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April 23, 2013 at 4:02 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Why Big Budget Movies Are Letting You Down

By Jeff from SLN More Blogs by This Author

You’ve got this friend - and you’re not alone - who can’t stop talking about movies. Every movie he drags on about is the “greatest movie” he’s “ever seen,” you may have even heard “epic” thrown around. You chuckle or pretend you’re interested for a while, but you just aren’t. And there’s only so much that you can take about the “great mind” of Wes Anderson. You wish he’d just shut up, and you think to yourself, “There’s no way I’m going to waste two hours watching that. It looks borring.”

And why would you? Everyone knows all independent movies are lame. They’re slow and poorly acted, let alone the fact that you’ve never heard of the people in them. I mean, who would ever choose an independent movie over something, you know, enjoyable? Where are the laughs, the quotable lines, and Mark Wahlberg? Do people just watch these movies to feel important… or snooty?

Yes – or at least some of them.

But before I beat you over the head with a “holier-than-thou, independent cinema stick” – one of those hoity-toities would come up with a term like that, admit it – think about what you could be losing. Sure, your friend may be over-the-top, and the DVD cover of his suggested flick is as bland as my fiber-enriched breakfast, but what if he’s right? It’s true that you may not be a film history major or movie critic, but you know a good movie when you see one.

And maybe you’ve seen a dud in the past, but calm your troubled heart, don’t be scared. I challenge you to watch just one more. Don’t worry; I’m here, and I want what’s best for you. Wouldn’t your mother be proud?

Who knows? You might like it better than the seventh Star Wars flick (Disney’s upcoming regurgitation).

How is that possible?

How could you enjoy something better than the latest big budget regurgitation? Well, I won’t deny that I thoroughly enjoyed the likes of “The Avengers,” it made me feel like a kid again. And that’s exactly who it was made for: junior high boys. Take a deep breath and think about it. Why do you suppose they chose to make a movie based on comic book heroes full of explosions, CGI, and Scarlett Johansen? It may have something to do with Ms. Johansen’s acting ability…but I can tell you right now, they weren’t trying to get my grandmother to watch it.

And why would those big studios target these young lads? Easy, it’s a business. Young boys without worries or employment are more likely to go to the movies and more often.

But what if you’re not 13 and/or male?

With great power age comes responsibility. There’s another option out there. It’s a magical world where directors make movies because they have a passion for film instead of money. A place where movies are willing to take risks and inspire, daring to leave the audience enriched in the process. If you’re looking for a movie that allows you to meet memorable characters, see through a new perspective, or see something more each time you watch it, indie films may just be the “breath of fresh film” you’re looking for.

Better than O2.

Have you ever been so lost in a movie that you forget reality? The ending credits start to roll and you realize you’ve lost all track of time? (It can really mess with you on laundry day.) If so, how long has it been? I remember the first time I saw Christopher Nolan’s(“Inception,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy) “Memento.” I was amazed at the way the scenes alternated between flashbacks and the present to unfold Leonard Shelby’s search for his wife’s killer without the ability to make new memories.

Looking back, I realize that the order of the scenes took away any familiar omniscience from the audience, leaving me in the same situation as Leonard. I was living in the moment in much the same way that Leonard was forced to, and I felt closer to the way Leonard lived than I could have any other way. My connection to Leonard’s experience was so strong that when he closed eyes near the end to see if the world around him would be there when he opened them, I closed mine, and I realized how temporary his experiences were, how fragile his world was, and how interpretive my memories are.

I don’t know at what point it was, but by the end, my world had shrunk to the world of “Memento.” My eyes were wide open, my jaw hung loose, and I was leaning as far forward as my chair would allow. I hadn’t thought of anything else for the last hour and a half, but it didn’t end there. For days I puzzled over Leonard, over the role of memory and to the extent it can’t be trusted. It was devastating to think how vulnerable our transient memories make us, but it was also inspiring to see a character model what a person’s life looks like when acting without knowledge of the effects of those same actions - to believe in the merit of actions without knowing the benefit of those actions.

The movie was crafted in a way that might not make money, but does make for a better experience.

That’s what I want for you. Maybe you just want something fun or entertaining, but I hope you give indie films a chance. The best reason I have is that you can fall in love with a different reality for a few moments. If there are movies that can do that, why would you want anything else?

Ready to give something new a try? Live in a dream world for a while? Find an emotional connection with characters that matter? Come back next week for peak at what’s waiting for you.

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