Accepting Expectations of Exceptions

old-skool-3d-cinema-audienceSo recently I found myself in the cinema, enjoying a film without pre-existing fandom, or a belief in the idea of “good-bad” films. Somebody deigned to tell me that my enjoyment was only because I had no expectations of the film at hand.

I find myself wholly resenting this assumption that it is only possible to enjoy something if you already expect it to be shit.

The suggestion I gleam from that is that we should treat every film or media text as if it will be terrible, on the understanding that we will always appreciate it more than expected if we expect nothing from it. So we should pay money for something we’re convinced will be rubbish, which of course makes absolutely no sense.

In reality the very fact that we’ve paid for the experience, both with time and money, dictates that we have positive expectations and hopes from the offset. It is okay to be disappointed by something, just as much as it is okay to be pleasantly surprised by something.

Films and media texts aren’t just farted out in the time it takes to watch them, they take money, time, creative thought and management. They’re supposed to mean something and were made to invoke responses beyond the £6.50 out your pocket and the half-assed grunt or smile you might give after.

Seriously, I am sick of seeing kids come out of cinemas just kicking their heels and checking their phones. Talk about the film. THINK about the film. Do something that relates to the past two hours of art you consumed other than catch up on everything you might have missed in that time.

I refuse to feel bad for my optimism, no matter how pessimistic I seem to be about it. It shows I’ve still got faith and enthusiasm, misplaced as that may be. If we’re all so happy to roll over and accept a string of bad productions that we fully expected to be bad then we’ll start accepting all manner of shit that’s thrown at us.

If you think something is bad, then IT IS BAD. It is not a neutral product informed by the mood you woke up with that morning. It is your own perception that informs the quality of a thing.

It’s healthy to expect the world to do better, and to try and tell it how. It’s healthy to point out the holes in empty arts and soulless creativity, and signpost the route to richer solutions. It’s healthy and it’s positive.


The film was Priest, if anyone cares to know, and helped solidify my theory that all the good films of 2011 will have trains in them.