Reader, I hope your adjustment to quarantine life has been safe and painless. I have found myself often dipping into the world of cinema to occupy my mind during the day’s dull moments. I recently watched a handful of films that I had heard a lot of hype about. It’s hard to avoid hype. I’ve often been frustrated by movie hype, because I get scared that when I finally see the movie I’ll be let down. That’s why I usually wait months after a movie’s popular moment to see it. In my mind, it gives me a moment to breathe, and helps separate the movie from its buzz.
I finally watched three films that had been heavily hyped: the two-punch adrenaline hit “John Wick” and “John Wick: Chapter 2,” and the most recent winner of the Best Picture at the Oscars, “Parasite.”
My last memory of “Parasite” was the euphoric moment when it won Best Picture.
So when I sat down to watch the film, I knew it would be an excellent piece of cinema. But there was a little voice in my head that whispered, “What if it’s not that good?”
“Parasite” definitely lived up to the hype. Within the first 10 minutes I forgot about anything outside of the film. I was taken on a compelling ride that entertained, shocked, and touched me. Every bit of it, from the acting, to the editing, to the script, to the cinematography, was superb.
“Parasite” exposed any class biases I had, and forced me to face them. I felt like I was eating a bowl of rich, sweet ice cream that would occasionally and at random gave me a brain freeze — but in a good way. The hype was justified — I finally understood why everyone was tripping over their own feet to praise the film.
“John Wick” had entered my consciousness years ago. It was the surprise action hit of 2014, and marked the beginning of Keanu Reeves’ comeback — both into our hearts and the prestige action genre.
I tried to again quiet that little voice in my head as I settled in for the four-hour experience of watching the first two “Wick” films. Again, I was swept up. Reeves is stunning in the films — he gives Wick a quiet elegance sharply contrasted by his violence. He is mesmerizing.
The action is so well-edited, staged, and performed that it made me realize how trash most action scenes are. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen as Wick bodied his way through countless henchmen and expert assassins, often noticeably hampered by injuries sustained from previous fights.
The movies walk the line between the real and the absurd — the sleek and intricate criminal underworld that is built out in both films can seem illogical, but it’s grounded by the brutal realness of the action. One example of this is how Wick runs out of bullets constantly during both films. He is constantly either reloading or scavenging for guns. So often, characters in action films somehow have an endless amount of bullets to spray at their opponents, but “John Wick” refuses to rely on lazy tactics like that. I left the double feature excited to watch “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” and also fully on the Reeves hype train.
Watching these three films led me to form a solid conclusion on hype’s effect on one’s personal film experience. If a film is exciting enough to generate significant hype, then it is probably a good movie. I had a great experience with all three movies. I wasn’t completely able to block out errant thoughts brought on by my exposure to each film’s hype, but the movies were compelling enough to forget about them. What I’m saying: It’s okay to trust the hype.