A MOVIE IS A MUST SEE FOR FILM STUDENTS EVERY FILM STUDENT SHOULD SEE THIS DOCUMENTARY yadda yadda etc. etc. etc. etc.
It's not often that I read through the comments index of a movie before writing a review of my own, but I am always interested to hear what other people have to say about more obscure or unusually interesting movies, like this one. I was amazed scrolling through the index at the things that people had to say about this movie. One reviewer hailed A Movie as the greatest stock footage compilation ever made and presented it as a milestone in movie history and then went on to give a completely wrong interpretation of it, even going to far as to compare it to Jackass. I allow that individual interpretation allows for a wide variety of different opinions, but this guy was entirely too confident in what he was talking about to have left so much out.
Another reviewer told a story about how a few people in his class on the first day of film school were asked their opinions about the film, and after a couple people tentatively raised their hands and gave foolish answers, he stepped in to save the day and enlighten the rest of the class with his sheer brilliance. RIGHT. His review consisted of more rhetorical questions than anything else, I'm sure he spent more time trying to sound like he knew what he was talking about (which, given the fact that he made not a single solitary assertion about the film in any way, he probably doesn't) than the 36 minutes that he allotted for contemplating the meaning of the film.
Another reviewer, some angry kid from Connecticut, wrongly condemns the film as being a classic without reason or sufficient merit. This review is a classic example of someone who completely missed the point and, instead of trying to sound like he knows exactly what's going on, writes a scathing review out of anger that he's completely clueless. The reviewer on the movie's title page (at the time of writing this review, was written by matthew wilder) probably leaps all bounds in his wrongness in analyzing this movie, claiming that it represents all of human happiness, which is probably the furthest thing from the mind of anyone who has actually seen it. Matt, if you ever see this movie again, do it while you're AWAKE.
Don't hail a movie like this just because a lot of people have before you or because you watched it in class on the first day of film school. It's not hard to derive at least SOME meaning out of a movie like this. Consider, for example, the opening of the movie. It starts with a countdown to showtime, which pauses to show a beautiful woman undressing. So now that the film has your attention, it promptly displays a THE END title, and continues on to display the things that typically go on, as it were, after the ending, or at least the things you don't see. Boats crashing, failed technological innovations, the Hindenburg crashing, etc.
There is a great bit of irony in the energetic score to the film, which highlights both hilarious human shortcomings (like experimental bicycles which turn out to be complete failures, although there are certainly some that I wouldn't mind riding around town) and unbearable disasters, juxtaposing them together to emphasize the human (i.e. American) tendency to not really think much about what is on screen. As long as it's naked or goes boom, we're entertained (this may be Bruce Conner's prediction for the state of the cinema in the early 21st century, much like Metropolis was Fritz Lang's pessimistic view of future society both of which are startlingly accurate).
A Movie is not a hard movie to watch, personally I found it to be enormously entertaining. But it is certainly not a movie to forget or to write off as negligible or trivial, or to condemn simply because you don't understand it. This is the kind of movie that will inspire a wide variety of interpretations, and the ones I criticize in this review I do so because they missed so much information from the film. Even the fact that the entire thing takes place after a title saying THE END is an enormous hint as to what it's all about. Things like that don't often make their way into the movies for no reason. The movie is, in fact, 12 minutes long, but please, PLEASE spend more than `3 times that' thinking about it, if you are, in fact, interested in saying anything interesting or intellectual about it. You can't analyze this movie on first sight the way you can with just about every Hollywood movie that comes out these days.
It seems, as a matter of fact, that Bruce Connor was right about the entertainment of the future.
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