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For The Love Of Movies... Can We Talk?

by Adam Thompson
May 24, 2013 11:02 AM
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Lucman, 3, in the projection room at one of the open-air theaters on the periphery of Ouagadougou.

We’ve all seen them. Movies that make us feel. Movies that stoke our adrenaline. Movies that make us think, or wonder. Movies that shock us. Movies that surprise us. Movies that inspire us. And movies that make us ask questions like, “Can someone really make soap out of human body fat?”

Above all, movies are meant to entertain. We all want to leave a movie behind with a feeling that we’ve experienced something that everyday life can’t offer. Escape. Vicarious thrills. Insight on a grander scale. Fear, without the danger. Enlightenment. Catharsis. But at day’s end, no one wants ninety or more minutes of their lives wasted by the experience (or do they?).

The film-watching habits of the masses are, despite attempts to quantify them as demographics, as varied as the human race itself. And speaking of race, what of film-watching among peoples of African descent? As many point out here, we are not one monolithic race (except maybe when it’s time to vote for the black guy). Everything in our lives is informed not only by background, education, socio-economic status, location and other variables but also by factors such as parental influence, peer pressure and even the use of mind-altering substances. It’s no different with film.

The question I would like to put forth, first to the full-time staff writers of S&A and then those to whom they would pass the baton is this: WHAT KINDS OF MOVIES MOVE YOU? AND WHY?

The word “movie” is loaded so, to quote the POTUS, let me be clear. Horror fans are moved by a film which scares them and crawls under the skin for days after. Fantasy fans are moved by a film which stretches the limits of their imaginations while providing inspiration for real-world adventures. Romance fans are moved by films in which love conquers all, including cynicism. Documentary fans are moved by how fact, or some variation of it, can be stranger and stronger than fiction.

This conversation is open to everyone, but I’m looking to the most involved members of this community to speak up first – and loudly! – regarding their own experiences with movies. 

We often pitch battles, in the Comments section and beyond, over what kinds of movies are valid/ necessary/ classic/ artistic/ exciting/ worth-the-money, etc. and what kinds are exploitative/ mindless/ low-brow/ inessential/ boring/ fluff, etc. But I suspect that the reasons among us for watching movies, while affirming certain commonalities, are as myriad as the stars.

And worth sharing.

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  • TAZ | May 27, 2013 4:25 PMReply

    Thanks Adam for writing this article....I was hoping you would when CC put it out there for my own selfish reason: I wanted to know who really cared about movies enough to have a dialogue about them. Although there are about 3 people missing that I thought I would see here, I was intrigued with the few that did take up the challenge.

    And can I say Tambay let loose a fly ball right out the box?

    Anywho, its all good in the neighborhood. This has allowed me to let go some of the anger I have with many of these 'posters' because - well - they post to stir it up. It sure isn't about the love of Black Cinema.

    To piggyback off of another poster, movies sometimes show me a new paradigm, a new way of doing things or looking at something, allows me to take part of something I had not thought of, seen, been or done. It allows me to relive and grieve the past, imagine the future and shine a light on the present. Or it allows me to temporarily stop beating myself up, halt negative thinking, or just plain and simply.....waste 2 hours so I can take a deep breathe and watch someone else get the short end of the stick and see how they go about holding on.

    That said, let me - with all the lateness that I let elapse - notate several of my favorite movies. These are not Oscar or even Golden Globe worthy, but they have a certain -UMPH- that spoke to me, for whatever reason I won't/may not disclose. :)

    The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh: This was my intro to basketball and I dare anyone to tell me that watching Dr. J play ball would never evoke emotion. I had my first girl crush with the future Shug Avery, GREAT music, dancing and magic of how a movie can make you FEEL. If you haven’t seen it, it came out on DVD over a year or 2 ago. You have no idea how happy I was because my VHS tape and VCR needed to retire! First of three movies I know every word too.

    The Warriors: Fascinated me with my place of birth, bad guys, drama and big ruby red lips - Lynn let me know early what was up!

