Can a boring film be good? : LUSENET : The Art of Film : One Thread

I've been talking with my friends lately about Stanley Kubrick's films. I love his films from an ideological standpoint, as far as what they do and how they do it, but I often find I have a hard time sitting through them because his style is so low-key, some might say slow, and even boring at times (especially in films like "2001" and "Eyes Wide Shut"). My friends heartily agree with me, and they're turned off by it. I'll admit I have a hard time giving his films multiple viewings because of his often slow style.

Do you think this detracts from the effectiveness of a film? While I love his work, I can find it completely unwatchable at times, depending on my mood. Are we just a media-spoiled generation with short attention spans? Should films be engaging to the point of keeping the viewer interested at every moment?

-- Matthew Rebholz (, January 01, 2001


Don't get me wrong, I love Kubrick's films, but I find that I'm not as inclined to view them as repeatedly as I would certain other films. As for the scene described above in "Eyes Wide Shut", I got the impression that this was actually a ploy that the father was in on; his daughter is a prostitute and he is her pimp. And of course, this event was just another in a long line of events to lure Cruise's character into infidelity.

Personally, I think it's very important to keep the viewer interested on a number of levels, not just conceptually, but visually and aurally as well. I think Aeon Flux does a good job with this. Provide interest on a number of fronts, and let the viewer decide which aspect will interest him. As film is most often a popular media rather than a purely artistic one, sometimes you have to cling to those vestigial traces of entertainment in order to bring the art across to a wider audience.

-- Matthew Rebholz (, January 02, 2001.

Barb, you're not insulting anyone, a preference is a preference. And (I think I'm saying this for the third time, someone slap me please), I love Kubrick's work despite it being boring, and I'm not just going by what the crowd thinks. Some films I like because of audio-visual impact, others because of the ideas they stir up in me. Kubrick seems to affect me in both ways, but in varying degrees, depending upon the film. "Eyes Wide Shut" was conceptually wonderful and interesting, but not quite enough for me to feel completely comfortable sitting through it, especially during multiple viewings.

-- Matthew Rebholz (, January 06, 2001.

considering i just bought the stanely kubrick 7 piece set on dvd today, let me say that i do not understand being "turn-off" by his work. i find his work pure genius. he gets deep into the characters thoughts without blatently displaying it. yes his movies do often contain dry spells, but i always assure myself that this footage is there for a reason and i must find its purpose. i assure u that kubrick does not insert any footage that does not serve some importance. so next time u find urself bored try to find the meaning, for example: in eyes wide shut, when he goes to rent the costume and the shopkeeper finds his daughter in bed with the man, what is the significance of that?

-- Dann (, January 01, 2001.

Just cuz there ant a splosion every ten seconds does'nt mean somthings boring. Just relax, take a deep breath and feel, it's gonna surpriz ya. For example 2001 is being re-released in us theaters on Oct. 19th 2001, or if you live in London, right now. Go see it in the biggest G#53&#!@ theater you can find, and forget the attitude hollywood has forced on us that everything has to be just one way. Enjoy the differance. In addition to the 2001 re-release this year also is the realease of a special documentary on Kubrick by his brother in law, I don't know if that will be on pbs or in theaters but it's gonna be interesting cuz there are no real authorized documentarys on the man. Also as you probably Know A.I. the last project that he was working on is being made by Speilberg and is sheduled for late july release. Like the other poster said, take the time to look for meaning, even if it's your own and not the "official" meaning, you won't have that opportunity with the same ol' from the same ol'.. BTW: I live in Hellywood so I'm somthing of a hypocrite.

-- Sean "scruconvention" Merli (, January 01, 2001.

The way you feel about Kubrick, is the way I feel about Andrei Tarkovsky... Stalker may be a great film, but at that pace, with literally no action scenes, I found it near-unwatchable. But that doesn't mean that every film needs action and excitement. Spalding Gray films fascinate me to no end.

-- Snow Dog (, January 02, 2001.

I think Matthew makes a good point, but personally I enjoy the bazaar and weird stuff and find it immensely entertaining. For example Being John Malkavich had me in a state of bliss, I also love all the films of Terry Gilliam, Jean Cocteau, David Lynch, the brothers Quay, Jan Svankmajer, Kubrick, Bunuel etc. Is this film art? I doesn't make me think of lofty social issues, to me it's just a good time, looking at the weird-ass monkeys on the big screen in a dark room with a couple hundred other people like me. That's entertainment! But not everyone is like me (thank goodness) and making a movie, getting funding promotion, distribution is hard enough I'm sure... Nervous executives want a sure thing soooo much it ruins allot of potential.

