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For the love of movies: The Past, Present, and Future of Cinema and what makes us fans (1 Viewer)

Reggie W

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The reason I am starting this thread is I do enjoy discussing cinema from various angles and I feel like these conversations get going in other threads about specific films and can end up derailing the thread for people looking just to talk about that specific film. This thread will be meant more as a place to have those freewheeling discussions about cinema, what we like and don't like, the general state of where it is, where it was, and where it is going and what makes us movie fans.

So, you can talk about whatever you like cinema related and we can go on tangents. Tell stories, talk about how moviemaking has changed, what is good or bad about it, what we miss, what we look forward to. What makes a film a great film to you?

There are no right or wrong answers just really how we feel about it. Obviously, I have had various discussions here about what has changed about the filmmaking landscape. Scorsese has made comments that have made waves about superhero films and what they are and I think people have a lot of different feelings about that.

I'd like to get all of these kinds of discussions cooking here and be able to tell stories, make comments, rave or rant about all things motion pictures.

We just had what I thought was a good year for films in 2021 and so I find this a perfect time to start this thread and get into all this stuff and have a place where we can ramble about what is happening and how we feel about it.

I think at this point motion pictures have been around for about 144 years and obviously there have been various changes and stages that the medium has gone through. We probably all have favorite periods or decades we love and probably a lot of that has to do with when we were born and what part of those 144 years we have experienced. I think anybody that has read anything that I have wrote on these message boards will know I am a big fan of the 1970s, which really begins in the 1960s and goes on well after 1979 as the period has been quite influential on all that came after it.

I think the big thing that the decade has imprinted on me is that I remain director-centric as a film fan. I still mostly look at who is directing a picture in my weighing if I want to see it. I think in this more recent period of filmmaking this has shrunk as a reason why most people go to see a film. I think there are several reasons for this happening but the big thing being that because so many of today's major releases are formula based pictures, this eliminates the need for a director that would be putting a personal stamp on, or attempting to highlight their own artistic vision when making a film. So, directing, as an art, is diminished in the current state of things.

There likely are only a small number of directors now that make any difference in terms of if a picture gets made. The same can be said for actors as in terms of actors that are a big box office draw the number is tiny. I found it really interesting recently when I heard that Don't Look Up was the biggest film of the year. This kind of shocked me and it features Leo DiCaprio who appears to be our last "movie star" whose presence in a picture means it will succeed even though it has nothing to do with a franchise.

This death of actors being a big draw also has diminished the art of acting. In the 1970s the way to get a picture made about whatever you wanted to make it about was to get an actor onboard that they felt was a big draw. Now with there being virtually only a few actors that are a draw, well, that is no longer an option to get a film made.

Only DiCaprio appears able to do this. They don't even have a list of a few people to go down anymore. It's not like the 1970s where they would go down the list - Redford, Newman, Hackman, Pacino, De Niro - until they had a guy to get the film made. Now it is basically Leo and if you can't get him, it is a no go. I mean unless you can get 6 or 10 contributors to an independent production or Netflix, Amazon, or Apple want the content.

The question then becomes though, if it is on one of those streaming services is it cinema? Or is it just TV? Basically, wouldn't cinema be what gets shown in a cinema?

 
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jayembee

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Kind of in a hurry at the moment, but two things off the bat:

I also tend to be director-centric.

I would say that another "star" who can get things made would be Tom Cruise.
 

Reggie W

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Kind of in a hurry at the moment, but two things off the bat:

I also tend to be director-centric.

I would say that another "star" who can get things made would be Tom Cruise.

Tom definitely was a genuine "movie star" with the power to add his presence to a film and get that picture made, no matter what it was about but now I think he has lost that pull. For him it seemed to erode for a variety of reasons, odd behavior, divorces that brought out lousy things about him, and his involvement with Scientology, an organization that is really bad news.