    Pretty Woman: The ultimate where you are is not where you need to stay and you can tell your story by the clothes you wear. How you act authenticates or refutes it.

    Coming to America: Pure entertainment about taking a risk and following your ----------. Second of three I know every word to.

    Boomerang: All sorts of Black beautiful people doing it large. Nuff said.

    The Color Purple: Our history is ours, filled with pain and laughter, disappointment and triumph. It is royal and rich as the color purple.....and we should own it and use it to propel us, not tear us down. Third of three.....

    Memento - I adored the way this story was told and I would have never guessed the ending/beginning. This movie blew me away with its creativity and the fact that I did not know who dun it until they revealed it. Like The Usual Suspects.

    Kinky Boots: Chiwetel Elijofor, high heeled shoes and learning to like and trust yourself, your voice and recognizing family isn’t just biological and both have value.

    Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail - the play, not the movie - Music, relationship, trust and ad-libs and telling of men’s secrets. Ahem, oh yeah...and eye candy.

    Eat, Pray, Love - I haven’t figured it out yet. It is speaking to me though.

    The Incredibles - Everyday people who was called to give Extraordinary service. And it is animated.....and I have loved animated movies from then on :)

    Any Bruce Lee movie - The reason why I fell in love with action movies.

  • CareyCarey | May 28, 2013 10:18 PM

    re: Vistors. Yep, my exact thoughts--> " I use of the word possible because you never really know when someone is in character, is plain ornery or says what they think people expect to hear"

    I would add: I am interested in knowing their frame of reference. Take for instance take a look at the title I kicked around--> "Who Is The Black Audience? Don't Ask My Neighbor, Ask ME!". Well, I believe (to a large degree) "we" all get our likes and dislikes, value structure and moral values from our parents. Granted, the world outside our homes play a vital role in our overall development, but in the context of our "entertainment"/movie tastes, I believe those seeds are planted at an early age (in the home). I think Mark & Darla, and Adam's stories attests to that. However, with the invent of the Internet, mega channels and televisions in every room (new generation), my supposition gets a little murky.

    So I was curious to see how each individual acquired their movie tastes. So let me add those I was interested in hearing from.

    Of course I wanted to hear from Tambay and Sergio. They're arguably the loudest voices and the most respected at this blog, so I was hoping BOTH would lead the way. And, I'd have to add Curtis John to that group. I've always admired his sincerity and passion in his posts.

    Now the visitors. But first, I based my choices on their honesty and their writing style. And, I believe they do not harbor a fear of being "different".

    In random order: Gigi Young. Eshowoman. Accidental Visitor. Charles Judson. Bondgirl. Jug. Akimbo. Blutopaz. Geneva Girl. Nadia. Carlton Jordan. Sandra. Miles Ellison, Zaidi Baraka. Scripttease. Andre Seawood. Traci R. Bee. Saadiyah. Bohemian Princess. And... call me strange but, I'd also like to hear from Carl.

  • TAZ | May 28, 2013 9:09 PM

    re: Christopher Nolan: You read TAZ correctly. He did Inception, Insomnia, the Batman trilogy, The Presige and the newest one movie is the Man of Steel. LOL @ Adam. I watched it at home on a 'gotta braid my hair Sunday.' Took me 14 hours because I kept watching the movie.

    re: Visitors. LoL. Yes, they would include Sergio, Nadia, and Blutopaz. Honorable mentions include Charles Judson, Donella, Akimbo and No Brainer. The reason is because their opinion is very often different from mine and this would have been a possible opportunity to get some insight about what they really like. I use of the word possible because you never really know when someone is in character, is plain ornery or says what they think people expect to hear.

    Check your email.

  • CareyCarey | May 28, 2013 1:06 AM

    @ Taz... Yep, we were just talking about you.

    *lol* you have to know I can't do that type of controversy - NO MO'. Let me explain, many years ago, before I was married (but living with a woman) I did bite the fruit from another tree. Well, many folks got hurt because of my selfishness, greed, lust or whatever, so I had to check my game. So honesty - is now my best policy/virtue. Anyway, I'll be looking forward to your mail.

