I’ve started a long journey which I hope will help me learn about and appreciate a great art form of our times: movies. I’ve seen a lot of movies, but I’ve never systematically studied them and thought about them very much. I’ve been fairly picky about what movies I’ll plunk down my cash for, and I’ve seen some great movies, but I’ve also been pretty easily sucked in by big-budget action movies. Nothing wrong with a well-made action movie, but since life is all about the choices we make, in the process, a lot of great movies have passed me by. This journey is an attempt to make up for that, to some degree, and also to unplug myself from the corporate movie machine that drives what movies appear in most movie theaters. Although I am lucky to have a second-run arty-movie theater within walking distance of my house – which I am happy to continue to support – most of the movies I will see in this project will come from non-traditional sources and be viewed via a computer. Viewing a movie on a computer screen – even on a large LCD screen – isn’t the way the director meant the movie to be seen, but, like watching baseball on TV or opera “live in HD”, there are some advantages. Although I will try to watch each movie straight through without interruption, after seeing a movie the first time, I’ll be able to pause and skip around in the movie to watch scenes that caught my interest and perhaps capture a screenshot of interesting parts to post here.
To organize my journey I’ve decided to watch Roger Ebert’s Great Movies – the printer-friendly list is here:
I like Roger Ebert. Perhaps he isn’t the most intellectual of movie critics, but he suits my personal style – I’m not the most intellectual of movie watchers. Roger Ebert is a pro – he’s smart and he’s seen probably a zillion movies. If his opinion doesn’t exactly match mine, it’s close enough for me. He doesn’t give the famous thumbs-up to bad movies. And, I’m sure his Great Movies will be great. Maybe there are some movies that should or should not be on the list by a whisker, but I’m happy to live with that. My guess is that he did a great job making the list even if it isn’t perfect.
Looking over Roger’s list I will say that I don’t see many light romantic comedies there – or many comedies at all. Watching these movies will not exactly be a non-stop laugh riot. There are some movies there that I have avoided seeing because I’m afraid of them – afraid of the way they will make me feel. But, I am committed to doing my best to see all of them.
My tactic will be to watch a movie straight through and then read Roger’s review of it. Then I might watch selected portions again. I’ll follow up here with my reactions to the movie – and sometimes Roger’s review – and possibly a screenshot or two once in a while. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve already seen a number of movies on his list, so I’ll modify my approach in some cases – if I feel I really know a movie I might not watch it again, at least right away. I’ll keep an updated checklist of movies in a separate posting.