Prior to retirement, there was a moment in time that I seriously considered becoming a professional movie watcher. Okay, that might be a bit of stretch regarding my career aspirations. Professional would imply that I would get paid to watch movies, and that’s not going to happen, especially in Mexico.
I don’t have a work visa here.
There’s another thing that inhibits me from becoming a professional movie goer. I don’t tend to go to the theater very often. In fact, it’s usually once a year to see the latest Star Wars® movie. I used to go see the Hobbit movies, but I think Hollywood is done making them…
Be that as it may, I’ve seen more movies in the last year than any previous years. I have an XBMC MART box, or something like unto that. Thanks to that little black box, my lovely supermodel wife and I can watch a seemingly unlimited number of movies almost any time we like.
And in an unprecedented move, Lea decided to binge watch pretty much every Hallmark Channel Christmas movie last year, so I’ve become something of an expert on them by default. Christmas movies are a lots like Elvis movies in my opinion.
Perhaps a Little Known Elvis Fact: Elvis Presley made thirty-one movies. They were essentially all the same movie, except for the location and the love interest. In an Elvis movie, Elvis was always the hero. He sang a few songs, fell in love, probably got into a fight or two, lost the girl, then won her back in time to sing one last song.
Elvis made two movies that didn’t follow the above formula. They weren’t as successful as the singing Elvis movies, and Hollywood wasn’t interested in making movies no one wanted to see. I guess it would be like unto watching a porn flick without any porn…
“An Elvis Presley picture is the only sure thing in Hollywood.” Hal Wallis actually said that. He produced a whole lots of movies, including Casablanca, so he probably knew what he was talking about. Despite being a huge box office success, Elvis Presley never won an Academy Award. He wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar.
Everyone loved Elvis movies. Everyone, it seems, but Elvis. He hated almost all of them.
Hallmark Christmas movies, like Elvis movies, are also essentially all the same movie, albeit with different locations and main stars. The main character in a Hallmark Christmas movie is always an attractive young woman. She ends up in Small Town, America for the holidays. The sets are so over the top Christmas that even Santa would be jealous.
I’m not kidding. Lights, trees, trinkets, wreaths, bedding, even outfits. It’s like manic Christmas took performance enhancing drugs. And meth.
Once ensconced in rural America, our heroine meets her love interest, then she discovers the family business is in peril. And she has about an hour and a half to save the business, fall in love, lose her love, then somehow make everything work out. Because it’s Christmas, and there’s always a Christmas miracle or two up Santa’s sleeves.
Despite the predictability of Christmas movies, I found I actually liked most of them, and I’m sure I even shed a few tears of comfort and joy at the end of most of them. Which only proves the point that there really must be something magical about Christmas because there’s nothing that magical about Christmas movies.
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Motion pictures were developed in the mid to late 1800’s. There were a whole lots of moderately famous people involved in the process. You could look them up if you want more information. In the early 1900’s the film industry became based in Hollywood because of the climate and the diversity of the surrounding terrain. There was a lots of sunshine, not a lots of rain, and scenic backgrounds up the wazoo.
The first motion pictures didn’t have a sound track, hence the term The Silent Era. Some of the biggest movie idols that ever lived worked during the Silent Era. Rudolph Valentino was such a huge star that several women killed themselves when he died at the age of thirty-one in 1926.
Around 1925, Hollywood produced the first movie with sound, and I guess the rest is history. The Talkies, as they were originally called, were a huge sensation, and they have been ever since.
There are a whole lots of things in my life that I can’t remember, but I remember the first movie I saw. Babes in Toyland, 1961. Walt Disney. Tommy Sands. Annette Funicello. Ray Bolger.
We were living in Little Rock, AR. We had a black and white TV. I’m pretty sure that movie was the first time I had watched something in living color. It. Was. Magic.
That’s the biggest and best reason I can think of why people love movies.
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I like movies. I generally find them to be very entertaining. A lots of people do. A good movie can turn a nobody into a star, and make a whole lots of money. A successful movie franchise can be worth a ridiculous amount of money. In the short time that it’s been out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has already made almost a billion dollars in the US alone.
Lea and I went to see it last week. I like the last three Star Wars installments. They’re probably the three best movies in the Star Wars universe. The first movie will always be the best. I mean, it changed the world. The second movie was even better, and then they went downhill from there.
So, there is balance in the Force once more. And that’s a good thing.
Hollywood loves blockbuster movies. While some might say much of the entertainment produced these days is driven by computerized graphic imagery. I say it is what it is. Let’s face it, Wonder Woman would’ve been a boring movie without CGI. There wouldn’t have been any reason to see The Lord of the Rings. Or any of the movies in the Marvel Universe®. And I loved all of those movies.
But even CGI has its limits. Dialogue is still what makes a good movie flow. Well, except porn movies. No one watches porn for the dialogue.
According to Cracked.com, modern porn movies don’t even have scripted dialogue. Speaking, if there is any, is completely ad libbed. And presumably brief.
When it comes to dialogue, this is one area where art doesn’t imitate life, at least, my life. I rarely have the right answer at the moment that I need it. I might have it five minutes after I needed it, or five days later. I’m usually impressed by the dialogue in most movies I watch, and I envy the characters sometimes.
And then I realized that the scene I loved had been written by someone years before it ever appeared on screen. That scene had been written, then edited, and rewritten, and tweaked until it was so perfect. That’s why people in the movies always say the right thing at the right time.
“Here’s looking at you, kid.” Casablanca, 1942.
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gone With The Wind, 1932.
“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” The Godfather, 1972.
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Cool Hand Luke, 1967.
“Go ahead, make my day.” Sudden Impact, 1983.
Five instantly recognizable lines from five iconic movies. Lines that have become part of our collective psyche. Movies have impacted our lives. In a sense, they’ve become a part of the fabric of our lives.
If you were to ask, I’m sure most of the people who saw the last Star Wars® movie would tell you their favorite part of the movie was one of the CGI action scenes. But for me, my favorite part was a line.
Rose Tiko saves Finn from sacrificing himself to save his fellow rebels. Afterwards, he asks her why she stopped him.
“We’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but by saving what we love.”
I don’t know if that line will ever become classic, and timeless, and iconic. But it should be. It might just be the greatest movie line ever written.