A while back–actually, a long while back–a little package showed up by surprise: A DVD case with a movie I’d never heard of (and a second “extra features” DVD) and a letter about what a great flick it was and how they hoped I’d watch it and write about it. (I don’t remember details of the letter. This was a long time ago.)
Unsolicited, of course.
The description of the flick neither intrigued me so much that I had to sit right down and watch it nor turned me off completely. The top half of the case was just full of award symbols–and reading them closely told me that there are a lot of film festivals. I’d never heard of any of these, but I’m not a film festival buff.
I set the pack aside until an appropriate moment to try it out. And life got busier.
A while later, I received a message from the people who sent the flick. They were really, really, truly hoping that I’d watch it and write about it. I think they were getting ready for a wider DVD release. I treated their request with the seriousness I’d treat any other purveyor of unsolicited merchandise.
Finally last night…
We watched our daily episode earlier than usual. I didn’t feel like reading, and had an hour or so to kill. “What the heck,” I thought, “I’ll watch the first hour of that flick and see whether it’s worth finishing.”
I started watching. After 20 minutes or so, I started using the next-scene button on the remote. I “finished” the movie (roughly typical feature length, let’s say an hour and a half) in about 45 minutes–and had no desire to either go pick up the partly-watched scenes or look at the extras disc.
OK, it was an indie. OK, it was made using digital cameras, which is ecologically sound (no wasted film) and produces really nice picture quality. OK, it mostly didn’t use real actors, and boy, was that obvious. (I should note that we watch a fair number of indie flicks via Netflix, probably at least one out of five movies that we rent–including some “true indies.” I like good indie moviemaking. Good is a key word.)
It just didn’t do it for me–at all. As a comedy (what it was billed at), it wasn’t funny. Some good and varied scenery, but the non-actors kept getting in the way. I’m really amazed that I lasted as long as I did.
You may notice that I haven’t provided the name of the flick. I plan to give it all the free publicity I think it deserves.
My total faith in the reliability and worth of IMDB user reviews was verified in this case: Every one of the reviews was adulatory, either 9 or 10 out of 10 possible stars–and there seemed to be a lot of similar wording in the three pages of nothing-but-rave reviews.
I would never, for a second, suggest manipulation, “friends & family” reviewing or anything of the sort. Apparently everyone else who’s seen this movie and chose to review it just absolutely loved it–a level of unanimity that I don’t find on IMDB for, for example, Citizen Kane or Catch-22 or other such lesser accomplishments. So it must be that I’m just blind to the sheer genius of this masterpiece, “best independent ever” according to at least one review.
Such is life.