Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What-to-Watch Wednesday: Room 237 (2012)

What-to-Watch Wednesday: Room 237 (2012)

I missed making a recommendation last Wednesday due to a particularly difficult first-week back for teachers.  It felt as though we had far less time to prepare our classrooms than in previous years, and a batch of redundant meetings sapped the energy completely out of me.  All this coupled with Sweeney Todd rehearsals brought me extreme exhaustion and less spare time.

So last week's difficulties aside, I am back at it with another movie recommendation.  This time the selection is the documentary film Room 237, which offers an in-depth look at a variety of interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.  True, a decided change of pace from the narrative films I've been touting so far, but Room 237 does fit right in with the others as a film that ignites my love for cinematic art.

It also came back into my thoughts recently due to a conversation I had with a friend about The Shining and the pros and cons of adapting a literary text for the big screen.

Anyway, here's the deal: do not watch Room 237 unless the following things are true for you:

1.  You have watched Kubrick's version of The Shining and have a passable command of the events and major details of the movie.  You will be lost within five minutes of watching this documentary otherwise.

2.  You have a borderline neurotic need to listen to a close literary analysis of a classic film.

3.  You are able to follow the explanation of not only one such literary analysis as mentioned in #2 but several analyses being explained in bits and pieces all at the same time.  In a voice over.  While related clips from various Kubrick films and other films are shown at a sometimes frenetic pace.

4.  You know the difference between authentic literary interpretation, which is drawn from sound conclusions and supported by textual evidence, and outlandish conspiracy theories, which are made by connecting the dots one wishes to connect despite the lack of real support to do so.

And, finally...

5.  Despite the enjoyment you get at hearing deep, close-readings of the film, you are also willing to look at The Shining as simply being one of the most effectively well-crafted  horror films ever made.  No more, no less.

If these five criteria fit you, please, feel free to watch this film and then find me to discuss your thoughts.  If these five criteria don't fit, watch the film anyway.  Just know I won't be very willing to discuss it with you in any great detail.  And, if you give the moon landing interpretation any credence, please, feel free to dig a hole and crawl in it, all without contacting me.  As I have said before, I don't do psycho-management in social media.


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