Me and My Movies: a Personal Essay

Updated on May 4, 2018
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

In Memory of a Movie Era when It Was still Rightfully Called the Seventh Art
In Memory of a Movie Era when It Was still Rightfully Called the Seventh Art

A Pastime Changing along with People

Movie making used to be called the seventh art before it became an industry. Like in every industry, product is pretty much dictated by the demand; and thanks to the sex-and-violence oriented public seeking immediate thrills, that's what defined that demand.

It didn't take long to those market wizards of Hollywood to figure how it was way too long for viewers to wait for that single kiss that was usually reserved for the end of the romantic stories in that more conservative era.

So now they waste no time to dump a horny couple on a bed as if out of nowhere already the first few minutes into the movie---just to put viewers in the mood for watching on, and to make popcorn taste better.

Likewise, what used to be saved in action movies for the last scenes of that final victory of good over evil---now, if nobody gets killed soon after the director's name leaves the screen, then the movie is not worth watching.

Ever since I quit smoking, coffee, Coca-Cola, and some stimulating foods, I am using these movies to perk me up a little---meaning that I need something from time to time to kick my ass out of my chronic meditative calm.

Whether it serves only as a good excuse or not, but I like thinking of it as my way of securing some extra testosterone in my bloodstream at this age of early seventies. Other old farts may obtain it by arguing with their spouses, or watching political crap and getting all pissed off, which translates to a "fighting spirit" and provides a squirt or two of testosterone out of their deteriorating groins.

I don't do any of it, while letting some other idiots on movie screen fight, and then I just take the side of the stronger one.

My Heroes Always See Happy Endings
My Heroes Always See Happy Endings

Insisting on a Winning Hero

I would call it the only downside---I have to do my real best not to analyze and fish for silly mistakes in the making of a movie.

So here you see this "highly experienced ex-CIA operative" in a gun fight with some bad guys, let's say a dozen of them making a big noise with their machine-guns. And our experienced hero is standing out there not taking any cover, just saved by the good heart of the screen-writer from all that shower of missing bullets.

I call them crap-on-a-cracker movies---if you ever watched one. And I would probably switch the channel to the weather report, but I can't abort my mission of...you know what---yes, taking care of my testosterone levels.

One thing that I appreciate in all action-packed movies is the superb use of special effects, visual and audial. However, since too much of good thing is not good either, you may not catch me watching one of those fantasies, Harry Potter style. The last one I watched, and actually enjoyed it was "Avatar".

My wife and daughter love those kinds of movies. While I have my back turned to all that action sitting by my laptop, I can hear every version of "Wow...oh...ah...did you see that? Don't!.. don't you dare kill that princess!"

One of my favorite movie genres is "who-done-it" type of mystery suspense. Maybe because I am basically an individualist and I don't care much for team work, those joint investigating efforts of a whole police department are not my cup of tea.

I want a single hero in my movie. It's O.K. if his ass gets kicked a little, it adds to the realism of the story, but at least I know I won't have to feel sorry for any of those cops who may get sacrificed just for the effect of making the viewer pissed enough at the villain.

So, needless to say, I need my hero to end up somewhere on a tropical resort sun bathing with his female partner, after he used that last bullet in his gun to finish off that bad, bad character. My hero just has to win.

Tragedies of War---Shame of Mankind
Tragedies of War---Shame of Mankind

No Dramas and Wars for Me

I can't stand dramas, soap operas, women or children being mistreated. There is enough of that in real life, and seeing that stuff also in movies doesn't get my interest. Now, you may say that such movies are merely an artistic depiction of reality.

But then you may get me going for a few minutes---for which I don't have a space here, except that I will be very clear about "reality"---it's something that we are creating for ourselves using the material of factual variety. While there surely is a shaded side of the street, the sunny side is just as "real", and I am choosing that one.

Another movie theme where I might get carried away putting it down is the one exploiting war. I don't even understand why those movies are still being made, as they are depicting the ugliest possible side of our humanness.

War movies are shaming our name of homo sapiens, along with our human history filled with those bestial examples of mass killing of innocents. It's not about human heroism, it's about blind obeying of some psychotic politicians.