Now his success appears to be tied to franchise films only, particularly Mission Impossible. I believe at the moment he has made two of these pictures in a row and he has the sequel to Top Gun coming and a sequel to his Edge of Tomorrow/Live, Die, Repeat film. I would say he is making these films because they are now his best opportunity for any kind of box office success.
 

Joe Wong

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I would say that my love of films is due to my father, who introduced me to all these wonderful films (12 Angry Men (1957), In The Heat Of The Night (1967), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), etc.) during my teen and pre-teen years. Why, he took me to see Jaws (1975) before I had turned 6!

When I was able to go to the theatres by myself or with school friends, films like Raiders of the Lost Ark (1982), Poltergeist (1981), Back to the Future (1985), Die Hard (1988) and Aliens (1986) formed my diet. Yes - there's a common theme of action, adventure, sci-fi, horror, etc... basically thrills, chills and special effects. Why? Well, because a cinematic experience to me was an escape, and seeing stuff that was more "fantastic" was part of the appeal. Yet I would say some of these films I just listed would be on plenty of movie-lovers' favourites, if not a "best film" list.

The number 1 reason for me to see a film is to be entertained. An artistic film that bores me is not appealing. I can appreciate the art, but first I want to be entertained! I would rather see long(er), super-entertaining or absorbing films like The Great Escape (1963), The Godfather (1972), and Titanic (1997) than a boring 90 minute "artistic" film.

Favourite directors include Spielberg, Nolan, Cameron, Scorcese, Villeneuve, Tarantino.

Many may decry the rise of superhero films over the last 20+ years, but I'm a fan. TV (with all the various streaming services) laid the groundwork for long-form storytelling during the 2000s, and series like the Marvel Cinematic Universe follow a similar path. Remember, if the Marvel films were shoddy or low-quality in the eyes of audiences, they wouldn't have lasted this long.

With respect to the question whether something shown on streaming services is cinema - my answer is it depends. Was the film originally made to be shown in cinemas? And just happened to be first shown on streaming because the studio sold it to a Netflix or a Prime? In that case, it should be cinematic. Yes, watching on a TV screen at home is not the intended environment, but it was filmed for a big screen and should be considered cinema. As an example, I saw Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) on HBO Max when it was released, and the opening was wonderfully cinematic, even if ultimately the film was a disappointment (and had boring moments).

Has moviegoing changed? It has, for me. Before kids, my wife and I would go every weekend to see the new release(s). But now, we're more selective. Mostly for the MCU films, and the occasional film for which we can go without the kids. Moviemaking has also changed, of course. More franchises, for example. But the cinematic landscape has always evolved. As long as the medium remains entertaining, and tells a good story, I am all in.

Cheers!
 

jayembee

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Tom definitely was a genuine "movie star" with the power to add his presence to a film and get that picture made, no matter what it was about but now I think he has lost that pull. For him it seemed to erode for a variety of reasons, odd behavior, divorces that brought out lousy things about him, and his involvement with Scientology, an organization that is really bad news.

Now his success appears to be tied to franchise films only, particularly Mission Impossible. I believe at the moment he has made two of these pictures in a row and he has the sequel to Top Gun coming and a sequel to his Edge of Tomorrow/Live, Die, Repeat film. I would say he is making these films because they are now his best opportunity for any kind of box office success.
Cruise certainly doesn't have the pull he had in his heyday. But I still think that if a production company is trying to market a film to a major studio/distributor, and can tell them, "We have Tom Cruise on board to star", the studio will pick it up regardless of what genre it is, or what it's about. Yes, he seems primarily focused on franchises, but I suspect his participation would be as much a selling point (at least for a studio, if not the audience) if he was going to do something in the same vein as Magnolia or Vanilla Sky.

On the flip side, I'd say that Keanu Reeves has major star-power these days when it comes to SF/action work, but I'm not sure he would if he was doing another film like Little Buddha.
 
