“I strongly prefer films that observe stories as opposed to telling stories. The cinematography, the score…they need to conspire to create a perspective through which you experience the unfolding of a story, as opposed to a more oppressive, pedantic way of doing things.” — Moneyball director Bennett Miller to Hollywoodnews.com’s Sean O’Connell in a 1.2.12 post.

For the first thinking-cap exercise of 2012, perhaps HE readers could share views about which highly-touted Best Picture finalists have used “oppressive” and “pedantic” story-telling strategies? Does anything come to mind? All right, I’ll say it. I was thinking of War Horse and The Artist, but I’ve been saying that all along. Others?

O’Connell’s piece starts with a statement that Moneyball “was the best movie I saw in 2011.

“Granted, it didn’t register as my favorite movie immediately after a pre-Toronto screening,” he writes. “But I found myself thinking about Miller’s adaptation for weeks. I went out of my way to see it again. Then one more time. By year’s end, no other film stuck to the ribs in quite the same way.”

O’Connell then asks Miller if Moneyball‘s financial and critical success will make it easier to get his next film green-lighted. “Absolutely,” he answers. “That’s where these outcomes are most meaningful. And I’m not condemning them. I just think it’s important to temper yourself when it comes to those things.

“If you are operating from a place of speculation about how the market and the critical masses are going to respond, I think you’re playing a different game. You surrender something. You lose something. You become obedient to something other than…it will sound too harsh to say it, but I think it’s better to generate your vision from within and follow that than it is to approach it from a market-research perspective. Signals from the outside world are not a terrible way to gauge reaction, to get a sense that you’re still dealing with some form of reality. But I think 95% of it should be inconsiderate of any kind of projections of box office or critical response.”

The best relationships with the best women, I feel, start with the man being…okay, perhaps not 95% indifferent about whether he’ll get laid if he says this or does that, but mostly unconcerned about “results” and more focused on the romantic current as it unfolds, step by step, petal by petal. The fluttery feeling is the fluttery feeling. To paraphrase Miller, “If you are operating from a place of speculation about whether certain lures or strategies will lead the lady in question to shed her clothing, I think you’re playing a different game.”