Time does funny things to films.
When I was a youngster back in the 80′s, I caught this amazing picture on television. It followed a class of Australian school-kids who were kidnapped by bandits and sealed into a cave. With no obvious exit, they attempted an escape via the cave’s lake, swimming down into submerged tunnels in hopes of an exit to the surface. It was exciting in a way I’d never experienced before. Raw, dangerous, and real. When my parents pulled me away for an afternoon of errands, I felt I was missing out on something great.
Roughly 10 years later I tracked down a copy of the film on eBay. When the battered VHS tape (a well used rental copy) arrived in the mail, I eagerly popped it into the VCR, hoping to regain that visceral excitement that was still so vivid in my mind.
Turns out, this was one experience better left to memory.
The picture was a disappointment in near every aspect. Acting, storyline, pacing, setups, you name it. The setup was laughable, the characters were flat and annoying. Never mind the film’s ludicrous ending where the kids and their teacher go all Lord of the Flies on the bandits. What had previously enthralled me was now a chore to sit through.
That film was 1985′s Fortress (starring Rachel Ward, if you’re curious). It was the first time I was forced to come to terms with the fact that as I grew older and my tastes changed, my previous assessments of cinematic quality could prove unreliable. It’s something that’s continued to this day, and with the advent of thousands of free pre-00′s films on streaming services such as Amazon, realizations such as that one seem to be increasing in frequency.
That’s not to say that my changes in cinematic taste have resulted only in disappointment. More often than not it’s brought about different interpretations of previously ‘understood’ pieces. Take, for instance two of the films I included on my best films list for Beyond the Canon back in 2009, Akira and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. Both were films that, when I first viewed them, completely floored me with their rebellious sensibilities. I re-watched both just last year, only to find these two pieces of unbridled machismo now felt alarmingly melancholic – 180 degrees from the adrenaline-fueled action epics I had categorized them as in the past. Akira was actually about bullying and friendship taken for granted, while Bring Me the Head was a tragic romance about an unconventional couple trying to make a better life for themselves. Now, some of you may think to yourselves, “Well, duh! That $#i+ was obvious!,” but to me these new interpretations were quite surprising. And even stranger, these emotional nuances were far more interesting than the original kinetic elements that drew me in in the first place.
Over the past few years the list has grown. Pulp Fiction become a rather tedious depiction of criminal buffoonery and incompetence. My long time favorite, Three Kings, attained a level of subversiveness, hilarity, and emotion beyond that which it had before. Natural Born Killers finally overcame its flash and revealed a fascinating intelligence. Reality Bites finally became relatable. And that’s just a small sample.
Rather than becoming an issue for concern, it’s infused me with a sense of rediscovery. I’m seeing a lot of things again for the first time. After a lengthy period of burnout, it’s made film fun again.
Kris and I have run Dreamlogic since roughly 2003*, and in that time have reviewed hundreds of films, to the point of gaining some bit of expertise in niche/foreign genres. Many opinions we still agree with, while others have proven a bit embarrassing (see, or maybe don’t see: my original Suicide Circle review). To make sure we’re not letting 2003 C&K speak for 2014 C&K, we have mothballed our old work for the time being. As we revisit old pictures we will try to republish old articles for which our original opinions have held strong. Others, like the aforementioned Suicide Circle, I hope to do justice with updated reviews.
I can’t really promise any regularity like back in the day, but at the very least, I’m excited again.
*Technically our first 20+ reviews appeared on Filmrot.com before Dreamlogic.net. Filmrot is still alive and kicking today with its awesome podcast. Be sure to check them out!