Friday, 14 January 2011

A-Z #9: American Beauty

You can pick up hundreds of DVD's for a buck each - it doesn't matter. Its never about quantity, its about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and justifying why I own the films...

#9 - American Beauty

Why did I buy it?

The first time I watched this was when babysitting my niece (at the time she was a 1-year old ... now she is 10! That is nuts!) at my sisters house and she had this on her shelf. I knew very little about Oscar's but I think, as a teenage boy, a cover design with girl-from-American-Pie's belly button is always going to attract my attention. I watched it, nearly cried ("and my grandma's skin ... like paper..." sob sob) and could not believe how involved I got. I think, indirectly, my sister Helen's vague interest in film actually built up my own interest to some small extent.

Why do I still own it?

Because it is constantly rewatchable. Its not very long and the soundtrack is awesome (I additionally have both soundtracks - Thomas Newman's score alongside the pop tracks used - such as 'The Seeker' by The Who and 'All Right Now' by Free). I heard, on Filmspotting, a discussion about 'What Film Changed Your Life' and I think, having chosen this one, I think this is where my taste in film graduated from 'like' to 'love'. Not only was I so emotionally invested in the film by the closing credits - but I also thought it was so cool and yet profound. To be profound does not mean you have to be Plato - if you want Plato, go to The Matrix trilogy.

The simplicity of motif's in American Beauty roots it in a classical art form - the symbolism of youth in the rose petals is akin to the use of flowers in Botticelli's La Primavera.

Foolishly, this passion and enjoyment of the film spilled over into recommendation and my Mum - though fantastic, she is indeed Catholic - watched the film and felt otherwise. Some middle-aged man fantasizing about a school-girl is never going to be (a) profound or (b) artistic. It is merely seedy and immoral.
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  1. Brilliant film - still sitting pretty in my all-time Top 10.

  2. Overrated film - sitting nowhere near my top hundred. Of 1999!

  3. Overrated? OVER-RATED!! Jo... you WISH it was in your favourite films of 1999!


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