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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

What is one of Matt Mueller's resolutions for the new year? To finally watch "Patton."

My five film resolutions for 2013


I'm not usually one to do New Year's resolutions. Unfortunately, the annual damp squib that is the January movie schedule has put me in quite a bind. The only big film coming out this weekend is "Texas Chainsaw 3-D," which doesn't exactly give me a ton of material to work with for my countdown column.

The best needless sequels? The most dragged out horror franchises? If I do one of those topics, I'll just end up in a bad mood, constantly shaking my head disappointingly at Hollywood.

So fine, I'll take my hypercritical eyes off of the screen and point them instead at a pinnacle of imperfection: myself. Some of these resolutions are exclusive to me; others wouldn't be bad for the whole cinematic community to take up.

Either way, here are several methods in which I'm going to try to be better in 2013.

Don't overanalyze trailers

In the world of Twitter, Facebook and blogs, movie trailers have become absurdly, massively important. Websites will spend several articles analyzing a big movie trailer, trying to figure out what everything means and nitpicking the tiniest details. Look at the recently released trailer for "Star Trek Into Darkness." Every frame and shot in the preview has been analyzed to death, from whether or not the Enterprise could technically survive underwater to the true identity of the villain.

Now, it's perfectly fine to be excited about a movie after seeing some footage or a trailer. But we've become so wrapped up in analyzing previews to death that we're not saving any surprises for the actual film anymore. We want to get so much information that when the movie finally comes out, it has nothing to offer anymore. We already know whether we love or hate a movie before we even buy a ticket. If "Psycho" came out today, we'd know in the first 30 minutes that Janet Leigh was finished.

A friend of mine leaves the theater during the trailers. I used to think it was a goofy idea, but considering the overwhelming overreactions that they often create, it might not be such a bad idea.

See a good horror movie

This resolution is both for myself and for Hollywood. After sampling most of the mainstream horror films Hollywood had to offer this past year, I'm convinced that the horror genre might be dead. Either Hollywood has to raise the bar on horror movie quality, or I'll have to lower my standards, and I can promise you that the latter isn't happening anytime soon.

As a result, I'm going to attempt to disprove my own theory on the demise of horror. This year, I'm going to watch as many horror movies as I can and find some glimmering items of hope. There have been some freaky flicks in the past ("The Strangers," "Inside," "The Descent") that have restored my faith. I hope to find a few new ones before I sign the horror genre's death certificate.

Don't get mad when the Oscars inevitably mess up

The only things certain in life are death, taxes and the Oscars messing up. It's a yearly tradition to watch the Oscars with excitement, only to have that enthusiasm squelched underneath terrible decisions. Martin Scorsese could've directed "The Departed" in his sleep. "Shakespeare in Love" isn't in the same universe as "Saving Private Ryan." "The Artist" was the best picture last year? Maybe if you saw nothing else but that and "Jack and Jill."

Truth be told, the Oscars have never really been the best barometer of great film. "Citizen Kane" didn't win Best Picture, and "Rocky" won over the likes of "Taxi Driver" and "All the President's Men." As a result, we should try to look at the Oscars at what they really are: a fancy conversation starter. It gets people talking about the merits of the year's best films, what each person particularly liked or didn't and the careers of some of Hollywood's finest artists. It is not the be-all, end-all final word on what is good. I'll be the first to admit that it's easy to get rankled by the Academy's decisions, but if you really need your opinion validated by an Oscar, then you probably weren't too strong in your feelings in the first place.

Don't put up with bad moviegoers

I love going to the theater. The communal aspect of watching a movie is something even the most extravagant home theater could never replicate. Moments, like hearing the entire crowd gasp and giggle after the Joker's pencil trick in "The Dark Knight," or having a whole audience laugh with you during "21 Jump Street," are why cinema was invented.

Unfortunately, this also means you have to deal with bad moviegoers, the people who text during the movie or feel the need to say their every thought out loud as though it would be a crime to keep their genius thoughts to themselves.

Despite my intense hatred, though, I'm actually pretty lenient on disruptive moviegoers. I'm not a very confrontational person, I like to think the best of people and I'd rather cope with a crappy patron than have to interrupt my enjoyment of a movie to get an usher or to whisper less-than-savory things in the perpetrator's ear.

But I've been too kind for too long. Be on watch, people who talk during movies or use their cell phone, because if I'm in your theater, you won't be for long.

Watch "Patton"

My last resolution is easily my most embarrassing. I have never seen "Patton," the classic biopic starring George C. Scott. I rented it from Netflix about a year and a half ago ... and I still haven't watched it. The Netflix DVD sleeve is still sitting on my shelf, screaming at me to sit down and finally watch it. I've got plenty of excuses ­– mainly that I've been too busy to watch a three-hour movie – but they don't hold up. I need to watch "Patton" this year, preferably as soon as possible. I just hope Netflix has more than one copy of the disc; otherwise, some poor guy has been waiting a really long time to get a hold of this movie.

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