Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Guilt of an Incomplete Nerd

I'm getting more and more excited to see both X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Star Trek by the day, but I'm also feeling a bit bandwagon-rider-ish as a result. Thinking way too much about this, obviously. Just go watch the movies and be entertained. Spend your time and mental energy on more substantial matters, like becoming a millionaire.

Sorry....this is the questionable path that I've chosen.


This must be how all of my friends felt back when Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake came out in March of 2004, a time when you'd have regularly heard me preaching the lessons and facts surrounding George A. Romero's original film and its other installments. I was speaking on either deaf or disinterested ears, yet I still rambled endlessly. And those around me went to see the film, loved it, but came back to me with a "I felt like I wasn't fully enjoying it, though, since I'm not as schooled on the backstory as somebody like you is." The same can be said of my overdone obsession with Grindhouse during its unfortunate theatrical run. I was informing everybody with arm's reach on what "grindhouse" means exactly, and why the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino passion project was full of grainy shots, choppy editing, and wall-to-wall camp. Most could care less, while my main concern was to give heads the complete picture so that the Grindhouse experience could be appreciated to full capacity, rather than merely in-the-moment.

It's a bit like walking into a final exam with little-to-no knowledge on the content, only to find out that the test is open-book and a brainless chimp could ace that shit.

A great film is simply that: a great film. A piece of cinema that can be appreciated on a pure surface level. Deeper affinity is inevitable if you're an expert on the film's background or respective mythology, but such know-what isn't necessary. Dawn of the Dead was a live-wire thrill coaster in its own right, but I hold it closer to my heart than others because it pulled off the difficult task of paying reverential homage to Romero's work while creating its own believable world. I caught the "Gaylen Ross" store name reference while others may not have, and the quick cameos from Tom Savini, Ken Foree, and Scott Reiniger made me smile even though others didn't react.

I know the nuts-and-bolts of the X-Men/Wolverine history, but I'm nowhere close to being a "fanboy." So, before seeing the new Hugh Jackman-starring film this weekend, shouldn't I go on a reading binge at my local comic book store and become a true know-it-all? I feel like that'd make the viewing experience all the more fulfilling, and less of a pedestrian enterprise. And speaking of enterprises, I know infinitely less about the Star Trek legacy, yet I'll be first in line to see J.J. Abrams' franchise relaunch next Friday. Sure, I'm the exact type of person that the filmmakers' are hoping to attract----a non-fan who is attracted to popcorn excitement and badass special effects, as well as Abrams' good name. Guys like me are the ones who'll turn Star Trek into the money-making behemoth Paramount Pictures is hoping for.

Still, though, I can't shake this "impostor" feeling. A guilty sensation that will hit its fever pitch if I see even one audience member wearing a Captain Kirk t-shirt, or fake Spock ears. Worst case, I'll contort my fingers into the "Live Long and Prosper" hand-sign, since any dumbass can do that with ease. But I'll feel totally uninitiated. The way I'm feeling about the film right now, I wouldn't be surprised if I give my spot up on the ticket line to somebody who is clearly more of a Trekkie than I, which I'll discover thanks to incognito eavesdropping. "I can't wait to see if they truly capture the essence of the Klingons" would be one surefire giveaway. "Something tells me that this Anton Yelchin fella won't hold a candle to Walter Koenig" an even bigger clue.

What will somebody more like myself say? "I hope Zoe Saldana shows some skin!"

Odds are, I'm in the miniscule minority with this train of thought surrounding Hollywood's franchise reboots and remakes of genre classics. I'm perfectly fine with that. The most this reasoning will ever get me is a nod of respect from the geek community anyway. Such respect and $12 could buy me a Star Trek movie ticket, so who cares? Now, if I were currently dating a fangirl I'd really have a problem on my hands.

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