, and cluelessness that I’ll never forget. And when I get wound up I’m like Denis Leary on caffeine, I talk fast, and I don’t let you get a word in, and this piss head couldn’t name one damn movie from any of these directors.
Let me tell you something, if you’re from the age of 14-18, and you think you’re a movie buff, think again. Sure, you have “Mallrats”, “Devil’s Rejects”, “Hostel”, and “Fight Club”, and you possibly talk a big game, but don’t ever come up to someone who is older than you and tell them that you know more about films than we do.
Because while you think you have an “edgy” and “hip” set of films there, unless you’ve actually seen art, unless you’ve actually watched a film from Kurosawa, or Woody Allen, I don’t think you can call yourself a film buff, you’re just a movie fan. As Mike said in an earlier entry, you can quote all the lines from every Tarantino film, but how about quoting some lines from a film like “The Bicycle Thief”, or “Stalag 17”?
If you’ve ever said:
“I don’t like black and white movies.”
“I don’t like old movies.”
“What’s Annie Hall?”
“I don’t like subtitles, I don’t like to read during a movie.”
Well then, sad to say, you have no idea what a film buff is. So, put away your “subversive” collection for a while and sit down to watch a movie like “Seven Samurai” or “Winter Soldier”, or “Modern Times” and really learn what film is about. Or better yet, do what I’ve done during my tenure at Film Threat, go up to an actual film buff and ask them to show you what they think great films are, and you’re going to see that there’s a world out there beyond catchy one-liners, and idiots hanging out at malls.
You’re the type of “film buff” I hate, the kind that annoints yourself with a title of knowing everything about horror, or science fiction, when you refuse to watch the classics because they’re “old” and “black and white”, the kind that hangs out at websites, and video stores and really lays it on thick, but when pressed with a person who really knows their material, you brush them off as a “film geek” or as someone trying to be superior to you.
To me, a film buff is not a person who loves movies, a film buff is someone who is open to all movies. We’re out there discovering experimental, and art films, we’re open-minded and willing to learn from one another, and we’re mature enough to know that though we may not like this one film, we understand it has a significance.
So, when I was done beating this piss head to a pulp, I simply said “Well, when you see those movies, then maybe you can tell me that”, and I stood up and left the room. I said it with a smile that told him: “I’m just kidding, but I really really mean it.”