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Am I a complete film buff fraud?


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#1 of 63 OFFLINE   Scott D S

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Posted June 04 2003 - 09:24 AM

Okay, this might not be the right section to post in but I digress.

I can't help but feel like I'm a complete fraud when it comes to film. I'm only 20 and I know I have a lifetime of film-watching and learning ahead of me but I also want to be a filmmaker (writer/director - more on that later) and I'm really starting to think I'm nothing more than a novice, a wannabe. Everyone I know calls me "the film guy" and I'm really interested in the medium but I think I have a world of work ahead of me. For example:

-I have seen only 2 westerns (Maverick with Mel Gibson and The Magnificent Seven)
-I haven't seen any of the Fox Classics (except for The Day the Earth Stood Still)
-I haven't seen any silent films
-I haven't seen any of the classic Universal horror films
-I've only seen 6 Hitchcock films (Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Rear Window)
-I've only seen 1 Fellini film (Amarcord - I got a kick out of it!)
-I've seen only 1 Truffaut film (The 400 Blows)
-I've seen only 2 Jimmy Stewart films (Rear Window and Vertigo)
-I've seen only 1 John Wayne film (Sands of Iwo Jima)
-I've seen only 1 Billy Wilder film (Double Indemnity)
-I've seen 0 Bergman films
-I've seen 0 Bogart films
-I've seen only 1 Katherine Hepburn film (Bringing up baby which I hated)
-I've seen only 1 Audrey Hepburn film (My Fair Lady)
-I've seen 0 Preston Sturges films
-I've seen only 2 David Lean films (Lawrence of Arabia and Bridge on the River Kwai which I thought was great)
-I've seen only 2 John Sturges films (Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape)
-I've seen only 3 Scorsese films (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Cape Fear)

On the other hand, I've seen:

-All of Kubrick's WB-owned films (except for Barry Lyndon)
-All of Kevin Smith's films
-All of Woody Allen's films (except for What's Up, Tiger Lily?, September, and Another Woman)
-All of the Marx Brothers' films
-Closely Watched Trains
-Rififi (thanks to Bill Hunt's review at the Bits)
-Big Deal on Madonna Street
-Harold and Maude
-All of Tim Burton's films
-All of James Cameron's films (except for Piranha 2)
-West Side Story (but not The Sound of Music)
-All of the Star Trek/Wars films
-Alien and Aliens
-Rashomon
-Time After Time
-The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming
-It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
-Patton
-Buckaroo Bonzai
-Office Space

Everytime I tell my co-workers that I haven't seen title X or Y, they are shocked. I appreciate that they think I know everything (I don't) and I shouldn't care what they think but I do take it personally. On the other hand, I'm probably the only person in the 561 area code that has ever heard of Rififi. Posted Image

As for my own work, I haven't touched a camcorder or camera in years. I've had some serious self-esteem issues in the past (which necessitated visits with shrinks) and I never had any friends half-way interested in film or filmmaking (I have a few now). Money was also an issue. I asked my parents if they would help fund a short film (or full-length) and their answer was "No!" Posted Image I'm working on 3 scripts right now and I think I'm doing okay. (I figured I could focus on character and plot and dialogue versus composition and lighting.) We'll see what happens.

Thanks for listening to my non-sensical ramblings.

#2 of 63 OFFLINE   Alex Spindler

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Posted June 04 2003 - 09:38 AM

I think you're much more well rounded than you give yourself credit for. Outside of a few members of the forum, not many 20 year olds can say they've even seen a black and white film outside of Clerks.

Myself, I far less rounded than you, but I never profess to be a film buff. So I don't feel guilty continuing to fill my brain with 80's crap. Posted Image

#3 of 63 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 04 2003 - 09:41 AM

Think of it this way, Scott -- you have a lot to look forward to!

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#4 of 63 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted June 04 2003 - 10:01 AM

No way I’d dwell on what I’ve not seen, other than to make a list for what else I’d like to see.

I’ve seen a lot of films (and most of the classics more than once), but then I’m not 20 any longer. Posted Image And even so, every day I come across a film (or more) that I’d like to see and I’ve never even heard of. This does not include catching the latest releases in which I’m interested (I actually can’t keep up with this either).

I could make a list fully as long as yours about what I’ve not seen—just different titles and directors. For example I’ve very few mainstream, big-budget films of the 80s and 90s. Too much else got in the way.

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#5 of 63 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted June 04 2003 - 10:38 AM

Quote:
I think you're much more well rounded than you give yourself credit for. Outside of a few members of the forum, not many 20 year olds can say they've even seen a black and white film outside of Clerks.

