December 30, 2008

I think I'll just go
Originally uploaded by jbeauchamp
So keeping The Director Is In for almost a year now has pointed out a few things about my movie viewing habits. Some of these I expected, and some of these I didn’t.

To start with I watch a lot of Christian Bale movies. I mostly already knew this though. I adore Christian Bale, not just because I have a harmless, non-stalker-like crush on him but because I do think Bale is one of the best actors working today; typically I enjoy the movies he is in because he tends to be pretty discerning in what he chooses to be in. I also own quite a few of his movies so there’s easy access there.

However, I also have watched a huge amount of films with Robert Downey Jr. this year. I didn’t really expect that until about July when I’d discovered I’d seen Iron Man about five times. The obsession led from there. I remember liking Robert Downey Jr. when I was younger, but I never really and truly discovered his whole body of work until this year. I had really only noticed him because of Chaplin, Ally McBeal & a movie from my childhood called Heart & Souls. Now I can’t get enough of him. Not only do I have another harmless crush on him (lets face it the man was hot in Iron Man) but his movies have done nothing but raise my respect for him with each viewing. Not to mention the inspirational side of Downey, the man has been through hell and managed to come out the other side a better person. You gotta respect that.

Then there is the fact that I tend to dislike very few movies that I see, people that don’t know me or don’t pay close enough attention might say that this is because I am not all that discerning in my tastes. I would actually say the opposite. By having seen hundreds (probably thousands) of more films that the average person sees I think I’ve merely developed a whole other set of skills. Usually I am able to tell by learning about a film, or watching a films trailer if it is a movie that I will like or not. I am always willing to be taken by surprise to like a movie I didn’t think I would like and that had happened. A prime example of that this year is Kung Fu Panda.

Also, the movies I tend to dislike I genuinely hate. I think that this is related to my previous argument. I go into a movie usually having a decent idea of what it is and expecting to like it, promises have been made to me by the trailer, marketing, etc. that I expect them to fulfill. When the movie not only doesn’t meet those expectations but proves to be less than that I start to get disappointed and unfortunately this can lead to me disliking a movie way more than I possibly should. However, again there are exceptions to this. I am a firm believer that my film vocabulary combined with my film education does make me better at spotting a bad movie for exactly why it is bad – in other words if it looks like dung and smells like dung it’s dung, even if it’s dressed up and presented in a nice way.

The thing that shocked me the most, and possibly didn’t shock anyone else in my life is the sheer number of movies I watch. I have not been keeping The Director Is In for a full year (and at first wasn’t reviewing all of the movies I saw) and yet I’ve reviewed over 100 movies. This breaks down to an average of 1 movie every 2-3 days. It would go higher if I had been doing everything since January as faithfully as I am now. This actually makes me scared for how many movies I must have watched while I was in film school because I know I didn’t really slow down, in fact I probably watched more simply because you’d watch them in class, watch them for homework and watch them for fun. And to those who want to argue that film school isn’t work like “real” classes I challenge you this: you try watching a Russian language film with English subtitles from the 1960’s at 9 at night on a weeknight.

The thing is though that none of the above scares me or makes me think that I am “obsessed” with movies. I have always considered movies as my gift from God. He didn’t give me movies, but He gave me my interest in movies. I know at any time of day or night, any time I am tired, angry or anything else that I can turn on a movie and it will make it all better for just a little while. God has given me that little piece of peace, the ability to create an atmosphere that’s all my own.

I am looking forward to the year ahead because I not only plan to continue watching as many films as I can get time to see, but pursuing the greater goal I think that God has set in front of me, a goal that again involves the movies.