Confession: I’m Awful At Being A Film Snob

As someone living in Los Angeles and working in film, it seems like everyone I meet has their own personal “I knew I wanted to work in movies when…” story. Usually, people cite films like Fight Club, Boondock Saints, Run Lola Run, or (if they’re really pretentious) Citizen Kane as the ones that awakened their passion for directing, editing, etc. They always bring up those movies that film geeks should have not only seen but also those we better have liked. If these people are lying, it would be really comforting.

Because I have a much less impressive story.

If thirteen-year-old me had had any sense, I would have chosen to use my formative years to verse myself in the classics. I would have watched all of Fellini and Scorsese and Truffaut and come out the other side of teenagedom a successful and knowledgeable film geek. I would be able to say things at cocktail parties like, “I knew when I saw Taxi Driver that I just had to work in film. I mean the social commentary on America’s dissatisfaction is so blah blah blah pretension pretension.” I would also have a good answer to the inevitable what’s-your-favorite-movie question that’s ever present in my job interviews.

For a while, I said my eye-opening movie was E.T. Not a complete lie—I saw it when I was very young and have been bewitched by it ever since. The music still gives me chills and all I need to see are the last five minutes to turn me into a sobbing mess. It’s honest but still a great enough movie that I can cite my love for it to film snobs.

But, there was totally one movie I saw when I was thirteen that erased any doubt in my mind about what I wanted to do with my life. I got home from the theater and declared to my parents that I was going to NYU (I didn’t) to study film (I kind of did that somewhere else). This movie was naturally Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle.

I can’t even tell you what it was in this movie that enraptured me. I mean, it was directed by McG (…yeah), it revolves around people in the witness protection program and boasts cameos by the Olsen Twins and Eve. But I paid $9 to see it in the theater. Three times.

All I know is that plump, dissatisfied, tween me sat in that theater (all three times) thinking, “I have to be a part of something like this. There is no other job I will ever enjoy.” And I’ve been saying the exact same thing for almost ten years to anyone asking why I’m not going to law school or into accounting. I know nothing makes me giddy as much as the right movie can; as much as C.A.2: Full Throttle did when I was thirteen.

So I’m just admitting it from now on. At least there’s no way people will think I’m lying. The movie that initially inspired me was not Dead Poet’s Society. It was not Citizen Kane (I hated that movie the first time I saw it. There, I said it). It was Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle. And I still own it…just hidden behind Almost Famous and season 2 of Arrested Development. TC mark

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  • http://tbaugh.com Travis Baugh

    confession: i think this was an awful article

    • S.H.

      I think U R rly mean!!!!!!

  • soz

    unfortunately you’re also kinda awful at writing.

    • KK

      unfortunatly i think you are pretty awful at criticising. No commentary just hate

      • Guest

        since when do comments need to provide constructive criticism? this shit was bogus and soz let her know.

  • http://twitter.com/lauren_wilford Lauren Wilford

    I wish you would have at least tried to probe it. I like the idea, the setup, but don’t tell us something so provocative and then say there is no explanation. There is. You just don’t know yourself well enough.

    I wish you best of luck in your career. Maybe you can create inexplicably transcendent lowbrow experiences for future generations too. 

  • Nope

    There’s some weird anti-intellectualism in here. Speaking eloquently about filmic theory isn’t “pretentious.”

    • Yup

      Yeah but only like 5% of “film snobs” actually know what they are talking about. PRETENTIOUS BYE.

    • http://twitter.com/MichaelTVickers Michael Vickers

      All “Speaking eloquently about filmic theory” means is using between five and seven vocab words you learned sophomore year of college over and over again, pretending you’re actually having a conversation.

      • Woyzeck

        Just because you don’t understand something, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    • http://www.vergingonserioius.com Cameo

      It’s not anti-intellectualism, it’s making fun of it!  I make fun of myself all the time…that doesn’t make me anti-intellectual. 

