I love movies. They transport me almost as much as books do. When I was a kid my Mom — who loved movies so much, she would watch the Academy Awards every year then inexplicably record every winner in red ledgers she’d keep under her bed — use to take me out to the movies almost every weekend. We’d also watch at least one black and white film at home on our little television set every week during which she’d introduce me to the stars and directors of old Hollywood as if she knew them personally.
Interestingly when we’d go out to a contemporary film Mom would take me to see ANYTHING, it didn’t matter what the rating. I’ll never forget the time we went to see The Exorcist. I was young but, close enough in age to Linda Blair to feel some camaraderie. During a particularly intense scene I remember turning around to scan the audience and seeing all the adults in the room clearly terrified, made me feel strangely empowered because for once, I wasn’t scared at all. Seeing scary stuff as a kid used to always terrify me. Seeing Jaws by myself, as a very young adult, was the cure. I love the ocean so if I could deal with the first ten minutes of that film — by myself — I could handle anything on the screen.
I don’t get to the movies as often anymore. TV and computers offer too many opportunities to forgo both the travel and cost of going out to the movies. Also my teenage daughter, Ms. Z., doesn’t love movies as much as I do. She particularly hates anything that could be considered horror, violent, emotionally wrenching, gratuitously sexual, or has a morose ending which effectively eliminates most films. My god-daughter and my daughter’s best friend — since they were both three and met on a street corner — Ms. H. is, practically a film aficionado. Her Father works close to the biz, consequently she’s been watching film with a critical eye since she was old enough to say “reel”. Also, unlike my daughter, she is completely open to seeing anything and everything. For my birthday, Ms. H. took me to see Django Unchained. A few months ago she and I went to see Fruitvale Station. On both occasions Ms. Z., knowing enough about the films to know they’d tear her up, refused to go but wished us well as we walked out the door.
I do like seeing films with both girls. Their perspectives and critiques are not only completely different from each other’s as well as mine, they’re interesting and fun on their own merits. We have the most delicious conversations after seeing a film together and that is where the idea for Movie Sound Bites (MSB) was born. I thought it might be amusing reading some of these conversations so if we have a good one I’ll script it.
This might be a good time to expand on my descriptions of the cast of MSB. You already know about me I have an about page after all. Ms. Z. is considering acting as a possible career path and Ms. H. has considered becoming a filmmaker; both girls write creatively and are good at it for their age group. Physically, I’d start by saying Ms. Z. is biracial and looks it but she often refers to herself as being black or African-American; Ms. H. is white of possibly German ancestry, although I don’t get the feeling that information is an important factor in her life. Both girls are a little reserved, a little more than conventionally attractive, straight but, curiously without boyfriends at the moment, smart — both intellectually and in a no-nonsense Brooklyn girl kind of way– and very grounded for 16 year olds. They both have flaws, as we all do. However, in my opinion, they are both basically freaking awesome.
We don’t get to the movies together more than once every 6-8 weeks. However, the girls and I have a standing date to see anything Joseph Gordon Levitt is in together — the minute it opens — just because. They think he’s cute and I’ve liked almost everything he’s done from 3rd Rock from the Sun to his latest venture, a terrific film he wrote and directed called, Don Jon. If you’ve never seen him in a little indie called The Lookout with Jeff Daniels, rent it. It’s a terrific film but also, you may begin to understand why we like him enough to even see him in something that’s only so so, like Premium Rush.
Ms. Z. in particular will often make choices about what film she sees on the basis of the cast so it shouldn’t have been surprising that she told me she wanted to see Carrie despite knowing the plot. A huge Stephen King fan, I’d insisted both girls read Carrie years ago. In middle school my daughter was bullied briefly so encouraging revenge fantasies didn’t seemed wholly inappropriate; besides King wrote the tale specifically to honor, or maybe just remember, some girls he knew in school that were like Carrie and I support that.
Ms. Z. has been a huge fan of Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays Carrie, since a bizarre but funny film called Kick Ass. Ms. Z. wanted to see Carrie on that basis even though she knew there were parts that would be hard for her to stomach. As for Ms. H and I, we were gleefully all in, from the get go.
Click here for the very first movie sound bites, it’s of our conversation after viewing Carrie (2013) last Friday, the night the film opened. Warning: there are spoilers but jeez you already know what happens don’t you?