Directors are rather ill-appreciated these days, especially in comparison to how much attention actors get. There are very few directors that are so well known they would be recognized on the average street corner. The same goes for directors whose style is so distinctive and well known that you would recognize their handiwork on sight. Then, you can narrow the margins of exceptional directors even more with one last category: Directors who truly love movies.
It is very easy to say, “I love movies”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you know what you are talking about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sitting in the movie theater, taking in the latest summer blockbuster, and I was suddenly overcome with the realization that the movie was nothing more than a paycheck. Then, there are times when I go to see the latest summer sleeper hit at my local independent theater and I can feel the love for film radiating from the screen.
Michael Bay is the usual offender for me. I have never watched a Michael Bay movie and thought to myself, Wow, Michael Bay is so damn artistic. I’m usually too in awe of the chauvinistic way he directs women and too busy keeping a tally mark of ridiculous explosions.
Then there are directors like Wes Anderson, Joe Wright, and Christopher Nolan. Wes Anderson’s movies usually aren’t number one in the box office, but it isn’t important. The other day during my viewing of Moonrise Kingdom I was overcome with emotions and feelings I don’t get during the run-of-the-mill aliens vs. planet earth movie. Every song choice, every spoken line, and every camera angle showed obvious love, care, and dedication to the art of filmmaking.
People often forget this detail: movies are an art. Movies can be beautiful, and entertaining. Nothing feels more like a rip-off to me then to be watching a movie that wasn’t made to make me feel anything, or to inspire me, but to merely put money in the pocket of the filmmaker.
So, let me encourage those who only plan on seeing movies with aircrafts and bombs this summer to consider branching out. You wouldn’t want to be in a long term relationship with someone who was just into you for your looks and the amount of money you make. So why can’t you expect the same standard from your movies? Don’t have a fling with summer blockbusters, look for a film that loves you for you.
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