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jayembee

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Many may decry the rise of superhero films over the last 20+ years, but I'm a fan. TV (with all the various streaming services) laid the groundwork for long-form storytelling during the 2000s, and series like the Marvel Cinematic Universe follow a similar path. Remember, if the Marvel films were shoddy or low-quality in the eyes of audiences, they wouldn't have lasted this long.

I suspect that the reason superhero films are such a thing now is because CGI had finally reached a point where the superhero action could look convincing. The Chris Reeve Superman films looked good back in the 80s, because they looked much better than what had come before -- we'd finally believed a man could fly because we were used to the much less convincing George Reeves flight effects on TV.

Regarding the theater vs. streaming debate, I think where the directors going on about how movies have to be seen on a big theater scene are going wrong is a lack of understanding on what the "theatrical experience" means to other people. For a lot of folks, streaming to their TV is preferable for several reasons. For starters:

(1) They don't have to put up with other people in the theater talking.
(2) They don't have to put up with other people in the theater playing with their phones.
(3) They don't have to put up with floors being all sticky from popcorn butter or spilled Coke.
(4) They don't have to end up spending $30 for a couple of movie tickets, another $30 for concessions, and lord-only-knows-how-much for a baby-sitter.

Yes, there is nothing like the communal reaction to an amazing moment on screen in a cinema¹. But I think folks who push this as a reason why seeing films in theaters is better than seeing them at home fail to understand that for many (maybe even most?) people, this doesn't compensate for what they consider the upsides of watching at home.

Film viewing is a different experience these days than it was in the past. Once home video became a thing, and cable movie networks proliferated, people just found it easier to watch at home. Second-run and art/rep theaters started fading away. When I lived in the Boston area, I spent a lot of time at the Brattle Theater, the Coolidge Corner Theater, the Harvard Film Archives, and the Museum of Fine Arts Film Program watching all sorts of films that I wouldn't otherwise have had the chance to see. Now that I live in New Hampshire, traveling to Boston to see a film in one of those theaters, even on a one-a-week basis, is sadly impractical.

¹ In 60+ years of movie-going, I've never seen an entire theater full of people erupt in cheers as much as in Avengers: Endgame at the shot of Captain America holding Mjolnir. Then again, another of my favorite theatrical-viewing experiences was seeing Casablanca at the Brattle back in the early 90s, with a good percentage of the audience singing along to "La Marseillaise". Suck it, Rocky Horror!²

²
R.I.P., Meat Loaf..."I really love that rock 'n' roll"
 

Joe Wong

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Regarding the theater vs. streaming debate, I think where the directors going on about how movies have to be seen on a big theater scene are going wrong is a lack of understanding on what the "theatrical experience" means to other people. For a lot of folks, streaming to their TV is preferable for several reasons. For starters:

(1) They don't have to put up with other people in the theater talking.
(2) They don't have to put up with other people in the theater playing with their phones.
(3) They don't have to put up with floors being all sticky from popcorn butter or spilled Coke.
(4) They don't have to end up spending $30 for a couple of movie tickets, another $30 for concessions, and lord-only-knows-how-much for a baby-sitter.

Yes, there is nothing like the communal reaction to an amazing moment on screen in a cinema¹. But I think folks who push this as a reason why seeing films in theaters is better than seeing them at home fail to understand that for many (maybe even most?) people, this doesn't compensate for what they consider the upsides of watching at home.

I totally understand the positives and convenience of the home viewing experience, for the reasons you mention and many others (especially now with COVID).

Cinemas have always tried to stay ahead of the home viewing experience... from the early days of TV, when widescreen ratios were introduced, through the advent of surround sound, and now streaming. Many of those technologies were eventually able to find its way to home theatres.

But the one aspect (aside from the communal experience of a packed auditorium) that is almost impossible to replicate at home is the size of the screen. Unless one has the space and funds, one can't hope to have a screen of the size you see in a modern multiplex, especially the main auditoriums which may have one of those premium large format screens like Cinemark XD, etc.

