The answer to this question depends on how you see yourself and from whose point of view you watch a movie.
An educated movie buff?
A casual movie watcher?
A reluctant movie goer?
I personally hate to watch it from the critic’s seat though I’m asked to do the job often. Simply for the reason that I love cinema. Everything about it. Even the so-called flaws. I believe nothing is perfect. Sometimes, it is that imperfection which gives a movie its character.
Movies that way are like women. Aishwarya Rai is beautiful, almost perfect, near flawless in appearance. She’s a doll. In fact, that’s a problem. I don’t want a doll. I want a real person. That ‘real’ character is what makes our movies the fillums that they are. Colourful. Exciting. Engaging.
If we find being goofy cute, why not the same with cinema?
So, being a movie lover, I can only see the good things. I don’t want to pick faults. It’s the half-empty, hall-full logic, how do you see half a glass of milk? Or beer, if it pleases you to see alcohol, even if it’s just on print.
Most movie critics see the glass half-empty. Those who have some academic qualification to be a critic would understand that film appreciation is the ability to see the glass as hall-full. The positive side, the brighter side.
That was for you guys, if you see yourself as critics.
Now, if you are an educated movie buff, you would watch anything. You would be able to appreciate Iranian cinema as much as admire Superstar Rajnikant or even Captain Vijayakant or someone like Govinda or Salman Khan in their David Dhawan-created avatars. You will find everybody from Spielberg to Soderberg, and everyone from the Wachowski Brothers to the Farelly Brothers equally interesting. You will be able to appreciate Amrish Puri as much as you admire Om Puri.
The more you’ve seen, the more you know what the world looks like. The more you know to take the best from every world you’ve seen. The more you become an authority on cinema. You understand that cinema is just another way of expressing something you want to say, whatever it may be. A comedy is an extension of a joke. A social flick is an extention of a statement. An art film is an extention of a poem. A thriller is an extention of a riddle and so on.
As an educated movie buff you really don’t care too much about what is wrong about a movie because you know that every filmmaker has the right to say what he wants. It’s a free world. No one’s forcing you to watch a movie, right?
Next, if you see yourselves as a casual movie watcher. Then you walk in with a purpose. Which sometimes may just be having a good time out with your friends, sometimes maybe cuddling up with your girlfriend or sometimes to be simply entertained by the illusion created.
That’s a question which has the key. Why do you go to the movies? The purpose.
Now, each commercial movie is made for an audience. Think if that movie is made for you. Kill Bill may not be an ideal movie for a peace-loving ‘I-cannot-swat-a-mosquito’ Aunty to watch. Because, it was not a movie made for her. Similarly, make a Tarantino fan watch a movie like ‘Mitr,’ and rest assured, he would have shot Revathy. Let’s face it, not every film can be a Lagaan or a Shrek. Which is why the likes of Lagaan or Shrek are much celebrated.
If you cannot relate to song and dances in streets of Switzerland, do not go for a David Dhawan film and crib about it. A lot of casual movie watchers end up going for movies not made for them and end up cribbing about the money they wasted. Oh, and if you are a critic, this is a personal request, please do not review movies not made for you.
Methinks that a casual movie watcher could do with a little bit of homework before going for those few movies he watches with friends. But then, if you are out with friends, you do not have much of a choice do you? In such cases, pull up your friends, not the filmmaker.
The reluctant film-goers. Hmmm!
You guys sure have a reason why you don’t like movies. You’ve probably have seen some really bad movies. And yes, just like there are bad jokes, bad poems or riddles, there are bad movies too. Which is why the role of a critic or a reviewer is sacred. They influence public opinion, especially of people who watch movies rarely or selectively.
It is true that some movies give the others a bad name. The Tamil film industry (with maybe the exception of Kamal Hasan, Mani Ratnam or Shankar) especially throws up (yeah, that’s the pun) plenty of movies with ugly stars, fat heroines, crass lines and chauvinistic ideologies. But the wisdom lies in understanding that these were not made for you. They were made for a Tamil speaking average movie watcher who likes his heroes dark or with a moustache, they like some skin, and some more of it, which makes the producers cast voluptous women, which in turn motivates wannabe starlets to put on weight.
The film industry is an industry at the end of the day. It only churns out products for which there is a buyer. Just like how you deal with other products, it is up to you to choose what you want to buy. Or what you want to see. There are plenty of other movies made which you can see. Movies that are made for people like you. Just like there is a girl made for every boy somewhere in the world. You need to find those movies. And be patient. Because, at the end of it, it surely will be worth the watch. Maybe a Rolex or something! He he!