Seasonal Affective Disorder
Definition: Seasonal Movie Affective Disorder (SMAD), also known as cinema depression or movie blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the months of January through April when cinema quality is completely ignored or, less frequently, in the summer (when forced to consider watching Michael Bay movies), spring or autumn, repeatedly, year after year. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is “a specifier of major depression”.
This, folks, is what I’m suffering from. There’s nothing in theatres that appeals to me (besides The Ghost Writer, which I’ll see this week), and it’s killing my soul. The world is bland, the colors are muted, I can’t even bother going to the library. I found solace in Six Feet Under, and even borrowed the first season of The Wire, but it’s not doing anything for the enormous hole in my heart left by cinemas full of the most god-awful shit I can remember (it’s gotten so bad, I’ve been considering watching these five movies).
This has caused me to return to films I’ve considered classics for the last, oh, ten years or so. The problem is, and I’m sure you’ve all experienced this, what 2004-Blake considered a masterpiece, 2010-Blake turns up his nose, and turns the film off after ten minutes. 2005-Blake really enjoyed Man on Fire, but presently, Tony Scott is on my black list. For example, 13-year-old-Blake thought Congo was bitchin’. Considering the lead, Laura Linney, the film would probably warrant a little attention. Don’t worry, I haven’t been renting Congo.
But this scenario did present itself as somewhat of a problem this week. The nearest Blockbuster to my home is going out of business. So I thought I’d drop by and pick up The Piano for a buck. Which I did. I remember being blown away by this film just last year. I was so impressed with Jane Campion, I ran out and saw Bright Star the next day. This was another winner. Then I went and check out Holy Smoke! at the library, and immediately, lost all faith and interest in Campion. At this second viewing of Piano, I found it extremely underwhelming, and although we got to see Holly’s Hunter, we had to see an awful lot of Harvey’s Keitel. An awful lot. Maybe it’s just my SMAD talking.
This was particularly troubling, because I thought I was renting a film that would restore my faith in the industry, and would convince me log in to my Netflix account and get going again (something I’ve been avoiding since the Oscars). I’ve seriously digressed, but the point is, what other movies, that are currently ranked in my head as some of the best cinema has to offer, will totally fail to live up to my expectations (I believe this is referred to as the law of diminishing returns). If I go rent My Own Private Idaho, am I going to be totally bummed? What if, God forbid, I were to re-watch Through a Glass Darkly, and I felt ambivalent about it? What if I get bored with Mulholland Dr., and turn it off before I even get to see that special Naomi Watts scene on the couch? This, unfortunately, is often the case when I decide to re-watch movies when a decent amount of time has passed since the first viewings. What are your thoughts? What are some of the most surprising disappointments you’ve experienced when you’ve given a film a second chance? Any recommendations about the movie blues? And how to get over them?