“Great ideas sprout from total boredom,” I recently told someone. Even at the time I did not believe it to be true, but it made me feel better to imagine that Thomas Edison thought of the light bulb after he too got tired of playing Lego Harry Potter on his iPhone. However, since my college education provided me with limited practical skills, I chose to follow in the footsteps of most of my generation and start a blog.
If you couldn’t tell by the name of this blog, I intend to write solely on the cinema, or movies if you prefer a less pretentious term. So unfortunately if you have no interest in reading about the movies, 365cinema does not have much to offer you, except maybe the occasional stale joke, personal anecdote or grammatical error. For the rest of you 365cinema will be exactly as it sounds. I plan on watching a never before seen movie everyday for a year and chronicling my journey for readers to enjoy. However, I do not want this site to end up being simply 365 different film reviews or recommendations. In my time studying film I have come to the conclusion that every movie, yes even Manos Hands of Fate, provides at least one interesting talking point. So instead of providing you solely with my personal opinion on the films I’m watching, I plan on focusing on one aspect of the chosen film (acting, cinematography, editing, etc.) that intrigued me.
In case you were worried, I do not plan on just watching the next 365 movies in my Netflix queue, as I figure people would get bored with watching what Netflix recommends to me (French Crime Films, Critically Acclaimed 1940s Dramas, and Cerebral Mind-Bending Comedies in case you were wondering). This means that while I will still watch a lot of classic and foreign films, I also plan to watch 2 films a week that I would normally avoid like the plague (bad romantic comedies, horror, sci-fi thrillers, generic action films).
On top of including variety, there are two more features I am pleased to include in the blog. The first will be an examination of the famous American director Billy Wilder who directed films from 1940-1981. I plan on watching as many of his 27 films that I can get my hands on, in chronological order, and analyze trends and patterns within an historical and auteur perspective. The other feature is that once a week I will watch a movie currently in theaters, and give a more traditional review. I’ve named them respectively “Billy Wilder Films” and “In Theaters”, so as to make sure no one could possibly get confused (and to show off how creative I am).
Now that the boring and formal part is out of the way I wanted to share the main reason why I want to spend one full year focusing a lot of time on watching movies. The digital age has had a profound impact on the way that anyone under the age of 50 lives their life. This is true for everyone over 50 as well, but the technological lag means that they are not as equipped to comprehend the full capacity of their smart phones, computers, or tablets as we youngsters are. I would provide an example, but I’m sure almost everyone has a story of trying to set up their grandparents’ or parents’ e-mail or smart phone. However, the flip side of this is that most anyone under the age of 25 has an attention span shorter than a Goldfish. Movies aimed towards teenagers nowadays run around 100 minutes, the only exception being movies with enough explosions or Megan Fox lookalikes (or in the case of the Transformers films both!) to keep people entertained for a long period of time. This may sound like a cynical view on the modern blockbuster, but it is my belief that popular films are created solely for us to digest them as quickly as possible and as many times as possible. There are exceptions, but overall it seems like people do not watch films critically anymore, but instead they absorb them and add them to their mental list of films they have seen. This is compounded by the increase in use of Netflix streaming and torrent files, where we watch big-screen films on 17 inch computer screens instead of the 100 foot screens they are intended for. Note: My qualm is a little hypocritical because I also will have to watch many movies on my computer screen, however this is more out of financial constraints than general convenience. However, one of the goals of including movies in theaters is that I will be able to get the full experience as many times as possible.
However, the big point I wanted to make is that all films are in some shape or form a work of art, and instead of merely digesting them and removing them for my list of movies to see, I want to have the opportunity to think about and process every film I watch. This may be more than some of them deserve (From Justin to Kelly I’m looking at you), but its the least I can do to treat each and every film in the way the filmmaker intended me to. So if you share a similar enthusiasm for all types of cinema as I do, I urge you to check in everyday and take a look at the films I’m viewing.
Up Next: Day 1 6/23 The blog begins with a look at the Coen Brothers’ 1994 comedy The Hudsucker Proxy.