    @ Adam, that "piss" story is hilarious, but now you guys have started something. I did not know Christopher Nolan did Momento. In fact, (if I am reading TAZ correctly) I didn't know he had anything to do with Inception (which I had to watch 3 times to get the full affect, and understanding). In fact, I didn't know anything about a guy named Christopher Nolan. I am serious *lol* but now my nose is open.

    Btw Taz, in your first comment, you were hoping 3 particular visitors showed up. That's interesting because Adam and I talked about how we could "attract" particular readers. So if you don't mind, who would you have chosen to share the movies that moved them, and why?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 28, 2013 12:20 AM

    My first college roommate, a redhead named Andy, asked me if I'd seen "Memento" -- which I hadn't but had heard of.

    Having discovered in him a fellow cinephile, I let him drive me to the Texas Theatre (notable for being the place where Oswald was apprehended after the Kennedy assassination) to see "Memento" -- I for the first time and he for the second.

    I didn't know who Christopher Nolan was at that time, but I soon realized that I was in the grip of a master-in-metamorphosis. I held my piss until the end of the movie but couldn't any longer. As I rose to go to the restroom, Andy grabbed my arm harder than any white man ever had before. "Dude... this is IT." It was the whole "twist" of the movie, but I had to go...

    I actually sprinted to the restroom, peed all over the urinal and raced back just in time to see how the whole thing started. Andy met me at the door as people were leaving, convinced that I'd missed it. It wasn't until we were in the car that I relieved his disappointment. "I didn't miss it, man. And I can see why you'd wanna watch it again."

    Anyway, that memory comes back to me now.

  • TAZ | May 27, 2013 11:57 PM

    I will send something by tomorrow night......but make sure you (I) have permission to do so. Don't start none, won't be none.

  • CareyCarey | May 27, 2013 11:10 PM

    Taz, needless to say, we could have a cup of coffee, or two, or three, talking the night away. ALL of your picks are MY picks, so we could definitely share experiences. You're a very interesting person.

    And btw, thanks for your insight in the Tyler Perry post.

    That reminds me, if you don't mind, could you hit me tomorrow. I need a little feedback/suggestions/advice. I think you have my e-mail address?

  • TAZ | May 27, 2013 10:36 PM

    Absolutely Memento is a favorite! Talk about movies that literally make you think! It was my introduction to Christopher Nolan. I immediately went out and rented Inception. Watched that twice in one day. Now I have to catch up and look at his other stuff.

    My other favorites that I left out: First Sunday, Boyz in the hood, Higher Learning, Talk to Me, Lean on Me, Soul Food, Imitation of Life, A Time to Kill, 12 Angry Men, Presumed Innocent, The Accused, La Femme Nikita , Saturday Night Fever, and Do the Right Thing. There are just so many....and I have many, many DVD’s I have yet to watch that could become a fave.

    I love almost all of Tyler’s plays, Class Reunion being a fave close to Goes to Jail. Now I am sure my eye candy is different from your eye candy. I believe you liked the cheating wife, while I liked her clueless husband and lover. I especially wanted to feel the cross just like Ella!

    I leave you with two of my favorite quotes from Marigold:
    The person who risks nothing - does nothing - has nothing.
    Everything will be alright in the end, and if it is not, then trust me, it is not yet the end. :)

  • CareyCarey | May 27, 2013 7:28 PM

    "movies sometimes show me a new paradigm, a new way of doing things or looking at something, allows me to take part of something I had not thought of, seen, been or done. It allows me to relive and grieve the past, imagine the future and shine a light on the present. Or it allows me to temporarily stop beating myself up, halt negative thinking, or just plain and simply.....waste 2 hours so I can take a deep breathe and watch someone else get the short end of the stick and see how they go about holding on"

    Now damnit Taz, there you go again. That's what I was trying to say, but as usual, you do it so much better. :-)

    Now, so that we don't fall in love (all over again) in the halls of S&A, leading folks to tell us to get a room, I'll try to keep my comment short. But I have to point out what I liked about your favorite movies.

