Stuff I Learned From The Movies


Where you really go on a "Staycation"

Where you really go on a “Staycation”

I often lament how few movies that I actually get to watch. Partly this is the result of keeping myself accountable to a fairly strenuous daily To Do list: go running, do chores around the house, practice the bass, write a blog, get groceries, etc. I joke that my attention span maxes out at about fifty minutes (about the length of one prime-time television show), but what I really mean is that I can sit on the couch and stare at a screen for about fifty minutes before I am beset by an intense sense of guilt for Not Accomplishing Stuff. This is problematic because feature films have a very specific storytelling rhythm and in a lot of cases the fifty minute mark is just before things get really interesting.

It’s great to have a good, diligent work ethic, but it does make it very difficult to get to know the medium of feature filmmaking- which is the type of work I aspire to do. As someone in pursuit of a career in filmmaking I could technically consider an time spent watching a movie as “research” towards that end, but a part of me still thinks it is just an excuse to indulge in being a couch potato.

So anyway this weekend turned into an inadvertent Movie Marathon weekend. Over the course of the past three days I have watched:

  • “2 Days In New York”
  • “The Silver Linings Playbook”
  • “Man of The House”
  • “Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa”
  • “The American”
  • “D3: The Mighty Ducks”
  • “Chronicle”
  • “Pitch Perfect”

Admittedly this is a pretty wide range in cinematic style. For someone who wants to make movies I have a terrible time picking out what to watch. If I am flipping through the On Demand listings I glance at a title, ask myself if I feel like watching it, and usually shrug it off.

I’ve discovered that the best way to open my mind to different kinds of movies is to choose them at random: did the movie happen to come on TV? Go ahead and watch it. Did the DVD just arrive in the mail from Netflix? Go ahead and watch it. Is the movie New on On Demand? Go ahead and watch it. I’ve stopped asking myself if I want to watch it and just jumped right in.

This Joker “Introduce a little chaos into your life” method of choosing movies has been both educational and eye opening. Here are some things I’ve learned:

“2 Days In New York” Is half in French and stars Chris Rock in a straight-man role. He’s actually quite good, although the film is a bit frenetic.

“The Silver Linings Playbook” Is well done all around, but you don’t need to take my word for it- it got mad Academy Award nominations and deserved them all.

“Man of the House” I never would have watched this movie on the simple basis of it being about cheerleaders, but it was a good solid comedy and Tommy Lee Jones was perfectly cast.

“Madagascar 2” I didn’t see Madagascar 1, but it turns out that I didn’t need to. Fun even for a crusty old grown-up like myself.

“The American” Beautifully shot. Poetic storyline. Paced like a glacier.

“D3: The Mighty Ducks” It turns out I’m not just being nostalgic about my own youth: Disney DID know how to make good live action films about solid, human characters. I may or may not have cried in the middle…

“Chronicle” Cleverly shot to look like Found Footage and a great building of a friendship between the three main characters through most of the film. The final fight seemed a bit much, though.

“Pitch Perfect” I’m not a fan of “Glee” and this is pretty much “Glee: The Movie” but it was good nonetheless and actually had a huge number of capable, intelligent female characters so… yeah… well done 🙂

So that’s what I’ve been up to this weekend. Tomorrow, back to the grind!

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on June 23, 2013.

2 Responses to “Stuff I Learned From The Movies”

  1. I find myself in the same predicament…I get caught up in a TV show on Netflix or want to watch a movie and end up getting none of the things done that were on my to-do list, which stresses me out!
    I have resorted to watching a movie (mostly chick flicks) at the end of the day to wind down before bed 🙂

  2. Loved Silver Linings Playbook. Touching, funny – just excellent. Have a big crush on Bradley Cooper now,

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