A distribution guy who knows everyone and has been around forever saw Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life a good while ago, and while discussing it with a friend several weeks ago said somewhat perfunctorily, “I’m a fan.” Now, you have to understand what it means when a distribution exec says “I’m a fan.” That’s like some dude who’s just gone out on a blind date saying the next morning that the girl has a nice personality. It means (a) the film has problems, (b) the distribution guy is being polite, and (c) he doesn’t want to say anything too strong for fear of being identified as a rapt admirer. (I almost said “raptor” admirer but that’s another thread.)