Clarity and Subjective Clarity

coffee talk 6

Last year, in 2014, I watched 132 movies, out of which only 13 had been repeated experiences with already familiar movies. That means I watched 119 new stories, had 119 possibilities to see something completely different, had god knows how many scenes times 119 chances to be blown away, I was presented main characters in 119 ways but I only wrote 24 reviews.

Quality not quantity is one of my favorite ideas in the world because it can be applied to almost everything – work, friends, children, lovers, hobbies, furniture, jewelry and most importantly, blog posts. I can easily write about every movie I see but then I would need to raise the quantity of posts which will affect the quality of the reviews I tend to publish. Since I tend to aim for the quality I see around me, I’m constantly trying to approve and raise the quality of my writing and that in respectfully is affecting my decision to write or not to write about a movie.

This means watching a movie without any consequences. Or in other words, since I regularly filter what I see into thoughts I want to share, most of the movies never make the cut. With movies I review, I get an indescribable buzz. It’s either a feeling of complete happiness and joy that I want to share, or the opposite, disappointment and angst. These feelings usually are the force behind my writing but it’s not always the case like I discovered recently.

Last year I didn’t write about two award worthy movies, Gone Girl and Boyhood. Two completely different movies, two completely different ways of telling a stories and also, two movies I liked a lot. Though I had read the book, I was still on the edge of my seat with Gone Girl. Though it is getting a lot of backlash for getting too many awards, I still enjoyed watching Boyhood. Both movies were extremely relevant when I watched them and to this day I would have a lot to say about them – but I choose not to.

Here is the exception to the rule of emotions I presented – clarity. Before I saw Gone Girl and since I was already familiar with the book, I read every post in regards to the movie. I read reviews, articles and by the time I saw the movie, I was sort of thought-out. I had thoughts but they all felt powerless because there were so many better ideas out there. Most importantly, the character of Amy had become as clear as she could get because I had read so much about her.

Boyhood on the other hand wasn’t about being over flown by information, thoughts and ideas, it was about the story itself. With no culmination, with no plot to really grab onto, the boy growing to a man in front of our eyes was as clear as soap water. I knew it was filmed in 12 years, I knew that it was the same boy, the same teenager, the same man and I knew the movie was alright. It wasn’t special beyond its production duration and I can write about it only as much.

Clarity in life is a good thing so we somehow feel the need to chase after it by setting ourselves goals and stepping stones. We feel safer when we are clear about feelings and our careers and it is comforting to be able to clearly see the future. For me, movies should feel the opposite because there is nothing interesting about a movie that is so clear to us that we feel comfortable with it just being. A movie needs to provoke emotion beyond comfort and it should allow ourselves to push our minds to think about it constantly. Boyhood in itself is so familiar and comfortable that I doubt it’ll ever survive beyond its success this award season because it just is.

Gone Girl for meย is a completely different situation caused by me by overflowing myself with information and that raises another point – subjective clarity. Some movies can be made clear by information and theories we consume and it can happen with even the best movies. Clarity of thoughts leads to a state of mind that doesn’t provoke enough thoughts which in my case is usually where I decide not to write about it.

So in conclusion, as I’m throwing out these definitions as if they exist (trust me, I’m making this up as I go along), writing about movies comes down to many aspects. For me personally, if I’m clear and emotionless about something, I tend to avoid writing about it because there’s a certain lack of quality that can come from lack of thoughts. Therefore, it is inevitable to watch over 100 movies and write about only a few of them because not every movie can provoke emotion and lack clarity.

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This post is a Coffee Talk post, a series where I write and ramble about emotions, feelings and decisions behind my process of watching things and blogging about stuff.

 

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11 thoughts on “Clarity and Subjective Clarity”

    1. Letterboxd is the best at keeping the count for you.. the reviews I had to count myself though. ๐Ÿ˜€ Good luck with the 100 movies. Seems easy enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I’d rather avoid all that clarity going into movie. Therefore, I try to avoid reviews of films I know I’m going to watch soon. As a result, I didn’t read a single review for Gone Girl before seeing it and still haven’t read one for Boyhood which I’ve not seen. It helps with being able to form opinions that are organically mine. If they so happen to be similar to what others are saying then so be it. I still got to experience the film from as fresh a perspective as possible. Of course, I can’t always avoid everything because there is so much content to run into by accident, but I still try to limit how much information I get on new releases. All that active avoidance helps maintain that emotional push to write about films. Hence, I feel comfortable writing a review for nearly every new to me movie I watch. Though, I will admit I’ve backed off reviewing just a bit. That’s really me throwing off the chains of feeling like I have to write about them all. Feels good to break free.

    1. I usually do the same, and I even keep myself away from some major trailers even, to be completely surprised and unaware what is going on in the cinema later. I just sometimes like the idea of reading the book before the movie because it’s hardly possible for me to read the book after watching a movie for some reason. But yes, the approach of not knowing and reading anything about a movie is a good one but I still sometimes do it.. I can’t help myself. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Yeah, I’m with Wendell, and I even go a step further and tend to avoid all reviews UNTIL I’ve written the review I want to write, so that my personal feelings and thoughts have no chance to be tainted or manipulated by what I read.

    But I love what you did here…like, I get that you made this up as you went along, but the end paragraph really sums it up spectacularly.

    1. Thanks! Making things up is a wonderful feeling.. it’s the same when you write a review of something you just watched without having any other information or reviews to shadow your own review.. if that makes sense. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Great post! I go back and forth on this. Sometimes I read lots of reviews, spoilers, and what not before going into the film. Other times I like to go in fresh. I’m not really sure why I do that for some and not the others. I’m the same way with TV. I actively search spoilers for some shows I watch, but avoid discussion boards like the plague for others.

    1. I sometimes see a spoiler for a TV show that literally makes me watch the show.. like, there’s some specific ones I’ve gone back to because I saw something on tumblr but then there’s shows I see lots of spoilers of, Once Upon a Time for instance, and I don’t even care. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Great post Mettel! I watched a ton of movies last year too, but didn’t seem to be able to write a review for a lot of them. Clarity has a ton to do with it like not getting bogged down with media hype, but sometimes if it’s message isn’t strong enough or I didn’t gain a strong emotion/thoughts about it, I can’t force myself to write. It’s better to just log it on Letterboxd. Like I loved The Theory of Everything, and liked The Imitation Game, but my intention to write something about them wasn’t strong enough. Sometimes I write too much about a movie too, that eventually I just post whatever cohesive review I have and I’m terrified it doesn’t make sense. haha

  5. Really enjoyed reading this post, and the summary that if it triggers emotions in you then it’s worth writing about was something I’d never had put into words before but it’s true, and can be applied to all aspects of blogging! ๐Ÿ™‚

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