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Movies that grow on you

Poster  I saw Romance and Cigarettes for the first time at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. The screening I attended was on a stormy weekday afternoon at the tail end of the festival. I was cranky, tired and running late - the theater was so packed by the time I arrived, I had to sit in the third row - and I came away thinking writer-director John Turturro had made a noble attempt, but failed.

The movie never opened in Miami theaters, so I didn't have to review it. But I've watched Romance and Cigarettes several times on DVD since then, and I like it more with every viewing. Why is it that some movies get better the more times you see them? This is not a matter of learning to appreciate a film for its camp value or unintentional humor. I wouldn't qualify Romance and Cigarettes as a guilty pleasure or anything like that. I think some movies - and they are rare - are so peculiar and specific, they require a certain mindset in the viewer before you can appreciate what they are trying to do. You have to learn how to watch them before you can really savor them (Barton Fink is another film I would place in that category).

I would never defend Romance and Cigarettes as a masterpiece, but I realize now my initial reaction to it was completely off. Check out this clip from the film in which Tony Soprano James Gandolfini sings an Engelbert Humperdinck tune and tell me this is not awesome (the musical numbers by Christopher Walken and Kate Winslet in the film are standouts too):


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Well the first time you watch a film you kind of have to work a little bit in your chair (you have to pay attention to the story, to the character names, especially if you're going to review it and have to summarize it) and after you've seen a movie once and know the gist of it, you can relax a little bit on the second time to enjoy all the things you missed before. Sometimes a movie is good because of its story, but those movies you mentioned sound like its stories aren't its true pleasure.

Love movies & books.

I felt the same way about "Where The Wild Things Are". The kids rented it on pay per view last week and as kids tend to do played it on an endless loop for a couple of days. The funny thing is that the more I saw of it, the more my initial thought of "what a colossal misfire", was replaced by a perspective closer to what I feel the director was shooting for. A melancholic view into the imagination of a very hurt little boy. The movie really connected with my kids from the get go, but left my wife and i scratching our heads upon the first viewing. It is a strange movie but it is beautifully filmed. The more I caught of it over the weekend, the more it grew on me. It certainly deserved better than what the film got in theatres. Maybe it will get its due on DVD.

Sel Joy

Saw Romance and Cigarettes when it came out on DVD and was enthralled by the originality of visuals and perfect use of older songs to covey the emotional aspects of each character. A movie lovers movie... much like I how felt about Inglourious Basterds.


By this one scene alone, I would have thought John Waters directed it, not John Torturro.

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