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View Poll Results: What condition were you in when viewing these films?
2001: A Space Odyssey - Rested/Focused/Caffeinated 15 78.95%
2001: A Space Odyssey - Exhausted/Distracted/Inebriated 4 21.05%
ST: TMP - Rested/Focused/Caffeinated 16 84.21%
ST: TMP - Exhausted/Distracted/Inebriated 3 15.79%
Blade Runner: Rested/Focused/Caffeinated 15 78.95%
Blade Runner: Exhausted/Distracted/Inebriated 4 21.05%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old August 17 2010, 11:41 PM   #1
Chris_Johnston
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"Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

On another thread someone asked if Blade Runner was worth seeing.
As usual, more than half the responses were of the "it's so boring/overrated" variety.
My recommendation was "Just make sure you're well-rested, and watch it on a nice screen, in a darkened room, with headphones on," but nobody seemed to notice.

It occurred to me that my favorite three SF films were seen under ideal conditions:
• Matinee on opening day and/or at the best theater, with a good audience
• Re-watch DVD early in day, darkened room, headphones, caffeinated beverage

I saw 2001 at the Cinerama Dome during its re-release in the 70s, ST: TMP was the first show at Grauman's Chinese, and Blade Runner was the first show at the Hollywood Theater (now the Guinness World of Records).

Yet the larger percentage of people say these films are "cures for insomnia."

I've gone to see movies at midnight showings, when I'd already been up for 20 hours with 5 hours sleep the night before (John Woo's Hard Boiled, Hellboy), and while I loved those movies, it was a struggle to stay awake. (I don't drink, so inebriation wasn't a factor)

So, I'd like the non-fans to consider whether these other factors were in play when they tried to enjoy these films.
"And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest."


Personal Note: My Dad was an Emmy-winning set designer, and he instilled in me the concept of "Visuals As Action", so any production where great pains were taken to ensure that not one square inch of screen real estate was left untextured leaves my jaw on the floor and my eyes like saucers.
As long as there's some really nifty bits of detail to pore over, I'm happy.
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Old August 18 2010, 12:35 AM   #2
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Chris_Johnston wrote: View Post
"it's so boring/overrated"
Blade Runner & 2001 are two of the BEST SF films ever made, STTMP is a heady & subtle Trek episode, and Planet Of The Apes is up there with the best of 'em.
None of these flicks was made specifically to appeal to a mass audience- they're *thinking peeps* movies. The time for a languorous & literate SF big-budget film has passed, I believe.
Sadly.

On the point of the condition in which to watch them, I was fully awake & caffeinated for each on first viewing, but now I can watch any of them in ANY condition & enjoy. I can also groove to pop-SF-fests like I, Robot or Iron Man as well.
I just don't need as many active synapses to do it.
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Old August 18 2010, 12:51 AM   #3
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

The only one I'm a "non-fan" of is TMP, which I saw on opening night at the Century Theatres in San Jose, Ca. Slow isnt bad. Slow and boring is.

OTOH, I saw 2001 when I was 10 or 11 at the base theatre on a USAF base in Japan. Not sure why but I saw it by myself, no friends or family with me. And I loved it. It may have been slow but it kept me interested the whole time.

Blade Runner was seen on opening day too. But there were very few genre films released between 1977 and 1986 that I didnt see opening day, a midnight show or at a sneak preview. I dont recall Blade Runner being slow or boring. It had a little more "heft" than the usual SF fair of that time so it was a nice change of pace.

What do people make of Altered States? Boring and slow or mind blowing and cool?

ETA: Not sure any of those conditions apply to me. We probably waited in line for a few hours to see all three. ( the early bird get the best seats). But our excitement usually counteracted any exhaustion, no matter what time it was. Caffein? Maybe one soda.( I dont drink alchohol) Focused, yeah I was there to watch a movie. I could always make out with my girlfriend in the car afterwards
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Old August 18 2010, 01:08 AM   #4
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
What do people make of Altered States? Boring and slow or mind blowing and cool?
At my first viewing, mind-blowing & cool, definitely!
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Old August 18 2010, 01:24 AM   #5
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Thanks for the nice replies, folks!
I'm starting to wonder if anybody's gonna even admit to seeing them while Exhausted/Distracted/Inebriated, though.
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Old August 18 2010, 01:27 AM   #6
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Chris_Johnston wrote: View Post
I'm starting to wonder if anybody's gonna even admit to seeing them while Exhausted/Distracted/Inebriated, though.
Not first time. But Blade Runner works for me in ANY Altered State....
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Old August 18 2010, 02:02 AM   #7
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Allow me to rephrase: I wonder if any of the haters are gonna even admit to seeing them under anything but optimal conditions.
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Old August 18 2010, 02:10 AM   #8
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Chris_Johnston wrote: View Post
Allow me to rephrase: I wonder if any of the haters are gonna even admit to seeing them in anything but optimal conditions.
Are there "optimal" conditions today?
When I watch a movie, I WATCH a movie- I don't *look* at it on my computer while texting or sexting or whatever.
ADD is not conducive to enjoying stories that demand attention.
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Old August 18 2010, 03:02 AM   #9
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

I saw all those in the movie theater, but too young to be allowed to drink coffee much less anything stronger. I guess I was pretty focused since in my cheapskate family, going to the movies was a treat (and there was no DVD or even VCR that I recall, so if you missed them in the theater, there was no good way to watch them later - they were horribly butchered with ads for TV).

