I have a BA in Film Studies. Yes, this means I have seen a lot of classic films and “artsy” movies. Italian Neorealism and French New Wave? Been there, don’t that. I watch Oscar nominations, indie films, and small arthouse movies. The reason for mentioning this is because, knowing that I have studied film academically, you might be surprised by some of my feelings and opinions related to movies. Like, for example, a couple recent movie experiences I had over the weekend.
I’ve been trying to watch some critical darling films I have never seen recently. I watched Withnail & I and enjoyed it. For whatever reason, that film made me think of My Dinner With Andre. I had never seen it. I knew it as a talky, intellectual movie that’s just about two friends having dinner and a serious conversation. Wallace Shawn costars. He’s the one who has dinner with Andre. He plays an actor and playwright named Wallace Shawn. I’ve seen the Community episode that is, in part, a parody of My Dinner With Andre, which was fun. So I decided to finally watch it.
I’ve written books of film criticism. I’ve watched many a classic film. I’ve seen most of the AFI Top 100. I like some talkier, artsier films. My Dinner With Andre was dull as all get out. Even for a movie that is just two guys talking it’s dull. The problem is that it’s actually mostly just Andre talking, and what he’s saying isn’t fun, engaging, or interesting. Honestly, I think I only made it 25 minutes in. The movie was just so boring. I watched the Community episode again afterward. I appreciated the references more, but even that episode wasn’t as good as I remembered.
Then, a couple days later, I decided to watch Aquaman. I had heard it was fun, but I just don’t really like the DC movies all that much. People loved Wonder Woman and I thought it was fine. I heard good things about Shazam! and I thought it was pretty good at best. However, I was in a bad mood and just wanted something frivolous to watch while I exercised. Also, I had maybe had a couple drinks.
Aquaman is silly, but not as silly as I thought. It was pretty good, a totally solid superhero film. I have no interest in watching it again, but I was entertained and it passed the time. I was genuinely emotional a couple times, especially when it came to Arthur’s parents. There were a couple good fight scenes. I have no regrets about the film. It was ideal for watching on an exercise bike.
Yes, I think Aquaman is a better movie that My Dinner With Andre. I may have studied film in college. I may have written papers about sound editing in Psycho and the documentary No More Tears, Sister. I studied film because I love movies, and that includes blockbusters and big-budget flicks sometimes. You can be a cinephile and think a movie about a guy who talks to fish is better than a critically-lauded film about a guy who talks to his friend about pretentious nonsense. That’s the joy of being a movie fan.