26 April 2010

Why I Love Movies (And Summertime)

Yep, Iron Man 2.  It's why I love movies and summertime.  Ever since Jaws hit theaters in 1975 movies in the summertime have an event-like feel to them that doesn't happen the rest of the year.  Books have been written about how Steven Spielberg and then George Lucas killed the great early-70's film movement but, let's face it, what goes up must come down.  Except (most likely) the summer event movie. 

The early-70's film movement actually began in the late-60's when Easy Rider was made for peanuts and grossed millions.  Easy Rider placed the lid on the coffin of the Studio system, a system whereby the heads of the studios called the shots and actors and directors took what they were given.  The movement was really alot like the American Revolution.  The talented people overthrew the system and decided they could govern themselves.  Cassavettes, Rafaelson, Polanski, Coppola, Friedkin, Scorsese, Lucas, Forman, Altman, Penn, Bogdonavich, DePalma - these people made landmark, classic films in a span of ten years that, creatively, I will put up against anything from any other period in time (but let's face it - I Love Movies!).  The studios gave them money and free rein.  Eventually this free exchange ended, put to death by a little movie called Heaven's Gate.  Directed by the same guy who made the classic The Deer Hunter (c'mon: Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, the late-great John Cazale ("I was stepped over!  I'm smaaat!  Not like everybody says!  And I want respect!" - he played Fredo in The Godfather), Heaven's Gate effectively bankrupted a whole studio.  After this, and the success of the summer blockbuster, Hollywood studios went back to their old ways and closed the purse strings.

I was a youngster in the 1970's so I didn't mind so much the creation and marketing of movies that were supposed to be fun and be enjoyed.  Jaws was followed by the whole Star Wars thing (if you call it A New Hope and you're not tweleve I will kick you in the balls), Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark and on and on: King Kong, Smokey and the Bandit, Superman: The Movie (yeah, I know it's a movie - I'm sitting in a movie theater!), Ghostbusters, Animal House, Vacation, Grease, Caddyshack.  I actually skipped school to see the second Indiana Jones movie and the third Star Wars movie.  In 1989 my sister picked me up from work to go see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and then, guess what, we went last year, twenty years later (!) to watch Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.  In the rest of my (alleged) adulthood there's been the Pirate movies, the Spider-Man movies, the X-Men, friggin' BatmanBourne and even Shrek to look forward to.  Heck, I looked forward to Speed Racer once I saw the eye-popping techinicolor how'd-they-do-that trailer.  I saw Spider-Man at the midnight screening, then I saw it the next day at a normal person's time, then I took my nephews and then my neighbor's kids.  I went to The DaVinci Code with a girl from school (I liked it better than the book), Transformers, The Island, the disappointing War of the Worlds, and on and on.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith was hilarious, Wanted was good and, speaking of Angelina Jolie, I'll be seeing Salt when it opens.  Yep, I have a problem.  I am a movie junkie.

Recently I wrote a post about the difference between films and movies, a fork in the road that makes me think of the insane philosopher Frederiech Nietchze and his book Beyond Good And Evil.  We should look to the whole and ignore the schism.  Embrace the yin and the yang.  I like films and I like blockbuster entertainment just as I like the light and the dark, the sun and the rain, or cats and dogs.  Why do I have to choose?  That being said, you should check out the following films if you haven't already.
Bonnie and Clyde.  The Graduate.  Easy Rider.  Midnight Cowboy.  M*A*S*H.  The French Connection.  The French Connection Two.  The Godfather.  The Godfather Part Two.  American Graffiti.  The Exorcist.  Dog Day Afternoon.  One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.  Five Easy Pieces.  Chinatown.  The Last Detail.  Taxi Driver.  Mean Streets.  Ok enough of that.  Just IMDB the list of directors I gave you up top. 

I broke my leg recently but I have done enough rehab now where I can bend it enough to fit into the seats at the movies without too much pain.  I am unemployed and owe everyone I know at least one favor but, the first chance I get, I'm going to quietly slip away, on or after May 7th, and watch Iron Man do his thing.

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