18 March 2009

Two sort-of separate thoughts, linked by TOKYO!

One of my favorite parts of the Internet is how hard it is to miss something wonderful if you're really into its subject matter. Here is a tiny account of how I found out (and was reminded, and was reminded again) about TOKYO! (the movie):

Constant reminders of TOKYO!

Pretty awesome, right? Over six months, I had messages about the movie coming from a blog, a friend and a mailing list. By the time the movie opened, there was no way I was going to forget about it. And how could I, with a trailer like this?

Last weekend, I finally saw it with Jack and I loved it. This is one I'm going to have to buy when it's released; I can see myself wanting to watch little bits of it over and over again.

In short: The movie is three separate stories – all set in Tokyo – directed by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-Ho. I loved each one for different reasons. There were a lot of "everyday adjustments when you're new to a big city" parts in Gondry's, the feelings of which I can remember/relate to. Also, one of my favorite buildings has a tiny cameo in it.

The Carax story was slightly jarring and hilarious at the same time; it starred Denis Lavant, who nobody ever seems to be able to take their eyes off of (here he is in the Rabbit in Your Headlights video). The Joon-Ho story not only referenced hikikomori... but it also had a TON of sunlight in it, which is one of my favorite things in the world to look at.

I really am happy that I enjoyed Tokyo! this much, because I accidentally read a withering review of it a few days beforehand that ashamedly had me spooked (don't click on that unless you are okay with spoilers): Tokyo! has no real reason for being, least of all as a city portrait. It’s disposable art-house tourism, made by filmmakers with too many festivals to attend. Wowzers! Seeing this movie reminded me why I tend to take such things with a grain of salt, since it's hard to apply the opinion of someone I've never met to the context of my own life.*

I realize that this post doesn't really have a clear flow. Sorry. These are the two separate thoughts that aren't SO separate in my mind but I'm having a hard time explaining (try to poke holes in these if you can, I don't feel 100% yet):

1. The Internet is a great platform for guiding you to things you love: either directly (something you signed up for, e.g.), or via someone else who knows you pretty well. DUH, I know, but I'm just thinking about this now.
2. The more paths that something takes to get to you, the more support there is that you should probably check it out further. These paths are in a way pre-selected and shaped by "what makes you you," right? So all of them taken together are a better predictor of whether or not you'll like it than someone who's paid to write reviews that stand on their own or in a silo. Again, common sense, but I liked deconstructing it a little.

* I think of this in the same way that I think of professional restaurant reviews (I wrote this as a comment in Noah's post about rating systems & personal rules). One of the reasons I prefer public rating systems over things like Michelin is context. Restaurants don't live in a vacuum: they are part of people's lives. On Yelp, you can look at profiles attached to each review to get a general sense of the context in which the review was written. You can also look at the other reviews that that person has written (and what they wrote them for), and get a general gauge of how the restaurants (or shops) play a part in their everyday lives, their particular tastes, their "aesthetic" (gross but true), etc. Yakitori Taisho is not on Michelin's NYC Stars 2009, but it would be on mine because of who I am.
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