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Unless you actually are one of those Anonymii who spends every single waking moment masturbating to loli porn chances are you watch movies. That said, there is a huge difference between being a movie patron and being cultured in cinema. Being in the latter category takes effort than simply knowing what movies came out last Friday. It does take a certain amount of effort in order to hold your own in a conversation about film. After a certain point, however, the effort should be minimal and naming obscure directors and writers should be like second nature.
One of the cases where the first step is actually the easiest. Get off the internet and go to a movie theater. Also, if you have any, bring a friend. A good conversation is always the best way to help solidify your opinion of a movie.
The world does not begin and end with Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. All foreign films are not gay (Battle Royale being a good example). If you want to become cultured in cinema you need to understand that a good movie doesn't necessarily have to have shit blowing up and people fucking. Documentaries and period pieces are just a couple of the genres that generally elicit groan but surprise people in the end. Don't forget: 300 is technically a period piece. Also know that if it is new, that does not always mean it is good, in fact, it is rather the opposite, I have recently watched older movies, series and such, and have found in them much more content than many modern-day movie could ever claim to have. (Have a try at "A Clockwork Orange", "Citizen Kane" and "The Prisoner" while you're at it).
While the quality of megaplexes has increased dramatically over the last decade, don't forget your local art house theater. Many of the years most talked about films are limited to art house theaters. Make sure you find the one nearest to you in your local paper's Film/Art section. They also usually serve alcohol and that fucking rocks.
Unless you're trying to score with a girl/guy/trap, it shouldn't be that hard to pay attention to a 20 foot tall movie screen. Still, you'd be surprised by how many people leave movies without noticing important aspects of what they just saw. Pay close attention to the little details such as dialogue, cinematography, set design etc. Unless the movie was complete trash, somebody put a lot of effort into making sure you noticed their contribution to the movie. Note: Try bringing up these aspects of the movie in a conversation. Chances are good that you'll be able to add some useful knowledge to your mental movie data bank.
Remember when I told you to pay attention to aspects of the movie you liked (of course you did. It was, like, ten damn seconds ago.)? Well, those scrolling letters at the end of the movie aren't just there to tell you when to leave the theater. If you really liked the costume design, park your ass and wait a minute and you'll be able to attach a name to that talent. Also, a lot of directors show teasers to sequels or added bonuses during the credits. If you enjoyed the movie, it would be in your best interest to stay put until the lights turn back on.
- The Simpsons Movie
- Kill Bill Vol 2.
- X-Men 3
If you skipped Step 4, fuck you. That said, you're probably still wondering who did the kick ass make-up or who was the composer of that kick ass sound track. Even though you were a complete tool for skipping Step 4, you'll be alright. The Internet Movie Database is the playground of the world's film geeks. Just search for the movie you saw and you'll be able to view the cast, crew and production staff in seconds.
Like I said before, the best way to expand your knowledge of movies is to have conversations with other people. Sharing information in a public forum has been around for centuries. No reason why you can't use the same principle to find out more about films by a director you liked.
Most of the greatest movies ever made are sitting on the shelf at your local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. Don't hesitate to pick them up and watch them. If you enjoy it, pick up more work by that director. Your mental movie database can only benefit from it. Also, if you're lucky enough to live near one, check out the artsy fartsy video stores. They tend to carry a wider selection of both classic and foreign films.
This step is very important. If you're like most Anonymous you have a tendency to obsess. While its great to know the works of your favorite writer, its not okay to know the birth date of everyone on the catering staff of his movies. Being obsessed with movies is no different than being obsessed with anime and that's like Lex Luthor stealing 40 cakes. Terrible.
Actually, this is the most important step.
No wait, this is.
If you're not a complete death metal douchebag, you may want to pick up a copy of your city's weekly entertainment publication, or just check the local section of the newspapers. This is a treasure trove of entertainment information that can potentially land you in the sack with a chick at light speed, provided you use it right. Your city's symphony, if your city has one, will print what they're performing that week. Other things, such as concerts, charity dinners, festivals, block parties, operas, and plays will be in here as well. Try and find something you're interested in, or something your date-potential is interested in. Tickets to these events can range anywhere from $25 for nosebleed section seats to $500 for the best, but generally such tickets are fairly affordable. Pick something in your price range, buy some tickets, and enjoy yourself. If you can't enjoy that, at least enjoy dinner afterwards.
So you want to culture yourself up in the theatre, huh? Well, the best place to start is in the past, so let's take a look at some classic movies you can go over. This is not a full list, but it should keep you very well occupied for a good amount of time.
If you really want to impress, start off old- I mean pre-sound old. Specifically, The Battleship Potemkin. What the fuck is this? Well, it's a silent film from Russia made about the start of the Red Revolution, in which a bunch of sailors take over their ship and bloody massacring ensues. This is generally regarded as one of the best movies of all time, despite the fact that 90% of today's population probably hasn't heard of it, so if you're looking for something to really make you stand out as cultured, look this up.
Classics are always important- Gone With The Wind and Casablanca are pretty much required viewing for anyone looking for some culture. These also have a considerable number of people dying- the railway scene in GWTW is particularly impressive- and have some of the best actors who ever walked on a set.
If you're particularly into the dying thing, there's no end of war movies to sate your appetite. Hell, you could spend your entire natural life watching the World War Two films alone. Forget Pearl Harbor- such dogshit doesn't know how it's done. Look up movies like Tora! Tora! Tora! (Pearl Harbor done right), Midway (about the battle of the same), Bridge on the River Kwai (lol British), The Longest Day (D-Day done right), Patton (of course), The Enemy Below (a personal favorite), and The Fighting Sullivans (not so much a war movie but it's still really fantastic). There's some more modern stuff that's great, too- Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, and Enemy At The Gates are notable, though it is important to know that all those mentioned have heavily skewed facts. If you want some Vietnam, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon are the obvious choices. The only films I can name as must-sees for wars prior to 1939 are All Quiet on the Western Front and Glory, but that's just because I haven't watched many. There's bound to be tons more.
Classic comedy is quite often far superior to modern comedy and, unlike modern comedy, relies more on the jokes than LOL RACISM or LOL SEXISM or LOL FARTS. In other words, old-school comedy has CLASS. If you're looking for shota, look no farther than the Little Rascals, who are god-damned hilarious despite none of them being over 8. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are an unforgettable team-up despite any personal problems they had, and their "Road" movies (Road to Morocco, Singapore, etc.) feature an unbeatable combination of comedy and fantastic music, most of it sung by "The Crooner" (Bing). To get older than that, it's hard to beat the teams of Abbot/Costello and Laurel/Hardy, though these movies are sometimes hard to find and the jokes are getting quite dated by now, however, one black and white movie that can still be enjoyed is Arsenic and Old Lace. Heading back towards our time, Mel Brooks rarely fails to disappoint despite occasionally trying too hard, and if you haven't seen The Producers then you have no idea how funny Nazi jokes can be when done properly.
One name you might like to remember is Stanley Kubrick, if you haven't heard it already. One of the most prolific film directors to have ever lived, he's done everything from war films ("Paths of Glory", "Full Metal Jacket") to period pieces ("Barry Lyndon"). A word of advice- his films all require you to actually think. But don't sweat it. No one can fully understand what just happened after viewing "2001: A Space Oddyssey" for the first time. It would be hard to narrow down some recommendations, because all his films are so good, but one might like to check out "Dr. Strangelove; Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," a hilarious satire of the Cold War. "A Clockwork Orange" is also a must. Kubrick also made a film out of "Lolita", the infamous Nabokov novel.
(Moar to come)