Don’t worry, that’s normal

Man, going to the movies with friends, isn’t what it used to be and I don’t mean making out in the backseats or smoking Rothmans. No, rather, the post-movie discussion has changed from light banter to serious discussion, in which what you think about movies, what you like or dislike about them, can lose you real friends and alienate virtual people.

I’ve been to two movies lately, Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Todd Phillip’s The Joker. One I loved, the other I didn’t, does that really matter? Is it not just a night out at the movies? Or does my opinion of them, really reveal who I am? Oh God, if I see something in Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, that I sympathize with or shock horror know is in me, does that make me an animal? If I like some of Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth shtick, does that mark me as a target for branding me a misogynistic shit? Of course not, let’s keep our heads.

The Joker has caused quite the stir. So, should you not go and watch it? And if you do, should you deride it? Man, don’t you know that we all have a shadow? A set of personality traits deemed undesirable by ourselves, or the society we live in, or most usually both. We push these traits into our subconscious. Everyone carries a shadow, but the more it is repressed the denser it becomes. The movie explores that Jungian idea and because it is a movie it reaches for dramatic effect.

Are not all great movie characters, even the most adored, complex beings that can possess parts noble and parts creepy? For dramatic effect? Take Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump, what’s not to like about Forrest? Yet, it has to be admitted that he did stalk that poor woman through the ages until finally exhausted, she agreed to sleep with him.

Google Most Loved Movies and you will see a poll from ranking prominently. It polled over 400,000 voters and here is a list of the top ten movies they voted for —

  1. The Godfather
  2. Pulp Fiction
  3. Star Wars
  4. Shawshank Redemption
  5. Forrest Gump
  6. Schindler’s List
  7. The Godfather, Part II
  8. The Dark Knight
  9. Gladiator
  10. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Can you enjoy these movies? And if you do? Are you someone who gets their kicks from viewing Mafia kingpins terrorizing the populace? Who likes watching rape, overdosing and murder? Likes the glorification of terrorist rebels? Digs the Disneyfication of hardened criminals? Enjoys watching the inside workings of concentration camps? How can you like Al Pacino’s Don Corleone after watching him shoot his brother in the back of the head?

Reading novels creates empathy with our fellow humans, watching movies, gives us time in other worlds, surely it is okay to wander other worlds and even like parts of what may be in them as a fantasy? Perhaps citizenry’s fear is that watching movies will thwart our attempt to reach the individuation stage, that our shadows will take us over. But can that not occur without watching these movies? For were not heinous crimes committed before the movies? Napoleon never set his silky arse into a cinema, Attila the Hun never munched popcorn watching blockbusters of Alexandra the Great

Movies launch thoughts into the world, the same as history, mythology, philosophy, religion and yes identity and as Knausgaard describes it these thoughts are “viewed through the prism of a moment, which can only handle little bits at a time.” You know to see something of yourself in Darth Vadar is okay.

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