I used to think I had an artistic mind, but I've been questioning it lately.
I consume entertainment at face value, generally. It wasn't until I worked with creative types at MTV that my eyes were opened to certain things.
My former co-worker Jeff pointed out the nuances in Paul McCartney’s bass playing on Abbey Road, as we listened in our awesome office. Heck, I’d never even paid attention to the bass in any song, by any artist until that time, because music generally just washes over me as a whole and creates a feeling. But this is because Jeff is a bass player. And it was through him I heard one of my favorite bands of all time with new ears.
My film buff friends pick out all kinds of things in the movies they consume like food critics in a hot, new restaurant… because they make films, and are passionate about it, so they seemingly analyze every one frame by frame. But I just watch a movie to be entertained. If I happen to get something more from it, it’s a plus. I never really look for deeper meaning in story lines, and if the subject matter is dense, I have difficulty giving it my full attention, and I’m confused easily. Apparently there’s all kinds of stuff I’ve missed in the multi-Oscar-nominated Sandra Bullock/George Clooney flick Gravity — religious symbolism (well, there’s perhaps a very good reason I didn’t pick up on any of that!). It was lost on me.
Now there’s HBO’s True Detective. I’ve been watching it every week, taking it in on face value, hoping Rust and Marty figure out who the Yellow King is — a creep who’s been sexually abusing and murdering women and children in Louisiana. Apparently there’s all kinds of symbolism in it. Well, damn, I didn’t notice any kind of pattern, or anything deeper. And I sure as hell wasn’t making any guesses. It’s like I need the Internet nerds to point this stuff out. I now dive straight to a Google search any time I watch anything to see what I’ve missed.
Does it mean I’ve become so jaded that I just consume music, movies and TV shows and that’s it? It took multiple viewings and consulting the Internet to catch some of the stuff in my favorite TV show, Sherlock, while others got lots of stuff from the first pass. After watching the first season of the BBC show, I remember asking Rory, “So do Sherlock and Watson just run around solving cases? Is that all it is?” And he assured me that there was something else going on underneath it all. Of course he was correct, because as a filmmaker, he watches everything with an analytical eye.
Makes me feel like a bit of a schmuck.