This is in response to one of my friends who doesn’t watch many movies. I was in a similar boat until college and I’m pretty sure I still pale in comparison to other film studies majors. Honestly, half the films I’ve watched have been because I watched them for class.
However, in my screenwriting course this semester we were told to pick our top 10 movies and write about a common line between them. This list is posted below:
- V for Vendetta
- Fucking Åmål (Show Me Love)
- Grave of the Fireflies
- A Beautiful Mind
- Ghost in the Shell
- The Virgin Suicides
- August Rush
- El Orfanato (The Orphanage)
If I was to pick one similar theme throughout all of these movies, it is perhaps the symbolism of the mask. Whether they physically or emotionally wear a mask, the protagonists of these films create an alter ego of themselves. However, it is through this altered persona that the protagonist is able to discover something true about their character. Often these characters are forced to wear their masks and are not in full control of their lives until the mask is cast away (figuratively or physically). Perhaps one of the reasons I identify with this theme so strongly is the fact that I, too, had to hide a secret for a long time. This might also explain why I don’t like to name my main characters and almost like to hide their true identity from the audience.
I hate watching movies by myself and love to talk during them. I feel like commentary is one of the best ways to interact during movies. If I can’t talk about a movie then I don’t see the point in watching it. That’s why movies like Inception are so popular because they produce discussion and make you ask questions. I love ambiguity and open endings, where a film asks the audience to participate. Films have the ability to be a powerful visual-audio text if we get over this idea that they are “less than books.” They’re a completely different medium and not fair to compare. They can be intellectually stimulating, enlightening and heaven forbid even entertaining, just like a really good book.
So my answer to you friend is this. If you find watching a movie boring, then watch one with a friend and talk about it while it’s going on. Films are designed to wash over you, the same way having a bed time story washes over you when you had it read to you as a child. But when you take an active role and “read” the movie, then it becomes very similar to the stimulation you have when you read a book.