When I first got involved with The Badger Herald early in the Spring Semester of 2019, I never envisioned myself leading the arts section. I came in as a sports writer, with the intent of sticking with sports.
But I love movies, and I always have. My passion for movies and desire to write about them is partly what landed me in this position. I love music and big events on campus as well, but they don’t compare to how I feel about film. There are plenty of reasons to love movies, to really love movies. Hopefully, this can help you realize your own passion for film.
The other day, I tried to recall a specific instance of when my passion really clicked. It was a culmination of things, starting with the installation of the IMDb app and “The Wolf of Wall Street” coming out in 2013. This was the first R-rated movie I managed to get into without my parents.
It was exhilarating watching such a risky movie on the big screen. It wasn’t just the risk that made the experience so enjoyable though, but because it was such a quality movie filled with great performances lead by Leonardo DiCaprio.
I knew Leo was a great actor, but this performance inspired a closer following of his work as well a following of other quality actors. I became obsessed with watching quality acting above all. It became my most important criteria for watching a movie.
Pretty soon after, I started using IMDb religiously to identify and separate highly-rated movies from the movies that received lesser ratings.
This is where my love of sports and statistics influenced my passion for movies. In college sports there are Top 25 rankings for basketball and football. In professional sports, there are standings. I realized with apps like IMDb, there are standards of quality and the numbers matter.
The numbers form scores for movies and they help determine what to see and what to avoid. These habits helped me become a movie snob.
Checking ratings, reading reviews and discovering upcoming projects for beloved actors became a hobby. And it was all possible on IMDb.
Using IMDb as a platform to jump start my interest in movies was key, but it was only a jump start. Knowing which movies are coming out and which are well-received is only part of the equation. My use of the app does not explain how I can sit around everyday watching movies, even some I have already seen multiple times, and be happy.
Maybe the passion comes from a deep-rooted desire to become an actor or a filmmaker I’ve never taken advantage of. But I think my love of movies comes from a desire to connect with an artist, relate to a story and feel genuine emotion.
A lot of people fail to remember that movies are a work of art in the same way that a sculpture or even music is. Now, not every filmmaker takes an artistic approach to their movies.
Some, like Michael Bay for example, just want to make big-budget blockbusters with monsters and big explosions. It’s hard to find the art in those movies. It’s not to say that all blockbusters lack artistic value, some have it. And blockbusters are critical to the industry. They help keep it afloat.
Sadly, some say that pretty soon blockbusters will be the only part of the film industry that exist and that the arthouse films will die off.
I sure hope not, because more often than not, it’s these other movies with real artistic value and something deeper to say. They need to stick around.
Take A24 Entertainment for example. It’s a company that specializes in film distribution and production. They began in 2012 and have been on the rise since. With important movies like “Lady Bird” and “Moonlight” under their belt, the only thing stopping the future of this company is money.
Movies like “Moonlight” and “Lady Bird” have something to say. They matter because they connect with people, they relate to people and they explore tough situations and circumstances.
The ability to feel something in a movie is truly special. Even if it’s just a moment, a singular emotion, a single shot that brings something out of you, the way the music strikes at just the right moment or how a single line is executed.
Sometimes, for just a brief moment you might feel something watching a movie that you can’t explain. Sometimes, it’s an emotion or something you feel so deeply you can explain, but you don’t know how to talk to people about it. You have these moments that are private watching a good movie. It’s just you and the filmmaker.
You watch a movie, feel great affinity towards it and then want to show your loved ones and friends because you hope they get the same thing out of it you do.
Some movies will blow your mind and some will teach you important lessons. Either way, you come away with a new understanding or perspective on something.
There is a lot to learn, feel and understand about other art mediums, but there is something about live action movies playing out before your eyes that just hits a little different. For me, I love watching an actor at their best in a scene, displaying some raw emotion, while executing an expertly-crafted line of dialogue. These moments give me goosebumps.
Movies have all this power. It’s all about finding the right ones and taking a chance on some others.