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The Times of a Genuine Film-Buff


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If you've read my profile, I'm big into film and such - I want to become a filmmaker someday. However, working a minimum wage job at a sports bar, it's hard to make that happen right now. In the meantime, I follow a saying of the great author Stephen King:

"You have to be a reader to be a writer."

I follow this quote dearly, but I look at it in terms of film ("You have to be a watcher to be a filmmaker"). While he's not my all-time favorite director (in fact, I think he's a little overrated), Quentin Tarantino, considered one of the greatest, used to be like me - just watching tons and tons of movies. That's what I'm doing right now; just watching...and watching...and watching (whilst working on a screenplay for a film).

This journal is just going to be a log of new movies I've watched, though they're usually not physically old (I tend to stay away from newer stuff). I like to watch movies as old as the 20s, though I favor movies from the 60s and 70s. I'm BIG into foreign films: one of my two number one favorites is the South Korean film Oldboy.

Before I give my first update, I will just say right now that I am a cinema snob - I try to be open-minded, but modern day Hollywood crap just sickens me. Just a warning for all of you, but I will be nice.

Anyway, so last night I got 2 hours into Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, the deeply emotional, artistic, and philosophical look at the marines on Guadalcanal during World War II. I didn't finish it (it's almost 3 hours long; it's hard for me to find time to watch 3+ hour movies), but from what I saw I was really liking it (I didn't finish because I had school this morning). When it comes to war films, I'm much more moved by art and emotion that just guns blazing and bombs bursting (there are exceptions - Platoon is pretty much that, but I love that movie). While the combat scenes in The Thin Red Line were fantastic, it was the interior monologues that really struck a chord with me. It's just pure poetry. My favorite monologue from the entire movie (maybe my favorite monologue of all time):

"This great evil. Where does it come from? How'd it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who's doin' this? Who's killin' us? Robbing us of life and light. Mockin' us with the sight of what we might've known. Does our ruin benefit the earth? Does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed through this night?" - Jim Caviezel as Pvt. Witt

But it's more than that which powerfully drives the movie; the cinematography is absolutely beautiful (then again, I was watching the Criterion Collection DVD and they always do a good job of perfecting the look of the movies they put out). Every frame should belong in a museum. My final comment on the film is Hans Zimmer's score - it's Hans Zimmer, what can I say? Potentially the greatest film score composer working the industry (his score for The Thin Red Line was nominated for an Oscar).

This isn't a film for everybody. Even for people who love war movies, this isn't for everybody. Blood and explosions don't drive the mood of the film; it's the artistic quality that not everybody is able to appreciate. Not to mention that it's practically 3 hours long and I know that lots don't have that kind of attention span (no offense intended).

But it's a great film; the cast, the mood, the emotion, all of it...A+ for The Thin Red Line.

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