    I guess I'll start with S&A's favorite man to throw on the floor, Tyler Perry. Well, keeping it short, I'll simply say... yes, yes, yes and hell yes! But wait, I don't know if your eye candy looks anything like my eye candy, my my joy of watching "Madea Goes to Jail" is exactly like yours.

    Memento: Stop it! Et tu, TAZ? Listen, I thought my son and I were the only black folks who had that movie in their favorites. Actually, I would have missed it he hadn't suggested I watch it. But let me tell you something, that movie had me from the jump. As you mentioned, I couldn't figure out the ending (because I really didn't understand what was going on) so I had to (and enjoyed) watching it 3-4-5 more times. But wow, wasn't that intriguing storytelling?

    The Color Purple: Ditto-Ditto-Ditto... and my lady knows every-single-line. In fact, just today we were leaving a store and I was walking in front of her. She hit me with a Celie and Mister line which has forced me to take the 5th amendment ;-)

    The Incredibles: Stop it, I looooooove animated movies. Let me count a few of the ways: Up, The Lion King, Bambi ( I cried the first time I saw it), Shrek, 101 Dalmations, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs ( I had a pair of "Sleepy" pajamas), Rango, Toy Story, Ratatouille and the list goes on and on.

    Okay, now I'll give a few of my favorites... and off the beaten path... and don't even ask why... all mixed together. Oh, and they're off the top of my head so, you know.

    Eves Bayou

    The God Father(s)

    Marigold Hotel

    Silver Lining Playbook

    Pootie Tang


    The Lost Weekend

    Things We Lost In The Fire

    Do The Right Thing

    The Color Purple (have to watch it twice a year)

    The Five Heartbeats (will watch it every year)

    On Borrowed Time (old B&W)



    True Romance

    The Wizard of Oz

    Dail M For Murder (and most Alfred Hitchcock)

    As I said, those are just a few that hit my brain. If I had to compile a list of my top 50, many would lose their seat.

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2013 2:40 PMReply

    ALL movies move me -BUT - the devil is in the details! AND, I'm 'bout to 'splain - WHY.

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2013 1:36 PMReply

    What kind of movies, move "me"? And why?

    Well, for me, it's multifaceted, and it's all about emotions. Having said that, it behooves me to take the long way home.

    Those who have been following along know that I suggested, encourage, poked and prodded Adam into writing this post. To a certain degree my reasoning was selfish (I'll get back to that).

    Yet, I was hesitant to comment because I had to asks myself, what was "my" purpose in doing so. Was I again moving a personal agenda? Well, to a large degree that is true. But let me go back to fill in the blind spots of my admitted selfishness.

    Short answer: "Answering your question was a bit of a catharsis. It's good to remember why you do it." ~ Adam Scott Thompson

    Therein lies the root of my selfishness. If I can continually remember why "I" do "it" (whatever that "it" may be) I've come to believe that "it" can be the catharsis which soothes my soul. As that pertains to movies and the query "What movies, move me? And Why?" I have to go back a little bit further.

    As I've said many times (and I'm gonna say it again *smile*) I, like everyone who has been caught in the pounce of life's struggles; that which makes us question our existence, I have managed to maintain my love of watching movies as a form of escape. Not only do I escape, movie watching affords me the opportunity to visit emotions, sights and sounds - much like reading books - that I may not have otherwise experienced.

    See, many years ago I was addicted to narcotics. Yep, I was one of "them" folks. Year after year, although I was trying to get up off the ground, I kept falling down, time-n-time again. To that point, I am reminded of the words of one of S&A's frequent visitors "taking constructive criticism into account is not the same as being shown a better way of doing things. TP needs a mentor that is trustworthy and respectful [and has been down his road... and knows what Tyler needs... and knows how to precisely convey those needs] If I do not know "how", no amount of criticism ... will make me into a good [anything]". She went on to say "In fact, I dare to say most people do not really listen with two ears"...



