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A group of reporters who are trying to decipher the last word ever spoke by Charles Foster Kane, the millionaire newspaper tycoon: "Rosebud." The film begins with a news reel detailing Kane's life for the masses, and then from there, we are shown flashbacks from Kane's life. As the reporters investigate further, the viewers see a display of a fascinating man's rise to fame, and how he eventually fell off the "top of the world." Written by
I know why you're reading this. You're smart, you have great taste, a passion for cinema, and you see CK near the top of every 'Great Movie' list ever compiled. So with great anticipation you borrow a DVD copy and sit down for a real treat, and... you can't get through the first half hour. You fall asleep.
Surprised, you think, 'It must be me, maybe I'm tired,' so a month later, you try again. But you don't even get as far as before, and wake up drooling out the corner of your mouth as a bloated Orson Welles, with really bad age make-up, groans 'Rosebud, Rosebud'.
It doesn't make sense. You're perplexed. You've watched other films on the lists... Casablanca made you stand up and cheer, cry, laugh, feel connected to all humanity. You even adore films on the list that some might consider oblique, like 8 1/2, which you reckon reinvented cinema language, weaving in and out of memory, dreams, psyche, reality, putting the human spirit up on the screen, making you cheer, laugh, and feel connected to all humanity.
So why does CK leave you so cold? You wonder, 'What's wrong with me? Am I stupid or something?'
Your borrowed DVD copy gathers dust (notice how the lender never asks for it back?), taunting your unquiet mind: "You must watch me: I'm the greatest film of all time!" But you shudder at the thought. Life's too short and, after all, there's more engaging things to do - like scraping plaque off the dog's teeth.
Years pass. Finally, you can take it no longer. You think, 'To be a serious film lover I MUST watch Citizen Kane! Maybe I was too immature before - yes, that must be it!' So you gird your loins and sit - awake!
through the whole thing. The whole turgid, ponderous, dull, vacuous,
plodding, dank catastrophe. It's even worse than you feared. An emotionally and intellectually empty story. Your average six year old can invent a more complex, engaging tale.
Genuinely puzzled, you ask people who name it as one of the greatest films of all time why they like it, and with barely concealed superiority that phoneys are wont to adopt, they wax lyrical talk about the haunting mystery of the final words, "Rosebud, rosebud". You notice there's no feeling behind what they say. They also talk a great deal about Gregg Toland's cinematography, with liberal references to "deep focus", and you appreciate this, you really do, the cinematography was damned fine, best thing about the movie. That shot which started outside the window then tracked back into the room was really cool. But you just don't believe a movie is made great by cinematography alone.
In all your inquiries, you never once hear the following phrase, spoken from the heart: "God, I love that film".
So here you find yourself, reading IMDb comments.
Well, let me tell you this: There's Nothing Wrong With You! You Are Right! It's Overrated Flashy Unintelligent Rubbish!
One day, perhaps (one can but dream), the coolest, greatest, most admired film being in the world will point out the bleeding obvious nakedness of this bloated Emperor, and the assorted film critics, film studies teachers, and others who need to be told what to think by an authority figure, shall squirm, and CK shall drop off the lists once and for all.
Until that great day, don't be afraid to speak the truth.
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