I truly get disgusted seeing those video games produced for kids with tanks and other war machinery enthusing their young imagination with thrills of killing.

O.K., I finally located that "Stop" button in my mind.

Not with the same feelings, of course, but I also happen to dislike those musicals. Search me, but I don't know why I find it a sort of ridiculous to see one person telling something to another, and then continuing with a song. Then the other person responding with their own song in that "musical conversation".

Maybe I developed that dislike while first seeing an opera, where it appears even more weird. Man, when you talk---talk, and when you sing---sing.

Laughter---Still the Best Medicine
Laughter---Still the Best Medicine

Humor Is a Balsam to Our Souls

One of the most enjoyable movie genres to me are action comedies. I think I saw "Rush Hour" a good dozen times. Whether just witty lines or slapstick, I don't care. I never analyze those movies and there is nothing I won't forgive, all the way to defying gravity, rising from dead, and just shaking the dust off after being run over by car.

To be honest to you, I think so highly about comedians that I would give them Nobel Prize for Peace and also for Medicine. Humor is one of the most precious treasures of our nature.

Sometimes I get in this mood to almost giving it advantage over intelligence, because those smart asses can sometimes really piss you off. I will always forgive a funny fool more than a genius creating a new weapon of mass destruction.

I love those oldies with Marx Brothers, because they always catch me in a relaxed enough state so that I don't think how moronic they really are in those movies. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in those "Road to..." series of movies were another treat.

I hope you all agree that movies are still a better entertainment than following political reports. O.K., maybe I should take this back---there must be many of you who just don't compare fiction to that real and very important stuff called politics.

Although, if you know me by now, you also know how I tend to see politics as fiction as well.

One thing I forgot to mention. I watch all my movies on my TV from new video releases. I don't go to theatres, for the same reason why I don't go to wedding receptions---whenever I can avoid it.

Namely, both are way too noisy for me. I only have 60% of my hearing left, all the way since my young age when I was an army drill sergeant exposed to frequent firing and some detonations. I am trying to save as much of my hearing as I possibly can.

Or maybe it was also due to daily listening to that crap coming from my comrades and officers. Being a pacifist I just went through the motions of all that had to be done during my army obligation. Looks like I did it convincingly enough to be promoted into sergeant.

Now, back to the movies, now you may get an additional insight in my aversion for wars---I handled all those tools of killing and destroying, even got me a medal for excellent marksmen in all disciplines. How is that for a pacifist, lol? Maybe that's why I like movies---it's all make-believe, and so was my army experience.

Well, as you could tell from this little essay about my movie watching, I didn't try to be anything like normative, telling anybody which movies "should" be considered as more worth watching.

We all have our different tastes, and I will be delighted to hear about your own in the space provided for comments.

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    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 2 weeks ago from Canada

      Bill---You said it. Many a movie that I saw was greatly saved either by acting or script. Some character-actors/actresses are a treat watching in practically any movie. They make everything look so hypnotically real.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 2 weeks ago from Canada

      Linda---Science fiction is good, especially when it explores those mysteries of life usually shunned by science which won't go somewhere where they don't have much to say (yet), like paranormal phenomena, teleportation, healing, etc.

      Fantasy in movies is usually an easy watching, and it always makes me think about richness of human imagination---while so little utilized in people's private lives, where they prefer sticking to prosaic realism.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 2 weeks ago from Canada

      Lela---It's good to hear that more people enjoyed "Avatar". To me it had an additional meaning, as I thought of some possible future generations when people might outgrow their limitations and (by some miracle) turn into god-like creatures.

      Fantasizing doesn't hurt, otherwise I would be full of bruises.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I rarely watch movies any more, but when I do I generally like to watch science fiction or fantasy films. Like you, I enjoyed Avatar.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 2 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Two words - Hieronymous (Harry) Bosch. Your writing reminds me of Connely's excellent detective and observer of life.

      Avatar was one of the best movies I have seen in a while. You have great taste.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      An enjoyable romp through your min, Val! Thanks for sharing. I would be hard-pressed to narrow my movie choices down to a particular genre. I really just enjoy a good script and terrific acting,no matter the genre.

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