    In my struggle I heard all the name calling and the ambiguous suggestions of "get off the ground... look what you're doing to yourself... stop doing those drugs... you're not only hurting yourself, you're killing your family". Yes, I heard the criticism/critics (and to a large degree they may have had good intentions) however, as the reader implied, I may have been listening with one ear and to the wrong voices. So, I had to find out why "I" do the things "I" do and who I needed to ask for help. Lord have mercy, that path lead right back to "ME" and my inner conscious. Cont...

  • CareyCarey | May 24, 2013 1:35 PMReply


    See, I used narcotics to block my emotions. At an early age I bought into the ideology (the habit) of KNOWING ( I repeat, OF KNOWING) I could use a substance to change whatever emotions I was feeling (and they work EVERY TIME). So if I was serious ( I was) about ending my self-made prison, I had to take on the never ending journey of figuring out how my emotions affect me. Having gone through that horrible soul searching experience (i.e., admitting that I was wrong, I don't know, I am hurting others beside myself... and I need serious detailed help, etc) I now find myself sharing "What kind of movies, move "me"? And why?" Listen, I know humans do not change their entrenched beliefs and habits until their backs are against the wall. In most cases, it has be proven that they will die rather than "switch". But it's my hope that someone, somehow, some day, will listen to my struggle, take a look deep inside themselves... and then with heartfelt sincerity, ask themselves the question "why do I really do the things I do?"

    Anyway, I've notice many have said they like movies that make them "think" and those that "challenge" them. Well, I am not trying to be mean-spirited, but I view those words as woefully ambiguous. I mean, the begging questions are "think about what?" and to what degree are they being "challenged"?

    Anyway, let me get out of this post before I wear out my welcome (if I haven't already done so *lol*). In light of our many discussions on the intricate nature of the non-monolithic world of the black audience, I suggested to Adam a couple of working titles to this post... "The Black Audience Is Comprised Of Who? Don't Ask My Neighbor – ASK ME!" And, "I's The Babies Daddy. No, I Da Pappy. No, I am The Father Of That Child". The "Father" represents YOU ( each reader at S&A) and the "baby" represents your opinions, likes and dislikes. However, that title may have been too Jerry Springer-ish for this blog. So he put his stamp on, his post.

    Okay, I am being a bit sarcastic, playing on the notion that many believe Shadow and Act is reserved for "critical film" watchers only, when in fact, as their header states; their goal is highlighting cinema of The African Diaspora… nuff said.

    In short, it was my hope that your comments would help burn down that ugly quilt blanket that many throw over the black community, dispelling the notion that all black folks fell from the same apple tree. Come on now, who has not grown tired of repeating, and repeating, and repeating and explaining the same trite phrase "We are not a monolithic group" who may not enjoys that which my neighbor finds enjoyable?

    Finally, Adam said, "I grew up watching whatever my mother watched -- mostly horror and sci-fi (although I never acquired her love of fantasy). Tick-tock, the beat don't stop – Adam, now 30 years old said, he saw Star Trek: Into Darkness with his die-hard Trekkie mother and they both enjoyed it. What? They can’t be, black folks don't – like (nor support) – anything - other- than – comedies.

    Lastly, I have to say this one more time because it captures my complete sentiments in the context of this post. "We [I] support black folk that do what we [I] like, say what we [I] would say, look like we [I] would look, feel like we [I] would feel, stand like we [I] stand, lie like we [I] lie, marry who we [I] would marry, and on and on and on. "

  • CareyCarey | May 25, 2013 2:15 PM

    I was remiss in not mentioning the movies/genre that move me the most... and why.

    As I said, all movies move me, however, without question, some invoke more of my emotions than others, so I'll give a few examples.

    Two days ago I watched Rocket Man. There was plenty of BOOMS, BANGS and WOWS but the emotions they invoke (in me) did not last. Consequently, after leaving the theater, there was emptiness.

