Saturday, July 2, 2011

Movie Magic

  Who remembers their first time at the movies? I was very small. So small, in fact, that the theater seemed like it would fit a thousand people. I don't remember exactly which movie I saw the first time at the movie theater, but I do recall one of the first movies I saw at the theater: 101 Dalmatians, the original animated version. Despite my extreme shyness as a child, I was so overwhelmed by the awesome spotted dogs that were outwitting the maniacal Cruella De Vil, that I cried out: "Puppy Power!!" in the middle of the movie, holding up my little stuffed dalmatian that I insisted on carrying with me everywhere at that time.
    My dad only had to tell me once that you're not supposed to yell out in a movie theater, but I'm sure everyone else thought it was pretty funny rather than annoying, so I guess that particular mistake in etiquette was not so bad.
    Throughout the years, I have developed a profound connection and adoration for film. And yes, my admiration extends beyond Disney movies now. I have seen some of the original moving pictures, the ones that are all disjointed and only have music, no dialogue. I've seen the first talkie. I've seen movies in black and white, color, and some movies that tried to combine the two. I've probably seen less than a dozen truly bad movies, because generally, I think most movies have merit in some way, for some people. No movie is for everybody. As much as I'd like to tell everyone in the world they haven't lived until they've seen Casablanca, romance, wartime stories, and even black and white isn't everyone's cup of tea. That's their too bad--because Casablanca is amazing. There are movies that I watch and enjoy the story, but sometimes, I have to marvel at the filmmaking itself. The process. And the magic that movies create as only they can.
    No matter how technologically advanced we become, there is still a thrill in going to the movie theater, sitting down in the squeaky seats, and watching a story play out on a gigantic screen for two hours. You can take my MP3 player, my video games, and my computer, but don't take my DVDs and a TV to watch them on. Even now, after I've been going to movies for about twenty years now, there's still this wonderment and excitement that happens when I go to the movies. I've seen most if not all of the previews already, but when the lights dim and the movie starts, I can shut up, ignore my phone, and lose myself in the film.
    I'm not biased, and I'm not really a movie snob the way some people get to be. I like everything from chick flicks to action movies. I love Die Hard and Jerry Maguire. I am just as big a Star Wars nerd as I am a Wes Anderson fan. And even actors I once disliked usually grow on me after I've seen more of their work. (Ahem, Kevin Bacon, Kim Basinger, and Michael Douglas, to name a few.)
    I can't even say I discriminate the award-worthy movies from the movies that are just there to make you laugh and make money. They all have their value. The former are the last remaining effort to keep filmmaking an art form, and the latter may be fodder for the masses, but they're entertaining, and that's part of what movies should be. Movies don't all have to be educational, or documentaries. They don't all have to be creative works.
"Make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh, don't you know everyone loves to laugh?"
That's perfectly fine with me.
    I love the movies so much that I will go by myself if no one else is willing to chuck out the $8.75 to $10.50 (or more) it costs nowadays. I don't mind, because I will admit, I'm a pain in the ass to see a movie with because I'm talking (whispering) the entire time, commenting on this thing that reminds me of that movie or that actor who I saw in this other movie.
    Despite the extreme inflation of the cost of going to a movie, a single person can spend $15 to $20 bucks easily on snacks, drinks, and a single admission, people still go. Every weekend. The parking lot is packed and the auditorium showing the new release is always full. Because people love the movies. Maybe not for the same reasons as I do, but they do. Movies make us think and feel things that we didn't always realize we were thinking or feeling. They aren't always true to life, science fiction tries specifically not to be, but it's not the spaceships or magic spells or happily ever after in the movies that gets us to go: it's the people. They may be better looking, but there's something real about the people in the movies, and that's what keeps us going. If we couldn't relate to them, they would cease to hold our attention.
    It's Saturday night, so go catch a movie if it isn't too late, or stay in and watch one with a bowl of microwave popcorn and a cup of soda. They make us laugh, cry, scream, and gasp, and the best movie is one that does it all.
We'll always have Paris.


Outnumbered said...

Love movies. Love Casablanca. Love going to the movies. You said it perfectly.

Constant Writer said...

Aww thanks! I am probably the biggest movie nerd I know, so I thought I'd spread the love a little bit and see if I could enchant any non-movie lovers into changing their minds.

+Constant Writer

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