And this is even before I mention true IMAX. One of the greatest theatrical experiences I ever had was watching Nolan's Interstellar (2014) in full IMAX (1.43:1). The sequence on the water planet was simply spectacular.

Though full IMAX (1.43:1, not 1.90:1) is becoming even more rare these days, that's an experience I will try to seek out whenever there is a chance. For it is very difficult if not impossible to replicate at home.

But I do agree that, for many films, especially those dramas that don't require the visual impact of a big screen, home viewing would likely be optimal for me and many others.
 

Walter Kittel

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In 60+ years of movie-going, I've never seen an entire theater full of people erupt in cheers as much as in Avengers: Endgame at the shot of Captain America holding Mjolnir

One of my biggest film going regrets was not seeing Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame theatrically. Both films have a lot of "big" moments, but Cap wielding Mjolnir must have been insane.

- Walter.
 

benbess

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....We just had what I thought was a good year for films in 2021....
Thanks for starting this thread. Like you and some others I grew up with the movies from the 70s and 80s, although even as a kid I was watching and loving movies from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s on TV, and in the revival theaters that used to exist everywhere. Over recent years I've gone from disliking the MCU, to tolerating it, to liking individual films in the series. Overall, however, I'm still in the camp that is sometimes disquieted by the rise of the formulaic superhero movie, and sometimes I just feel bored by some of the biggest box office successes in the MCU. But anyway, I agree that 2021 was a good year for movies. If people feel like it, perhaps it might be interesting to see some lists from posters of their top movies for 2021. Here's mine at the moment....

West Side Story: A+
Nightmare Alley: A
Dune: A
The Power of the Dog: A
Belfast: A
The Tragedy of Macbeth: A
Skyfall: A-
Raya and Last Dragon: A-
Luca: A-
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: A-
Poupelle of Chimney Town: A-
The Night House: A-
Eternals: A-
The Courier: A-
Respect: A-
Benedetta: A-
Demon Slayer: A-
In the Heights: A-
The Green Knight: A-
Joe Bell: A-
A Journal for Jordan: A-
The Card Counter: A-
House of Gucci: B+
12 Mighty Orphans: B+
The Eyes of Tammy Faye: B+
 

EricSchulz

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Great thread!

I also was heavily influenced by my dad's movie preferences. As a child we'd watch "Creature Features" on Ch. 9 (now Superstation WGN) and one of the first movies I remember seeing in a theater with him and my brother was a double bill of Modern Times and When Comedy Was King. Thus was born my love of horror, Laurel & Hardy, silent movies and so much more.
 

Reggie W

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I would say that my love of films is due to my father, who introduced me to all these wonderful films (12 Angry Men (1957), In The Heat Of The Night (1967), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), etc.) during my teen and pre-teen years. Why, he took me to see Jaws (1975) before I had turned 6!

When I was able to go to the theatres by myself or with school friends, films like Raiders of the Lost Ark (1982), Poltergeist (1981), Back to the Future (1985), Die Hard (1988) and Aliens (1986) formed my diet. Yes - there's a common theme of action, adventure, sci-fi, horror, etc... basically thrills, chills and special effects. Why? Well, because a cinematic experience to me was an escape, and seeing stuff that was more "fantastic" was part of the appeal. Yet I would say some of these films I just listed would be on plenty of movie-lovers' favourites, if not a "best film" list.

The number 1 reason for me to see a film is to be entertained. An artistic film that bores me is not appealing. I can appreciate the art, but first I want to be entertained! I would rather see long(er), super-entertaining or absorbing films like The Great Escape (1963), The Godfather (1972), and Titanic (1997) than a boring 90 minute "artistic" film.

Favourite directors include Spielberg, Nolan, Cameron, Scorcese, Villeneuve, Tarantino.