-- jimmy (, January 03, 2001.

I hated 2001, and it was written I believe by Arthur C. Clarke, whom I greatly respect, but it was so drawn out it made me want to scream, and anything with monkeys in it and I want to leave anyway. I did walk out on Clockwork Orange, and I can't help but feel the devotion to this guys movies is artificial, or am I just too cynical.

-- Barb e. (, January 04, 2001.

What's Aeon Flux?

-- Barb e. (, January 04, 2001.

Oops, just realized I insulted everyone here with that remark about devotion to Kubrick's films as artificial. Didn't mean to do that, what I meant was media-devotion.

-- Barb e. (, January 04, 2001.

Don't like monkeys? Oh but there so cute and furry..... The bottom line is if a film is boring ===no== that is not a good thing, no matter who made it. You decide what you like, don't let pretecious assholes like me tell you what. BTW don't bother going to tim burtons planit of the apes or monkey bone, they are likely to have monkeys in them and you will just walk out..... Monkey hater

-- Dr. Zayus (, January 05, 2001.

Where did you ever get the idea you are precious?

-- Barb e. (, January 05, 2001.

I would say toucheŽ but I don kno how to spel it.

-- Dr. Zayus (, January 06, 2001.

The real answer to that question would have to be what is good? I find it interesting that about every 10 years or so Hollywood changes hands, with new directors and producers, (usually all men) with new ideas of what 'art' is. Yet over the decades some of these 'great' films are re-evaluated by the next group. What is recognized by each ensuing generation is real quality, because even though it doesn't fit into the time, the talent is admired. So yessss, Kubrick must be great, because 2001 came out so long ago, and people still seem to think it's good. Monkeys and all, precious.

-- Barb e. (, January 06, 2001.

Well put.

-- precious (, January 07, 2001.

"A Film, whatever it may be, is always it's director's portrait"..."A poet can never die." - John Cocteau

-- Barb e. (, January 07, 2001.

Imagine my surprise when I opened up AOL today to see 'Monkeybone' staring back at me.

-- Barb e. (, February 24, 2001.

I never got bored during 2001. Maybe because I'm such a big fan of classical music. If you can enjoy opera (and I've BEEN in operas) it's impossible to be bored by anything that has great music. Also, sort of an interesting tidbit: I've always had these really wierd dreams where I learn all the secrets of the universe. I'm not a good enough writer to put this into words myself, so I'll let Christoper Pike do it:"I exited into a wide open space, so big I imagine all the galaxies in all the sky could fit into it...The light was alive, conscious. There were so many living beings in it...They had a purpose-I don't know what... It was like they were blueprints for the universe..." That's from The Cold One and it pretty much sums up my dreams. 2001 may or may not be my favorite film ever (it depend on when you ask me) and one of the reasons is that the "Beyond the Infinite" sequence is the only thing I've ever seen committed to film that can begin to capture what that's like.

-- Frostbite a.k.a. Frosty the Snow Chick (, March 22, 2001.

Whoa, synchronicity. I just got finished reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

-- Frostbite a.k.a. Frosty the Snow Chick (, March 22, 2001.

Of course, it's not really synchronicious, since those posts were put up two months ago. But it IS synchronicious that I only got around to coming to this forum today.

-- Frostbite a.k.a. Frosty the Snow Chick (, March 22, 2001.

Oh hey, The Thin Red Line is boring, isn't it? And it's supposed to be the cornerstone war film of our generation. I remember the first time I watched Thin Red Line I went "Hey, that was cool" and never thought of it until much later. I know crap when I see it, but I don't always know art.

-- Frostbite a.k.a. Frosty the Snow Chick (, May 04, 2001.

Frostbite! Wasn't Lord of the Rings fabulous!

-- Barb e. (, May 09, 2001.

Eh, it was? Maybe I'm somehow deficit, but I just scratched my head after Lord of the Rings. Is there something I'm missing?

-- Frostbite a.k.a. Frosty the Snow Chick (, May 09, 2001.

I went through Full Metal Jacket when I was 18 without being turned off, although after the purging of pent emotion during the suicide I couldn't find much relevance to anything shown. Boring is a good word. I watched Eyes Wide Shut when it came out on video (I'm 25 now) and wasn't bored at all, since it made sense to me at the time. I guess The Shining was action packed but I would not watch it again because that was, to me, a boring movie. And Doctor Strangelove was too confusing and, driven by satire, rather immature. There is a lot I didn't appreciate in his films.

-- Angelo Niklis (, October 30, 2001.

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