      Not being able to laugh at oneself *is* pretentious.  

      • Cameo

        err, typo.  “I make fun of myself all the time…that doesn’t make me ANTI-MEEEE!”  That’s what I meant to write.

         

  • no.

    What a pile of shit. You’re lucky enough to be in the film industry and you spout this kind of anti-intellectual shit about the people who are actually utterly in love with film? If you’re really passionate about something it isn’t pretension or any kind of falseness, because you genuinely enjoy it. Also, people who cite Fight Club and Boondock Saints as their biggest inspirations can’t be all that big of film fans because they’re both mediocre at best. 

    • http://twitter.com/lauren_wilford Lauren Wilford

      Throwing that last sentence in is not helping your case, bra. 

  • notmarykate

    While the commentary here is pretty mediocre, I do have to agree it pains me whenever I say that I didn’t exactly enjoy Citizen Kane and people look at me like I just shot their dog. Yes, it’s a brilliant movie that was groundbreaking during its era but dude, chill the fuck out. Different strokes for different folks.

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans 371747

      I feel your pain.  Telling people you don’t like 2001: A Space Odyssey is pretty rough.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/iamahmad Ahmad Radheyyan

    I need to stop reading thought catalog. It’s only making me post mean things and make genuinely well-intentioned people feel bad about themselves.  I was going to write something scathing here, but, no… I can’t. There’s no point in criticizing these articles. If there was some expectation that thought catalog provided meaningful insights into the lives of “twentysomethings”, that fleeting expectation has dwindled long long before the first Kat George diatribe, or our first glimpses at  O’Connell-isms. I think we can all agree (but most likely bitch and rage back and forth about) the fact that if Thought catalog represents independent thought in the world, then the McCafe accurately fulfills the liquid diet of young liberals around the world. So yeah. I’m done.

    • RicePaperPlant

      Zeitgeist alert.

    • Sophy

      So you responded because…you were hoping other people would support this? Pathetic. 

  • Amnesiacsiblings

    I’m not certain I’ve ever heard a film snob talk about Boondock Saints, but then again, maybe I don’t hang around the snobs and I hang around people who are genuinely interested in cinema. I’m pretty sure real film pretension involves saying more about Yasujiro Ozu than there is to say and throwing around the words “The New French Extreme” when talking about Baise-Moi and Catherine Breillat… but what could be called “pretension” in one person could be identified as “obsession” or some such in another. Perhaps the most pretentious thing you can do is to pretend you know what qualifies as pretentious. 

  • Sara

    in my 1st yr uni film studies our icebreaker was your favourite movie. EVERYONE went around saying  Chinatown. I had just watched Mean Girls the night before and it was the only film coming to mind.

    Also I can’t name just one film that inspires me. Different films evoke different emotions and bring out different drives in you. For me there’s no one perfect film. Hell I still don’t understand Inception!

  • http://twitter.com/galette_rois Julian Galette

    I semi identify with this. I remember when our English TA asked all the English majors in the class what everyone’s “focus” was (which instantly confused the shit out of me) and there were answers like “18th Century Russian Lit” “beat writing” “Romantics” etc, etc and she gets to me and all I can say is “comic books.”

    Everybody likes what they like and if you watched Charles Angel Full Throttle and that made you want to make movies, fuck the haters, that’s damn good for you. I guess if I had answer what got me into reading the answer would be Harry Potter, first book I ever literally walked around with my nose in, and of course my tastes have grown since then but we can’t deny our roots. 

  • http://twitter.com/galette_rois Julian Galette

    I semi identify with this. I remember when our English TA asked all the English majors in the class what everyone’s “focus” was (which instantly confused the shit out of me) and there were answers like “18th Century Russian Lit” “beat writing” “Romantics” etc, etc and she gets to me and all I can say is “comic books.”