Many may decry the rise of superhero films over the last 20+ years, but I'm a fan. TV (with all the various streaming services) laid the groundwork for long-form storytelling during the 2000s, and series like the Marvel Cinematic Universe follow a similar path. Remember, if the Marvel films were shoddy or low-quality in the eyes of audiences, they wouldn't have lasted this long.

With respect to the question whether something shown on streaming services is cinema - my answer is it depends. Was the film originally made to be shown in cinemas? And just happened to be first shown on streaming because the studio sold it to a Netflix or a Prime? In that case, it should be cinematic. Yes, watching on a TV screen at home is not the intended environment, but it was filmed for a big screen and should be considered cinema. As an example, I saw Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) on HBO Max when it was released, and the opening was wonderfully cinematic, even if ultimately the film was a disappointment (and had boring moments).

Has moviegoing changed? It has, for me. Before kids, my wife and I would go every weekend to see the new release(s). But now, we're more selective. Mostly for the MCU films, and the occasional film for which we can go without the kids. Moviemaking has also changed, of course. More franchises, for example. But the cinematic landscape has always evolved. As long as the medium remains entertaining, and tells a good story, I am all in.

Cheers!

Great post, Joe. Interesting how many times I have heard someone say their dad introduced them to12 Angry Men over the years. It is a great film and seems to have an impact on everyone that sees it.

I do think movies are primarily all about entertainment for the most part. I think that is why most people watch them. I think only a small number of people watch a film for "art" and those people probably are into cinema from around the world because most pictures that are made specifically to be art, come from outside of the United States and/or English-speaking world or are a small part of English speaking filmmaking.

I do think how much "art" goes into a picture varies greatly though. I think we do have big assembly line "product" which would be the big franchise films and family fare, specifically formulated for as broad appeal as possible and this dominates what is seen in cinemas now.

Those films are intentionally avoiding being "art" because art can turn people off. With art there is a risk that people will not like or understand it. With the big product pictures that is not something they want to do as those are about making money.

This does not mean they are bad films, it just means they are likely going to deliver the same thing that they know sold before. This typically is what we want in products. If we buy a laundry detergent we want it to clean the clothes and smell good every time, no matter how many times we buy or use it.

We are close to the same age so we likely experienced many of the same things in our motion picture watching. I loved science fiction growing up. Watched everything I could related to that. Basically, I wanted to do what Captain Kirk said, "Explore strange new worlds. Seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before."

That pretty much could sum up my take on things when it came to movies. I saw every picture as a strange new world I got to inhabit. Big fan of Westerns, war films, horror, thrillers...all the genre stuff, ha. Or what might be called "boy's adventure films."
 

jayembee

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One of my earliest theater-going memories -- aside from Disney's Sleeping Beauty -- was my father taking my brother and me into Boston to see a Saturday double-bill. This was in 1959 or 1960. The top of the bill was the Japanese SF film The Mysterians.

The lower half of the bill was an adventure film set in Africa involving a treasure hunt. Decades later, I was trying to figure out what this film was. All I could remember from the film was a scene in a cave, and the people had to jump over this chasm to get to where the treasure was. Making it back over holding heavy handfuls of gold was, shall we say, problematic.

The obvious assumption was that it was some version of King Solomon's Mines, but no version of that had the above scene in it. It drove me crazy. Eventually, I came across a note somewhere about an MGM film called Watusi that used some of the location footage from their 1950 version of Solomon. The timing (it was a 1959 film) was certainly right. Eventually, I found a Warner Archive DVD-R edition of Watusi. It definitely was the film in question.
 
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Reggie W

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Thanks for starting this thread. Like you and some others I grew up with the movies from the 70s and 80s, although even as a kid I was watching and loving movies from the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s on TV, and in the revival theaters that used to exist everywhere. Over recent years I've gone from disliking the MCU, to tolerating it, to liking individual films in the series. Overall, however, I'm still in the camp that is sometimes disquieted by the rise of the formulaic superhero movie, and sometimes I just feel bored by some of the biggest box office successes in the MCU. But anyway, I agree that 2021 was a good year for movies. If people feel like it, perhaps it might be interesting to see some lists from posters of their top movies for 2021. Here's mine at the moment....

