Where are your film strengths (and weaknesses)? ·Era (silent, 30s,…, current) ·Genre (Horror, western, …, musicals) ·Production (acting, cinematography, …, directing) Having had some predictable (and surprising) comments made on some of my choices and observations, and reacting myself, to the choice made by others, has made me realize that no matter how outstanding I think a movie, and no matter the case that can be made as to the movie’s merits there will be a large number of forum members who consider it to be of little or no value. Conversely, no matter how bad, I think a movie (and regardless of the number of specific reasons as to why the movie is indeed bad), it will have a large, passionate base of support. Following some of the discussion in a couple of the tournaments recently made me think about what I liked and why. And why I considered myself even remotely qualified to have an opinion. And this in turn, makes me curious as to what the rest of you consider the areas where you feel qualified to have opinions on particular films. So, what kinds of movies do you feel reasonably comfortable with having a valid, critical opinion? Over what time periods? And perhaps, in some technical or artistic areas such as cinematography or set design? Realizing that we are all products of our backgrounds, we tend to critique movies through our experience, which includes our education, when we grew up, when we developed an interest in movies and a plethora of other criteria. For example, I grew up, mostly in the 50s, and have gone to the movies for as long as I can remember. Therefore I have seen a great many films of the 40s and 50s. As I was in college in the early 60s, my knowledge of foreign and non-mainstream films is strongest in the late 50s and 60s. I spent a great deal of time in the 90s in South America, Australia and various other places in Asia/Pacific with not as much time to actually go to movies as I would have liked. I also lived in many places where a good many offerings were fairly heavily censored (if shown at all). Therefore my knowledge of mainstream films of the 90s is far more limited than almost any other forum member. I strongly prefer films that engage me both emotionally and intellectually. While I may enjoy (and thoroughly enjoy) films that I consider (only) action packed (or just sentimental—to get away from just action-oriented movies), I will pick a film for its intellectual content over its production values most of the time. I have never taken the first film class, so all I know technically is from reading and observation. This would also be true in artistic areas such as music and screenwriting. I’m not a musician, so my real ability to judge scores is based on my on my musical likes and dislikes that have been formed over many years of listening to music, with a heavy preference for classical, jazz, blues and a lot of C&W. So too with writing. Other than a few comparative lit classes, my ability to judge writing is limited to my reading preference’s over many years. Because of this, I am much more tolerant of poor writing in science fiction (which is one of my reading guilty pleasures) than I am in war movies, where (for literature) I hold writers to a much higher standard. Finally, all things being equal I hold more talented artists to a higher standard that their journeyman brothers. This might be unfair, but just as I expected Troy Aikman to craft a winning drive and put another win in Cowboys’ column (whereas if the backup QB manages to not lose the game, I’m happy), I expect far more from a Spielberg than from a Ron Howard (don’t start, it’s just an example). I pose the question, as I read with a great deal of interest those opinions differing from my own. It helps greatly to expand my base of knowledge and reference point. Sorry for the length of the post, but I got started and couldn’t stop.