I tend to think of my judgement regarding the quality of movies, books and especially music as somewhat superior to the average persons opinion. This is not quite as self-ironical as I would feel comfortable with it being. That being said, 'Things that I think are good' and 'Things that I enjoy' aren't necessarily the same.
When it comes to fiction, I tend to enjoy works set in visually interesting landscapes (see footnote), with plot that mostly happens subtly and ambiguously on a psychological level, where the violence is brutal and unglamorous, and the characters look and act like real fucking people. I enjoy more cynical works than idealistic ones, but that's mostly because cynical works tend to be less predictable. I don't find cynicism inherently superior to idealism.
Footnote: My opinion on what visually interesting means doesn't reflect most people's opinions. I think Avatar looked terrible. I generally enjoy landscapes in shades of gray and beige, but some of the most aesthetically fascinating works I know are quite colorful. Most of the stuff set in the 1780's-1950's without focusing too much on upper class women's fashion is ok. Also, any setting that is innovative but thought-through has a decent chance of getting my approval.
Here are a few works of fiction that everyone, given the chance, should check out. I think they are genuine masterpieces:
- The Neverhood - Besides having great music and being fun in every way, this game invented a completely new visual style, that to my knowledge has never been used since.
- Carnivāle - Good pretty much everything, A-goddamned-mazing acting.
- Gaspard de la Nuit (Gaspard of the Night) - Good luck finding these four practically unknown French comic books. The plot and such are average, but the drawing style is incredible.◊
- Nedroid - It has a simple but distinctive art style, and great humour. Often, the punchlines are less funny than the subtle nuances in phrasing, timing and facial expressions that they are delivered with.
Here are several works of fiction that, while not quite as amazing, I can recommend to anyone who trusts my taste.
- The Subject Steve - An incredibly fun read, with a clever style of writing.
- Momo and The Neverending Story - Especially the former. I haven't seen the film version of the latter, and don't intend to.
- The Master and Margarita - It's amusing, and reading it on the bus will make you seem cultured.
- And the Ass Saw The Angel and The Death of Bunny Munro - I have a man crush on Nick Cave, ok?
- Watchmen - (Yes, graphic novels count). A multilayered, complex and ambiguous work filled with neat details.
- The Moomins - The comics and the animated show is a horrible abomination unto human culture. The original books, however, are very well worth a read!
- Lord of the Flies - Why yes, I dislike children.
- Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - A well-written and original novel with some neat ideas.
- All except the earliest works by Terry Pratchett - Despite being a very long series of fantasy doorstoppers, these books are both clever and deep. Most of them, anyway.
- Franklyn - Perhaps the most underrated film ever made.
- There Will Be Blood - A grim but enjoyable study of the psyche of a really, really bad person, set in the aesthetically enjoyable early 1900's.
- The Truman Show - A nice premise, sufficiently well executed, and with a handful of memorable scenes.
- Flame And Citron - A danish film, somewhat based on real events, about two resistance fighters during WW2. Exciting, pretty, and a great study of male depression.
- Donnie Darko - A cult classic, and for a reason. Jake Gyllenhaal acts well in it (actually, he only makes one facial expression, but it's a very good facial expression), there's a guy in a creepy bunny costume, and the soundtrack is nice.
- The Road - A gorgeous post-apocalyptic landscape, and a child actor who doesn't induce spontaneous tantrums in the viewer.
- Mulholland Dr. - Top-tier mindfuck. Coolest part is, there's a theory of interpretation that makes almost everything make sense.
- The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Casey Affleck's acting in this film is.. Stellar, or something. I'm running out of synonyms of 'good'. Also, it's set in the good-looking late 1800's, is a disillusioned psychology study and features a gratuitous Nick Cave cameo.
- The Last King of Scotland - As this list is quite America-centered, here's a film set in Uganda to balance it out. Good acting, etcetera..
- Adaptation. - Very meta, but in a good way.
- District 9 - The action parts are ridiculous, and the disney-like giant cute eyes on the aliens were entirely uncalled for, but except for those things it's a good film. The main character is well acted, and the setting (Africa, again) looks cool.
Furthermore, I think Symbolism is a bad thing, and that fictional extraterrestrial creatures don't deserve to be called 'otherworldly' if they have even a single anatomical feature resembling anatomical features in existing Earth life.
I get thoroughly annoyed at people who like a fictional character because it is 'cool', 'awesome' or 'badass'. Yeah, I like Rorshach too, but that's because he is well written and complex.
In opinions unrelated to fiction, I think that truth, justice and freedom are somewhat overrated compared to equality, safety and happiness. Don't even get me started on patriotism.
Despite my taste in alternative culture and my artistic interests, I think art as a profession is stupid. It doesn't make the world a much better place, and pretty much nobody outside the artist-critic-collector society really cares about it. If you feel the need to express yourself through art, go right ahead. Just do it as a hobby and don't expect to make a living off it.
I also think atheism as a concept is more beautiful than religion. Send me a message if you want me to elaborate on that one.
I have started the following articles:
- Conversation Casualty
- Lennon Specs
- Padded Sumo Gameplay
- Rocket Tag Gameplay
- The Subject Steve
- Terminology Title
If you want to see what I can do with a pen, go here. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I'm a Doesn't-feel-like-defining-my-personality-based-on-an-arbitrary-dichotomy-er.