    I don't do Horror films (i.e., SAW I II nor III, Texas Chainsaw, Paranormal Activity etc.). Being scared and frightened, are not emotions I wrap my arms around.

    I do enjoy some Tyler Perry movies. His movies invoke several emotions which move me in several ways. First, I do not get involved with the common debates concerning the color of the actors (dark skin vs light skin), the male antagonist vs the female antagonist angle, nor the technical aspects of his films. Heck, my mother is very light-skinned and I am dark brown. I've dated women from near white to blue black (never white), so I've never understood the significance of that argument. But in reference to the emotions his films invoke in me, he gives me plenty. Short answer: He makes me laugh. His music selections (and the performers) take me down several memory lanes of emotion, each giving me their own set of emotions ( i.e., happiness, joy of the memory of a lost loved one, laughter, pain, guilt, remorse, surprise, intrigue, etc.). And, since I can relate to many of the characters in Tyler's movies, I get engaged with their "journey". For instance, I've met all the characters in FCGS and I've seen and experienced several Madea types. But don't get me wrong, Tyler's films are not my first, nor second, nor third, nor my tenth love. I simply find several forms of enjoyment by watching some of his films.

    Moving on: Yesterday I watched Yelling To The Sky starring Yolonda Ross, Zoe Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe, I was "moved" but not that much. I mean, I had empathy for Zoe's character, but that's it. The father was a jerk, but he only got a side-eye from me, but no lasting emotions.

    Dramas, suspense, mysteries and "talkies" are my first love. Talkies (movies centered on loads of dialog) get my first nod. If done right, they can invoke all the emotions I've mentioned, while telling me a story that engages me on several levels. And, I could care less about the color of the actor's skin.

    In short, as I said, all movies move me, but the devil is in the details.

  • CC | May 24, 2013 1:31 PMReply


  • willie dynamite | May 24, 2013 11:37 AMReply

    Movies that move me are the kind that provoke some kind of emotional reaction. I also like films that take twists that I don't expect. We as an audience have seen so many different films that we try to guess what will happen before it happens. It is so refreshing to be proven wrong. I try to enjoy a film as well the first time viewing a film. I try to listen to my gut, and usually my gut knows if a film will be good in the first 5-10 minutes.
    Shawshank Redemption because it shows just how far you can go when YOU believe.
    I Saw the Devil - it showed how quickly we can become what we despise
    Carlito's Way - Loyalty can and will get you killed.
    Sixth Sense - That film will always be in the top five, the twist with Bruce Willis' character, and the scene when the boy tells his mom that her mom was proud of her. Every child wants their parents to be proud of them.
    City of God - the cinematic execution of that story and its ability to tell multiple stories, and give all these characters heart
    American films in trying to appeal to the largest common denominator can get lazy at times so there are some diamonds internationally, The Secret In Their Eyes, and Even The Rain to name a few are great films that have great story, performance, and execution.

  • jasmine | May 23, 2013 8:32 PMReply

    MAN ON FIRE It was on last night. If I didn't have things to do, I would of watched the whole thing. Here Denzel doesn't want to get to friendly with the girl he has to protect and during the course of the movie, he creates a great friendship with her. When she is taken, he goes out on a all out assault on everyone responsible. This is where Directing, Acting, and Writing came together and Tony Scott will be missed...

    MIDDLE OF NOWHERE Put aside that her husband is in prison and you see what a great story this is. When Ruth tells Ruby to hold her head up, I almost broke down with her. Emayatzy Corinealdi deserved a oscar nomination for that role. And the ending in slow motion and that kiss. No director could of made a scene so sensual and beautiful then that. Except Ava.

    AMOUR was powerful. I love foreign films. I watch them as often as I can. French, Spanish, Italian...
    Here is a story that could star us black folks. An elderly couple. Their daughter. Only a few main characters. A compelling love story. One opening shot of a classical piano performance. A 'usual' director would have the camera at the piano. Not Michael Haneke.

