For a guy who spent most of his professional career in the film production business (31 years) you’d think I’d have a few opinions about movies. Well, I do and I don’t. I know a bit about how they are made, how to cast actors, how to build sets, scout locations, choosing the right equipment, knowing exactly how important the sound guy is, editing, etc., etc.
More importantly, I know when a script is well thought out and a story is well told. I know something about directing and producing and choosing the right crew. But, anybody can know about all of that. There are plenty of books on those subjects.
I produced plenty of award-winning TV spots and corporate and public relations films. So, you’d think I would be a true cinephile. Yet, I’m not. I’m much more like your average movie goer. Well, except if it’s a lousy movie. Then all I see are the continuity and editing mistakes. “Watch that guy eating a sandwich. First you see him take a first bite. Next, shot he’s almost done. And, the third shot he’s only taken two bites.” “Oh, and that cigarette … first he lights it, next the ash is ⅔ down the shaft and then, it looks like he hasn’t taken a single drag.” “And, look at that coffee mug. There’s not a drop of liquid in there. What a fake sip that is.”
I do like certain kinds of movies .. particularly human interest stories like Captain Fantastic – a movie with a title that completely fools you – and Midnight Run – Charles Groden’s dry sense of humor is simply wonderful – and Little Miss Sunshine – well, it was human and it had some interest.
I like movies that make me laugh (Elvis and Nixon – when my wife burst out into uncontrollable laughter at least three times I knew this film was truly funny – and,It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – I don’t remember much about this movie because I was trying my best to put my arm around my high school date. My heart was pumping like a puppy’s heart when my hand reached her right shoulder and … for crying out loud … it fell asleep … on her breast – so, I got smacked and worst of all, my hand was numb so I didn’t feel a thing). What was that movie I was talking about?
I also like films that make me cry (Schindler’s List, Shawshank Redemption) And, I like time tested films like To Kill a Mockingbird and It’s a Wonderful Life, The Birdman of Alcatraz and Twelve Angry Men – this film might actually be my favorite.
I don’t like many animated films, sci-fi or films with gratuitous violence.
Now, I must admit I have a few other issues that affect my movie going experience. I have a touch of Sleep Apnea added to my Attention Deficit Disorder. In short, I often fall asleep when I’m watching a movie and, even if I watched the whole movie, I often forget what it’s all about. Of course, if I liked it, I’ll watch it again – even if I start in the middle – to try and tie the whole story together. It’s a strange way to watch a film but, it’s my way.