Many years ago, Alynda and Cheryl realized they were both huge movie fans but frequently disagreed about movies. Alynda was a softie: drawn to rom-coms and big flashy films but primarily in it to be entertained. Cheryl was a cynic: always looking at the mechanics of the movie, distracted by plot-holes and disdainful of poor editing. In a pre-internet world, they considered the viability of doing a public-access television show (like Wayne’s World) but the number of hurdles were enough to roadblock the idea. Still, every now and then, the idea would twinkle. Now, with YouTube and social media, anyone can put together a show and they knew the timing was right.
The name they’d always tossed about was “The Cynic and the Suck” but it’s difficult to pronounce on air and there is no URL that looks right. They considered other words to go with cynic and Pollyanna kept coming up, but they didn’t really fit together. With thesauruses open and thinking caps on, several other iterations followed until they eventually hit on “The Cloud and the Silver Lining.”
The other key was picking a theme; they didn’t necessarily want to do new releases and try to be current. Instead, they took a page from Netflix — both its back-catalog of movies and its suggestion engine — and decided that older movies related to what is in theatres now would be their target.
Pollyanna, Silver Lining, the Suck. Why do these all describe me as a movie-goer? I’m not a fool, and although I usually find that the glass is half full, I’m as capable of cynicism as the next person. <cough *Cheryl* cough> Here’s where I differ from many. I approach each movie I see assuming that it is doing to delight me in some way. I don’t just suspend my disbelief; I lock it away in a room with a bowl of water and some food to tide it over. Sure, I can see the plot holes that you can drive a truck through, but if I enjoyed a movie in any way at all, I ignore them. This is how I can enjoy films that range from “Zoolander” to Dr. Zhivago”, from “the 40 Year Old Virgin” to “The Bridge on the River Kwai”. Except for Ghost Rider. That’s two hours of my life that Nicholas Cage owes me. And someday, somehow, I’m going to get it back.
Cynic, curmudgeon, cloud… there’s always one in the crowd. I tend to expect rather a lot for my entertainment dollar. While I am perfectly capable of suspending my disbelief — and there are plenty of films for which this is appropriate (almost anything where the trailer features giant fireball explosions) — I prefer to watch films with a bit of depth to them. I am also easily irked — by cheesy effects (unless they are purposely cheesy), lousy editing, scripts that endlessly explain what just happened through the characters on screen (“You mean, the killer was inside the house the whole time?“), or an actor who phones in their performance. And yet, there are times when each of these flaws can be overlooked thanks to a brilliant script, deft direction, or an ensemble cast that can elevate even the worst script. I honed my critical eye from hundreds of episodes of Siskel and Ebert’s review shows and earned my stripes reviewing films for the Apollo Movie Guide in the late 90s and early oughts. I haven’t seen Ghost Rider, but if the Silver Lining can’t find anything nice to say, you can bet I’m not adding it to my queue.