Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Joys of Cinephilia

Writing Update
It has been some time since I have blogged. No, I have not been a victim of writer’s block. Quite the contrary actually, I have been editing and finalizing things for the publication of my first book, I’m Trying Here: A Memoir of love, Loss, and Misadventure.  I am still sending it to publishers, but since the average publisher promises to respond in 2-3 months, I decided to self-publish my work as an e-book on Amazon and Kindle in the meantime. I am simply putting the final touches on the cover, and then it should be available online within the week. Stay tuned on my social media outlets, where I will make more official announcements of release dates and any other pertinent information. Thanks for the love and support for my highly lucrative writing career. Post script: The book will likely be available for 99 cents. So sacrifice one Diet Coke so you can afford my book when it comes out. Grazie.

A few months ago I reached a landmark in my personal history of film watching. I hit 1,000 films viewed. This seemed significant if not trivial, but I was in the middle of finishing my book, so a blog post that would entertain me more than anyone else was put on the backburner. Thirty movies later I have decided to revisit the topic ever so briefly. Let’s first rewind to the moment I decided it was a crucial practice to record every movie I had ever seen. Circa 2001, I am 14 years old and for whatever reason decided that my progeny needed to be privy to the movie titles that had been absorbed throughout my life. I started with all the movies in my house, and then attempted an alphabetical list to help remind me of random movies I had seen over the years. Within a few hours my list grew to several hundred titles. Obviously there are movies from my childhood that I will never remember, but that is okay. Ever since that fateful day, I have not gone to the cinema, rented a Redbox, pirated a movie, or seen a documentary without recording it.

I know what you are thinking. Besides satisfying my own maniacal urges to write down everything that happens in my life, what is the bloody point? To me, the purpose of this practice is threefold. One, as with anything else, the more I write things down, the more I remember them. Ergo, anytime I hear a movie title thrown out there, I am rarely wondering if I have seen it or not. When others are quibbling about which sub-par movie Nicholas Cage was in last year, I am usually able to recall the title, and elicit a warning concerning the terrible plot and mediocre cinematography.

Besides my ability to recall titles and miscellaneous movie trivia, I find it motivates me to watch new movies. Everyone has their favorites, but I learned long ago that there are so many movies out there it is silly to repeatedly watch the same movie over and over again. So when faced with the option of watching Dumb and Dumber or some obscure French film, I am almost always going to side with the subtitled unknown. This is not because I am a Francophile or an especially avid lover of foreign flicks, but rather because it could be a great movie, and whether it is or is not, I will never wonder. And at least I will be able to add it to my list, and perhaps bring it up in a pretentious conversation in the future.

The last reason for my OCD-like list making is my ever increasing cinephilia. I love movies, plain and simple. On more than one occasion I have been to the movie theater three times in one day. A nice matinee and enough popcorn to instantly destroy my health, brings me joy. I love the previews and I love discussing symbolism and parallelisms. I love researching movies after I have seen them to find out how the script came into existence, what actors were originally considered and what anachronisms were committed during filming. Just like my restaurant ritual makes me want to eat out more, writing down each movie I see only makes me want to see more movies.  

Despite my love of avant-garde productions, I am no movie snob. I love chick flicks and have been guilty of enjoying movies from the Oxygen channel. To me the best movies are the movies the make you think, and that tug at your emotions. Below is my current Top-5 Movies Ever List (in no specific order).

1.       High Fidelity
2.       Braveheart
3.       The Shawshank Redemption
4.       Legends of The Fall
5.       When Harry Met Sally


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