Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Tale of Two Movies

This weekend I was able to catch films I’ve been wanting to see for awhile, but with two different sets of circumstances.

On Saturday, I hit the local theater to see Duncan Jones follow-up to the excellent Moon, his new sci-fi thriller Source Code.

Now, my excitement for Source Code came not only from the interesting sci-fi concept (quasi-time travel to thwart a terrorist attack), but also because I read the original spec script over a year ago thanks to the ScriptShadow blog. I was really interested to see how the finished movie compared to the draft the script that made it onto the 2007 Black List.

As with any movie that goes through the studio system, changes are made for better and worse. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are differences. Relationships are adjusted, plots points are shifted and changed, even the genders of characters are different. But when I had a chance to go back and reread parts of the script, while I found things to be different, I didn’t think they were bad, just alternate choices, which I guess for this movie is appropriate.

On the flip side, I also (finally) saw The Shawshank Redemption. Now, that’s not to say I was completely unfamiliar with the movie, or hadn’t seen parts of it. I had just never sat down and watched the whole thing straight through in one viewing. When it comes to my “blind spots” in movie viewing, I have a quite a few I’m not proud of.

Some are of the blockbuster, everyone-has-seen-it-what’s-wrong-with-you-variety. Stuff like There’s Something About Mary, Schnidler’s List and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Some are on my I-have-zero-interest list, like Titanic, the Twilight films and the Harry Potter films.

And some are missing from the you-need-to-see-these-to-be-serious-about-films. Classics like Seven Samurai, Metropolis, Rashomon, The Bicycle Thief and Wild Strawberries, to name just a few.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m a total ignoramus. I’ve seen The 400 Blows, Casablanca, Rear Window, The Third Man, Chinatown and other “important” films as determined by folks at places like IMDb. It just means I need to quit my job and watch five films a day to caught up. Anyone want to pay me to do that? No, didn’t think so. So, I’ll trudge my way through a few movies a week when I can, and hopefully by the time I’m 80 or 90 I’ll be somewhat film literate.