Author Topic: Film appreciation  (Read 709 times)

Offline fizz

  • Administrator
  • alfred hitchcock
  • *****
  • Posts: 4897
Film appreciation
« on: August 28, 2006, 02:45:PM »

I don't visit Ebert's site very frequently (no specific reason), but when I do I spend hours and read a ton. I recently came across this letter (which is probably old and some of you might have already read it) which resonated with me. I don't remember the first review I read, but it must have been a string of them (mostly classics) which I read in one go in a movie CD that I found in 1999 (called Cinemania 96 from Microsoft - which I still own and refer to). I was just reminded of that moment by this letter.

Quote
Thanks for helping me love movies

From Darren Gunn:

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until I was fifteen years old and I saw "Goodfellas" that I really understood that a movie could last more than its running time. As soon as I finished watching it with my parents, I ran upstairs and watched it again. It still just wasn't enough. On the box of the video was the quote, something about this being the greatest mob movie ever. I remember noting that this was written by Roger Ebert, and I followed up on it. In that review, you compared the movie to a poem, and that was the first time that I realized that a movie was a form of literature, a form of art. It was probably the first movie review that I read.

I followed you from that point on (almost fifteen years ago now), and we've disagreed numerous times. I've loved some movies that you've only liked ("Fearless," "King of Comedy," "The Graduate," and "Dazed and Confused" spring to mind), and those titles have always stuck with me more than the movies that I didn't like that you loved (those aren't springing to mind). It's only now --now that I've had to see a few movies without any of your feedback-- that I've started to wonder why I can't figure that out. I think that when it comes to the movies you only like, I believe in my love for them and I try to figure out why I love them. But when it comes to the movies that I only like --or even dislike-- that you love, I always have doubted my reaction. I wonder if I'm missing something. This isn't the case for other critics. With other critics, I wonder if they're just being shortsighted or if they're letting their politics get in the way of their experience or if they're just missing the point. With you, though, if you've expressed your love of a movie that I dislike, I always wonder if I've missed something.

I'm taking too long to say what I really want to say, and that is that I thank you for helping me to love movies. Movies have become an essential part of my life since that viewing of "Goodfellas" half a lifetime ago, and I always wonder if I would have gone further into the cinematic world if it hadn't been for your enthusiasm (I'm not a filmmaker --I'm an English teacher-- but I worked in a video store through the rest of high school and I minored in cinema --allowing me access to Stan Brakhage and Maya Deren when I wouldn't have heard of them otherwise-- because of the enthusiasm you fostered through your reviews.

A friend noticed something about me recently, and he tested me on it: I am able to tell you my experience surrounding my first viewing of almost any movie. Name it, and I'll tell you which theater I was in and whose company I shared. A friend suggested that this is because my senses are somewhat heightened when I am watching a movie. I thank you for this, Mr. Ebert. I truly do. You have a passion for movies, but more importantly, you have found a way to communicate that passion through your writing. I love movies, and I have you to thank for the fact that most of the movies I see are terrific. This is because I typically don't bother with a movie in the theaters unless it receives your stamp of approval.

I could have easily written a similar email to Martin Scorsese thanking him for making the movie that helped me to love film (in fact, between "Goodfellas" and "Taxi Driver" and "After Hours," I probably should!), but I thank you more than anyone. Your guidance over the years has kept me away from dreck and steered me towards some terrific films.

I hope your health improves soon, and I hope you are guide your readers towards some of the experiences that wil change their lives.
Narrative is the poison of cinema...There's nothing more beautiful than elusiveness in cinema.

Offline shariqq

  • Administrator
  • alfred hitchcock
  • *****
  • Posts: 8251
  • You never know...
    • Filmphoria
Re: Film appreciation
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2006, 04:07:PM »
... a movie CD that I found in 1999 (called Cinemania 96 from Microsoft - which I still own and refer to).

Me too!! I had bought Cinemania '96 (yes, actually paid for it!!) when it had first released. I remember listening to all the audio clips on it again and again.

I checked up with Microsoft about this two years ago and they told me it is a discontinued product  :( 
Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world, to not know why you're here. That's - that's just an awful feeling. -- Elijah Price,  Unbreakable (2000)

Offline fizz

  • Administrator
  • alfred hitchcock
  • *****
  • Posts: 4897
Re: Film appreciation
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2006, 04:16:PM »
... a movie CD that I found in 1999 (called Cinemania 96 from Microsoft - which I still own and refer to).

Me too!! I had bought Cinemania '96 (yes, actually paid for it!!) when it had first released. I remember listening to all the audio clips on it again and again.

I checked up with Microsoft about this two years ago and they told me it is a discontinued product :(

I still have the CD. I've made numerous copies of it, given it to people I know, backed it up on my laptop and home PC. The wealth of professional information on it is enormous. Think of it as IMDB on the go, but in some ways better because everything is categorized more tactfully. It has a section on movie recommendations by genre, top movie by year, award histories, definitions of every major cinematic term, film history, reviews by 4 critics (including Ebert, Matlin and Kael) of any film from the silent era all the way upto 1995 and even detailed bio's of all major stars and directors all in one 700 MB CD! Priceless.

Btw...the last version released was Cinemania 97, which I have never been able to find.
Narrative is the poison of cinema...There's nothing more beautiful than elusiveness in cinema.

Offline fizz

  • Administrator
  • alfred hitchcock
  • *****
  • Posts: 4897
Re: Film appreciation
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2006, 04:18:PM »
P.S. Jim Emerson was the editor of the CD as well. I guess his credentials with the software qualified him as the top man on Ebert's site.
Narrative is the poison of cinema...There's nothing more beautiful than elusiveness in cinema.

Offline ozzylogic

  • wm citizen
  • alfred hitchcock
  • *****
  • Posts: 3632
  • Coppertop
Re: Film appreciation
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2006, 07:29:PM »
maybe there's a 3rd party application available. I'll search.
"I hate to disappoint you, but rubber lips are immune to your charms."

Offline shariqq

  • Administrator
  • alfred hitchcock
  • *****
  • Posts: 8251
  • You never know...
    • Filmphoria
Re: Film appreciation
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2006, 08:37:PM »
Btw...the last version released was Cinemania 97, which I have never been able to find.

You know - maybe I can get a hold of that. Never persued it properly before. They sure have an in-house back catalogue.
Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world, to not know why you're here. That's - that's just an awful feeling. -- Elijah Price,  Unbreakable (2000)