When Jenny and I started dating we went through all the normal getting to know you conversations. What kind of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite TV show? If stranded on a deserted island, what five books would you want with you? And of course, what are your favorite movies? Our society has developed in such a way that movies have become an integral part of dating another person. It’s a shorthand way to establish common interests and upbringings. It’s a shared experience that opens discussion. It’s about as cliche a first date as one can find. Pretty early on in our relationship, Jenny asked if I had ever tried to watch all the movies on the AFI top 100. I said no, but I had the list printed out and had always wanted to try. So we decided to try together. We took AFI’s tenth anniversary Top 100 American Movies list and made the agreement that we would start at #100, Ben-Hur, and work our way to #1, Citizen Kane. But of course, that wasn’t enough. Being that we both enjoy writing, being that we already both had blogs of our own, being that we needed something to keep us on task and make this whole experience a bit more enjoyable, we decided to create a blog that showed two perspectives on AFI’s list. We will watch the movies together and then write separately about our experiences and reactions. Hopefully, you guys, the readers, will get two different view points and two different reading experiences.
I’m a self-proclaimed movie buff. I didn’t go to film school and I haven’t kept up with the latest trends in Iranian cinema, but I enjoy watching movies, analyzing the story and film-making techniques, and discussing them with people. I’ve watched a ton of movies and enjoy nothing better than sitting down for a few hours and losing myself in a world of someone else’s creation. Some may say that this is a form of avoiding my own existence, but really that’s neither here nor there. I’m not going to change the world with my thoughts on a movie or a director’s style, but I have my opinions and I love to share them and hopefully they cause someone out there to think or agree or get really pissed off.
I’ve learned quickly that watching movies with Jenny is a different experience than I am used to. At times it will take a month to watch something that should really only last two hours. I’ll be sure to include when I think that has changed or affected my thoughts on a film. I’m not saying this is solely a negative. Taking time to digest certain scenes may enhance the viewing experience. We will have to wait and see.
I like movies enough. But compared to Jon, I’m no movie buff, not even an amateur one. I won’t comment on cinematography or light or the repeated use of oranges in various scenes unless it’s something that has been pre-brought to my attention, and it’s relevant to my review. I won’t fake any knowledge here. Still, I will try to provide a thorough and sincere write up of each movie from my perspective.
Fact is, I do get bored easily. Jon and I have watched movies that are a little on the slow side, and a scenario like this might play out: I’ll begin by looking around the room, thinking about other things I need to do, when was the last time I saw my checkbook, or where the Christmas tree should go this year, and then I start to notice Jon and how much he is still watching the movie. Then I wonder how long I can stare at the side of his face before he notices I’m staring at him. Then I realize that he already knows I’m staring at him, but he’s doing his best to ignore me and concentrate on the movie. And I don’t say that to be mean, he doesn’t generally ignore me, but he knows that I’ve begun to lose interest in the movie, but he’s very good at concentrating (he does it all the time!) and can do it even with someone staring at him blinking loudly, such as during a long movie or a four-hour lecture on classroom management and the dangers of over-lecturing.
It’s usually at that point that Jon and I come to terms with our take on the movie to that point. His, “slow, building, intense” is usually my “good God when will this end?!”
Jon is always very kind when he finally does acknowledge me and my face staring. He has also never argued with me when I can’t take it anymore and must go to bed and finish the damn movie tomorrow. I will try not to push this too far.
When I met Jon I realized he’s not only seen almost anything that’s ever been made (with the exception of a few “ICBYNS”*) but he’s also very into movies, which I think is great. For him. 🙂
It’s true, I can have a pretty hard time sitting through movies. I’m getting better though. I went through a phase in which I was a complete psycho and could not do fewer than three things (badly) at the same time, including dishes and writing and watching a movie and organizing my sock drawer. Good news: I’ve calmed down a bit and have taken to things such as doing one thing at a time, sometimes, whether it be finishing a book, a movie, or painting a room in under four years. I am excited to watch these movies, referred to as classics, for reasons I’m going to find out. I’m looking forward to freely writing in the second person, including sentence fragments, without so much as a care in the world. I’m looking forward to being able to discuss, in passing, these movies at a cocktail party over a tall frosty guava soy lime concoction. But mostly I’m looking forward to embarking on this adventure with Jon, and with you, dear reader.
- ICBYNS: “I Can’t Believe You Never Saw” movies– movies where one person CANNOT COMPREHEND that the other person NEVER SAW THAT OBVIOUS THAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS SEEN IT movie. The kind of movie where one of the following must be true:
– Something is wrong with you; you were raised wrong, or raised by animals (i.e. not being allowed to watch E.T.)
– You do not have any friends, or your friends lived in the same protective shoebox that you lived in, growing up
– You have a very secret special reason for refusing to watch this movie. Like your name is Jon and you became enraged at the fanfare that accompanied Titanic. And then you spent the next 17 years bragging about how you “won’t ever watch it.” And then you meet Jenny…
– You were kidnapped and held in the back of a truck while Everyone Else of Earth watched that movie. This happened to Jenny with The Princess Bride. No one has any actual evidence of the truck.