Tuesday 6th August 2013
IMDb – the Internet Movie Data Base – is currently ranked 46th on Alexa’s list of the ‘top 500 sites on the web’, making it more popular than the BBC, AOL and Apple. Not that one can, or should, read too much into that, or any other, statistical analysis of data.
Which reminds me of something a young friend told me recently, when we were discussing the silliness of the phrase, ‘there are two types of people…’ – a banality trotted out by convergent thinkers who’d like the world to be a lot simpler than its complexity allows.
I’m with the writer Tom Robbins on this, who observed that, “There are two kinds of people in this world: those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.”
Don’t confuse Tom (whose wife is called Alexa) with Tim Robbins, who played Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, which heads the IMDb’s list of the ‘top 250 movies’ with a weighted average (whatever that means) rating of 9.3 out of 10.
My son-in-law and I both regard Shawshank as one of the greatest films ever made. That’ll do for me.
He and I were discussing cinema recently with my oldest granddaughter, as a result of which conversation I’ve started compiling a list of personal favourites she might like to explore: from Never Let Me Go to The Truman Show, from Touching the Void to Life of Brian. Plenty there to feed her growing enthusiasm for dialectics.
Which brings me to Searching for Sugarman, rated 8.1 on IMDb, and winner of this year’s best documentary Oscar. It is the compelling tale of Sixto Rodriguez, a shy singer-songwriter from Detroit, whose first two albums made no impact whatsoever in America, so he went back to work as a labourer. Unbeknown to him, however, countless bootleg copies were later made in South Africa by young anti-apartheid campaigners, most of whom believed that Rodriguez had taken his own life – on stage, at the end of a particularly disastrous gig.
Do see it, but judge for yourself the truth of the film, for belief in a mythology is central to any artistic experience and film-makers are very clever. They edit footage, underscore images with soundtracks, and know how to play on our emotions.
The same happens with this video of an uplifting event in Catalonia, but I defy anyone to watch it and not be moved.
As my young friend observed… there are two kinds of people in this world: those who can extrapolate from data.