Tonight I saw the documentary Room 237, about Kubrick's legendary film, The Shining.
Although I've seen The Shining a few times, and I realize its significance in the history of film, I'll confess that it's never been a favorite of mine. I hoped that this documentary would perhaps convince me to love it as much as the passionate horror fans do, but alas, instead I found myself chuckling for nearly two hours—finding no additional meaning in any of it.
Basically, Room 237 gives the microphone to a handful of obsessed fans who give film geeks a bad reputation. These individuals believe The Shining symbolizes everything from a faked landing-on-the-moon film to a metaphorical holocaust.
Their evidence? Well, they "see" paper-tray hard-ons and sexual intercourse in the pattern of the rugs, so it must be true, right?
Of course not, but as I laughed along with the rest of the audience hearing from these theorists, I started to cringe. Not only at how ridiculous these fans sound; but at the sound of our collective laughter in response.
Who among us hasn't held a belief or a passion that no one else shared? Who among us hasn't at some point been made fun of for something (or someone) that we sincerely love?
Though I enjoyed some of their far-fetched interpretations, and appreciated the comical visuals that accompanied their narrations, I felt bad when I thought about how they must have thought they'd be perceived (as film scholars) vs. how they're being portrayed (as nut cases).
If only the purpose of the film was really to hear from critics who approach this from a historical, academic perspective, I wouldn't have been left with such a bad taste in my mouth.