When I first started really studying film, the goal was to be better at conversation – to be able to enter into the sort of informed discussions that I love and to be able to hold my own. And so when I was a teenager working at Hollywood video, I spent a lot of time working on my fundamentals, catching up on names that I’d heard of but didn’t know anything about, people like Francis Ford Coppola. And then I kept going, working with diligence for year after year, working my way through the Oscars and the AFI film lists and so forth, and suddenly I found myself overprepared. All of a sudden I had so much knowledge about film that I was basically bringing a bazooka to a knife fight, unless I happened to be talking to another true cinephile.
For example, I’ve been going to Kung Fu Cinema for a few years now. Like a lot of Americans, my experience with Kung Fu films when I was growing up was the sort of stuff that Movie Madness files under “Poseur Kung Fu” (like Jean Claude Van Damme) and a few token Jackie Chan dubbed into English movies. Now that I’ve been going month after month, I’m starting to get to a point where I have an opinion about whether I like Hong Kong Ku Fu more than I like Taiwanese Kung Fu. (For the record, it seems like Hong Kong made movies with better production values but Taiwan made movies that were weirder.)
Part of the yin and yang of “the cat vs. Kirk” is that while there is a side of me that is intellectual and wants to write astute criticism, there’s also a side of me that also likes the simple pleasures, like hanging out with a cat on my lap, and I don’t have to take myself too seriously or act too professionally. I’ve been sitting here for a week or two trying to figure out what I wanted to say about this movie, but it’s really hard to come up with something insightful about a movie where guys with four feet long tongues team up with “gorillas” to use their martial arts to defend an evil king from the righteous women who are coming for vengeance. And you know what? I don’t have to come up with anything astute about it. It was a fun movie, and I liked seeing it a lot, and there’s absolutely no goddamn reason to bring an intellectual bazooka to this particular knife fight.