Comments: Stepping Up Your Game
If I possessed the brainpower (and several lifetimes), I would compose a treatise expounding on the philosophical and psychological motivations behind the rationale for every one of my matchup decisions. My dizzying insight and erudition regarding film and the human condition would penetrate deep into the core of why, for example, Bandidas really is better than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. With each comment, my soul would be laid bare and another piece of the puzzle to discovering the meaning of our place in this vast and cold universe would be revealed.
Sadly, I may never attain that level of matchup commentary. Like most Flickchart users, I usually just write a brief explanation for my decision and move on. I attempt to offer some sort of reason for why I chose as I did, but the majority of my comments aren’t exactly thorough explorations into every aspect of each movie’s merits and shortcomings. Like, for example, my comment on The Fifth Element vs. The Devil Wears Prada:
“The Devil Wears Prada is better than The Fifth Element. Anne Hathaway is cute, Emily Blunt is hot and Ruby Rhod is nowhere to be seen anywhere in the whole movie. Some people might claim that Milla Jovovich is hot in The Fifth Element, but she looks freaking ridiculous and she talks like she’s mentally challenged. Goddamn I dislike The Fifth Element. The Devil Wears Prada doesn’t even have shooting in it, and yet it still wins.”
Clearly that is not an in-depth criticism. Fans of The Fifth Element are likely to call foul because I didn’t discuss the visuals, or perhaps they may feel that I misinterpreted Milla Jovovich’s performance. But, hey, I made an honest effort to share my thoughts in a nutshell. Is that really enough, though? If a person is going to make a comment, just how thoughtful does it need to be?
Usually, the primary reason I comment on a matchup is to get the gears in my brain working. Like, if two movies come up that I feel roughly the same about and I can’t make an instinctual decision. Recently, for example, I had Show Me Love, a movie about Swedish teenage lesbians, come up against Star Trek: First Contact . If not for Flickchart, I may have went my whole life without ever comparing those particular films. But there they were. At that moment, I realized that I liked both of them about the same, or, at least, I believed that I liked them both the same. But then it occured to me that Show Me Love struck a truer chord than First Contact. Sure, that scene in First Contact where Picard tells Worf, “I think you’re the bravest man I have ever known,” gets me choked up every time. But there could very well be a real-life lonely teenage lesbian living right down the street from me, while the chances of a Borg attack are minimal. Here is how I resolved the matchup:
“Show Me Love is a fairly typical sort of love story, aside from it being about teenage lesbians. It succeeds because the feelings of loneliness and longing the main character experiences seem genuine, and I suppose many people can relate on some level. First Contact feels rather trifling and absurd by comparison, so I guess Show Me Love is better.”
With that comment, I think I became a little more human. It helped me understand that even the best Next Generation Star Trek movie didn’t capture the angst and joy of life as touchingly as a couple of Swedish teenage lesbians. I can only hope that my comment will help someone else put these two movies into better perspective.
Perhaps, then, the best way to stay sharp is to try to find meaning in seemingly incongruous matchups. Other people’s comments can be used as a springboard. For example, I came across a comment from another Flickcharter for Aliens vs. Repulsion that offered an interesting take on the characters, so I tried to expand on the idea. I’m not sure if I did, but it helped me look at the two movies in a different way. Another person’s Pretty Woman vs. King Kong matchup comment was a little less focused, but I still felt compelled to add something to it based on what I thought it meant . Actually, the countless matchup combinations available provide ample opportunity for making some really whacked-out or clever connections between movies that could very well revolutionize the way future generations interpret film. Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
When I look at the massive number of comments for Back to the Future vs. Ghostbusters (some of which are quite elaborate), I envision a time not too far off where even the most nonsensical, obscure matchups draw a flurry of impassioned commentary. It doesn’t really matter if comments are profound, or even if they make sense, but just that they offer your own unique perspective, I figure. I find myself rewatching movies that I’ve forgotten about just so I’ll have a decent comment ready in the event that one day I encounter them in a matchup. I even leave matchups sitting on my computer for days at a time just so I can rewatch the competing movies to refresh my memory. The best part about Flickchart is that it motivates me to think about the movies I’ve seen so I can step up and justify my reasons for liking or disliking them through comments. If you work at it, you may even reach an epiphany like I did with Show Me Love vs. Star Trek: First Contact. The next time you get a matchup that doesn’t immediately make sense, just dig deep within yourself and an enlightened comment will spring forth.
(NOTE: Yesterday, I cranked out a lengthy comment for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre vs. Trasgredire. Feel free to use it as a comment response training tool.)
This post is part of our User Showcase series. You can find Chad as kingofpain on Flickchart. If you’re interested to submit your own story or article describing your thoughts about movies and Flickchart, read our original post for how to become a guest writer here on the Flickchart Blog.