When I sat down one idle Saturday to watch Primer, I wasn’t expecting anything. I remember reading someone on Twitter going on about it, but I didn’t put much stock in his opinion cause, you know, Twitter.
90 minutes later and I was crying great tears of joy at having experienced something of such staggering beauty. I’m not often moved to tears by art (the last film I cried at was I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry), but this one movied me in a way that I hadn’t been movied in a long time.
Erin hates Science Fiction. When she found my secret collection of Battlestar Galactica episodes, she started throwing plates at me. Screams of “How could you?” and “You’re such a typical bastard male!” accompanied a shower of porcelain shards as I cowered apologetically in the corner.
But after watching Primer she actually said that she liked the film. Voluntarily. With no cajoling.
This independent, unknown, ultra-low budget time travel movie had managed to get Erin to enjoy Science Fiction.
(Stupidly, I then tried to build on this positive step forward by taking her to see Transformers. Thanks to Michael Bay, I’ve now lost her forever.)
A Title To Draw You In While You’re Scanning: This Section Is About Cheese
If movies were cheese, Primer would be a perfect portion of light, creamy goats cheese served with sweet yellow cherry tomatoes and a splash of fine balsamic vinegar. Titanic, on the other hand, would be a hulking man-size block of Tesco mild cheddar served with one stale cracker.
<Aside> I once heard from a reliable source that to make Tesco mild cheddar, the company just hooks up a hose to the waste pipe of a tyre-factory and adds some Riboflavin-5′-Phosphate. </Aside>
Titanic was, at the time, the highest grossing film in history, and remained so for 12 years until it was surpassed by another Cameron ‘masterpiece’, the superior but still oh-Gods-where-is-the-story Avatar.
People just gushed and gushed about it for what seemed like years (but was probably only a weekend). Everywhere I went, it was “Oh Leo!”, “Oh Kate!”.
Oh good grief. Superlatives became so pedestrian that they had to invent new ones. I read one review that said.
“This flamboyotic mastermovie is an emotiondizing work of artisticulate wonderfulendipity! See it now!”
I think that one might have been from the Daily Mail: they like to make stuff up.
Truth be told, I didn’t actually mind watching Titanic. Some of the effects were nice, but it wasn’t as great as everyone was making it out to be. I don’t think it filled a particular hole in my soul nor was my life massively enriched from the experience.
I certainly wouldn’t have paid 10 times the usual movie theater price just because it was really, really famous. I also don’t believe that dressing up like Jack Dawson and queuing for 10 hours in the rain to be the first to see it would have made the experience any more memborable/spirtual/enriching.
I’d much rather be blindsided by an unexpected and unknown masterpiece like Primer than disappointed by an overrated, hyperbolic blockbuster like Titanic.
Wow, these metaphors are like a cheap and nasty cocktail: Very badly mixed.
So let me clarify: I’m talking about Machu Picchu.
Let the flaming begin! Give me your worst (I promise I won't take this post down if you start hurting my feelings).
Do you struggle with packing? Save 84% on my book The Carry-On Traveller: The Ultimate Guide to Packing Light this week only. Buy it now on Amazon Kindle for just $0.99.
Enter your email to sign up for our monthly newsletter and free ebook South America Highlights.