Why do we love the movies?

01 Nov

Three weeks from today, I will turn 40 years old, and so begins what is (I hope) the glorious second act of my life.  Thirty-five years of those four decades, I’ve spent going to the movies.  I love the movies, they are my passion.  Always have been, always will be.  I am working toward becoming a film critic.  In my lifetime, I think I have seen close to 10,000 movies, beginning with Walt Disney’s The Rescuers in 1977.

Movies are the most approachable of all the mass arts and most emotionally engaging.  Art, music, theater, literature, those all have their merits, but movies encompass elements of all those arts, sometimes at the same time.  We can get a visual, an auditory and an emotional pull from a movie that we can’t get from another medium.  They work on our brains like nothing else.  Plus, they bring about community like nothing else.  There’s something magical about seeing a movie in a space with as many people as possible.

From my vantage point, the movies are a picture window onto a world that never existed.  They present a visual time-stamp of attitudes and ideas of a time long gone, never to be retrieved.  You can complain about the racism of Birth of a Nation with its positive portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan, but what you cannot deny is how invaluable it is historically.  Right or wrong, It speaks to attitudes and feelings that a lot of moviegoers had at the time.

Movies do that, they record for all time the moments in history.  There, on the screen, is a visual record of a moment captured in time for future generations to see.  The other night, when I was looking at It’s a Wonderful Life, I began to reflect that I was looking at a moment captured by the camera in 1946, only a few years before my parents were even born.  That movie, that glorious American classic, captures forever a time, a mood, an attitude about America that has passed us by.

All movies, in a way, do that.  Like a moving photograph they capture people and events that are long gone.  Watch an old newsreel sometime, maybe from the 30s or 40s and you will see people passing in and out of the frame who were alive then, now most likely dead, captured forever within the tiny scope of the camera’s lens.  You can recreate the Hindenburg with special effects, and you can tell your grandchildren stories about it, but we have it on film for all the world to see, a terrible event captured on film that took place generations before many of us were even born.

Movies have been around now for well over 100 years, and they’ve been my constant companion for nearly all of the conscious time that I have been on this planet.  Now, as I totter boldly into my life’s second act, I always know that my friend will be there waiting.


Posted by on 11/01/2011 in Blog


8 responses to “Why do we love the movies?

  1. Creative Admirer

    11/02/2011 at 3:57 am

    I really enjoyed reading your blog as I am only a few years behind you and am in a very similar world of passion. I hope to become a journalist in the film industry seeing as you are hoping to become a critic perhaps we will see one another there someday. What I love about movies is well pretty much everything. I am able to get a lift for my day or an escape from it. I can take a fantasy journey into another realm and be home by dinnertime. I prefer the more unique and complex films that provide my mind with a stepping stool for provoking thought long after the credits. I feel that films designed and put out there by the independent screenwriters are starting to become my favorites, as they are so unique. The variety aspect always sucks me in and I long for that in my everyday life. Recently I have also come across a great way to get films that I have been having a hard time finding as well. When talking with a colleague of mine that who also works for Dish Network about the October 1st launch of Dish Network’s new package The Blockbuster Movie Pass I was thrilled. As this is just another way, they are making my life easier and more fun. Welcome live streaming! I was thrilled to know that thousands of TV and movies could now stream to my laptop making life even more fulfilling for movie lovers. It seems like they are always coming up with fantastic ideas especially for individuals like me who are so passionate about film and are always looking for old and new titles to take me on an adventure. The Blockbuster Movie Pass will now be a combination of two of Dish Network’s prestigious packages the Dish Platinum and the Blockbuster by Mail package allowing me to stream thousands of movies with my laptop or my Dish receiver. How fantastic! I also now have access to thousands of DVD movies, TV shows and games by mail with unlimited exchange necessary for the movie buff I most certainly am. It remotely streams directly to my laptop or TV expanding my film intake by a huge amount, $10 seems a small price to pay to be exploding with art. Lying back on my couch with my cat and an enlightening film has always been the ultimate relaxation for me.

    • armchaircinema

      11/02/2011 at 4:11 am

      I am still with Netflix. I forgive them their transgressions, unlike so many. My favorite movies are the ones that engage me, the ones that act on my mind. Sometimes I feel like a kid curling up in bed with a good story. That’s what movie do for me. They have been that old friend that I could always rely on.

      • Creative Admirer

        11/02/2011 at 4:15 am

        Yes me too, I love to be engaged especially mentally as do you obviously. I love the feeling of being a kid again with my favorite stuffy which is now my Siamese purring on my chest with a fantastic film. I have always been able to come back to movies, I know I always will the passion is set in stone!

  2. armchaircinema

    11/02/2011 at 4:18 am

    I like sitting down with a movie that I know nothing about, especially a foreign film or a documentary. They make for some of the most original pieces of filmmaking. Some of the people around me don’t get what I see in some of these smaller films. They want event films with lots of big stars. I like something out of real life. OR just something wholly original, like “Sita Sings the Blues”.

    • Creative Admirer

      11/02/2011 at 4:23 am

      I definitely agree with you there, I have been taken down the Hollywood walk of reruns enough. I really enjoy independent films that are unique and seem rare to me. They hook line and sinker me and have me thinking again why can’t we see more creativity coming out of Hollywood these days. Imagination is overflowing in a creative mind so documentary’s are also a favorite of mine. I enjoy the different views and tactics filmmakers use as they develop their creation.


    03/18/2012 at 5:59 pm

    I wanted to follow along and allow you to know how , a great deal I treasured discovering your site today. We would consider it a honor to work at my place of work and be able to utilize the tips contributed on your web site and also participate in visitors’ comments like this. Should a position associated with guest article writer become available at your end, please let me know.

    • armchaircinema

      09/06/2012 at 8:17 pm

      Thank you so much for that. That means a lot to me. First, let me apologize for the lateness of my reply. I am in school right now, so getting online for anything other than that and my reviews is sometimes a chore.

      I am trying to build a network of serious film fans, and a blog seems to be the only good way to do that. Not just people who get together and talk about the event films but those who discover new and different kinds of films and share them with each other – films that we might have missed.

  4. armchaircinema

    09/06/2012 at 8:13 pm

    I have an affection for pictures that sort of blindside me. I think I’m going into something routine, but it rises above its expectations and becomes something really special. That’s especially true when it is a film that you have discovered and everyone else seems to have thrown away.


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