Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Enemies of Awesome: "Fine."

I saw a movie last night that was nominated for a bunch of Academy Awards. It was fine.

And by being fine, it was, arguably, at a complete extreme from awesome.

What was wrong with it? Basically, there was nothing wrong with it, apart from a slightly strange overreliance on dutch angles. But in some ways, that was the most interesting thing about it - an unconventional choice, albeit a misguided one, that indicates some measure of directorial personality.

Everything else was, well, fine. Ten years ago, I would have raved about the performances (Oscar-nominated, and sure, they probably deserve it). I would have thought one of the plot choices was particularly brave. I would have applauded the fact that it takes on a big ethical question, avoids easy resolution.

But I've mostly already forgotten it. I expect in a year, I'll have a hard time remembering that I saw it.

And that's the difference between something fine - something good, even - and something awesome.

The awesome lingers, often in strange and unexpected ways. Whereas the good is a closed system, to be admired, nodded at, then walked away from.

One might choose a brief excursis on "fine" art here. I won't, but I will note that if you ask someone how they are, and they say "fine", they are usually lying. I know it's my default answer when I don't feel like discussing how I am, and I usually don't discuss how I am at times when things are Not Awesome.

I don't know how to end this, other than to note my resolve to try to avoid experiences this year that will end with me saying: "That was fine."

Like the sheep race I saw on Sunday. But that's another post.


Todd Stadler said...

You seem to be defining awesome as "unique". That's certainly your prerogative, and, thinking back over my life, I'd probably agree to a large degree.

But sometimes things are "fine" not because they are not awesome, but because we have become inured to them, jaded.

Of course, this is all personally subjective, anyhow, so there's no point in my telling you that, dangit Doug, that movie was actually, verifiably awesome! Especially when I don't know what movie it was (doesn't matter -- I haven't seen it; promise).

But if you watched a lot more sheep races and a lot fewer films, perhaps you'd have a different idea. Of course that's true, but I'm just putting it out there all the same.

Patti said...

This isn't relevant to your post, but I've been meaning to point out to you that Dad and I decided the most awesome thing we ever did was have you guys! You still could match that awesomeness in the next couple of weeks. :) But it would take a lot of focus among other things. Perhaps even a date. Not having a tatoo, I can't say for certain, but I think it would be more awesome that another tatoo. Love, Mom