One good thing about writing, just for writing’s sake, is that while writing one thing, another thing comes to mind. Earlier today, I wrote about how I have undertaken the commitment to watch all of the Oscar movies from the past and to review them. In doing so, I have noted that all types of movies have been awarded the Oscar. There does not seem to be any formula for choosing an Oscar winner, and the same thing is true in reviewing visual art.
In the not too distant past, several conceptual and performance art pieces were considered high art and were even awarded large grants of government and corporate funding. While I was in graduate school for visual art, I was assigned the task of reviewing Seedbed Here The entire project flabbergasted me. In fact, after that, I threw up my hands and competely quit doing art for a while. I determined that if Seedbed and other pieces like that were my competition, I’d rather not be in the running. Since then, I have mellowed a bit, but in doing so, I have adopted the opinion that many things slip beneath the wire, when art is being judged. Art critics are not computers. There are no definitives about what is and what is not art, and that what is considered to be great varies from era to era. The same is true when reviewing movies.
Yesterday I reviewed the 2015 movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Mad Max is not my kind of movie, but in watching it, I realized that it had some very strong points. Mad Max struck me as a video game type of movie. I realized that young men would probably really like the movie, and in that respect, it is a piece that has followed the demands of its peer group. In all fairness, I am 66-years-old female. I don’t play video games, and I am not of the Mad Max culture. I prefer movies that are more relevant to my age, but the Mad Max culture deserves an art form just as much as I.
Earlier today, I reviewed the Quiet Man, which was released in 1952. I was born in 1950, and The Quiet Man appeals to me. I also like The Bishop’s Wife, which was also released in that same era. I am not limited in my taste for these old, old movies, but I do like them, and I doubt that the people who like Mad Max would like those movies at all. This suggests to me that in reviewing movies, we need to take into consideration the eras in which they were made, and we need to take into consideration that fad has more to do with taste in the arts than we might like to believe.
Today, I watched a 1950 comedy Born Yesterday. It was also an Oscar nomination. The dialogue used words like “dame” and “kisser” and “louse things up”–things that you never hear in today’s films. Quite honestly, I didn’t love that film either, but I saw its merit, and it is definitely the type of movie that was released in its time.
As I have said several times, I have undertaken the task of reviewing movies that span a large number of years. While I would like so say that art is art–regardless of when it is created, but I realize that decisions about what is and what are not as simple as they might seem.
©Jacki Kellum February 14, 2016