    Everybody likes what they like and if you watched Charles Angel Full Throttle and that made you want to make movies, fuck the haters, that’s damn good for you. I guess if I had answer what got me into reading the answer would be Harry Potter, first book I ever literally walked around with my nose in, and of course my tastes have grown since then but we can’t deny our roots. 

  • Sky

    WOW, you get me. I’m in the same boat (film major and all). My film of choice…Man on Fire. I’m not sure what it is about that film that just inspires me…but it does. 

  • Jordan fields

    Better luck next time?

  • Woyzeck

    Yeah, well, I work in the same industry, I genuinely love (and shoot/write/edit/direct) films which would make that list of “pretension” (a real word you used in the wrong context) look like paper-thin popcorn pap and I find your yrebbons nauseating.

    I hate to break it to you, but everyone likes “bad” films – including film-makers. But liking “bad” films doesn’t make you less of a snob. Criticising people for loving movies and being passionate about the field they’re in, mocking them for being able to talk to each other about what they love and why, deriding them for being obsessively interested in all the little things that make great films great – that’s what makes you a snob. Thinking you’re better than people just because you don’t get Citizen Kane is even worse than regular snobbery because you don’t even have the good grace to say it’s not your cup of tea and move the fuck on. I’m surprised you can even watch films with your nose so far up your own arse… I suppose it’s dark like a cinema in there, but the floor will be twice as sticky and I’d steer clear of the popcorn.

    • http://twitter.com/mung_beans 371747

      ” I … shoot/write/edit/direct … films which would make that list of “pretension” (a real word you used in the wrong context) look like paper-thin popcorn pap”

      DOUBT IT

      • Woyzeck

        I was joosling. I’m brilliant, but not that brilliant.

      • http://twitter.com/mung_beans 371747

        so just medium brilliant, then?

  • Al

    I’m sorry but I totally identify with this piece. I’m a HUGE fan of stupid movies and I graduated with a high GPA in film school. I actually think a lot of people who cite this and that as their favourite inspiring movie are just BS-ing to hide the fact that yes, they also loved Charlie’s Angels 2.

  • nancypinvcrk

    you seriously think taxi driver and citizen kane are pretentious? i’m sure you think radiohead is also pretentious and obscure.. wait until you actually get into parallel cinema or iranian new wave (lol just kidding you’ll never develop good taste, plebeian). really though, keep berating others for their “obscure hipster films” because you secretly hate your own inability to grasp their depth

    • Guest666

       lol this nigga said ‘iranian new wave’

  • Dinnie Lim

    I understand your point, I mean, there are many people I’ve met who pretend to be smarter and classier than they really are. I think it’s fine to cite Citizen Kane as your favorite movie if you really like it and don’t say it just because it makes you look smart/cool. Same with “stupid” movies.  I don’t think liking supposedly smart movies make you any better than the guy who likes the Saw franchise.

  • http://www.vergingonserious.com Cameo

    I enjoyed this post.  I also really enjoy reading all the comments from the snobs themselves!  HAHAHA!  I think your ability to lay out your case with humor and sarcasm threatens their commitment to the “arts dahling”, God forbid someone makes a funny case for being an ironic film person!

    Maybe they are bitter because and they don’t actually work in the industry, they work in coffee shops, talking about film…
     

    • http://tbaugh.com Travis Baugh

      bitch i don’t even have a job

    • http://tbaugh.com Travis Baugh

      bitch i don’t even have a job

    • http://tbaugh.com Travis Baugh

      bitch i don’t even have a job

  • http://www.facebook.com/ubeda Joant Ubeda

    Eh.. I’m not a classics snob either but I definitely don’t like the modern blockbusters at all. I’m more of a modern film geek with ‘Another Earth’ changing my life.

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    Dumb Pride! Yeah!

  • Harmony Korine

    Boondocks Saints.. Wtf are you talking about films snobs?  #alt bro

  • Harmony Korine

    Thought Catalog is finally promoting stupidity.  

  • Guesty

    But WHY did you like it…? 

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