When it comes to the benefits of inspiration there are two schools of thought:
1. Suck up only the very best so that you are filled with nothing but the highest-grade fuel from which to produce your own work.
2. Fuck that. Great stuff merely serves to remind you of your own failings. Watch another Michael Bay movie to remind yourself how your tastes and abilities far surpass even those of the very successful, inspiring you to get on with your own far more impressive accomplishments.
I think both are valid and can depend on the mood you’re in and the state you have reached in your own work: if you’re happy and feeling that your own book/painting/movie is really very good then you might want to just top up your mad skillz with a quick flick though The Brothers Karamazov. If, on the other hand, you’re nine days into a three-week stretch of writers’ block then you might feel that a reminder of your own relative greatness is just what’s required to kick start another burst of creativity.
Only you can know how good and/or bad work makes you feel, but if you have yet to produce your magnum opus, maybe it’s time to change it up a little.
I propose a couple of hours of Steps Greatest Hits followed by a screening of Ikiru.
For more on the subject, have a read of this.