If we want diversions from the ongoing challenges of politics and pandemics, maybe author Bill Cushing of Glendale, California, can help. He’s found a book that opens the door to arguments that can be fun!
It looks like the political circus is finally folding up its big top, at least until we jump into the 2022 campaign— in about six months. So, what can we do with all that contentious energy left over?
I propose a “fun” form of argument.
Last week I received a copy of The Best Movies You Never Saw: 300 Under-the-Radar Films That Were Overlooked, Unjustly Trashed—or Just Plain Terrific, by Joseph W. Smith III, after a high school friend. In the book, Smith presents titles with a brief overview about why he believes they are “under-the-radar films that were overlooked, unjustly trashed—or just plain terrific.”
As in most “best of” types of lists— whether Top Ten, 100, or in this case, 300— the fun is multilayered.
Each entry is about one page long (sometimes a tad more, sometimes less), and Smith offers a brief synopsis along with why he recommends each selection.
Of course, what order one chooses on these multi layers of fun is personal, but I started by checking out which movies I’d actually seen. I scored 58 out of his 300, leaving lots of possibilities.
Next, I looked through unfamiliar titles to see which ones may be of interest, then usually reading those entries a bit closer to start compiling a list of what to look for.
The task is easy with an appendix listing titles under divisions of cast members as well as both general and specific categories. There’s also a “bonus” list of well-known titles.
While this volume is geared to any age, the author’s “Boomer” status does shine through in both his tone and approach, making this a neat way to stage remote arguments, a dialogue of sorts between writer and reader.
Eventually, people like me also start reading the entries to see if we agree or disagree with the writer’s assessment.
Finally, and inevitably, we start compiling our own list of titles the book misses, and crying “Why?” to the heavens for such injustice.
Well, okay, it’s not quite that traumatic, but I’ve always found that when discussing books, music, art in general, and especially film, the fun comes through our personal contentions of what should be ranked, and where.
What we love and why is the pursuit most of us become engaged in when looking at the past, whether the topic is sports or movies or most anything else.
This book does all this, along with providing a read that exacts fewer demands than a novel, as it allows readers, if they want to, to “argue” with what it says.
In a fun way.
We all need pleasant diversions these days.
Bill’s book of poems is, “A Former Life.”