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Evan C

Sharing Favorite Films with non-Cinephile Friends/Family

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This New Years, I tried to show my family Moonrise Kingdom.  It was a mistake of gargantuan proportions.  I had been on the fence about suggesting it, but I knew a few non-film buff friends who had liked it, and I've been loving it more with each viewing so I decided to go for it.

 

The beach scene did cause several exclamations of shock and disgust.  But the main complaints were that it was "really artsy, boring, weird, slow moving, and something that 4 out of 5 people would probably hate."  I had been slightly concerned about the beach scene, but I thought the context would be understood.  The rest of the complaints really surprised me.

 

Has anyone else had similar problems?  Suggesting and trying to share a work of art that enraptures you, but also has some mainstream appeal, with people you love only to have it (and your tastes) strongly criticized?  What have you done?  Respect their differences of opinion, and stop trying to share films with them?  Alter your suggestions to more mainstream fare that you enjoy?  If the latter, what are good examples?

 

Also, does anyone have a general guideline for determining what constitutes "artsy" for the average non-cinephile?  Because I had never even considered Moonrise Kingdom as *that* artsy.  Maybe a tiny bit, but it's not Holy Motors, Computer Chess, Pierrot Le Fou, or The Mirror.

 

 

 

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I had been married for over a decade before I finally introduced my wife to Last Year At Marienbad.  We were doing a trade-off of sorts, she was going to introduce something of hers that I hadn't seen before, and vice versa.  So if she didn't like it, she always knew that she would still foist "The Thorn Birds" miniseries to me.

 

Anyway, I am of the firm belief that if something is _that good_ (but radically different and potentially off-putting), it is well worth being spoiled.  I told her to read every single review and analysis she could get her hands on before we put it on.  Last Year At Marienbad benefits when one is as prepared as one can be for the cinematic experience that follows. 

 

To my utter shock and delight.  She loved it.  The first ten minutes were torturous, but once she got over the hump, she was transfixed.  She even insisted I upgraded my DVD to the Criterion edition. 

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A couple of weeks ago my wife took a night off from writing her book (on a tight deadline) to watch a movie. She let me pick. I chose to show her Spring Breakers, which I'd been wanting to see a second time.

 

She looked at me when the movie ended and said, "You're never choosing another movie for us to watch together."

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A couple of weeks ago my wife took a night off from writing her book (on a tight deadline) to watch a movie. She let me pick. I chose to show her Spring Breakers, which I'd been wanting to see a second time.

She looked at me when the movie ended and said, "You're never choosing another movie for us to watch together."

Can you blame her? Edited by Ryan H.

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I've had a two experiences with suggesting Moonrise Kingdom to friends: a group of adult friends who were underwhelmed by the film and deemed it too "artsy," and a group of high school teens who--with the exception of one girl--absolutely loved it, and subsequently keep asking me for film suggestions.

 

With suggesting films, it depends on the relational equity I've built with a particular person or group of people, and how much they trust my general taste in film. I also have to be discerning and cautious with suggestions because, as a pastor, I have young people and conservative evangelical families looking to me as an example and model. This allows me to expose them to a wider world of cinematic art, but also makes it difficult when their primary framework for whether a film is "good" is dependent upon its curse-word count.

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A couple of weeks ago my wife took a night off from writing her book (on a tight deadline) to watch a movie. She let me pick. I chose to show her Spring Breakers, which I'd been wanting to see a second time.

She looked at me when the movie ended and said, "You're never choosing another movie for us to watch together."

Can you blame her?

My survey of friends after the fact revealed that every woman I shared the story with sympathized with my wife. The men? They just shrugged in a "that figures" sort of way, but it could be that none of the guys had seen it. Come to think of it, I'm not sure any of the women had actually seen the film, but they seemed confident that it wouldn't be worthwhile viewing.

Edited by Christian

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It looks like there are three types of films here so far:

1) quirky fare (Moonrise Kingdom)

2) experimental fare (Last Year at Marienbad)

3) subversive fare (Spring Breakers).

 

I suspect different responses for these films.

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A couple of weeks ago my wife took a night off from writing her book (on a tight deadline) to watch a movie. She let me pick. I chose to show her Spring Breakers, which I'd been wanting to see a second time.

She looked at me when the movie ended and said, "You're never choosing another movie for us to watch together."

I didn't think I could be the only one who has done something like this.

 

And should I track down Spring Breakers before finalizing my top ten list? wink.png

 

With suggesting films, it depends on the relational equity I've built with a particular person or group of people, and how much they trust my general taste in film. I also have to be discerning and cautious with suggestions because, as a pastor, I have young people and conservative evangelical families looking to me as an example and model. This allows me to expose them to a wider world of cinematic art, but also makes it difficult when their primary framework for whether a film is "good" is dependent upon its curse-word count.

I wholeheartedly agree that discernment and caution is required - I knew better than to suggest my new blu-ray of Magnolia.  I would really never be allowed to suggest a movie again if my family saw that.  With Moonrise Kingdom, I thought I *had* exercised enough discernment.

 

It looks like there are three types of films here so far:

1) quirky fare (Moonrise Kingdom)

2) experimental fare (Last Year at Marienbad)

3) subversive fare (Spring Breakers).

 

I suspect different responses for these films.

Naturally.  But I'm interested in how others have approached sharing films that fall under any of those categories.  I like your idea of background preparation/explanation.

Edited by Evan C

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