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This letter gets 1/2 stars.

by Dear Jon
February 19, 2002

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Sort 118_Dear Jon-This letter gets 1½ stars. ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,
I have a friend who has somewhat low-brow tastes in movies (Armageddon) while I tend to prefer more artsy fare (Gosford Park). This can cause some tension when we consider going to a movie or renting a video. What's the best way to handle this?
Critical Eye

Dear Critic,

Is it not interesting that we think we are being social when we shut out our friends for two hours in order to engross ourselves with a movie? To resolve your issue, go to the theatre with your friend. When your friend goes in to watch Behind Enemy Lines you can go in and watch La Femmes de la Faux, or whatever it is people like you watch. Each of you watch your movies, and then meet outside the theatre when the movies are finished.

For renting movies, rent what you like, watch them on your own televisions, and then agree to meet to do something else.

Now perhaps you are concerned that, by not watching movies in common, you will not have much to talk about. It is true that your friend is probably the wrong person to talk to about movies. If your friend thinks Police Academy 3 was GREAT, and has no use for Woody Allen, you definitely should not go to the same movies or talk about movies.

Just add that to the list of things not to talk about. Maybe you have other things in common. Maybe your friend's taste in literature is as high-brow as yours, and your friend watches these movies as a mental recess. Or maybe you vote for all the same candidates. Or maybe you are both avid sports fans.

On the other hand, if you have nothing in common, not even a shared interest in card games or Chess, you probably want to find some new friends. I recommend art galleries, or reading clubs at local libraries. Your friend can find new friends at honky-tonk bars.

Perhaps, for the sake of empathy and personal growth, both you and your friend can opt for "middle ground" movies. Not Armegeddon, not Gosford Park, but The Ring Trilogy. If your friend cannot handle Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet, try Mel Gibson's. And then prove you are making the effort too by watching the Mad Max trilogy.

There is a whole lot out there that is neither low-brow nor artsy. Personally, those are the movies I like the most. The academy seems to agree with me, since most winners for "best movie" are middle-brow. Your friend has GOT to like "Braveheart" and "Gladiator."

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