Monday, October 19, 2009

Movies No One is Supposed to Like

I don't know about you, viewers, but I love to love movies that critics and the majority of the public are supposed to hate.  People like to tell me that I have no taste because of this, but I think these people are missing the whole point of film and of art as a whole.  I've always felt that the point of enjoying art is to enjoy the things that make you feel something that you enjoy.   That is why they make certain films for certain audiences (aka, horror or action).  Also, it should be said that I don't simply like the maligned film for the sake of being on the outside (though I do get a special thrill from being in the minority...its almost as if I'm in my own little club of one and that I know a secret that no one else knows) but I tend to be able to view the hated film in a more positive light.  Maybe I'm just one of those people that the bad movie is made for.

The bad movie I am watching tonight is Sidney Lumet's musical flop The Wiz.  I've always enjoyed this film, ever since I was a child.  I enjoyed seeing the familiar Oz story transposed over an urban setting and populated with people who weren't white as wool, it showed me at a young age that everyone should have their own version of a story that they can relate to.  Granted, with the dated language and ethnic themes, it appears as if the film is very racist (a strange claim, since the film was made by African-Americans and financed by Motown records) but I see it as a time capsule of 70s fashion and sensibilities.  There are others who complain that the film isn't enough like the stage musical on which it is based...and they definitely have me there.  Musically, it resembles its predecessor and it follows almost the same story, but it was very much changed to utilize the urban setting (rather than starting in Kansas and becoming a magical wilderness with some urban sensibilities) and to shoehorn in its adult female star, Diana Ross.  I personally don't find it unbelievable that a grown up would need a journey of self-discovery as opposed to a child needing it, and I love the city setting as it shows how well the Oz story can stretch to meet any parameters.  Yes, there are some really dull and uninspired shots, and yes Diana Ross can grate on your nerves after a while, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives here (and I refer to the splendorous production design, the performances of Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross, and the fabulous music).

Here's a trailer for anyone unfamiliar, or anyone who needs some nostalgia.  Happy viewing!

No comments: