January 29 - MR. NOBODY (2009)
On Fridays, I watch movies recommended to me. MR. NOBODY, written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael, came highly suggested from several sources. In addition to these people -- whose opinion I strongly respect -- I was also urged to watch MR. NOBODY by the most pretentious goon I've ever met, a classmate of mine in a philosophy class on personal identity. I want to talk a little bit about how recommendations inform a viewing experience. Firstly, I didn't really like MR. NOBODY. It was okay, maybe I wasn't in the right mood for it, whatever. There were some nice shots, but the story seemed a bit in love with itself. I think WORLD OF TOMORROW (my writeup here) tackles some similar themes in a more intriguing way, with the added benefit of not starring Jared Leto. That said, a part of me feels cautious about speaking my thoughts on a movie recommended by those close to me. Obviously, I don't want to hurt their feelings by not liking it, but the effect of recommendation is a deeper one.
As I watched MR. NOBODY, I thought about why it was recommended. What does it say about me that people would think I would like a particular movie? Does it go beyond a simple "I thought it was good, maybe you'll think it's good" suggestion, or is it an individually-tailored recommendation based on what kind of impression I give to those around me? Also, I'm thinking about the condescending pseudo-intellectual who gave it an A+; I don't want to share anything in common with that person, so I shouldn't like this movie. Would I have liked MR. NOBODY more if I had found it for myself? I'll grant that as a possibility, although I stand by my above criticism. There's a particular vulnerability in recommending a piece of art to someone else, and I respect that vulnerability. I value the thought that goes into a recommendation, even if it's only in passing.