This week's Answer:
Somebody’s abandoned, full or at
least half-full box of popcorn; loose change under the
seats; an attractive blonde sitting by herself.
I digress. Actually,
Terry, what a simple yet profound question you have posed.
You really made me think.
(Please don’t ever do that again.)
I believe that most important to me is that I’m
moved (not by the usher who notices me too close to the
that is. I
always love a good panoramic vista, a “thriller-diller,”
an adrenaline-racing car chase or sex scene (both can
definitely affect the ol’ “inner chemistry”), but
what I cherish above all is a film that “takes me over
the falls,” (my way of saying “moves me to tears.”
Or, better yet, moves me to tears and laughter at
the same time.) I’m
talking full, cathartic, emotional release.
(Heck, you can’t do the other kind – no matter
how hot the blonde is on the screen -- or in the seat --
and not risk being apprehended by the Movie Police.
You know. Those
uniformed, flashlight-carrying gendarmes that patrol every
screening, giving out TALKING IN THE MOVIES tickets (or,
even more severe: WHISPERING
IN THE MOVIES, THINKING THAT NOBODY CAN HEAR YOU –
ESPECIALLY FOR GUYS WITH BOOMING VOICES -- tickets, or
taking away peoples’ light-up-the-theatre cell phones
that love to BLEEP or TRILL or play the entire first
movement of the 1812 Overture at the most sensitive moment
in the story.)
Speaking of the most sensitive moment
in a film, if the screenwriter, director, actors, director
of photography, grips, special effects and makeup artists,
etc., (who says making movies isn’t a team effort?) have
done their jobs, that’s the moment when everything that
has come before it crescendos into a symphonic, emotional
it’s when the protagonist confronts and allows
deep-seated feelings that are intrinsically connected to
his or her predicament and its resolution.
Theme and emotions finally intersect.
We have been groomed for this moment, step by
subtle step, our emotions having been tightened,
heightened, shaken (and stirred), and if the moment
has been perfectly choreographed and timed (timing is of
the essence in a movie), then we will receive our just
reward for being “put through the wringer;” for
sitting through our own discomfort.
We’ll have our much-desired payoff.
We’ll recognize and feel deeply the
film’s uncovered truth such as:
He does love her (or she does love him.
Or, often, it’s they do love each other.
really does love that dog after all.)
Love is the most prevalent discovery in a story,
and therefore in a film story, screenplay.
This love often is revealed by a protagonist’s
willingness to sacrifice something dear to him or her, it
frequently being his or her own life.
Staying with the “life” motif, another revealed
truth can deal with the resurrection of a protagonist,
physically, emotionally, even spiritually.
We, the audience, in that resurrection moment,
along with the protagonist (and, often, other characters
in his or her life) come alive, are revitalized with
renewed hope and courage.
Yes, sometimes it’s all accompanied by a sweeping
and often sentimental soundtrack that let’s you clearly
know that this is That Moment.
Or that is This Moment (depending on where you’re
sitting in the theatre). Even for us “sophisticated” viewers, although we may see
(or hear) the rising violins or crashing cymbals coming a
long way off and recognize that our tears are definitely
being “jerked,” if the story and characters have
captivated us, we’ll go along for the ride.
Because, ultimately, we like and want that ride.
We paid our ticket (which doesn’t come cheap any
longer) and want to get our money’s (and hearts’)
There are many other elements that
need to be skillfully executed to bring off a good movie:
storyline, structure, tone, character development,
theme, dialogue, pace, good catering, etc. (minus the food
factor, it sounds like a script consultant/story
analyst’s website!), but, for my money (which I’d
rather only pay for a good and not a less-than-good
movie), you can keep slick, sharp, tight, scary, funny and
give me MOVING every time. And, assuming that everybody in the entire world who goes to
movies is reading this, I now implore you all to allow me
to experience these Moving Moments, please, without a
(Trilllllll! Oops, sorry. I
need to get this. Could
be my agent.)