By G. P. Avants
I love to look at the big picture and how things connect, whether in fiction or real life. It’s like seeing all the story connection in a series like The Chronicles of Narnia or Harry Potter series. Lately I have been watching movies and movie watchers. There seems to be a lot of voices hard-balling a movie if it isn’t perfect in every way from beginning to end. It feels like the old term of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. A few imperfections or moments for some might be enough to make them dislike or even hate a film they would normally love. (I have a few theories about that and some practical ideas that might make a person’s movie experience a little more enjoyable.)
So, here is a very non-big picture idea that really helps me to get the most out of movies I plan on watching. I look for memorable moments. These can be a scene, a character dialog or simply a look a character has in response to someone or something in the story. I liken them like gold nuggets or in some ways the Easter eggs as the industry refers to them. To me the little details say a lot about the director, the actors, the story thread, and subtle suggestions woven into a feature’s elaborate details. It’s easy to miss moments for whatever reason that really make watching (or enduring through) a movie a satisfying experience.
Here are just a memorable gold nuggets that I have really treasured away from some of my favorite movies:
Sometimes you don’t need words to convey a moment .
Toy Story 3
Andy’s toys have escaped from some very narrow places in their many adventures. However, there comes a moment when all your their efforts fail. At the edge of the dump’s fiery furnace the bonds of true friendship remain true to the end.
Sometimes it’s just a sentence or a conversation.
Forest & Jenny first meet on the school bus. Everyone tells Forest, “You can’t sit here, this seat is taken.” But Forest remembers the sweetest voice telling him, “You can sit here, if you want”. That was the beginning of a Forest and Jenny’s peas and carrots relationship.
Lost in Space 2018
Recently, I’ve begun to watch the new Lost in Space series on Netflix.
It has many moments that tell you about a family struggling to stay together. Will has befriended an once lethal alien robot. When the Robison children leave behind their own version of a cave painting entitled, “We are the Robinsons”, they leave behind their hand prints in red ochre mud. When the children are sleeping the robot, quietly dips its hand in the mud and adds its print alongside the painting.
The Lord of the Rings
Two characters that signify what lengths the love of two friends can have as brothers is seen in the hobbits, Frodo and Sam. In order to save the world from the evil Sauron, they leave their peaceful home and painfully step right into the fires of doom. The ring of power was entrusted to Frodo to bear to the end, but Sam unwavering friendship was his real source of strength and courage every step of the way. Sometimes just a sense of humor helped to make a horrible situation a little more tolerable.
“What’s in this?” Frodo saved Sam’s small wooden box from falling off a cliff.
“Nothing, just a bit of seasoning. ” Same explains, “I was thinking if one night we had a roast chicken of something.”
“You never know.”
“Sam,” Frodo smiles, “My Dear Sam.”
Star Wars has very iconic characters that are famous for a word or a comment. Ben Kenobi’s “hello there,” has so many uses in a variety of places. It might be a sign of curiosity when first meeting a droid named R2D2 who has lost his way. Or it might be a jab of comic relief as he drops into a nest of his enemies who are hatching a plan for no good.
Some moments are in the form of non-verbal facial responses to a character or a situation. (Here are a few subtle looks you might or might not have seen.)
Avengers: Age of Ulton:
(Thor’s Hammer Scene)
After a large party the Avenger’s and their friends all try to lift Thor’s hammer for only a person of great character is worthy to wield it. All fail except Captain America. Notice the tiny movement, the squeak of the hammer, and the look on Thor’s face. What does this moment mean?
This film had three fun non-verbal facial responses, among others that I really felt brought certain characters to life. Thor and Surter had a very daunting yet humorous scene at the beginning of the movie. Notice how Surter does a sort of an aside to the audience while Thor continuously spins away from his captor’s life and death monologue.
There is something about Valkyrie does when she lets her anger go and get her fun attitude on. The way she bobs her head, raises her eyebrows, and even the way she twitches her lips, tell you she is ready for adventure.
Finally, we get a real honest brother moment with Thor and Loki. All joking aside they both are not trying to argue, browbeat, or be deceptive. Loki’s face in response to Thor says it all.
The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride had a lot of great lines and memorable moments. “Hello, my name is Indigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die,” is one fans can quote in their sleep.
Another moment was the classic duel between Indigo and the mysterious Man in Black. It was perfectly-balanced with interwoven simultaneous sharp sword and word play.
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
In reality if I ever did line up my top movies, this one would be as close to number one on my all-time classic childhood movies. This movie has so many moments for me that like an Everlasting Gobstopper, they never get old, wear old, or lose their flavor. Two scenes really top them all. The song, Pure Imagination, no matter when it is played moves the dreamer in me to keep going, anything, even the impossible, is possible. However, the scene with Charlie and Willy Wonka in the Great Glass Elevator, still gets to me emotionally. Even as I am typing this out on my phone, I feel that stirring on my heart. Charlie, a boy who had nothing but a little faith and an awesome innocent heart won the world of Willy Wonka’s Wonderland.
Mr. Wonka tells Charlie, “Charlie, you know what happened to the boy that got everything he ever wanted? He lived happily ever after.” Charlie and Mr. Wonka embrace. You can see the genuine compassion of one dreamer making others truly happy. That moment might really be why I wrote this piece in the first place.
With so much cynicism and negativity many great films with fantastic moments within them are brushed aside. Maybe Rotten Tomatoes gave it a low rating. It could be a crabby person who is never happy poo-pooed the movie. Or it never got the advertising it needed for fans to find it. However, like a treasure hunter you found a film and you loved it. You really have to be your own critique and enjoy a movie for what it means to you.
Like I promised here are a few tips to get the most out of a movie:
- Don’t go tired. Seeing a movie tired might mean you equate the movie as too boring to peak your interest or you mis the best scenes in between zzzzzs.
- Don’t go with a crabby person who went begrudgingly along because they had nothing else to do and hates the genre of movie you plan on seeing, while talking during the whole movie in between mouthfuls of popcorn. (Nuff said?)
- Go with an open mind if you love the book that inspired the movie. Think about it as two versions of something you love so you can enjoy it on different levels or flavors.
- Be your own critique. Lots of great movies get an unfair shake because a few critiques didn’t like it. Believe it or not some people didn’t like Forest Gump. (Some critiques find fault in everything because that is their MO)
- Be willing to see a movie twice. Sometimes you might get more out of it a second time after you have chewed on it a bit. (Plus you might have not applied any of the previous ideas in steps1-4).
So, just a few suggestions to really get the most out of your film watching experience. Please send us your favorite moments and why. Even send add the clips and any suggestions you have for better film watching experiences. Send them here or to our Facebook page at God Among Geeks. Love you hear from you.
And don’t forget…we are Groot.