Thursday, March 26, 2009

Casual observation

I didn't grow in a household that embraced film much, and as a kid I wasn't allowed to watch TV at all, and since I didn't even know I wanted to make movies until I was an adult, there are some major gaps in my film education. When I did see a film I had the typical teenage mentality: if it's old, it sucks. I think The Longest Day was the only black and white movie I saw outside the classroom in all my years in school, which is strange because I LOVED The Longest Day. You'd think I'd have learned a lesson from that.

Anyway, I've tried to make up for lost time by watching as many movies as possible. I do a lot of it during vacation, when I try to watch at least one movie a day. I don't do this to be lazy and slobby on my couch, although that is an excellent side benefit. I do it so that when I go into pitch meetings or end up at industry parties and everybody starts going on about this film or that, I'm not left out of the conversation because the only film I can talk about with a critical eye is The Terminator.

I have lots of stuff in my queue that I want to see, but one thing I like to do is go through TCM and AMC and IFC, which are conveniently grouped together, and record all the movies I have heard of and not seen. Then I put them on while I do other things like post blog entries or study for a class I'm taking. If the movie is really good, I'll drop what I'm doing to watch it. But even if it's not the greatest movie, watching it casually allows me to become familiar with the film enough to fake it in conversation.

This plan works poorly with subtitled films, but I've tried it, although after attempting it with M I finally had to stop and pay attention, and that's when I discovered how incredible a film that is. I also tried it with Metropolis. I don't recommend this method for silent films.

But it's funny, because sometimes while I watch a film out of the corner of my eye I'll hear a famous line and go "Oooooooooooooooh! That's where that comes from!" Like today's film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, right in the beginning when the soldiers started whistling that famous tune I only knew from The Breakfast Club, I smiled when I realized that must be the source of that tune. So now when I'm at a party and somebody whistles or whatever I won't be all "Oh blahdeblah The Breakfast Club" and sound like a fucking jackass because everybody and their mom knows that was from The Bridge on the River Kwai.


  1. Emily, I hope you don't mind that I just laughed...hard and at work because of that.

  2. That's okay, the actors in the Breakfast Club didn't know where the tune came from either...

    Everybody has their own film history.

  3. I'll admit it; I've been doing that with alot of classics lately. So it's not just you.


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