Help analysing popularity

The famous 2000 film that put Christopher Nolan on the map tells the story of a man on the hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife.
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Posts: 3257
Joined: January 2012
Location: Israel
I'm writing a large end-of-semester essay about Memento (after my mid-term essay for the same course was about Nolan generally) and would love some help... as I was given the essay months ago and it's due next week and I've barely started! lol (well I'm studying both Law and Media so it's not like I have time to breathe).

I've found 2 books online analysing Memento, in-depth ideas about the film, such as its symbolism to the postmodern world and Lacanian stages I pretty much know by heart.

What I need help with most of all is analysing the popularity of the film. I saw it made less than a 100,000,000$ worldwide... considering its budget it did extremely well. But considering the fact it was nominated for Academy Award, how well recieved it was by reviewers (and audiences, according to the rating on IMDB) and how well people remember this movie to this day, it's not much.

I was thinking about explaining it by categorizing it as a cult-film. But to do that I need hard facts. Wikipedia calling it that isn't a hard fact. I was looking online for a good source of what a cult-film really is, but didn't find a proper explanation to the phenomenon, nor a way to really prove Memento is such, it doesn't have the crazy followers who make it easy to categorize a film as cult (I don't just mean Rocky Horror, but Fight Club and Matrix are easy to categorize as cult-films for the matter).

And so I need to write an in-depth analysis of why the film, compared to films that can be considered similar, didn't do THAT well.

As it's an academic essay of course I need to add sources and proof to every single idea or statement I bring up. So anything would be good :) bringing up well-known facts like the reversed order, which could be difficult for some (I heard that at screenings of Tree of Life cinemas put up signs that the film is in a nonlinear order because people left the movie angry during the first screenings), is a given. But more ideas are needed.

Thanks :)

Posts: 127
Joined: February 2011
Boy, you sure are cutting it close, time-wise.

I think what sets this film apart is its ambiguous information, leading to in-depth analysis.
It has a faithful core group following.
But, I would not go so far as to label it a cult film.
To me, a cult film follows an individual, be it David Lynch's Mullholland Drive or character, such as Donnie Darko or even the Star Trek culture as a whole.)

As to it's ambiguity, here are the potential perplexing and unknown points of discussion and intrigue.

1. How accurate is Leonard's memory?
Does he really remember the final few minutes of his fateful evening?
2. Has the Sammy story and Leonard's history become commingled?
3. How accurate was John Gammel's story?
4. Did Leonard kill his wife accidentally with insulin?
5. Did Leonard actually kill his wife's attacker a year ago?
6. Is John Gammel a real police officer or is he merely pretending to be?
7. Since fact 6 is inaccurate, is his tattoo identifying 'John G' truthful?
8. Was John Gammel the 'John G' that Leonard is hunting (that is the 'John G' named in his tattoo)?
(and was John Gammel the second attacker?)
9. Has Leonard's personality/morality changed by the repetition of murder, though forgotten?
10.What direction will Leonard take after killing John Gammel?

Posts: 3257
Joined: January 2012
Location: Israel
I'm the queen of procrastination ! :D it always works for me though, not to show off but I get excellent grades (it's easy when everyone else choose crappy films to work on..)

Thanks for your input. I needed more help with analysing the actual popularity of the film. Why only 40millon when it was in the top 50 for 6 months.. Why it spent so little time in top10 although the movie is still remembered, discussed and got such excellent reviews.

I did manage to collaborate the "cult film" term in there somewhere when I was writing yesterday. Using an article from bbc website about cult films. The way they discussed the term there suits the film in a way. But I wrote its cult status is "debatable".

I also mentioned the ambiguity shortly. As a reason people rewatch it many times. But it's something I should certainly bring up later in the essay when I analyse the movie itself, and the list you made will certainly help me make sure I don't forget anything as while I enjoy working under pressure it also means mind tends to go blank at times lol so thanks for that :)
Bytheway essay is only going to be up to 4 pages. The intro + popularity discussion I wrote yesterday already took 1.5 pages! Seeing as except talking about the ambiguity and symbolism in the film in general I also have plenty of scenes and quotes I'm going to discuss with further detail, I really don't have much left lol now I understand those who chose Michael Bay films lol :sick:

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