Posted Image Posted Image

I know how you feel, Scott. I'm 21, and people think I'm almost not-human because of my interest in movies. I've got about 300 DVDs, which I don't think is that much...but then again most of my college buddies have 5 or 10...so sometimes I feel like a ~35-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old's body (and wallet) Posted Image

Anyway, I started feeling like I wasn't much of a film buff, so the first thing I did was take a film class at school. It was really enriching, and helped as far as analysis of general films and introductions to other stuff. I finally got to see some silent feature-level stuff (up to that point I had only seen shorts), and really have come to appreciate Buster Keaton. My advice to you would be just to continue watching as many films as you can, and most importantly try to watch stuff you haven't seen before. I always fall into the trap of watching my favorites over and over again, and not expanding my horizons...but it's really about balance.

Also, as far as being a fraud...don't worry about it. When you are hanging around your friends, you are the film guy. You know infinitely more about film than they do. The problem is when you go hanging around this crazy bunch at the HTF, you start thinking that you're nothing but a simpleton. Posted Image
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#6 of 63 OFFLINE   Joshua_Y

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Posted June 04 2003 - 10:54 AM

Your a schmuck! But in a good way...your pretty well rounded...ya need to see more silent movies though...and few older movies...and you MUST see Raging Bull...

#7 of 63 OFFLINE   Eman_Ramos

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Posted June 04 2003 - 11:49 AM

I think what it all comes down to is if you have a deep, burning passion for movies.

If you have that, you're ok.

Just my 2 cents...
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#8 of 63 OFFLINE   Stephen_L

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Posted June 04 2003 - 12:47 PM

Scott I think you're doing okay, though I'd agree with the advice that rather than rewatching favorites hit the video store and check out some oldies. You're in for a treat: there is a world of amazing films out there!

One good way to expand your horizons is to start viewing "The Classics", those films that have stood the test of time. You won't love em all, but they last usually because they are timeless and can really speak to you. Here are a few suggestions.

Metropolis- a silent film and perhaps the first science fiction film. Weird and dreamlike full of amazing imagery

African Queen- Bogart's Academy Award winning performance and you get some fabulous Kate Hepburn in the same package. A funny, exciting romantic adventure.

Casablanca- I watched this film for the first time as an adult and was amazed how much of this film and its lines are integrated into our popular culture. Tremendous romance, gorgeous Ingrid Bergman.

Seven Samurai- you've seen the Magnificent Seven and Rashoman, now tackle Kurosawa's best. A bit long and the Japanese style of acting takes a bit of getting used to, but brother, this is a great film.

Give some of these a viewing. If you're like me, you'll realize all the good stuff you've not seen and dive into older and foreign films with gusto.
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#9 of 63 OFFLINE   Bruce Hedtke

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Posted June 04 2003 - 12:50 PM

Quote:
I think what it all comes down to is if you have a deep, burning passion for movies


Exactly. You are already a film buff...you just haven't seen all the films you want to. Just acknowledging the fact that there is so many films you want to see, you are on the path towards watching them. I think you have the idea that true film buffs watch 10,000 films and only have a dozen or so that they haven't watched. If I was a multi-millionaire, that might be my story Posted Image But, as it is, the list of films that I want to watch is as big or bigger than the list of films I have seen.

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#10 of 63 OFFLINE   DaveGR

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Posted June 04 2003 - 12:59 PM

Hmm Id suggest you go on a dvd shopping spree. hehe
ever since I was about 7 or 8 Ive been a huge Hitch Fan,and it went from there. I suggest you start hunting for your favorite director,and watch everything you can from them. Read anything you can on them. Then go to some of there contemporaries films,and look at all the examples of influence.
Plus you gotta figure out what about film you like. Is it the camera work,the great dialogue,the great story,ect. Im sure you like it all but theres prob. something that your always looking for more than other things. I only mention that because different directors of course were known for certain specific film traits.
Even though a film may seem dull sounding,or not on your track,go on a limb,youll be surprised many times.
Just dont get in a rut of seeing whatever HBO is showing ya. or the typical stuff that comes out in theaters.

Thats just what I would do. hehe Posted Image

#11 of 63 OFFLINE   Scott D S

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Posted June 04 2003 - 02:20 PM

Thanks! This all does mean a lot. I think this is the only thread I've started with more than 5 or 6 replies.

I actually work at Best Buy (in the media department which consists of music, movies, software, and video games) and I have taken advantage of the employee discount on several occassions.Posted Image (I just bought the Criterion set of Brazil. I only wish we carried the Antoine Doinel box.)

Money is an issue (saving up for film school + DVDs) but I have Netflix. I try to average 3 new films a week. I try to catch films on HBO (ones that I haven't seen) but it just isn't the same. I spent a year at FSU and it's safe to say I had the biggest DVD collection on my floor. (The most popular was my Kubrick Collection).

