Did you get in on the film festival?

Leslie Silverman

Since the film festival was just in town I figured I would write about movies. If you missed this year’s film fest you missed an opportunity to support the local arts and independent filmmakers telling a story they find near to them. I am glad I did not miss this opportunity and I hope you didn’t either!

I am a huge movie fan, and I can pretty much sit through anything decent regardless of the genre. I love that movies allow us to escape from our reality or face our greatest fears. A good film can make you laugh at life or at the nature of humanity. It can challenge our perception of reality or create a fantastic world beyond our wildest dreams. Movies can force us to think and feel. Or laugh endlessly.

I especially like true stories where the underdog wins or something unfair takes place. This is always my first “go to” type of movie, followed by rom coms (I am a total sucker for a good rom com). And even though I have seen a few really amazing films as of the endless supply of streamed movies we are all privy to—“The Marriage Story,” “A Simple Favor” and “Hell or High Water” come to mind—my all-time top three film picks are quite old. 

Number one: “Thoroughly Modern Millie!” Say what? Yep...it's an obscure musical starring Mary Tyler Moore and Julie Andrews. There are two plots to this movie and when I first saw it one plot scared me while the other made me smile, so I think that’s why it stays on my list. I have no idea why or how I saw it but I try to watch it once a year. Each time I watch it I find myself singing the songs, still being afraid, and still adoring how it ends! The costume design is outrageous and the scene with Carol Channing singing about diamonds is truly unforgettable!

Another musical takes my second place spot: “The Wizard of Oz.” And if I think about it, it’s really for the same reasons...at some points in the movie I’m afraid, yet I’m always smiling and the songs are fun and easy to chime in on. In some ways the movies are quite similar, since there is more than one plot in this movie, too. “Oz” is so magical and unique. It’s hard for anyone to dislike it and Judy Garland has a breathtaking voice to listen to. It’s funny, because in general I don’t like musicals. But these two are beyond special.

I just watched my third favorite film two weekends ago. It’s called “The Falcon and the Snowman.” I’m a sucker for anything with Sean Penn in it and a sucker for real life stories so this won me over long ago. Penn shows his unique gift to become just about any character a director asks of him to be. And the plot is based on a true story. Watching it in 2020 you can see how far we have things like discrimination and sexual harassment have changed in the last 40 years. 

The above films don’t reflect my inner film nerd, though. I love the Cohen Brothers...by far just the greatest filmmakers ever. I also adore films by Stanley Kubrick, who filmed the moon landing in a Hollywood basement and covered it up by making “2001, a Space Odyssey!” I’ll watch any movie with Ryan Reynolds or Tom Hanks...who both started their careers on TV shows I adored.

I’ve seen every Adam Sandler movie. I became a fan while sitting in a bar in Costa Rica hearing everyone laugh while “Waterboy” played on the TV screen. Up until then I found his humor silly but gave him another chance and am now hooked.

I have never seen “Titanic” or “Jaws.”

I can eat an entire large popcorn by myself at the theater. Don’t test me on this...it’s not a pleasant thing to witness!

If one movie could best describe how I want my life to be it would be “Silver Linings Playbook” or “Dawn Wall,” but I’m not that good of a climber!

Movies, like music, are personal. They tell visual stories for our minds and souls to ponder. Alone, cuddled next to a loved one, on a plane, in a car or at an old fashioned  theater, movies are the essence of ‘merica, and the beloved “Hollywood” other countries are in envy of.  To quote the first band I ever saw live, movies encompass, “A fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes.” Movies allow us to participate in a world in which we don’t have to exist.

“Celluloid heroes never feel any pain. And celluloid heroes never really die.”

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