Mid-Fantasia Rant: How I choose movies

Fantasia is now on and my list of movies is as usual, a little too long. I’m not complaining about it too much because it’s a problem I love to have, but I just thought I’d write about it.

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I think this is something you only see clearly in a movie festival, like Fantasia. You have a long list of movies. Not all of them are going to be in your list, but you like almost all of them. That’s the case with me at Montreal’s own Fantasia International Film Festival. More than two thirds of the described premises and fleeting trailers look like my favorite kind of film, but I’m obviously unable to watch a hundred movies.

To paraphrase Sara Bareilles, it was a pretty good bad idea. Now I have to cut down, so I have to be selective.

The kicker for me is always not to go for the same kind of movie. I’ve made the mistake in the past of sticking to some sort of trend, like everything anime, manga adaptations, time travel or comedy. I want a mix. The mix can’t be controlled or planned to the dot, I need to improvise a lot and sometimes make choices on the very spot.

As much as I love manga-based movies, I should know better than pick films based on manga I have not read neither seen anime adaptations from the source material. That already hampers my enjoyment since I won’t catch on to any of the inside jokes. On the other hand, if I am familiar with the material and a fan of many years, a live-action film adaptation is a must.

I love actual anime, but I find it hard to fully enjoy it on a big screen theater. Quiet moments are just hard to be drawn into by it. Too many unnatural bright colors and I need to close my eyes for a second. I’m drawn to anime on my home tv screen, but I feel way too close on a large theatre screen and instinctively feel I have to step back. I don’t know why that makes sense to me.

Surrealistic, Lynchian films have a place. You need to step out of your comfort zone and add a few ones that feel like you’d enjoy. Yes, enjoy. I have tried ethereal, non-linear or basically out of the box movies that might have made their point but did so without providing actual entertainment value. You have to keep your audience engaged. Yes, challenge them but keep them awake. This one will always be a risk, but sometimes you do discover a gem.

Drama, for drama’s sake, is hard to stomach. I think nowadays “dramedys” as much as I’m not fond of using made-up terminologies, are the way to go. The movie can balance itself out. I do have a problem when they start getting preachy. Keep them relatable, don’t make every character a caricature of itself, give them depth and make them human. I still try to dodge “vehicles” though. You don’t see too much of these in Fantasia, but a vehicle is a movie dedicated to its main stars. The world in which the movie exists revolves around its stars and everyone else has no depth at all.

Horror can be fulfilling. There’s something to be said about the genre where the meek and the mild have to save the day. These movies always have assholes that get their comeuppance, unlike when they get away with it in the real world. Evil doesn’t always have to be defeated and the establishment might just be thwarted by the supernatural. Anything goes in a horror film, but I do avoid the mindless cringefest gore porn that are the SAW film clones. There’s something about self mutilation that makes me draw a hard line on the sand. Just nope.

There’s more genres of course, but I think I’ll save something for another rant. Besides I have some movies to catch up on. Let’s just say for now I will always try to give indie films a chance but I can’t quite resist a good crowd pleaser.

That will do for now.

 

 

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