I liked all of them, even though I certainly didn't comprehend 2001. I was so jazzed to see Star Trek again (I went with my dad) that I didn't care that it was boring. Just the fact that it was back was totally amazing - that was before everyone expected remakes of everything. Blade Runner was visually interesting but makes a lot more sense in the Director's Cut with one vital scene restored and the stupid happy ending deleted. It was so different from everything else that I loved it even if it was a total experience.
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Old August 18 2010, 03:11 AM   #10
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

When Confused Matthew first mentioned that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a film that you were not allowed to hate I thought he was exaggerating, but I'm starting to think he was actually understating the hostility fans have towards people who hate this film. It was bad enough when the arguments were "you just didn't get it", but now we're getting into "you've had too much/not enough caffeine to enjoy it". I mean, obviously it's impossible for an intelligent person to not realize the awe-inspiring greatness of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so there has to be a reason why that person didn't like it.
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Old August 18 2010, 04:21 AM   #11
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

^ 2001 is a great film, but there are stretches where it can be pretty dull. I may enjoy it, but I can certainly see how many people wouldn't—and I don't think it has a thing to do with your mental state, intelligence, or attention span.
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Old August 18 2010, 04:48 AM   #12
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Most films that are worth seeing demand something of the viewer. 2001 is a relatively inaccessible film for contemporary audiences; on any given day I'm unlikely to be in the mood to see it. That says nothing about the quality of the film, however.

Some people never slow down enough to enjoy films like 2001, and that's unfortunate and their loss. I have my own blindspots: I've never seen the Godfather films and have no plans to; I find the entire genre repellent. Meanwhile I am able to appreciate some films that most others do not, including some far less accessible than 2001; from A Hole in My Heart (in the words of one RT reviewer, "an excruciating and appalling experience") to The Five Obstructions, a film which is so arthouse that it risks disappearing up its own asshole. Does that make me superior to those (such as my father) who can't tolerate such fare? I don't know. I only wish that I could share those experiences that I find so valuable.

The folks I feel most sorry for are those whose values appear to be perfectly aligned with their chosen herd. Folks who like all the 'right' films and dislike all the 'wrong' films. I suspect that any individual in lockstep with the group mind in any field - film, politics, etc. - is in dire need of a sense of self, and probably more than a little intellectual honesty.

So it doesn't bother me that people can see films like 2001 and not be moved by them. If they've given it an honest attempt, what more can one ask? Their reaction is as valid as my own. I'd only be disappointed if they'd given it less than a sincere attempt, i.e. watching only the first ten minutes whilst also reading the newspaper and rendering judgement upon that basis or something.

I would suggest that the less accessible a film is, the less you want to 'force' it on someone at any given time. Give them the sense of the film and let them judge when to come to it. By 'sitting them down' with an inaccessible film, more likely than not they simply won't be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it.

Oh, and TMP is boring as hell.
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Old August 18 2010, 04:52 AM   #13
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Kelthaz wrote: View Post
When Confused Matthew first mentioned that 2001: A Space Odyssey was a film that you were not allowed to hate I thought he was exaggerating, but I'm starting to think he was actually understating the hostility fans have towards people who hate this film. It was bad enough when the arguments were "you just didn't get it", but now we're getting into "you've had too much/not enough caffeine to enjoy it". I mean, obviously it's impossible for an intelligent person to not realize the awe-inspiring greatness of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so there has to be a reason why that person didn't like it.
Considering my personal experiences on the internet in general - and this board in particular - lead me to believe that the haters far outnumber the lovers... I have to wonder, why the persecution complex? I rarely if ever see implied what you seem to be inferring. Not around here... and not in several years.

And why would anyone believe that not "getting" something would be an insult to their intelligence. I don't get a lot of the stuff that a vocal minority finds to be the height of entertainment around here, and I don't really care what people think of the fact that I don't watch or understand the appeal of Lost or Heroes or Firefly.

And for the record, I can can watch any of those movies in any of the states mentioned and I enjoy them all just the same.
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Old August 18 2010, 04:53 AM   #14
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Canadave wrote: View Post
^ 2001 is a great film, but there are stretches where it can be pretty dull. I may enjoy it, but I can certainly see how many people wouldn't—and I don't think it has a thing to do with your mental state, intelligence, or attention span.
Whereas I think it has a lot to do with one's mental state and conditioned attention span. Check out how fast the cuts are in modern films compared to those from the 'silent' era or even the 1970s. We're conditioned in all sorts of ways both by the art directly and the environment which produced it, and most folks find it difficult to wander too far from home. It explains the peculiar phenomenon whereby each generation has a different opinion as to what constitutes 'good music', generally translating to 'the stuff that was made before I turned 30'.
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Old August 18 2010, 06:42 AM   #15
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Re: "Boring" Films vs Viewing Conditions

Rii wrote: View Post
Canadave wrote: View Post
^ 2001 is a great film, but there are stretches where it can be pretty dull. I may enjoy it, but I can certainly see how many people wouldn't—and I don't think it has a thing to do with your mental state, intelligence, or attention span.
Whereas I think it has a lot to do with one's mental state and conditioned attention span. Check out how fast the cuts are in modern films compared to those from the 'silent' era or even the 1970s. We're conditioned in all sorts of ways both by the art directly and the environment which produced it, and most folks find it difficult to wander too far from home. It explains the peculiar phenomenon whereby each generation has a different opinion as to what constitutes 'good music', generally translating to 'the stuff that was made before I turned 30'.
That is a good point; film-making is very different now compared to even 15-20 years ago, let alone the late-60s. And some people simply can't enjoy older movies because of that, which really is their loss.

That said, it still bugs me when people imply that my generation is somehow stupider or less appreciative of culture than the ones that came before it. We're not, but sadly tastes do change...
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