I grew up 10,000 miles from my current home, in an odd third-culture society. My upbringing was rather conservative, and I was not able to watch movies rated higher than PG-13 for quite some time. So I watched many of the classics, the best of the best from before 1967. I turned 18 and watched the rest of the best, from 1967 and beyond, those rated R films that have been dubbed classics. I then turned my attention to the worst films ever created, watching every schlock, shock, and exploitation film I could find, along with every kind of dreck imaginable.
In 2008 I began writing reviews for every film I watched, whether a classic from 1941 or a film with fewer than 5 votes on IMDB. This continues, as do my reviews of recent releases.
A recent trip back to Pakistan, and an accompanying jaunt through northern India, have rearranged my priorities. On some level none of these films matter. Many of them will be forgotten in a few years, and many of them have already been forgotten by all but a small number of people. In spite of this, I believe there is something, however small, to be gained from nearly every film. They add knowledge and insight, into both humanity and the history of cinema. Here we will spend time talking about works of art like The Seventh Seal [review here] while not forgetting that movies like Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster [review here] exist. They each have their place in the history of cinema, and because of their crafstmanship (or lack thereof) they are mildly worth discussing.
However, as my priorities continue to evolve, I foresee less time spent with the ephemeral quality of cinema and more time spent focusing on new priorities. Do not fear, as I will continue to review as many films as possible, even if I can only manage two or three new reviews each week. But this, too, is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
A quick word about my rating system. I utilize two, the first of which you are familiar with.
This is the standard “Four Star” system. It is a combination of how much I enjoy the film and how well crafted I feel it is, based on my personal, and often limited, knowledge of film.
The second is the “Pirate Flag” system. Unless you are familiar with the Piradical Productions community in Indianapolis, Indiana, you probably don’t know how or why pirate flags are awarded. The Pirads are fans of horror movies, action films, B-movies, and Takeshi Miike. Not everything they like is as tasteless as Pink Flamingos, though. This rating may be complicated, but generally pirate flags are awarded if I feel the Pirads would enjoy gathering together to spend a night watching the film, or would personally benefit from the lessons a film has to offer.
For many films the star rating and the pirate flag rating will go hand-in-hand. Other times, though, they will be diametrically opposed. This is not a problem.
________________________________________________________________________© 2009, 2010, 2011 Tim Irwin All rights reserved Stills/images are copyright their respective creators/owners and no breach of copyright is deliberately intended.