FILM: Ask a Film Student: Question 1

Written by Jordan Petersen on . Posted in Film

This is me

Jordan Petersen

You know film students. They’re obnoxious people who waste all their time over-analyzing things, don’t have real work to do in their classes, and produce awful, unwatchable pieces of “art” about which they can never seem to stop talking. But worse than that, they hate all the movies you love, and they’re more than happy to tell you why.

I decided to go to BYU to study film. Is all of that true about us? I’ll let you decide.

“But how shall I decide?” you may breathlessly inquire. By asking questions. I’m opening up my fevered, pretentious, over-analytical, film-student brain to the scrutiny of all. I hereby commit to answer at least one question every week from today into the foreseeable future.

This is how it will work:

Step One: Read this article.

Step Two: Extract delight therefrom.

Step Three: Submit a question, any question, that you would like me to answer, as a [dramatic pause] “film student,” in the comments section below.

Step Four: Hope with all of your might that, out of the many questions I am sure to receive (as I drown in a sense of my own self-importance), I choose YOURS to answer the following week.

Step Five: Repeat (the following week.)

I don’t want to start off NOT answering a question, however, so for the first week (which is right now), I will answer this question: “What’s your favorite movie?”

You must understand that this is typically the first thing that leaves the mouth of a person who has just found out what my major is. It’s a reasonable question, I suppose. Obvious, in any case.

But it’s also impossible. Unanswerable. Or, at least, there will be no satisfactory answer. Here’s what they want to hear:

“Oh, definitely [popular, Oscar-nominated title which questioner is sure to have seen]. I’m just so moved by the [esoteric filmspeak].  [Well-known filmmaker] is, as far as I’m concerned, a genius. In fact, people like him, and also [lesser-known filmmaker, but still known to questioner] are the reason I decided to study film.”

Unfortunately, no matter what specifics I put between those brackets, it would be misleading — and that’s assuming I could ever, on a moment’s notice, fill in those blanks coherently. Each day would require a total reevaluation of my attitudes and tastes to come up with something that fit. What film would it be today? It doesn’t matter, because tomorrow it would be different.

That’s not to say I’m fickle. I just love movies. To the degree that I think I can honestly and rightly say that film students do not hate all the movies you love. Typically, if you adore a film, I really like it, too. Movies are cool. I actually enjoy most of the films I see. The only difference between me and the dude with the huge tub of popcorn sitting next to me is that I’m equipped to better articulate why we are both enjoying ourselves so much — popcorn-dude is content to just smile wide and tell his friends it was “way good.” And, further, would that the world were full of those guys. Everyone, please watch more movies. Because they’re awesome.

You have reached the end of the article. It is now time to submit your question in the comments section below. Thank you!

Jordan Petersen is a film correspondent for Rhombus and, if you hadn’t noticed, a film student.

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