West Side Story: A+
Nightmare Alley: A
Dune: A
The Power of the Dog: A
Belfast: A
The Tragedy of Macbeth: A
Skyfall: A-
Raya and Last Dragon: A-
Luca: A-
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: A-
Poupelle of Chimney Town: A-
The Night House: A-
Eternals: A-
The Courier: A-
Respect: A-
Benedetta: A-
Demon Slayer: A-
In the Heights: A-
The Green Knight: A-
Joe Bell: A-
A Journal for Jordan: A-
The Card Counter: A-
House of Gucci: B+
12 Mighty Orphans: B+
The Eyes of Tammy Faye: B+

Great list, Ben, showing off what a year 2021 was. I am playing catch-up on seeing things from this past year but so far I have seen a lot of really excellent films. I don't know if part of why we got so much good stuff in 2021 was so many pictures were delayed but whatever, I will take it and to me 2021 stands out as a good year for film...maybe not for box office numbers, but just really great filmmaking.

One not on your list that would make my list of great pictures from 2021 is Pig with Nic Cage. I thought this was a beautiful film about life and what we are passionate about in life and what is important to us. Cage delivers a fantastic performance, most of which is entirely done with his face and physicality. I highly recommend it if you have not seen it.
 

Reggie W

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Cruise certainly doesn't have the pull he had in his heyday. But I still think that if a production company is trying to market a film to a major studio/distributor, and can tell them, "We have Tom Cruise on board to star", the studio will pick it up regardless of what genre it is, or what it's about. Yes, he seems primarily focused on franchises, but I suspect his participation would be as much a selling point (at least for a studio, if not the audience) if he was going to do something in the same vein as Magnolia or Vanilla Sky.

On the flip side, I'd say that Keanu Reeves has major star-power these days when it comes to SF/action work, but I'm not sure he would if he was doing another film like Little Buddha.

He is still, I would say, at the top of the list for name recognition, people know who he is. However, I think he is a decade past being a guy that can pull in an audience in a picture that is not part of a franchise-verse. I also think he has shifted greatly how he chooses what to appear in because I think he has been exerting so much control over pictures he has been working on.

He was once director-centric in his choices. He was making his way through every great director earlier in his career. He worked with Kubrick, Scorsese, De Palma, Stone, Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson, Ridley Scott...I think, or am guessing he would like to be in a Nolan film but I am not sure Nolan wants to make a picture with Cruise or has one in mind to do with him.

I think around 2010 Cruise began his shift away from being in other people's pictures as an actor and began making...well...Tom Cruise pictures. Which seem to be a lot of stabs at creating franchise films after seeing his success with Mission Impossible. He is a very savvy guy and I am sure he recognized after 2010 that the industry was shifting hard to franchises and known product over pictures that might be director driven or original stories.

I think people would put Tom Cruise in a film for name recognition now, but I would not say they would put him in a film expecting his presence to draw a big audience unless it is a franchise film. If you look at track record, only DiCaprio is doing that.
 

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Another going-to-the-movies-as-a-kid (though a bit older than the previous) story -- inspired by Nelson Au's comments about 2001: A Space Odyssey here...

2001 was what I consider my "transcendental" film. As a kid, for me movies were just another way to tell stories. Just like books, they were characters and dialog. The kinds of movies that I liked watching most were genre films, the same kinds of stories I liked reading in books: SF, fantasy, monsters, action, westerns, war. When 2001 was announced, I was incredibly excited to see it. At the time of its initial release in 1968, I was 14½ years old, and lived in a Boston suburb. I didn't want to wait until it came to a local theater, so one Saturday I took my $5.00 weekly "salary" from my paper route (Friday was "collection day") hiked up to where I could take the bus to Boston (80¢ each way). Got to the Boston bus station, and found my way to the Sack Cinerama Theater where 2001 was showing. Bought my ticket (an exorbitant $2.00) and concessions, and took my balcony seat. While 2001 wasn't a three-strip Cinerama film, I was seeing it on a deep-curved Cinerama screen.

