Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's in a Movie?

Most people who know me, know that I enjoy watching movies.  As I think through what kinds of films are my favorite, it's hard to come up with a specific genre that I like best.  The best way to describe my favorites might just be saying something as simple as the films that are well-made and thought out.

Unfortunately, as simple of a statement as that is, it's hardly easy to come by in today's culture.  Maybe I shouldn't say that it's hard to come by but that you need to do some searching to find it.  You're not necessarily going to see trailers for these kinds of films during primetime television.  These films are not the ones with the highest weekend gross.  Oftentimes, these films are not the ones that are garnering major awards or critical reviews, but they are the ones that, in my opinion, can best be defined as "art."

I must admit that there are times when all I want to do is laugh.  Laughter is therapeutic, a salve for my wounded soul, and finding a silly or stupid comedy that can have me fully engaged in side-splitting laughter is a necessity at times.  But even the answer to the question of what is funny has significantly changed.  The latest string of "funny" movies seems to be more about sexual and gross-out humor than anything else.  Once upon a time, not too long ago, it seems that we could be a little bit more creative than that.  While Steve Martin had his fair share of crudeness, there are few things that can get me laughing like the line, "He hates these cans" from "The Jerk."  Once upon a time, we were able to be funny without having to delve into new and deeper levels of crudeness.

Recently, some friends of mine watched a film that stirred them enough to have posted to the Facebook world about what they had seen.  I was inspired when I saw these posts, realizing that they had been touched by creativity and art, they had experienced poignancy within film that does not happen as often as we would like it to.  It's helped me to realize the need to reboot my movie blog, where I would review films that moved me or inspired me in some way.

The problem is, there are crummy movies coming up on every side.  I won't even get into some of the movies that are offered by the Christian community as art.  Every time I think about those films, I remember back to history class when the center of art and culture was the church, providing creativity that set the pace for culture.  It can hardly be said that this is the case for today.  We're pulling decent films off of the shelf because of "objectionable content" and thinking that our own little whitewashed worlds paint more of a reality than someone who was born into circumstances far beyond their control.

To find good films, one has to look.  I have often been surprised, pleasantly so, at where I have found these kinds of films.  Sometimes I have found them in the bargain bin of a retail chain, other times it was through the recommendation of an acquaintance, still other times it was during a bout with insomnia on late night television.  Regardless of how I found them, they were there, waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

The advantage of living in an age of technology is that we don't have to settle for what some try to pass off as art when in reality is it just mindless drivel.  Instead, we can take to the internet and discover things for ourselves, branching out to find things of beauty and creativity, not with the latest actors making their millions, but with artists who simply have a story to tell.  If you seek it, you can find it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good action film, comedy film, adventure film, or thriller just as much as the next guy, but sometimes, I actually want to watch a film that will stretch my mind and make me think.  Thankfully, they're out there waiting to be found.  I'm going on an adventure to see what's out there.

1 comment:

  1. This week I'll be viewing "Of Gods and Men" and "The Stoning of Soraya M." Got them from the Bethel Library.