This week on Reel Talk, I said something I now regret. I said that Spider-Man 3 was a better movie than Captain America 2. I was of course wrong to say this. It was dumb. After all, what kind of objective basis is there to state one movie is ‘better’ than any other? Just because I thought Spider-Man 3 was a visually inventive, stylishly-cartoonish, glorious fuck-you to interfering moneymen and the expectation that all comic book movies must be serious dramas, and thought Captain America 2, while functional, was completely nondescript, does not mean I can make any sort of objective statement about their comparative worth. While I do believe you can take aspects of an artwork and compare them with the same aspect in another artwork (like for example, the fact that the CGI in Spider-Man 3 is total balls, while in CapAm2 it’s really great), the value placed on a piece of art experienced as a whole is a completely personal matter (as this piece so persuasively argues). However because that experience, in being personal, is total, I find myself using objective language to describe films all the time. Most of the time that’s fine. It’s understood that any time anyone is talking about art they are expressing an opinion, and so objectivity is reflective of passion not rules. But declarations like one movie being ‘better’ than another go beyond mere opinion. They attempt to institute rank where the only true measure of worth is personal feeling. In short, they have no place in movie discourse.
I do love Spider-Man 3 though.
I also love Take This Waltz, Sarah Polley’s masterpiece, and get very enthusiastic about it. Special Guest & New FilmSoc President Klara gets passionate about Captain America 2. Zhana really liked Drinking Buddies, and Pete is nothing but excited about the assless chaps of Mad Max 2. So, what are you waiting for? Listen at the link below, or subscribe on iTunes!