I have taken film classes (4 actually - 2 at FSU, 2 at PBCC including screenwriting) but it was always a little disheartening to see a film in the campus theater with an audience of college kids. ("Black and white!?! Damn!!")

#12 of 63 OFFLINE   Stephen_L

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Posted June 04 2003 - 02:26 PM

Scott, if you have cable just get a schedule of Turner Classic Movies or AMC (though they've gone to more recent crowd pleasers rather than older fare) I'm amazed how each week there are a dozen or so classic films available there for viewing and taping.
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#13 of 63 OFFLINE   Brad Porter

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Posted June 04 2003 - 03:50 PM

Quote:
-I've seen only 2 Jimmy Stewart films (Rear Window and Vertigo)

You never saw It's a Wonderful Life during its multiple Christmastime airings in the early '90's? Two of my favorite lesser-known Stewart films are Anatomy of a Murder and The Flight of the Phoenix.

Maybe we should give Scott some homework. Posted Image

Quote:
-I haven't seen any silent films

As Matt Stone said, try some Buster Keaton, specifically The General.

Quote:
-I've seen 0 Bogart films

Go ahead and buy Casablanca. It won't be difficult to re-sell or give as a gift if (for some strange reason) you don't enjoy it. Also try to catch The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (not on DVD yet).

Quote:
-I've seen 0 Preston Sturges films

Sullivan's Travels or The Lady Eve are good places to start.

Quote:
-I've seen only 1 John Wayne film (Sands of Iwo Jima)

People have wildly differing opinions of John Wayne's film output, but you should see at least The Searchers to find out if that genre will interest you at all. I'm surprised they didn't show you this one in any of your film classes. You also should see The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly for Leone's take on the Western.

Quote:
I'm working on 3 scripts right now and I think I'm doing okay. (I figured I could focus on character and plot and dialogue versus composition and lighting.)

Perhaps if you gave a brief synopsis of these scripts people could recommend other films that have tackled similar plots and characters.

Brad
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#14 of 63 OFFLINE   Nick Graham

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Posted June 04 2003 - 05:31 PM

Scott, I used to feel the same way, but I don't any more, and neither should you. You expect yourself to have seen tons of stuff that was so far ahead of your time it's laughable. You have to remember when all the critics and film writers write about all the classics they love, they have had a 3-4-5 decade head start on us, and they are talking about the films from THEIR formative years, not ours!

Think of it this way. When the new generation of filmmakers, critics, and writers (I'm talking guys in our age group, teens, 20s, and 30s) are well established and have reached the age of the Eberts, Spielbergs, Scorceses, etc of the world, what are the films and directors they will say inspired them? It will be what they grew up with...Spielberg, Cameron, Lucas, Smith, Scorcese, Friedkin, Coppola, Carpenter, etc etc. It goes the same way now...the Spielbergs and Carpenters of the world all rave about Hawks, Hitchcock, Lean and Welles now, and why? Because those were the groundbreakers when they were our age (and younger). Those were the people whose films made them say "I want to do that someday". For us, it will be different, we are a newer generation, with our own sets of heroes and idols.

Anybody who says that you have to have seen at least one film by a certain director or actor to be a "film buff" is quite simply an idiot. Being a "film buff" is not about how much worthless trivia you know, or what you haven't seen, it is about how much you love what you HAVE seen. I can say with complete certainty that there are people that are "film buffs" in this world who may have only had the chance to see 1 or 2 films in their entire lifetime. They may not be able to tell you who the second unit director was on "The Empire Strikes Back", but they can talk on and on about how incredible a certain film was and/or how much it means to them....and that is what film is all about.

#15 of 63 OFFLINE   DaveGR

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Posted June 04 2003 - 05:49 PM

Ok heres what I would recommend for you. These are just a few films that when I first saw them,made me go WoW one way or the other,or which I just consider them very fine films.If you already seen it forgive me for not looking back at your listing in the first post.

PSYCHO,,my favorite Film,and I consider it to be the best film ever.
Casablanca
The Godfather
Dr. Strangelove
Seven Samurai
Citizen Kane
Grand Illusion
Birth of a Nation
Sunset Blvd.
All About Eve
Vertigo
The Vanishing Spoorloos
Eyes Wide Shut
Magnolia
Fight Club
American Beauty
The Searchers
Paris,Texas
Panic in Needle Park-just for Pacinos great Performance
Aguirre The Wrath of God
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Chinatown
Taxi Driver
Strangers on a Train
Rebecca
Godfather 2
Rushmore
Royal Tennenbaums
8 1/2
Annie Hall
Manhattan
Contempt
L'Avventura

God I couldnt stop,,I finally made myself,,I could have went on and on,,as im sure any of us could. Yikes
thats just some of the ones Im thinking of,,Im sure others would pick others,and leave some of mine out.
whatever. hehe

#16 of 63 OFFLINE   Cary T

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Posted June 04 2003 - 06:15 PM

Quote:
Go ahead and buy Casablanca

If you choose to purchase Casablanca, wait for the 2-disc edition that'll release in...August, I think.

