The Unrepentant Cinephile
Independently Published in 2017. 556 pages
By Jason Coffman
So what really is the purpose of a movie guide? I mean, after all, it’s just a collection of reviews by either one or a number of people that watch the films and review them, right. While that is true in its basic element, for me it really comes down to opening doors. Not just showing me some titles that I’ve never heard about, but when done correctly, makes me want to seek them out after reading about them. The reviewer’s thoughts and how they are written are a very important key here, as well as the reviewer themselves. I’ve come across many reviewers that I’ve found simply not getting what they are reviewing, or a few that seem like they haven’t even watched the movie they’re writing about. But when you come across a reviewer/writer that not only knows what he’s talking about, but just has a sheer love of cinema, you tend to take his words to heart, even above and beyond the ‘likes and dislikes’ they may have for a particular title. Jason Coffman is one of those. And this book does exactly what a film guide should do and that is to open the doors and should make your To-Watch list grow. A lot.
Now full disclosure here, I’ve known Jason for well over a decade. In fact, not sure when we officially met, but probably at one of the Share the Scare viewing parties hosted by our mutual friend Aaron Christensen. But one thing that immediately hit me was that Jason loves movies and will happily watch anything. In fact, in reading his introduction to this massive volume he’s released, he perfectly describes his philosophy of watching films, stating, “I believe that any film worth watching is worth watching at least twice, and that any film not worth watching at all is worth watching once.” This shows that not only does he just like watching movies but that he is willing to give each and every title the same fair chance. Trust me, this is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you realize just how many films Jason watches on a yearly basis!
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks, paging through this huge tome, reading his thoughts on different titles, ones that I’ve seen to compare his to mine, to titles that I had never even heard of. His reviews are honest and upfront. Even if he doesn’t like a particular movie, it still might get a recommendation for certain reasons, maybe due to the cinematography, the acting, or any number of positive things that Jason has spotted. That is a sign of a good reviewer, not getting bogged down too much in the muck to still be able to see something good. Of course, there are others that he might consider just a waste of time. Thanks to Jason for jumping on that grenade for all of us!
The other thing I really liked about this book are the titles covered. Even the most avid movie-watcher is bound to find a bundle of titles that they’ve never heard of, let alone seen. Jason watches a LOT of movies, and they are covered here. From his trips to different film fests, to just what he’s watching at home, you get such a wide variety of genres, talent, and even bizarre and just downright strange films. If you’re looking for a book that is going to cover all the Halloween sequels, then I’m afraid you will be disappointed. But if you’re looking for a review of something like Attack of the Adult Babies, then here you go.
Priced at only $20, this mammoth book is more than worth your time and money. A book this size from some publishers would run close to $80, so it is a great investment. Then the money you save here will help cover the costs of all the movies you’re going to try and find after reading about them here!