    An intelligent love story with poetry and jazz. Made sixteen years ago?! Where have all the cool black writers gone?

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 24, 2013 12:56 AM

    Oh and LOVE JONES? The director hasn't made a film since then and even if he doesn't EVER make another film his legacy is set!

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 24, 2013 12:54 AM

    Jasmine I think MAN ON FIRE is Tony Scott's Magnum Opus! I wrote more on the NBE blog. Search my name and Tony Scott.

    I reviewed MON on the NBE blog as well. Search my name again. On Twitter I described that scene you spoke of as "lyrical".

    This is what I said in my Oscar picks of who I think SHOULD win. "Jessica Chastain was really great in Zero Dark Thirty and carried the whole picture; Jennifer Lawrence was great as ever in Silver Linings Playbook and one of the best things about the film, and Quvenzhané Wallis…she was truly remarkable at such a young age. I really loved her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but if there was a better performance by an “Actress in a Leading Role” than Emmanuelle Riva in Amour in cinema 2012—I haven’t seen it. "

    Amour was a truly great film that will rip your heart out. A co-worker always gets film recommendations from me, wouldn't you? LOL, and I refused to tell her about Amour because she had to bury her mother after a long illness. She asked me on her own about the film because of the Oscar buzz and I told her she don't even need to worry about that one.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 24, 2013 12:04 AM

    Good stuff! Thanks for taking the time.

  • tamara | May 23, 2013 7:51 PMReply

    WHAT KINDS OF MOVIES MOVE YOU? AND WHY? - the kind of movies that make me think. they move me because they make me think. basically any movie by tarkovsky or antonioni and any filmmaker influenced by those filmmakers. also action movies move me because they are actiony; especially the action movies with a high level of drama and perhaps a deeper level intensity for the sake of message...something like Looper or Rise of the Planet of the Apes. likewise, scary movies move me...from my seat because they are scary (if they are any good and few scary movies released in the last decade have been).

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 24, 2013 12:43 AM

    I saw the V/H/S films (1 &2) and they offered me genuine scares unlike Paranormal Activity etc. They are both "found footage" films, but 2 has less shaky camera than 1. Worth checking their trailers online.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 24, 2013 12:02 AM

    Tarkovsky is the truth. As far as horror films, that last one I saw that really unsettled me (it's hard to be genuinely scared anymore) was "The Strangers" in '08.

  • Tambay | May 23, 2013 5:53 PMReply

    Ok, I'll bite. To be brief, what's actually interesting in my case is that the more I've learned about cinema, the less I'm a fan of it. I know that probably sounds strange, especially given that I write about this stuff. But I actually kind of miss the days, years ago, before I became a "student of cinema," to borrow Dankwa's words below, when I was just a plain old fanboy, and I enjoyed movies as movies, and nothing more. They weren't the intellectual exercise that they are now for me - an unshakable, innate habit, you could say, because I instinctively strip every movie I see down to its core, and almost always find several things that I consider problematic - enough to either easily dismiss them and their relevance, or, at times, be downright insulted by them (and not necessarily for obvious reasons, but usually because of how thoughtless, or empty they are). And so the experience of watching movies for me is rarely an enjoyable one, and I actually see a lot less than you'd think I do, since cinema is what I write about.

    All that said, I can be very cerebral, so anything that tickles my intellect will usually have my attention. I like to be challenged, because I think that's how, in part, you learn, evolve, etc - all of which I value highly. I know that's probably not specific enough, but it's a start.

    I also tend to veer more and more these days towards the fringes when it comes to movies; I guess radical (as radical as movies can be). Much of what I see, especially released over the last 20 to 30 years, starts to blend together; very little actually really stands out to me. So I think I impulsively gravitate towards films that the mainstream (and maybe even the indies) would consider risque or "out there." I think my brain just craves something, anything, that looks and feels *different*; that doesn't blend in. I like to be made to feel uncomfortable (no matter the genre), and it's rare that a movie does that for me these days. I can safely say that I could probably skip 90% of the movies commercially released this year, and wouldn't feel like I've missed very much at all.

