Saturday, November 1, 2014

Movies and Me

This is the first day of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) so I am going to take on the challenge of posting every day this month. My first post is going to be about how I watch films and some which are milestones in my life.

I look at movies a lot different than other people. I sometimes feel I don’t fit in with the critic crowed and I also don’t seem to jive with the causal watcher. I watch a movie with two views, one from the critic in me, the other the movie fan. I'm going to write this out because I have been thinking about how I watch movies for a while and perhaps going back through my cinema history will help explain how I watch a movie.

I want to talk about how I watch first. I see a movie with two points of view in mind. One point is from a critical review standpoint. I look at a movie’s pace and tempo. How do the film makers set up the scene. How do they compose the shots? Do they choose an arrangement which builds tension or gives perspective. What do they choose for the editing of the scenes together? Does the music fit the scene or does it distract. How are the actors doing? Do They make the scenes work? Do they look good together? Are they believable? Do They sell it well or are they out of their depth. Does the story make sense? or has writer and the film maker come at the story from different directions? If a movie has too many technical problems I am too distracted to enjoy the film. If I see a boom mic in a shot I am done.

The other point of view I watch a film with is the point of view from an entertainment stand point. Does the story movie me? Am I bought in with what the characters are doing? Do I feel sad when they are low? Do I celebrate their victories? What does the writer and film maker want me to learn or take away or think about? Do I enjoy what I am seeing or do I not enjoy it but it is very thought provoking. Are they too preachy with their own personal agenda or do they pepper in morals through the story and let me do all the heavy lifting with the message. Am I the target audience for this film? If not does it fit who is? Does it also have something for others who watch the film?

These two different points of view are fighting in my head when I watch a film. If a movie has too many technical errors I will start not listening to the story. If a Film has a very engaging story I will overlook errors because of the emotional connection with the material. But a film technically clean from errors but has absolutely no emotional connection will make what ever small errors seem bigger.

 My "in-between" viewes gives me an unique position to talk with both groups. I can enjoy a conversation from the hardened critic and bat errors back and fourth with the best of them. I can also slip into the mindset of just a film lover and talk story and favorite lines and how movies made me think or feel with the most fevered film fan. The long and short of all this is I love what movies give us to talk about.

When I meet a new group of people I always ask what their favorite movies are. I rarely have someone hit me with a movie I haven't seen. I love to armchair quarter back what should have been done in a film and I love to praise the wonderful things done. I wanted to set aside some time to talk about the movie which have influenced me in my life. Or at least ones which are at milestones in my life.

The first movie I attended is 2001: A Space Odyssey. This will probably let you know I am a geek from the start. Not that I remember anything from the film I was only a few days old. So perhaps it's best to say I was in attendance of the film. It just goes to show you I come by my geekiness honestly. My father was the very into science fiction. He died when I was very young so I never had a chance to share in the things he was passionate about. I took some time to watch 2001 again once I was older and if I could work my will I would love to go back and watch this movie with him and then go have coffee and talk about what he thought of the film. I really love the movie it spans the length of humanity and the subtext the story tells about our brutality and our possibility for the future. As I recall all of the sciences in the film is close to reality. Not all of it but for its time they took great care in making it as real as possible.

When I was 4 I saw Charlotte's Web which was the first movie I cried at. I walked out of the theater balling my head off because (spoiler alert) Charlotte dies at the end. I was un consolable as it really touched me. I sometimes wonder if in my young mind I associated Charlotte death with my fathers. I had an outlet which let me cry, truly cry from the heart and let me feel the loss I needed to express. Maybe I am over thinking it. But I remember no other kids feeling the way I did at the film. This movie was an excellent example of the mixture of song and animation which are the kind of films I grew up on. Iwao Takamoto had a hand in a lot of the animation I watched as a kid. Scoobie Doo was my favorite. Kids today don’t know what they are missing from this kind of story telling.

Logan's Run was my next experience with a movie. Some parts scared me, really bad, the renew scenes in the film are ultra creepy to a seven year old. I had problems enjoying that movie for a while but I finally got past it. The runaway surgery machine freaked me out as well. But once we got past those points I started to settle in and start to enjoy the story and the explanation of what was happening. I was also too young to appreciate the nudity in the film. when I went back to watch it I see it with older eyes and had no idea there was any adult themes in the film.

