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Response to “How to Read a Movie”

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This was an interesting article about noticing the little things in film. It’s funny how many little things affect the way a viewer takes in the movie, and I learned something new in the  I took a class in high school that introduced me to viewing films with curiosity as Roger Ebert says (and a little bit of criticism), and I have to say it definitely sticks. It was a class about Literature turned into Film, so we looked at the way that film accounted for emotions and experiences in the book that cannot be depicted through a script or the actors. We analyzed the different ways in which the film was shot, looking at lighting, angles, and some others mentioned in this article, and how they affect the way viewers perceive it far more than the script or the actors themselves are capable of doing. Since taking the class, I can’t help but notice a lot of these tactics in films that I watch, and I’ve often ruined the viewing experience for friends who don’t look at them so critically. My two favorite films that we studied were One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and The Hours.

I think “Writing Movies for Fun and Profit” ties in with this critical viewing idea pretty well, but in a different way. Instead of analyzing the way the film is shot, you’re looking at how the movie in it’s most basic form is just like all other movies. It’s pretty easy to predict the outcome of most movies, because they really do all follow the same format. Whether it be a romantic comedy or an action movie, the same basic idea exists: things start to get bad, then something horrible happens and it spirals out of control, and then someone steps up to save the day and make everything as it should be. It doesn’t matter whether someone is attacking the earth or another Katherine Heigl character breaks up with her boyfriend, they all end the same way. So when I see a movie that I keeps me guessing and leaves me shocked when the lights come back up, I’m pretty impressed.

Also, this article mentioned that characters shouldn’t be given names that start with the same letters. It reminded me of my favorite show, HBO’s Girls, and how the four main characters’ names each start with a different letter, and their last names follow suit (Hannah Horvath, Marnie Michaels, Shoshanna Shapiro, and Jessa Johansson). I noticed this awhile ago, and it’s interesting to know that this is a sort of rule. Another show I noticed something weird about the names was in the CW’s One Tree Hill, all of the main characters’ last names were also first names (Davis, Sawyer, Scott, and James). On a side note, in the last two seasons they started to call their kids by those names, and it got really weird and confusing..

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