I used the word “homage” during lunch last Friday, and a colleague literally burst out laughing. Greatly amused, she said something along the lines of, “That’s not a word you hear much anymore.” Wuh? Really? Well, nobody told me … or the countless journalists who continue to employ the word with reckless abandon.
I was flustered.
Obviously, our postmodern times are the halcyon days of the homage. For better or worse, the loving reference has become an integral part of the filmic language. In 2009, the average audience member seems to basically expect it. That’s not too surprising, really, now that the history of film stretches back over 100 years. Earlier audiences and filmmakers were never this savvy about the art form, not even when the French New Wave injected enthusiasm and genuine respectability into our perception of it five decades ago. That’s just a stone-cold fact, evident in everything from expensive studio pictures to sitcoms to the roughest YouTube clips.
That lunchtime faux pas was, without question, my stupidest movie-related experience of the year. And here, as a consequence of my disappointment, I’ll divulge one of my deepest, darkest secrets. It won’t rock your world. It won’t shock you. You probably won’t even care. But it’s very personal:
Much of the time, maybe even most of the time, I absolutely hate to discuss movies with people. In extreme cases, where I’ve had to weather jokes, jibes, ignorance or just plain idiocy, it can actually make me tremble in agitation. That’s how important movies are to me. Not exactly water off a duck’s back, you know?
Anyways, I didn’t think you’d care.
But I do.