#9 : Every critical viewer second-guesses his or her own reactions to films. Back when I had more free time, I would give all kinds of critically acclaimed films a second theatrical viewing if, for some reason, they failed to impress me as much as they'd impressed friends and critics who I held in high esteem. On most occasions, I ended up deciding I'd been right the first time, but at least I'd clarified for myself what in the particular films I'd found lacking.

But Lukas Moodysson's A Hole in My Heart provokes a different kind of self-doubt. Practically everyone I know and respect who has seen this film hates it. Despises it. Considers it, at best, a horrendous misstep, at worst, a malevolent piece of shit. I, however, had a pretty positive impression of it. It successfully used certain formal tendencies in reality-TV, combined them with a grinding sonic assault and some extremely potent shock-cut editing, to baptize the viewer in a caustic, unforgiving aesthetic of refusal.

Do I like dogshit? Am I slipping? Was I having a bizarre drug interaction when I saw this film? It's not just that my visceral connection with Moodysson's image-politic instills self-doubt. Part of me, I'm ashamed to say, actually worries about being this contrarian. Will people stop listening to me? Think I have (gasp!) "no taste"? Obviously none of these minor concerns have gained enough traction to provoke me to recant, but these things do float through my mind. To complicate matters further, I detested Moodysson's last film, the pseudo-humanist exploitation flick Lilya 4-Ever. That one actually had some fans, unlike A Hole, which is truly friendless. Plus, some of its grindcore effects and Goth-saturated image bank actually recalls another film I hated, Darren Aronofsky's callow, hideous Requiem for a Dream. To say what crossed my mind while watching A Hole -- "this is a bit like Requiem for a Dream done right" -- is to admit to a certain level of brain damage.

In short, I've staked out an indefensible position. And now I'm stuck with it.