I love the whole movie experience. While good television on HBO and Netflix threatened to shut down movie theatres, I’m thankful this hasn’t happened. (Movie attendance has fallen slightly, but revenue is up, unfortunately thanks to increased ticket prices).
I love everything about going to a film: the anticipation, buying popcorn, sitting in the theatre as the lights dim. I suspend all thoughts in my scrambled head, and sit wide-eyed, waiting to be passively transported to another place. Going to a movie is easier than reading a book: you just have to show up. There’s something about that wide screen that television will never be able to replicate.
There’s so much goodness to take in during a movie: the dialogue, the setting, the cinematography, the soundtrack, the acting, the costumes. And of course the story. As Allan Palmer says, “movies are just the ultimate medium – to this point – for humans to experience stories.” I’m a sucker for a good story.
My favourite (story and) movie in 2014 was Boyhood. This year, I also loved Wild, The Lego Movie, Nightcrawler, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. This is a jumble of movies – the only thing they have in common is that I saw myself somehow reflected in the story.
Today I saw my first movie of the new year. I spent an hour in the blizzard on the road – each way – to see Birdman at a remote theatre in the north end. I was hooked when the opening credits featured Raymond Carver’s Late Fragment, which I am guilty of quoting (a lot).
My other favourite (unattributed) quote was taped to the mirror in Michael Keaton’s dressing room – it said:
A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing
And in honour of these words, I won’t bother pretending I’m a critic and provide any kind of amateur review of Birdman. My 18 year old daughter proclaimed it ‘too artsy’ and it was indeed about the world of celebrities and actors. But this film transported me back to my university days when I hung out with the theatre students, and a short stint dating an actor when I was a single mom. Plus, Edward Norton (pictured above, in his underwear) starred in one of my favourite films of all time – 25th Hour.
I’ll just say, for me, Birdman made me reflect on my own quest for external validation in the world of writing, and ponder what I need to tell myself as a speaker so I can summon up the courage to stand on stage before an audience. It also offered me two hours in a cosy theatre, away from real life, where I could disappear and not think about injustices, or school advocacy, or bad weather, or crappy roads, or what I was going to make for dinner. It gave me a break from me.
This year, I’m looking forward to seeing The Imitation Game, Selma, Still Alice, and Insurgent – and sneaking out to the movies any chance I get.