You shouldn't have been that sentimental

Film history tells us that audiences often react abusively towards the "overwrought": heckling similar to that directed at Vertigo leveled the emotional peaks of Rules of the Game and The Magnificent Ambersons after their own previews. Cry and the world laughs at you; laugh and you blow the joke. As Homer Simpson noted while viewing a driver's education film, "It's funny because I don't know them."

If "art" is defined as that which is in excess of the utilitarian, then the distinction between overwrought entertainment (e.g., Sirk) and perfectly wrought entertainment (e.g., Spielberg) may become clearer.


Copyright 1998 Ray Davis