Star Wars was also very pivotal in my young life. I loved it I saw it every chance I got. This movie is one I sought out to see because the trailer scared me. To this day the sand people kind of give me the wig. But I had to see this movie from personal growth. It scared be but I was intrigued by it. I had to go and see it. It was alike I had to overcome the fear I had in Logan's Run because I was older and needed to face my silly fears. I will always love the first time I saw this film because it was the first time I was personally brave by choice. The movie reminds me of my courage and it was always be the way I saw it in the theater. Han shooting first.

A side note on the remastered work. In my personal feeling George Lucas was looking at his film from a stand point of we could never do what I wanted because of the technology and budget constraints. He was so engrossed with making it the way he wanted in his head he never stopping to think when you create something which touches so many you kind of give up your single ownership and it kind of belongs to everyone it touches. Yes it is his movie but it is our youth he was altering. 

Silverado was my first date movie. My mom had to drop us off and pick us up but I will always remember it as the movie I went to with my first girl friend. I will always remember looking over at her and enjoying the feeling of independence I got from watching the movie with no members of my family. Yes I needed a ride but I really remember how pure the experience was. We also saw Top Gun and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Not on the same day but other dates.

Aliens was my first movie with a girl and no parents drop off and or pick up. I drew up the courage to ask the girl I went with. She worked at the movie rental stand at the local supermarket. I would go with my mom to do the shopping she would drop me off at the movies and go and do the shopping. I would spend what seemed like hours talking with her about movies. And it just popped out, we should go to a movie. She said yes and there we were going to the movies. My mom wanted to see this really bad movie and I refused. She then said "Julie said it was a really good movie." I thought to myself, this doesn't seem like a movie she would recommend but ok I will give it a go. Halfway through the movie I leaned over to mom and said, “Julie did not recommend this movie” Mom laughed and confessed. She said that just to get me to watch.

After High school I went into the army. I was always at the theater on Post of I was off. I saw a lot of films most of them just by asking “one please” because there was only one film playing at a time. The poster for the film was on the other side of the building and I walked up on the ticket booth side. It’s not like I had a choice I would just go. None of the movies really spoke to me. I did how ever really like the freedom from choosing a film. I was pleasantly surprised at films I wouldn't have chosen. This may be where I got the idea for my other blog What Is Showing Next.

I served in Iraq and had a hard time once I got back to the states. I transitioned out of the Army and was still struggling with finding myself in this new environment. I saw Mr. Baseball. This movie was exactly what I needed because like Jack from the film I was a fish out of water. What I got from that film was the world doesn’t adjust to me but I need to adjust my views to adapt to my surroundings to accept what is going on. Now whenever I am in a mood I re-watch it as it keeps me grounded.

The last film I am going to talk about is Seven Samurai. I picked the film up at Hastings and it was two whole VHS tapes. The person who watched it before me didn't rewind the second tape so I had to. I was pissed because I really enjoyed the movie. I had to wait till the movie was done rewinding. I started at 11:00 I needed to finish the entire 3 hour film. I totally fell in love with this movie. I think it brought out the passion for film again.

What are some of your movie milestones?

Check out some of the other blogs participating this month over at BlogHer on the blogroll. Many different topics to read. Enjoy. 


  1. Hey there, I found you via the NaBloPoMo blogroll.

    I love a movie commentary track when it is the director especially because they will often talk about things they wish they'd done, happy accidents, or things they would change if they could. I have a few movie reviews over on my blog.

    There is some tv that is just as good as movies - Breaking Bad is incredibly cinematic. I have been rewatching it and blogging about that - what I also love is that there are so many extras. From Season 2 onwards Vince Gilligan did a podcast for every episode with his editor and guests, and some of the stories they tell are fascinating.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is - I'm really into the behind the scenes stuff. :)

    As part of NaBloPoMo I challenge myself try to comment on as many participating blogs as I can, and I add all participating blogs to my feed reader.

    So I'm just dropping by to let you know I've added your blog to my feedreader, I'm reading you loud and clear, I have a link up going at my place so my readers can find participating blogs which you are more than welcome to add your blog link to.

    Looking forward to seeing your posts, and you'll likely see me drop by again during November.

    Happy NaBloPoMo to you!

  2. I love the extra features disk as well, Here is a funny bit Joss Whedon did on NPR about it.