Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985). I don’t know if it’s just part of getting old, but more and more I find myself accepting that taste preferences are the key to the appreciation of the arts. I don’t know why this surprises me … I spent much of my time in grad school trying to destroy the entire concept of a canon, daring anyone to tell me what was good and what was bad. Sometimes, I still get that hostile feeling when I watch a movie where the only real problem is that it doesn’t fall on the plus side of my taste preferences. But nowadays, I at least try to understand the situation. Call it Terrence Malick Syndrome. I’ve seen almost every movie Malick directed, and I end up thinking the same thing each time: I admire his willingness to stick with it until he gets exactly what he wants on the screen, but I don’t much care for the finished product. I’ve tried to get through Brazil a couple of times, and now I can finally cross it off of my bucket list. There are many remarkable things in Brazil: the sets, the audacious flights of fancy, the dyspeptic vision of the future. I don’t know if Gilliam accomplished everything he set out to do, because the movie is so stuffed full of things that I lost count. Yet I never connected with the characters, and I don’t think even Gilliam gave a crap about the narrative. It was lovely to look at, and I bet if there’s a coffee-table book of the movie, it would look lovely there, as well. So kudos to Terry Gilliam, but I preferred Twelve Monkeys. #225 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 6/10. For a companion piece, try Twelve Monkeys, or maybe the version of 1984 with John Hurt.