Monday, June 24, 2013

My Passion for Movies

I love entering the dusky movie theater and finding my seat in the center, where I can look straight ahead and
see the full width of the screen.  (I take my movie going seriously.)  I prepare for the engrossing movie experience by silencing my cell phone, putting my purse to my side and nestling into my cozy seat.  As the lights lower all the way down, a hush comes over the audience and the movie begins. Soon I no longer see the people around me but just the light from the screen.  The 30-foot screen teleports me to another world.

We probably agree that some movies need the big screen, surround sound experience that a home theater cannot provide (or at least not with my budget).  For example, with the James Bond movie Skyfall, feeling the intensity of the blasts and action especially during the opening extended, chase scene across the roof tops of Istanbul.  And In The Impossible, a movie based on a true story, seeing the tsunami wave as a larger than life vision, as it probably looked to the people who experienced it first hand, and hearing only the noises of the raging water and Naomi Watt’s character’s screams of pain and calls out to her children as she is repeatedly pulled under water and beaten with debris. 

A darkened theater and large, well projected movie also allows for the true intention of lighting and cinematography to be seen.  In the opening of Lincoln, the darkness, dreariness of the time in the expansive Civil War are captured as the camera slowly pans to reveal Lincoln’s softly lit, concerned and attentive face.

But even for the less visually stimulating movies, I prefer the removal of my own distractions.  In a fast paced world encouraging multi-tasking and not taking a moment for oneself, I find watching a movie in the theatre an enjoyable focuser.  At home, I may pay bills, eat dinner or share commentary while watching a movie. For subtitled movies such as The Intouchables, a French film based on a true story, that does not bode well.  Without my undivided attention, I could have missed some of the comical exchanges between the two main characters as the inexperienced caretaker reminds the quadriplegic employer of the simple joys of life that he can still experience or the caretaker’s nonchalant look as he naturally tried to hand the phone to his employer, not seeing him as a quadriplegic but as a friend.   

A movie theatre also provides the unique electrifying energy from a full, appreciative audience.  It is a testament of a quality, captivating, smart film that it can take an audience, of a few hundred at a time, on the same emotional ride.  As in Argo, a movie based on the true story of a 1980 CIA operative, even though we all knew that the Americans safely escape Iran, when they attempt to go through security to board the plane, the audience was silent and captivated.  I could feel the anxiety and concern of the whole audience, all holding our breath and tensing up and the simultaneous sighs of relief as the plane took-off.  I assume that in some theatres they even unanimously cheered during that scene.

I enjoy how movies are not purely a form of entertainment; they can be a vehicle to educate and/or force attention (give full focus) on hard to watch subject matters.  In a theatre, I cannot escape the movie (another reason for my center seat preference) nor press pause or stop to take a mental or physical break.  Zero Dark Thirty, a 157 minutes long movie based on the true story of the capturing and killing of Osama Bin Laden, was hard to watch at times, actually I covered my eyes for some scenes as I frequently do for violent scenes, but I could not escape the details of the arduous 10-year search, tactics used to gain information and the first person perspective reenactment of the events that took place that fateful night as they unfolded for this real life manhunt.  And in The Invisible War, a documentary on the sexual assault of soldiers within the U.S. military, I could not physically turn away from hearing the first-hand accounts from survivors.  These may be hard to watch and listen to but I feel I left the theater with new information, food for thought and other perspectives.  As a self-described continual learner, I appreciate the combination of education with entertainment, as evidenced by over half of my top ten movies for 2012 being based on true stories.  (See below.)

I love the movie going experience, the look, sound, feel, content, focusing, entertainment and I can’t wait to see the next worthwhile movie.  At Front Porch we love to share our passions. I am Michele Pomerance, the communications coordinator at Front Porch, where we celebrate the spirit of the individual and encourage people to live life their way. See you at the movies!

My Top 10 Movies from 2012, in alphabetical order

Hunger Games
The Impossible
The Intouchables
The Invisible War
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Zero Dark Thirty

I would love to hear your comments on what you like about your movie going experience and some of your favorite movies.  Thank you for sharing.