Best Buy will not exactly broaden your interest. Do they even carry a foreign title? Thank goodness for online vendors Posted Image

Seems to me, all the so called "movie buff" or "film snob" in their early 20's all live remote from another. I find it amusing now when I say, "I just saw The Passion of Joan of Arc or Russian Ark," people look at me like I'm a different species. It's a tough find for me to meet someone my age that share common interest in film. The only place I have any luck is in film festivals. I highly recommend Scott to attend some film festivals. You'll meet some interesting people there.

Others have recommended some good classics already, so I'll recommend my current top 5 working directors, in no particular order:

Wong Kar-Wai, Cameron Crowe, Lynne Ramsay, Pedro Almodovar, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet

#17 of 63 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted June 04 2003 - 10:13 PM

As long as you plan on seeing those films, then you're a film buff. Film buffness isn't so much about how many you've seen, as it is your desire and interest in seeing them. The hardest part of being a film buff is figuring out what to watch next. Here's my recommendations (start with Billy Wilder):

-I have seen only 2 westerns (Maverick with Mel Gibson and The Magnificent Seven)
See High Noon

-I haven't seen any of the Fox Classics (except for The Day the Earth Stood Still)
See The Ghost & Mrs. Muir

-I haven't seen any silent films
See The Gold Rush (1925 version)

-I haven't seen any of the classic Universal horror films
See Frankenstein

-I've only seen 6 Hitchcock films (Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Rear Window)
You've seen the cream of the crop. Next, see The Lady Vanishes (Criterion)

-I've only seen 1 Fellini film (Amarcord - I got a kick out of it!)
See 8 1/2

-I've seen only 2 Jimmy Stewart films (Rear Window and Vertigo)
See The Philadelphia Story

-I've seen only 1 John Wayne film (Sands of Iwo Jima)
See The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (also a Jimmy Stewart film).

-I've seen only 1 Billy Wilder film (Double Indemnity)
See The Apartment. Then see Some Like It Hot. Then see Stalag 17. Then move on to Bogart.

-I've seen 0 Bergman films
See The Seventh Seal

-I've seen 0 Bogart films
See The Maltese Falcon. Then see To Have & Have Not. Then see The Big Sleep. Now worry about those other categories.

-I've seen only 1 Katherine Hepburn film (Bringing up baby which I hated)
See Adam's Rib.

-I've seen only 1 Audrey Hepburn film (My Fair Lady)
See Roman Holiday.

-I've seen 0 Preston Sturges films
See Sullivan's Travels.
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#18 of 63 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted June 05 2003 - 02:12 AM

George has given some very good, limited, specific advice. My only addition is that you might want to make sure that you listen to the commentary on Sullivan’s Travels. Also The Lady Eve. I mention this because you said that you hated Bringing Up Baby. It may turn out that you just don’t like screwball comedies, but it is well worth the effort to go to the effort of appreciating this genre.

As someone said, ‘they don’t make them like this anymore’. Nor should they, as this very stylized type of comedy with the rapid-fire witty dialogue is pretty much a thing of the past (though films like Pulp Fiction borrow very heavily from the dialogue style of theses comedies and from film noir). Plus you have to accept the stock characters such as the hapless young man. The commentaries on these two Preston Sturges films should at least help you understand what the filmmaker is trying achieve and why so many love these films.

After that, if you don’t like this style, then you don’t. It might be like a pratfall—if you don’t find the Three Stooges funny, then all the explanation in the world won’t help.

There are also two threads in this forum that have more films than you can imagine: The HTF 100 Great Films of the 1930's Challenge and Sight and Sound (2002) Greatest Films Club.

Even if you don't wish to participate in the threads, these are two very fine lists. And should you decide to join in the fun, you really won’t be behind, as we have had some people start from almost zero.
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#19 of 63 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted June 05 2003 - 04:03 AM

And I certainly did not mean to imply that my suggestions were complete in any way, just one set of suggestions for filling in the gap. As Lew says there's some good lists. You might also want to check out the AFI 100 list, as well as the superior HTF version of the AFI 100 list. Posted Image Oh, and I was typing quickly off the top of my head this morning. Don't forget Casablanca for Bogart films.
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"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#20 of 63 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted June 05 2003 - 04:11 AM

I used the word ‘limited’ as a good thing George. Too often when someone asks for advice on films to watch, we get lists by the dozens—sometimes to the point that the suggestion begin to lose meaning.

What I liked about your suggestions were that each area was covered with only a few examples. Of course it helps that I agreed with your suggestions. Posted Image
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