Over the last two days I’ve watched three well-made but very different movies — A Mighty Wind, the newest remake of Pride and Prejudice, and Children of Men — and it got me thinking about my taste in movies. I’ve always said that I can pretty much find SOMEthing to like about every movie, whether it be costumes or camerawork or special effects.  I’m also very interested in movie “chatter” – I like Premiere and Entertainment Weekly and make my daily trips to IMDB and Cinematical. The plain fact is that I love movies, I love watching movies, and I like thinking about movies. I am pretty sure this comes from a childhood spent obsessively watching movies (on Beta, natch) until they were committed to memory, credit music and all. Anything that took up that much time and brainspace MUST be worthwhile, right?

The thing about these particular three movies is that they were all good examples of what they were “supposed” to be and I fell right into them all, with little trouble switching gears between them. I doubt anyone would rent Pride and Prejudice and be shocked at the romantic wordplay and swoony resolutions, or be surprised by the frank grittyness presented by Alfonso Cuaron,  and A Mighty Wind did exactly what it was supposed to do to me – it made me laugh out loud and then made me want to listen to my folk and bluegrass albums.  I’m just not sure if my willingness to be pulled deeply into all of these worlds within hours of each other speaks more of the power of these movies, or of the willingness (weakness?) of my brain to slip quickly into the false worlds and suspensions of belief required in truly satisfying movie-watching. If the latter, then I’m sure it is due to years and years of practice accepting whatever the artists were trying to convey as worth my time and effort.

I also watched 3 other great movies in the last two days (hey, it’s winter break): Guys and Dolls, West Side Story and 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. Ah the secret is out, I love the musicals.  Now these are three particularly great musicals and they also happen to be three very different kinds of movies. Yes, there is singing and dancing in all, but the difference in feeling and emotion between 7 Brides and West Side Story is as wide as the difference between Children of Men and A Mighty Wind. Don’t get me started on people who declare all musicals unworthy – they have not given musicals a chance. You don’t have to love them, or get them, or choose them, but you do have to appreciate the artistry. But that is a rant for a different day.

My point is this (yes, I have one): I think my early childhood  exposure to the highly improbable and essentially fantastical worlds of musicals (and pretty much any other movie I could get my hands on) honed my brain to be more easily adaptable to other kinds of films.  I have no proof, and I doubt anyone would take the time to study such a thing, but it’s better than even money that those formative years had something to do with it.

Makes me worry about the kids today growing up on Wife Swap and Scary Movie 4. Who is going to make my movies for me when I’m 70?

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