domingo, 11 de abril de 2010

Filmstrip Reflections #1: The Desire for Classic Films


I confess this is something I just made up, so don't mind me. This section of Filmstrip Memories will be far more personal as I reflect on these classic movies, their impact on my person and what they mean to me and the world.

Just now, I realized why I am so eager to spend time watching these great films: because our modern media is very sick and rotten.

We are living in tough financial and social times. People are unemployed, losing their jobs every day, we are growing more and more distant in terms of emotions and the desire to be ambitious and grand in life is slowly fading away. And the absolute worst part is that the media is cashing in on it.

One morning I got up to see that a local morning variety program was doing a segment on death... That's right, they had a whole weekly segment about death, how to prepare for death, so on and so forth. I found it to be one of the most morbid and disturbing things I have ever seen on a morning variety show. It's proof of how the media is feeding off society's own fears to make money off it.

And that's not all. Movies like 2012 are fueling society's fears that the world may be coming to an end and giving conspiracy theorists a healthy paycheck. The minute an earthquake strikes all of the world's media prepares itself to sell newspapers and alert the masses. Experts are giving advice on how to declare bankruptcy rather than teaching people how to be better spenders. Religious cults are converting people to their religion because, according to them, we are nearing the end of times. Families are spending money on elaborate funerals than on fun vacations. News talk about deaths and murders at record speeds. The headlines on the newspapers are blood soaked! A&E is doing shows about obsessive compulsive people and drug addicts in dire need of intervention. Last but not least, we have court shows where people are beating each other senseless over some stolen panties.

You see what I mean? It's no wonder that our current society is cynical, depressed, scared and angry! Rather than trying to inspire the media wants to degrade people into a state of madness and depression.

I've noticed that when I started doing this project I've been happier, in a much better mood and very creative. I just realized that the movies I've been watching are made with such care, grace and dedication that they lift your spirits up.

Every time I see Gene Kelly dance, Marilyn strut her stuff, Audrey Hepburn give us a warm smile, Cary Grant being a hilarious gentleman and a Frank Capra character overcoming obstacles I completely forget about the world we live in and just feel ready to live life.

In my honest opinion, this is the sort of stuff we should be watching instead of sensationalistic garbage that does nothing but rot our minds and corrupt out hearts. Movies are an amazing form of escapism. Every time the world is in turmoil people run to movies theaters to see the hero get the girl, the problem solved, the villain defeated and the world a better place. So its sad to think that film studios and movie makers are filling theaters with films that just make things worse.


They should see Sullivan's Travels when they can. In that film, Sullivan was a filmmaker that knew that the world was a horrible place to live in, and thus wanted to make a film that was relevant to that fact. He embarks on a journey where he truly lives some of the worst experiences a man could ever face, and realizes that he was already making movies that were socially relevant: he was making comedies that were making people laugh. When he was sitting in the Church, watching all the prisoners laugh at Mickey and Pluto he realized that for that one moment these men forgot about the abuse they face each other and had fun. It inspired him to be a better filmmaker and make people happy.


Remember when the City of New York was used as a grand setting for amazing stories instead of a disaster zone? Yeah, I miss those days too...

So, why can't today's filmmakers take a hint from Sullivan? Instead of spending millions of dollars destroying the city of New York in glorious 3D why not save a couple of bucks and make a simple but really, really good movie that inspires people? I'm sure people would feel happier about themselves regardless of what is actually going on in the world.

Yes, I realize that this is a thing that is easier said than done, but it isn't impossible. Take a look at Pixar. Their last set of films have been some of the most uplifting, funniest and inspiring films ever. Because of this they have been very successful with movie audiences and film critics, earning award after award (Up was nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars).

Studios are harder to talk to, though, so I will address you my dear reader. First off, life is too grand for us mere humans to figure out how it is going to end, so stop reading about all this nonsense and have fun! Second, don't indulge yourself in the matter of death. Yes, it may strike at any minute but just because this is a reality we all have to face it doesn't mean that we HAVE to think about it 24/7. Make sure to enjoy life. It will be worth a lot more once it ends. Finally, turn the TV off and have fun! Go to the beach, read a good book, watch a good movie, talk to people and take initiative in your life. I am sure you will be happier and more productive.

That's it for Filmstrip Reflections. Stay tuned for more updates!



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