I was transfixed. Like a lot of other folks, I wasn't quite sure what was going on at the end, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Made the return trip home. Spent the next two weeks trying to figure out exactly what I had seen, and decided I had to see it again. So...rinse, repeat. Another week's salary spent to watch just one movie.

It took a lot more cogitation to figure out what it all meant (I eventually worked out that the changes to Bowman at the end were in some way about evolution). But the big impact the movie had on me was realizing that this was a film that was being told in pictures, rather than words. It was the first time I saw film as akin to a painting rather than a book. As art.

That was the moment I fell in love with film. I started watching watching all sorts of movies on TV that I wouldn't have considered before. And I haven't stopped since. Oh, and I think that because of 2001, Stanley Kubrick became the first director that I took note of, whose films I would automatically go to see just because he directed them.
 

Reggie W

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I suspect that the reason superhero films are such a thing now is because CGI had finally reached a point where the superhero action could look convincing. The Chris Reeve Superman films looked good back in the 80s, because they looked much better than what had come before -- we'd finally believed a man could fly because we were used to the much less convincing George Reeves flight effects on TV.

Regarding the theater vs. streaming debate, I think where the directors going on about how movies have to be seen on a big theater scene are going wrong is a lack of understanding on what the "theatrical experience" means to other people. For a lot of folks, streaming to their TV is preferable for several reasons. For starters:

(1) They don't have to put up with other people in the theater talking.
(2) They don't have to put up with other people in the theater playing with their phones.
(3) They don't have to put up with floors being all sticky from popcorn butter or spilled Coke.
(4) They don't have to end up spending $30 for a couple of movie tickets, another $30 for concessions, and lord-only-knows-how-much for a baby-sitter.

Yes, there is nothing like the communal reaction to an amazing moment on screen in a cinema¹. But I think folks who push this as a reason why seeing films in theaters is better than seeing them at home fail to understand that for many (maybe even most?) people, this doesn't compensate for what they consider the upsides of watching at home.

Film viewing is a different experience these days than it was in the past. Once home video became a thing, and cable movie networks proliferated, people just found it easier to watch at home. Second-run and art/rep theaters started fading away. When I lived in the Boston area, I spent a lot of time at the Brattle Theater, the Coolidge Corner Theater, the Harvard Film Archives, and the Museum of Fine Arts Film Program watching all sorts of films that I wouldn't otherwise have had the chance to see. Now that I live in New Hampshire, traveling to Boston to see a film in one of those theaters, even on a one-a-week basis, is sadly impractical.

¹ In 60+ years of movie-going, I've never seen an entire theater full of people erupt in cheers as much as in Avengers: Endgame at the shot of Captain America holding Mjolnir. Then again, another of my favorite theatrical-viewing experiences was seeing Casablanca at the Brattle back in the early 90s, with a good percentage of the audience singing along to "La Marseillaise". Suck it, Rocky Horror!²

²
R.I.P., Meat Loaf..."I really love that rock 'n' roll"

Yes, I agree that comfort and ease of access watching at home is hard, really hard to get around or argue against. I've heard filmmakers argue both sides of this coin. Many are thrilled about how many people have access to see their films with streaming that otherwise might have never watched their work. They marvel that with a streaming release millions of people can all suddenly see their work all over the world.

This is a big thing because I think if given the choice between people having to see their picture in a cinema or not seeing it at all...they would rather see it go to streaming because then lots of people actually see their film.

I do love going to a cinema. I love getting out of the house, seeing a film in a roomful of people, having dinner and drinks...I just love all that. I always loved going to the bar after a film and talking about it with people. Man, I miss that right now.

