Saturday, July 4, 2009

Welcome Simple Pleasures

I’ve recently realized that my snobbery is cyclical. When I was young I’d watch any movie, eat at any restaurant my parents told me to. If dad liked it, I liked it. Did the movie make me laugh? Was there an explosion of fire? A great big kaboom? Nice…love that movie. Did the waiter at the restaurant bring everyone their food? Was the food as good as mom’s tuna casserole? Right on…love that restaurant. My general standards for tv were, anything that’s good enough to make it onto the TGIF Line-up must be a winner, and my guidelines for theater were, we don’t go very often, so it’s good (whether I think so or not).

That all changed mid-High School, and reached its peak by Junior year of college. What started as a marked decision to refine my artistic and epicurean palette hastily snow-balled into a full-on snobfest. Nothing would match the artistry demonstrated by “Six Feet Under”, the schizophrenic brilliance of David Lynch, the bleak insight of “Endgame” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, and, of course, the unbeatable jalapeno-infused yellowtail sashimi at Nobu in New York. Very quickly, few things met my standards of excellence. And just as quick, my intake of the arts became massively stifled.

These days, though, all I really need is to be entertained. And my taste- my firewall of sophistication- is crashing. This means a few things. First- I love family films. I got a kick out of “The Spiderwick Chronicles”. I saw “Up” three times in theaters. I’ve recently gotten hooked on the Showtime Network flop “Dead Like Me”. In a previous entry I mentioned that I’ve enjoyed JJ Abrams’ sci-fi detective thriller “Fringe”. I saw “Away We Go” in theaters recently and had a great time. The characters were quirky and hilarious; the two leads were understated and relatable. In fact, Maya Rudolph gave a subtle and poignant performance that I didn’t see coming a mile away. This puts me in quite a minority; Rotten Tomatoes rates the film at 35.

I imagine that at some point soon I’ll overdose on “High School Musical 3” and the Cheesecake Factory and the cycle will shift again. But in the mean time, I’m quite enjoying…you know, enjoying things. Please though, if from some act of madness I end up seeing Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, find me, and slap me out of my mediocrity-loving reverie.

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