Since then I have been embroiled in a heated debate on my Facebook wall about my choice and its lack of substance. Now, I know that mainstream Hollywood blockbusters are not there to be world changing works of art. I understand the separation of popcorn culture and art house cinema. But I also appreciate the joy of film watching for its own sake.
I share with you some of the exchanges:
Mr X: Booooo!! He's a disgrace. End of. :P
Me: What is your beef with Mr Jaws??
Mr X: That would certainly be an epic response, as I would need to take each film and systematically deconstruct to reveal: a consistent absence of worthwhile 'substance'; mawkish sentimentality; and an adolescent's concept of what cinema should be (something I've done for the past 12 years whenever he's come up in discussion. In fact, I once took on an entire class at Uni who couldn't come up with a single constructive defense of his work beyond nostalgic validation).
Oddly, my favourite of all his films is the vastly underrated 1941, which utilises much of what little talent he has to great effect. Hey, that's me ending this reply on a positive note - by recommending one of his films! :P
Me: But there are dinosaurs and sharks and little cute Drew Barrymore and big shiny spaceships...I don't need deep and meaningful life changing substance. Mawkish sentimentality obviously appeals to me! I appreciate your intellectual standpoint but to me cinema is not and can never be about intellectualism. I save that for politics, economics and things that matter. Mainstream cinema is only about distraction, escapism and entertainment. Dedicating your cognitive processes to deconstructing a film that is quintessentially about a killer shark or a marauding T-Rex or an alien that got lost and watched TV seems like a lost cause. Clearly there are millions of film-goers who have spent their cash to line Spielberg's pocket and don't care about the lack of substance in the face of an excess of special effects. We're a shallow bunch, but we delight at seeing Richard Dreyfuss kick that shark's arse! Easily pleased...but happy! xxx
Mr X: >Mainstream cinema is only about distraction, escapism and entertainment. -- which is essentially political by design (pacify/neutralise the masses through escapism, so they won't think and/or implicate your own agenda through the status quo).
>I save that for politics, economics and things that matter. -- art certainly matters to me, and considering all those subjects cross over, it's a very powerful tool indeed (News is entertainment, for example).
>Dedicating your cognitive processes to deconstructing a film that is quintessentially about... -- they can be about more without a passive viewer needing to worry themselves about 'deeper meaning'. Kinda like making a film for children, but simultaneously appealing to adults.
>Clearly there are millions of film-goers who have spent their cash to line Spielberg's pocket and don't care about the lack of substance -- a majority liking rubbish - business as usual.
Me: Rubbish = Good Fun. I'm sure that by watching ET I'm not closing my mind to the real problems in the world. I'm just watching ET. I'm still aware, I just don't care that much. Propoganda via Indiana Jones? Yeah right. There is "art" and there is "cinema". You don't need deeper meaning in some things. Questioning everything to the nth degree closes yourself down to the simple things in life. Spielberg makes cracking films. So if he is the new opium of the masses...then dope me up man!
So does my choice make me naive? Am I falling prey to the secret plan of Spielberg to de-sensitise myself from reality allowing our governments to go unchecked? Should I, as a thinking adult, be looking deeper into what I consider fun and enetertainment?
I'd love to hear your responses!
*I'd like to point out that Mr X is a dear friend of mine...we just fail to see eye to eye! *