There’s a chance I may have written about this before, but I’ve been thinking about this idea an awful lot lately and thought I might share.
If you’re anything like me, when someone asks how a movie was, or if I liked a book, my response is usually along the lines of “good” or “bad.”
I think this is common. We pass our judgment on a piece of art, but I don’t think that’s fair, or even accurate. When people ask us about a movie, book, or painting, we’re not really saying whether or not the art was good. We’re trying to say how we personally experienced the art.
The reason I’ve been thinking about this lately is because I went to go see Baby Driver, a new action crime-caper movie that has been receiving tremendous reviews. I’m always down for supporting a movie that is original, so I went to go check it out.
Here’s where I ran into trouble. By pretty much every account, the movie is good. The editing is excellent. The stunts are fantastic. There are amazing performances by Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and others. There were parts where I laughed out loud. I don’t begrudge the movie its success or its rating on rottentomatoes.
But I also didn’t like the movie. I thought the ending was convoluted and weird, and although the performances were excellent, the characters didn’t make any sense at all. I recognize that all of this was intentional, but that didn’t make me enjoy the movie any more.
So, if someone asks me about the movie, my gut instinct, my first reaction, is to say that it was bad. But that’s not true. Even if I didn’t like it, the movie was great.
My goal, moving forward, is to always review art through the lens of my own experience. Perhaps you’ll do the same?
P.S. The street goes both ways. There are movies that are objectively bad that I love.