Friday, March 5, 2010

If I Go to a Steak House Do I Have to Try the Fillet Mignon? or Why I Can't See "Precious: Based on the Novel 'PUSH' by Saphire"

Precious (movie)
Originally uploaded by BraveNewPhotos
I love going into the Oscars having seen all the best picture nominees – absolutely love it. The Oscars are one of the favorite events of the year right up there with Comic-Con. On top of this, as I’ve already blogged, I am super excited about the ten nominees. So it might come as a surprise to you all that I have only seen nine of the ten nominees and I very recently decided I won’t be seeing the tenth. The nominee I will not be seeing in the theatre is Precious.

From everything I have heard about Precious and the bits I’ve seen I do believe that Precious deserved its nomination. It is a relevant, striking film with great performances and exposes an area of life that most people would prefer to ignore. All of this is admirable. I am not avoiding Precious because I have something against the film or it’s filmmakers, but I do have what I think are good motivations to not see it in the theatre.

I have a friend who tells people she is very self-aware and knows her limits very well and is almost always right in what she can handle and what she can’t or her responses to things. One could say that I have the same awareness in terms of films. In my life I have seen so many films that I can usually predict from the trailer alone if I will enjoy a film or find fault with it, and if the film is even my cup of tea – usually I am right on the ball. There are some exceptions to this; I was excited about The Mist and now that film is on my list of all time hated films and I expected nothing out of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and now it’s one of my favorite films. However, the exceptions are few and far between; I know myself as a film viewer and I cannot escape it.

Frankly put, I know Precious is not my cup of tea. While I think the subject matter and the film are valid I don’t think I can sit in a theatre and watch a film about a teenage girl impregnated twice by her father and abused by her mother and come out the other side well. It’s too dark for me and once I see it I will not be able to “unsee” it. It will affect me and not in a positive way.

I am a director and an artist and among the many qualities that ascribes to me one of my trademarks is that I am an incredibly visual person. So much so that my film professors used to comment on it. My memory is visual and on seeing a movie once I could recount more accurately moments, shots or small details in the film than most of them could and my professors had usually seen the films repeatedly. I’ve always been that way and I can’t shut it off. Therefore, I sometimes am very careful about the films that I see because once I see it parts of the film will be stuck in my mind, queuing up in front of my eyes, forever.

The movie that comes immediately to mind when I think about films I can’t “unsee” is Monster’s Ball. I am not a person who walks out of movies, I believe in sticking through to the end because in most cases the end redeems the movie. That being said, I should have walked out of Monster’s Ball. The movie disturbed me and even though it did have a good message I did not like the means that were used to get to that message. I still see images from that film in my head when I think about it and I really wish they weren’t there. For me, I am afraid Precious will be another Monster’s Ball.

The safest bet for me is to wait for the DVD to come out, Netflix it and watch that way so if the film gets too intense, or if I just can’t handle any more I can send it back as I’ve already stated I tend not to walk out on a movie in the theatre, even when I think I should. I will try to see Precious, just not before the Academy Awards on Sunday.

This blog has been a bit heavy I know, but I hope you all at least got something out of it. And the message I hope it left you with is to appreciate good work, but understand that just because something is good it doesn’t mean the film is for you. That doesn’t devalue the film, that doesn’t mean you disagree with its popularity, it just means you as an audience member and a viewer have a palette and you know what is good and bad for that. Just because you go to a steak house known for its fillet mignon and you order a hamburger does it mean you think their fillet mignon isn’t worthy of its praise? No, it just means it’s not something you wanted to eat for any of a dozen reasons. This is my reason for not seeing Precious.

Now let’s get geared up for a great awards show on Sunday! I hope you’ve all have your favorite films and are prepared to cheer like it’s the Super Bowl if they win!

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