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August 18, 2004

Watching as a buff...

Dear Michael,
Sorry for my long absence; I've been reading along but apparently afflicted with blog block. I wondered, as I read your post about DVD commentary tracks and how they can sometimes be mini tutorials on how to make a movie, whether you, as a devoted film buff, can anymore watch a movie for pure enjoyment without silently dissecting it in your head? I was thinking, "I loved Kill Bill: Vol. 2! I bet Michael hated it -- or would have hated it if he had deigned to see it!"

Also, I can recommend the commentary track on the superb Kirsten Dunst vehicle "Bring It On."


posted by Vanessa at August 18, 2004


I wasn't wild about "KB I," so I skipped 2 in the theaters. But The Wife kinda liked it, you did, and so have some others, so I'll catch up with it on DVD. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a movie in a movie theater in months. DVD-man! Thanks for the "Bring it On" rec too -- I'll check it out.

This may just be me, but I've always found that the dissecting-it thing enhances my enjoyment. For one thing, it relieves boredom -- when things slow down or get weak onscreen, there's always the fun of watching the filmmaking and puzzling it out to be had. For another, I've always liked the way art generally gives you the two-way experience. You can be both aware of the work as a made thing, and still transported imaginatively. What a curious phenomenon, and what a hoot, especially when you realize how much you can be moved by, say, ink squiggles on a page, or colored light on a screen, or atmospheric throbbings (ie., sounds) ...

But you're a shrewd and experienced arts junkie yourself. Do you find that knowing how it's made interferes with enjoyment?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2004 11:45 AM

I'm with Vanessa on this one. Too much knowledge of behind-the-curtains matter isn't healthy.
Being an interior design professional in many cases diminishes my and subsequently my companions pleasure of a restaurant dinner, or a movie theater, and definitely of a holiday on Jersey Shore, because of the certain hotel we were staying (unfortunate fabric choices, among other things…)
I can't turn off my inner "punch-list" of inadequate layouts, insufficient lighting, wrong accent colors or simply missing outlets and millwork scratches.
On the other hand, some places with excellent design enhance my enjoyment. Like David Rockwell's "Olive bar" in "W" lobby on Union square. Perfection. It improves my spirits every time. I even took to directing my coffee dates to the loveseat niche in the center, across the sofas...

Posted by: Tatyana on August 18, 2004 12:09 PM

Oooh! Tatyana's comment makes me want to fly to New York to visit the W hotel!

Married as I am to a theater guy, I find that hearing about how a production comes together generally enhances my watching of the show because I so much more appreciate all the work and stuff that went into it. So, I'm appreciating it more, but am I enjoying it more?

However, I am very much opposed to reading reviews before seeing something -- especially movies -- that I hope to enjoy in a munch-my-popcorn kind of way. When I do read a review in advance, I find my mind can't stopped playing certain sentences back in my head and it searches relentlessly, Sentinel-like, for all the flaws and crappy lines of dialogue.

Posted by: Vanessa Del Blowhard on August 18, 2004 12:33 PM

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