The Film

Last weekend I watched a movie that I’d been needing to see–not because it would change my life or teach me a lesson, but because I teach film, and sometimes I need to know more than what I read in reviews and scholarly criticisms. So I watched The Big Lebowski. My friend Aaron loves this movie. He loves it so much that when I told him, after I saw it, that I didn’t get it, he blogged about what the film meant to him.

I commented that as soon as I figured out what “my Lebowski” was, I’d write about it.

I’ve been thinking about it all week. What is my go-to film? The one that can make everything right in my world? The one I never tire of, the one I evangelize to anyone who will listen?

And Friday, I realized, I don’t have one.

For a girl who has seen 75 of AFI’s 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, and at least an additional 100, this is unsettling.

I don’t have a go-to movie. There are movies that remind me of old boyfriends that I’ve never watched again, and movies that make me cry so I don’t watch those if I’m feeling vulnerable. Some movies I watch when I need to laugh, and some movies I watch when I need to feel smart.

But I fear I’m developing the same relationship with watching films that I have with reading fiction–the concocted plots, characters, and outcomes don’t reflect any reality with which I’m familiar, so I don’t (or can’t, or won’t) take away anything of substance from films I watch. I’ve lost an ability to connect.

How’s that for some armchair psychology?

I won’t stop seeing films–I enjoy the escapist element of them–but I don’t know if I’ll ever find “my Lebowski.”

2 Comments

  1. If you can't find your own “lebowski” in film or literature, then perhaps it is time to write one . . . . 🙂

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  2. oh i like that first comment! as for me – i can totally relate. i have memories of seeing films that i thought changed my life and would be forever powerful to me. well, the truth is, movies don't really speak to me anymore. like you they are entertaining but they feel rather contrived now. i blame age.

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