I do realize though that with all the wonderful equipment available to create your own theater at home, if you do that, well, why go out. I like the social experience and the feeling in a room with everyone experiencing the moments together. When I watch films at home, I feel like I am studying them, which is fun, but it is different. Some films I like to watch alone because I just want my full attention on the picture.

Comedies are a lot more fun in a cinema. Laughter is contagious. Horror can be a lot more fun in a cinema.

Speaking of cheering, I remember seeing Rocky in a cinema when that came out and the audience went wild, cheering, on their feet. I remember looking at my friend and we were laughing that Rocky could not hear any of this...but it was fun.

I went with a couple of friends to see 1917, the audience gave a standing ovation at the end of that picture, and the theater was packed.

Some films I find good to watch alone others, like Uncut Gems, I found watching with an audience was amazing. You could feel the tension in the room. I could not duplicate that at home.
 

Reggie W

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What draws you to see a film? How would you rank these things?

Director -Who is directing?

Actors - Who is in it?

Subject Matter - What is it about?

Budget - It cost so much to make I feel like I have to see it.

Reviews - Everyone seems to be raving about it.

Awards - It has been nominated or won awards.

Genre - I basically just like all films in this genre.

Book - Read the book so I want to see the film.
 

TravisR

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There likely are only a small number of directors now that make any difference in terms of if a picture gets made. The same can be said for actors as in terms of actors that are a big box office draw the number is tiny. I found it really interesting recently when I heard that Don't Look Up was the biggest film of the year.
When it comes to streaming, I don't think being the biggest movie of the year (which I assume means it had more views on Netflix than the tickets sold for any theatrical feature) amounts to all that much because people watched it streaming. People definitely talked about Don't Look Up on social media for a few days but as soon as the discourse ended, it was like the movie never existed. Meanwhile, people went out and spent money and time to see Spider-Man and that movie seems to have made much more of an impression than Don't Look Up even if Spider-Man was seen by less people. It's an unfair comparison but in a year or five or twenty, it's not hard to imagine that Spider-Man will still be remembered by fans and Don't Look Up will be a footnote in the career of DiCaprio. That doesn't mean one is better than the other but it does show that X number of views is kinda meaningless.

For what it's worth, I haven't seen Don't Look Up and I saw and have already mostly forgotten Spider-Man so I've got no dog in the race. I'm merely making an observation about popular movies on streaming and popular movies in theaters. The theatrical feature still seems to hold people's attention while streaming movies don't really maintain any popularity.
 

Reggie W

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When it comes to streaming, I don't think being the biggest movie of the year (which I assume means it had more views on Netflix than the tickets sold for any theatrical feature) amounts to all that much because people watched it streaming. People definitely talked about Don't Look Up on social media for a few days but as soon as the discourse ended, it was like the movie never existed. Meanwhile, people went out and spent money and time to see Spider-Man and that movie seems to have made much more of an impression than Don't Look Up even if Spider-Man was seen by less people. I mean it's almost unfair but in a year or five or twenty, it's not hard to imagine that Spider-Man will still be remembered by fans and Don't Look Up will be a footnote in the career of DiCaprio.

For what it's worth, I haven't seen Don't Look Up and I saw and have already mostly forgotten Spider-Man so I've got no dog in the race. I'm merely making an observation about popular movies on streaming and popular movies in theaters. The theatrical feature still seems to hold people's attention while streaming movies don't really maintain any popularity.

I am sure you heard The Movies that Made Me show with McKay and they identify Don't Look Up as the biggest film of the year, I think, based on the number of people that watched it. I guess it is the most streamed film in the history of Netflix. I am going here on Olsen and Dante saying this was the biggest film of 2021 because I have no idea how to gauge that.

McKay seemed thrilled with the success of his picture. So, I guess it was a success.

Box office numbers for 2021 obviously carry the Covid asterisk and are not "normal" due to the pandemic. I saw the joke on SNL about Spiderman being the cause for the spike in Covid cases.
 

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