A film study

Oscar PosterI came to Star Wars late in life.

I know my parents watched them, and I was in the room. I vaguely remembered scenes and I knew the oft-quoted lines. I understood that one move had furry things in it and another movie had a giant explosion. But my knowledge ended there.

So in high school, during the great Remastering, I embraced the movies. They were re-released to theatres, and I had the joy of watching each movie for the first time, again. The Phantom Menace was released shortly after. I understood the draw.

At least, I did for a while. To me, Star Wars was an indulgence best enjoyed warm. As time cooled the series, I cooled to its allure. I found holes in the logic and grew tired of the fans. I enjoyed each Star Wars movie the first time around, which is more than I can say for a lot of movies, but haven’t felt the need to revisit them aside from an attack of nostalgia.

The Academy Awards – yes, the entire batch of them – feel the same way, apparently. AdFreak points out the fact that, aside from Star Wars (which was a technological marvel at the time of its release) the series has come up rather empty at the Oscars. Naturally, no one is going to nominate Hayden Christensen for an Academy Award, but you’d think they’d have more going in the costume/CG/box-office-earnings-to-logical-dialogue-ratio departments, wouldn’t you?

As if Oscar night felt a little sorry for the sci-fi classic, they tipped their hat to the Star Wars series through this year’s Oscar Awards Promotional Poster – designed by Drew Struzan, the very man who designed all of those sweet Star Wars posters.

(Whoa, whoa – wait a minute here. Corey, why the hell are you talking about Star Wars? Have you gone mad? What is this? I demand an explanation!)

Okay, okay. No. I haven’t gone mad. It’s just that, well, the Oscars are coming up in a month and a half, and I always seem to feel a surge of excitement over the awards ceremony.

Which is odd, since I watch about six new movies a year.

I’ve never been a movie junkie. My brain isn’t wired for them, I guess. I’m thrilled by movie adaptations and new trailers and high-buzz releases, but I never go to see them. I live my life watching movies through trailers, never making time to fill in the details.

Here’s the psychoanalytic reasoning, I figure. I break media down into four subcategories – reading (books, magazines, blogs), listening (radio, music), watching (television, movies, music videos) and doing (video and computer games). On my hierarchy of media needs, they fall in that order – I’ll read a book before I’ll listen to a CD, I’ll do both before watching a movie. Television is an anomaly – it’s the most passive of the media types and therefore accessible at a level the others aren’t.

What I’m saying is that I don’t watch movies. Yet, here’s the kicker: I get really excited about them and form ridiculous opinions about them and long to watch every great movie that’s released and get into arguments about them. And, I tune in to the Oscars each year to root for the best movie I haven’t seen. That’s dumb. But that’s me.

This year, it’ll be different. I’m taking an active interest in movies. And so can you.

As I’ve done in the past with songs and authors, I’ll be collecting the best opinions from my favorite readers, friends and contemporaries. It will begin and end with an epic (to me, at least) list of films – the 25 Films That Have Shaped My Life. Not merely my favorites, but the most important – the movies I have felt an affinity toward, the movies I’ve actually purchased and watched more than once.

To you, I look for inspiration. Consider this the Call for Entries to this year’s Grand Movie List. Send me any list, if you’d like. The more, the merrier. They’ll be posted during the week leading up to the Oscars.

Until then, I’ll be honing up my movie knowledge. After all, I’ve got a lot of trailers to watch between now and February 24th.

This was lovingly handwritten on January 17th, 2008