Friday, May 24

Movies: Or How to Dream in a Darkened Room Full of Strangers

I've loved movies all my life. I love everything about them. They comforted me against the harshness of reality- which is why I don't watch the ones that are too realistic. They keep me company when I am lonely. They inspired me to pursue acting.

The last Roger Ebert made a career out his love of films. I often disagreed with his reviews but respected his appreciation of the genre. I love them as much as he did. There is an alchemy to making a good film. A formula no one has perfectly distilled but many have come   are so many elements to the recipe, if one ingredient is off it can spoil the whole dish.

When I was a kid living in Redmond Wa. a whole bunch of neighbor kids would go every Friday night to the only theater in town and watch whatever they had playing. It was always a wild event- a dark theater full of bored and vocal teenagers. "Magian" with Richard Widmark, "Bullitt" with the most intense car chase ever filmed and the big favorite "Planet of the Apes".
Weekly doses of Horror, sci-fi and B movies in the days before cable were richly entertaining.

That's why the movie theater will never go away, it's the communal experience that makes a film thrilling. When I think of "Star Wars" I remember the theater full of enthusiastic fans cheering when the good guys won. I sobbed along with a friend at "The Shadowlands" and the felt the adrenaline rush of 'Top Gun" along with my family.

I have rarely walked out of one, always willing to get the movie a chance. The exceptions were Altman's "Outtakes" and the hideous "Dracula" with Frank Langella. Not even the presence of  Lawrence Olivier could save that mess.

People tend to blame actors when a film bombs but it's really the producer or director's fault for it's failure of success. Having acted myself I know how exposed a performer can be. I am endlessly intrigued at how they perform this magic.

The next time you go to the movies remember the army of professionals it takes to make it. From the writers, actors, editors to the score's composer; they all have to work seamlessly or it ends up a big mess.

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