In the past six months or so, I’ve had a curious experience. I have seen some good movies and I’ve seen some bad ones, but I’m having a hard time deciding which ones I’ve actually enjoyed more. I have a sneaking suspicion that the latter have, in the long run, been a lot more fun.
For a long time, the majority of the movies I saw, I saw alone. Between doing reviews, keeping an odd schedule, and having a nagging affinity for me-time, I have spent more time in movie theaters and in front of DVD playback on my own overall than in someone else’s company. The hard lesson here is that there are fewer layers to the movie-going experience when you’re doing it solo. Good movies are good, bad movies are bad, and there’s nothing to change that because there are no other opinions to consult. With someone else around, the movie lives on long after the credits roll.
So, sure, I had a lot of fun at this season’s well-made movies. The Avengers was as good the second time as it was the first and Cabin in the Woods did everything it was supposed to do. Within weeks of these films, I also saw Mirror Mirror and Prometheus. Those didn’t work out so well. And yet, which of these movies have dominated more conversation time in my life? All in all, which ones have resulted in more hours of entertainment?
Despite finding Mirror Mirror pretty weak in some places and downright offensive in others, I still spent a good two hours afterward having a blast tearing it apart with the person who joined me on that ill-fated expedition to the cineplex. The sheer dearth of good ideas in that movie and the overabundance of tone-deaf decisions in its script amounted to so much snark fodder that I feel like my money was well-spent.
And Prometheus. Oh, Prometheus. The most fascinating thing about this movie is how eager everyone is to make fun of its failings. It’s numerous failings. How many great conversations, YouTube videos and parody skits have come from Ridley Scott’s epically botched opus? Don’t get me wrong, I would much, much prefer to have the version of Prometheus that did everything right and delighted fans with its engaging sci-fi premise and delicious plot twists. Sadly, we have the pretty but lacking product of reality brought to life by an overqualified cast and an under-edited creative team. The two hours I gave to an alternately dull and confounding piece of cinema have paid dividends in the amount of culture-wide in-jokes and entertaining conversations that have become accessible to me just by being literate in the film and sharing the disappointment with others.
So, if some ill-informed soul should ever think to ask me what my favorite part of Prometheus was, I won’t say it was the special effects or the nifty future tech or even Michael Fassbender’s admittedly strong performance as the android, David. No, I will tell this hypothetical enthusiast that my favorite part was watching my girlfriend laugh her ass off during the excessively silly alien abortion scene. That was worth my$11 right there.