April 3, 2020

Film: Pygmalion still packs a punch

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This archived article was written by: Nathaniel Woodward

I love movies. I love the way they make me think, some of the starts to my best articles came while I was watching a movie. I don’t know exactly what it is about movies, but the good ones carry me away to a place where my scattered thoughts begin to make sense. Conversely I dislike a great deal of movies, I hate when I read a good book and Hollywood presents a clumsy hodgepodge of vainglorious self promotion and passes it off as art. I’m looking at you George Lucas, often I picture him in gladiator garb yelling, “Are you not entertained?” No George, I’m not.
The best movies make me think long and hard about questions I sometimes didn’t know I even had. Spike Jonze’s modern Pygmalion “Her” posed this, “Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel and from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.”
I remember the best thing I ever ate and to this day, have never had anything that matched it. I remember how I almost cried the first time my daughter told me she loved me and don’t get me started on when Old Yeller got rabies. Will anything ever come close to those feelings? That question is for another article.
Do you remember how it felt the first time you heard the “Star Wars” anthem play or “Indiana Jones?” Admittedly, I may get overexcited by movie theme songs, I once marched to a first day of class listing to the Captain America march on repeat grinning like an idiot the whole way. Don’t judge it till you try it.
I know I’m not alone, many of you have had similar feelings well up inside you during a good movie. Once, while watching Disney’s “Frozen” with my wife when it was first released, as the film’s plot unfolds and the villain is revealed as, spoiler alert, Prince Hans, my wife nearly leapt from her seat in rage at the betrayal. Don’t worry Disney, nothing bad ever happened by ticking off a short German…
The emotions we feel, the thoughts we have, the inspiration we take and the uncontrollable rage we suppress (usually) are testaments to what the purpose of film should be. Undoubtably much art is lost to the blasé approach to mass appeal where the need to meet a $200 million investment demands pandering to the lowest-common denominator, which is unfortunate. But we can overcome the blandness of over-hyped mass consumer hogs-wallow and seek out those rare gems that turn our world upside down, where the Humphrey Bogarts still live and the journey of a clown fish to find his son keeps us on the edge of our seats. A place where Inigo Montoya incessantly tells you his name and life story and Yoda makes all the sense in the galaxy while making none. These are the innate qualities you find in good films, something unique to our time, something to last long after we’re gone. Here’s lookin’ at you kid.

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