I’ve been through the heartbreak of losing cats to disease and cruel fates (a beloved Siamese named Mouse died from pancreatic cancer in ’01, and two others, Ricci and Mouse 2, were run over by careless drivers) and I’m truly, deeply sorry for what recently happened with Sasha Stone‘s poor unfortunate cat.

But while my reaction to The Banshees of Inisherin may have bled into the sad passing of Sasha’s pet (and I’ve felt these sadnesses in my own life, trust me), it actually had nothing to do with it. Martin McDonagh‘s film is its own realm, its own turf…nay, its own blend of folksy melancholy Irish rage and despondency + McDonagh-ass weirdness and perversity. My heart aches for Sasha’s furry friend and lover but not for Brendan Gleeson’s bloody stumps.

I for one have never once shut anyone out because they disliked a film that I’ve loved. I’ve been hurt, disappointed or saddened that a friend didn’t share my love for a film, but I’ve always shaken that shit off. Sometimes people love and hate films for odd reasons. There’s no figuring it.

If you’ve just seen Raoul Walsh’s They Died With Their Boots On, which opened on 12.21.41, you’re allowed to love or hate it for reasons that have only to do with the merits or demerits of the film. Your feelings about your father or kid brother having been killed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor two weeks earlier…well, you can conflate or separate these disparate events as you see fit, but they’re really not related.

Carl Foreman’s The Victors opened in the vicinity of 11.22.63. Some might have seen it that day or during the weekend (11.23 and 11.24) and they might have said “Dear God, the blood and horror and absolute cruelty of war as imagined by Foreman is forever merged with the blood and horror of what happened in Dealey Plaza during lunch hour!” And they wouldn’t be wrong to have this reaction, but if a person wanted to express a reaction to the film and ONLY the film, they would be within their rights. And I certainly wouldn’t fault them for this, even if I was Robert F. Kennedy.

Yes, sad or traumatic events have a way of bleeding into each other or into films that we’ve just seen or music that we’ve recently been touched by…I know all about that bleeding-through process. But you have to show a little discipline in these matters, and sometimes you have to be hard.