Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Bunch of Words About Movies

I must be on the same brain-wave as my friends as they have recently blogged about movies as well. I put it off but decided to write about movies anyhow. I didn't use to care very much about movies. In fact, I think actors are given way too much credit for what they do. I've always preferred to live so that I'm busy enough with my interests that I don't know what's playing in the theaters or even what the films are about.

I'm in a lost state right now. Meaning, I know things have to change soon but I don't know how. I'm going somewhere but I don't know where. And during this time I have latched on to movies. Some people like to drink, my wife has candy and now I like to have movies ready to watch at all times. My wife is terrified of sharks so I bought that movie "Open Water" for $5 about stranded scuba divers in shark infested waters. That's just what we do. I don't know why.

I thought I was on my way to being a movie buff but just reading my friends blogs about movies reveals that I have been outclassed. I don't know that many movies nor do I really have the urge to search them out. I'll just watch whatever and hope I can find something of value in them. The trick is to be very, VERY forgiving. If you assume a movie is going to be awful then the odds are good you will be pleasantly surprised. I watched Sweet Home Alabama this weekend. I'm willing to say it was OK, so long as I keep from my mind that the film did nothing to make me think fondly of "the south," that Reese Witherspoon did nothing to assure her first husband that him becoming successful was not important, nor that the actions of the characters are rational ways for anyone to behave in a serious relationship: it is not good advice for impressionable minds that you should leave your fiance for some dude you haven't seen nor talked to for seven years.

I think acting has much more to do with your personality than talent. It's not very impressive that people can pretend well. It's like being rewarded for being a good liar. It is, however, very unimpressive when they can't act. I've wanted to see Cold Mountain since it was released and just barely watched it. I was surprised to see Jack White from The White Stripes in the movie. He did fine. Why is it so hard for so many actors to act well?

I love the scene in "The man who knew too little" where Bill Murray thinks he's in a "pretend" conspiracy. He's in a car with a girl and she's crying because her partner was killed. Thinking she's an actor, Bill says, "Are you crying? You guys are good. Did you poke yourself in the eye? Are you thinking, 'my dog is dead'? 'My dog... is dead!'" Bill Murray cracks me up so bad. Anyway, I'm the world's biggest and worst movie fan right now.

Making movies is different. There was a guy at my last job. He was crazy. Bizarre. He taped his eyelids up at night to stay awake. But making movies was his passion. I imagine he took a lot of meds and frequently spaced-out with a shit-eating grin on his face. He changed a part in a Vampire/Western movie so I could be in it. I played an Indian. I had no lines and two death scenes (one as a mortal, one as a vampire). We went to a mineshaft in Big Cottonwood Canyon to shoot for a day. The scene was me and a vampire killing eachother. I took it seriously. Too seriously, as I found out, because the strange guy likes extra-hokey, over-acting. If I knew that I would have done some hooting and gone all wild-eyed. The girl who played the vampire was a bartender who just liked to act on the side. She was good. She looked like a fool but she stayed in her vampire character the whole time, wiggling her fingers, hissing, rocking from side to side. We shot the part where I ran up and stabbed her several times, then we had to get some close shots of my hand plunging the stake into her heart. The bartender got mad at me and said, "What are you doing? What's with that big old smile?" I said, "We're just filming my hand... it's okay to smile." But I think smiling was distracting to her. The vampire movie didn't get finished. They scrapped it.

That strange-movie-maker quit his job. In the usual fashion, on the day he received his final stock options he walked in, put his stuff in a box and walked out. Didn't talk to anyone. They say he went to Chicago to make more movies. Before that, he gave me a film to watch. It was three films: One documentary about a strange kid from Beaver, Utah and two remakes of that documentary with Sean Penn and Crispin Glover. The Beaver Kid was some strange kid who wanted to be famous really bad and showed up in Salt Lake in the early 80's to check out the new News helicopter. A camera man came out to talk to him and filmed the event. The Beaver Kid invited the camera man to come to Beaver to see him perform a song dressed as Olivia Newton John. Very strange. The real Beaver Kid was cooler than both the performances by Penn and Glover. I think writers and directors deserve more credit.

My little sister said she wants to make movies. She goes to college next year. I told her she would have to go all out if she wants to accomplish anything. It's not something you will succeed at if you do it half-assed.


Native Minnow said...

Hmmm. I wonder if I knew the Beaver kid. It probably depends on which part of the 80s that movie came out in.

Don't worry about not being a movie buff. I wouldn't go to anywhere near as many if I still lived with my kids. For me they're just a distraction for how boring my life can be. I still refuse to see the ones that I know are just crap. If I have to pay $10 to get in, I have to feel like it was worth it.

ShootingStar said...

Well first, I have to claim that I just posted a blog about a movie, but it was BEFORE I read this one and realized blogging about movies has become a trend in this blogging circle.

Anyway, I'm curious about your comment that acting is more about personality than talent. It is an interesting idea, but I don't know if I get your meaning completely. Do you mean your acting is good if the role fits your personality? Or that you are a good actor if you have a good personality?

Also, you know crazy people! I just don't seem to meet people who tape their eyelides open.

PsychoIntern said...

Who was that one kid who was the Ranger's son? WAs that Larry or Gary? He used to dress in really bright clothing, bow ties, and Coach White would always make fun of his wide arcing rainbow motions with his hands. He was in debate and drama...He had a hot sister that was a cheerleader (I think)...I was pretty young back then, but I wonder if it was him.

PsychoIntern said...

Also, suggest to your sister that she not tape her eyelids open...

flieswithoutwings said...

Gary or Larry does sound right. I bet you're on the right track.

PsychoIntern said...

I think I am thinking of Larry Smith...I don't think he was the one in the movie, although he had the personality to be in it...really flamboyant. Was the guy in the movie blonde?

flieswithoutwings said...


Here's a link to an article about "The Beaver Trilogy" with some pictures. It looks like the guys name was Richard. You gotta be careful if you're gonna run a google search on this topic.

PsychoIntern said...

We moved to Beaver in 1980, so I never knew this guy... Too bad it wasn't Larry White or Smith or whatever his name was...that would have been interesting.