  • You Gotta Be Kidding Me | May 28, 2013 1:54 AM

    I could turn it off myself. But I knew this about you, Tambay. It's obvious. I just wonder where you actually fit in. Even the nastiest film critic can turn it off. And infusing this mentality into the making of a film can be counterproductive as this the film industry, and when you take people's money to make your art you should be thinking making their money back. So, if you're no good as a film critic or a filmmaker, then where do you actually fit in?

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 24, 2013 12:39 AM

    I hear you Tambay, but you can't turn it off? I can because I find myself critiquing the film than enjoying it. Again, the second and successive viewing is where the breakdown occurs.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 23, 2013 7:34 PM

    I wonder if you ever have the same problem I do.

    Being used to a diet of formula films that follow three-act structure, genre conventions, audience expectations, etc., I find it hard to process films where plot or resolution take a back seat (or get put in the trunk). "The Tree of Life" or "The Master," to cite recent examples.

    Doesn't mean I reject them or think less of them. I just have to go back and re-watch them, less to enjoy them again than to see if I can fully comprehend them -- like an ambiguous painting or sculpture.

    I also have to re-watch non-English language films because Round 1 is just reading the subtitles. "In the Mood for Love" is one of my favorite films of the last fifteen years, but only after repeated viewings.

  • Dankwa Brooks | 'Nother Brother Entertainment | May 23, 2013 5:07 PMReply

    And to answer the main question specifically: As a student of cinema any film that can have an original take on a story through dialogue and situations and great performances. They move me.

    As a filmmaker great direction, score and cinematography don't hurt none.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 23, 2013 7:28 PM

    Great feedback!

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 23, 2013 5:03 PMReply

    Movies went from being entertainment to be being my life's study as an adult. I even got my Bachelor's Degree in—film.

    Even as a filmmaker I try to watch a film for the first time for the pure enjoyment. Upon successive viewings I might break it down, but the first time—pure enjoyment.

    I love American film so much that while I admit it does seem to declined there still seems to be a strong indie film movement that has come up great ways to sustain American film.

    Yes it's highly political and personality themed, but the Academy Awards seem to pick some great American movies to nominate each year! I have made a concerted effort to see all nominated films and each one wholly deserved th recognition. Really good to excellent films!

    The reason I studied film though is because of the dearth of QUALITY black product that didn't fall into what genre Hollywood was green lighting at the moment be it "hood films" or the "upwardly mobile black romance" (Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar etc). I'm like we can have a propogation of diverse images out here...if we try.

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 24, 2013 12:34 AM

    I agree Adam. Just like history we have significant stories to tell! I knew about Jackie Robinson, but no lie I waited until the movie came out to learn more about him. The story in '42' was only a glimpse into a great man and story!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 23, 2013 7:27 PM

    Simpatico regarding those tired black genres. The hood film has regressed(?) to Redbox releases, but the black romance (or romantic comedy) is still king in Hollywood -- where films about us are concerned.

    I do think that we are capable of making different kinds of films. Imagine "Drive" with a black actor rather than Ryan Gosling, or a Black Panther film that was every bit as action-packed and nuanced as "Iron Man." Or even a "hood film" about a crime family like the Chambers Brothers out of Detroit; their story (the basis for "New Jack City") could rival "The Godfather" -- and it actually happened!

  • EP | May 23, 2013 1:05 PMReply

    First of all, for the past 10+ years movies have sucked ass. I last great film I saw was "The Warrior" with starring Irrfan Kahn. I get more entertainment from Youtube Web Series.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | May 23, 2013 7:21 PM

    Assuming they didn't suck...

    What kinds of movies do you like (genre/era/a particular movement, etc.)? Does film provide you with anything other than just entertainment? What are the movies you would like to see made?

    And what is it about the past decade of filmmaking that leaves you dissatisfied?

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