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Adjacent Meanings: Nolan’s newest

Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is coming to the Senator in 35 mm, and reviews are already mixed. The movie’s been called an “awe-inspiring mess.” Everyone who happened to watch the “wait, it’s three hours long?” Batman movie made by Christopher Nolan is justifiably nervous as to how this next project will turn out.

I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan. I’ve seen eight of his nine movies, some multiple times. Let’s just get that bias out of the way. Of course, there is some bias inherent in the fact that I’m writing a whole article about Nolan, but let’s face it: anyone who strives to keep 35mm alive with a blockbuster shot on celluloid in this digital age deserves an entire article. So there, my sidings have been made clear, and hopefully I can achieve more honesty through transparency.

Nolan’s work is a subject of simultaneous respect and derision amongst people who watch movies. Just about everyone has an opinion on his catalogue, and five minutes on Google can come up with articles like “5 Reasons Why Christopher Nolan is Hollywood’s Greatest Director,” and “9 Indisputable Reasons Why Christopher Nolan is a Bad Director.” His Batman trilogy has been praised as the greatest superhero trilogy ever made and dismissed as being a thriller with Batman’s name and villains slapped on it.

The disparity between fans and critics of Nolan is larger than many directors. Of course some fringe movie-watchers here and there think Hitchcock and Scorsese are worthless directors, but their criticisms are generally unfounded and few and far between. No, the discourse on Nolan is much better likened to that of Terry Gilliam. Many find Gilliam’s movies to be aesthetically pleasing, but with self-indulgent plots that end up too far-reaching, they often turn out to be a miss for any other than his die-hard fans. Many claim the same for Nolan, whom fans often see as a master of plot twists and turns, while critics find him pedantic.

So is Nolan a good or bad director? Lucky for you all I’ve got your answer right here: it’s totally up to you. I could outline the value behind many of his shots, but it would only end with an incredibly boring 2000 word article that wouldn’t mean a whole lot to anyone. Everyone views the same film with different eyes. While I, with a childhood steeped in comic books and the entire history of Batman, may be looking for a movie that holds to DC’s canon, someone else may be looking for action, a solid plot, or the Joker.

But this sentiment doesn’t only apply to Nolan and raging comic fans. We’re really calling into question what makes a movie good or bad. This distinction is a result of personal preference, and is, of course, subjective. To shout about how much Michael Bay is an idiot who knows nothing about filmmaking is absurd; plus, you probably haven’t seen The Rock. Those “worst movies of all time” from lists on the internet can often be just as enjoyable to watch as the so-called “classics.” Sometimes you’ve just got to leave Bicycle Thieves behind in favor of the camp of Plan 9 from Outer Space. But to claim your own personal preference as “indisputable,” well, then we might have a problem.

So, to those fans of Nolan: keep doing you. If you happened to love Inception and Memento, good on you. If you loved Dark Knight Rises, you…might want to keep that one to yourself. And to those who find him juvenile or any other such immature adjective, you’ve probably stopped reading my article at this point, maybe even glazed right over the title and turned the page to read the absurd number of sports articles James Fox writes every week.

That’s all I’ve got to say about Christopher Nolan. Interstellar comes out at the Senator in 35mm Tuesday November 4th at 8 PM and will stay for a while.

Not a huge Christopher Nolan fan but still want to watch movies? Maybe check out Dear White People or Birdman, playing at the Charles and the Senator now. Another option is Barry Levinson’s Diner, set in Baltimore, which plays as part of the Charles’ revival series on the 15th. I highly recommend you check that out.

Tweet at the writer @notevenaleo

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Adjacent Meanings: Nolan’s newest