Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Disney Memories, and Notes

The following is another piece I wrote this past fall. For some reason, I couldn't find my original jump-drive copy, so what is written below is from a printed copy. Long story short, it's based on childhood memories, which, I'm sure (hopefully), many of us grew up with as well. Enjoy.

Disney Memories

In the movie section on the west side of the library there are
three shelves full of VHS tapes, all
Disney classics. I pull out titles at random
and recall:

Alice in Wonderland - High school art class,
sitting at my desk,
drawing and painting.

Aladdin - Kindergarden, laughing along
with my classmates as we
clap hands and sing songs.
That classroom bacame an art room.

Toy Story - My dad's house
out in the country in Iowa, in the snow
with my brothers and sisters,
sledding, making snowmen, having snowball fights.

101 Dalmatians - Day care, running and playing
toy guitars and drums with friends.

Sleeping Beauty - My babysitter's house, sitting
in front of her T.V., eating a bowl
of Kraft Mac & Cheese.

Fantasia - On the couch in front of the T.V., sitting next to
my brother and sister; they can't take their eyes off it, especially when
Mickey brings the broom to life.

Disney Sing-Along-Songs - My friend Brandon's house, the blue one
with the round window on the second floor.

The Lion King - My mom and I walk
passed the poster at the theater
as I quote Timon's lines.

Snow White - The back row of the theater,
I call my teacher who took me that day,
"The dwarfs are on!"

Beauty and the Beast - Auditorium
at the Arts Center, I dance
as a utensil, or "dingle-hopper," as Ariel would call it.

Dumbo - I haven't really seen this yet, just
a clip or two at Grandma's house. I think
I'd like to see an elephant fly.

Written by B.E. Kerian, on 12/15/2010


What I noticed as I re-read this piece this afternoon is that there's a lot of interesting, visual transition going on. I initially developed this idea of going from one place to a similar-yet-different place in each stanza. As I'm re-reading it, I'm visualizing the type of camera movements or shots that would work if this were a short film. (I, for one, think it has potential.)

In my opinion, the Disney Classics on VHS are probably the most ideal and memorable of the videocassette era. For one thing, it was a whole new medium at the time (remember, this was the 1980s that this started). And two, because they are simply timeless movies that will live on; the videocassettes may not, but at least they are a reminder of a nostalgic, innocent, and simple technological time. I'm not dissing the technology that we have today; I respect the DVD and Blu-ray mediums and all that. What I am saying is that the VHS, I hope, will be remembered as the medium that first brought these timeless films to our living rooms. For me, they are my first memories of these films and will always have a special place in my heart.

B.E.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Films of 2009: "Bright Star"

Bright Star is the kind of film I really appreciate. It reminds me why I love the arts, why I love writing, and how I have come to respect poetry and literature more than I thought I could. It is also the kind of film that is genuinely beautiful, well-written, well-acted, and respects the period it presents. The costume design, for one thing, is fantastic. Personally, this is the kind of period piece I'd love to be (and have been) involved in. And, it's a very restrained film, even though it does have sensual/intimate moments in it (more on the level of the Song of Songs, which the story does reference). Ben Whishaw's portrayal of Keats is patient, honest, and believable, but it is Abbie Cornish's performance as Fanny Brawne that stands out. She has such a strength, look, and posture that makes her an exquisite actress. Her portrayal also has layers of tenderness, sympathy, sadness, subtle bitterness, regret, and beauty, that help us understand not only her character but also her reaction and gradual understanding of Keats' writings, poems, and character. This is a wonderful showcase for her and Whishaw, as it is for writer-director Jane Campion (who also made 1993's The Piano). A beautiful, well-restrained period piece. The poem recited at the end is Keats' own "Ode to a Nightingale".

(Also posted on my Facebook Movie Application at http://apps.facebook.com/flixster/u/782656341.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Definitions of Life and Movie

Definitions of Life and Movie (courtesy Dictionary.com)

Life:
-          reality
-          the animate existence or period of animate existence of an individual (e.g., to risk one's life; a short life and a merry one)
-          a corresponding state, existence, or principle of existence conceived of as belonging to the soul (e.g., eternal life)
-          the general or universal condition of human existence (e.g., Too bad, but life is like that);
-          any specified period of animate existence (e.g., a man in middle life)
-          the period of existence, activity, or effectiveness of something inanimate, as a machine, lease, or play (e.g., The life of the car may be ten years)
-          a living being (e.g., Several lives were lost)
-          living things collectively (e.g., the hope of discovering life on other planets; insect life)
-          a particular aspect of existence (e.g., He enjoys an active physical life)
-          the course of existence or sum of experiences and actions that constitute a person's existence (e.g., His business has been his entire life)
-          a biography (e.g., a newly published life of Willa Cather)
-          animation; liveliness; spirit (e.g., a speech full of life)
-          the force that makes or keeps something alive; the vivifying or quickening principle (e.g., The life of the treaty has been an increase of mutual understanding and respect)
-          a mode or manner of existence, as in the world of affairs or society (e.g., So far her business life has not overlapped her social life)
-          the period or extent of authority, popularity, approval, etc. (e.g., the life of the committee; the life of a bestseller)
-          anything or anyone considered to be as precious as life (e.g., She was his life)
-          a person or thing that enlivens (e.g., the life of the party)
-          nature or any of the forms of nature as the model or subject of a work of art (e.g., drawn from life)


Movie: related words (courtesy Thesaurus.com) include:
-          moving pictures
-          film
-          theater/theatre
-          motion pictures, as a genre of art or entertainment
-          picture
-          show
-          entertainment event
-          spectacle
-          videocassette
-          matinee

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sequels, Falters, and Rebounds

There are certain kinds of film franchises, especially if you consider trilogies. First, there's the kind that begins with the first film, which is a huge success. It's followed by the second film, which is an equal or even greater success. But when it gets to the third film, the series generally falters. Specific examples of this first kind include the Godfather films (1972, 1974, 1990), the first three Shrek films (2001, 2004, 2007), Pirates of the Caribbean (2003, 2006, 2007), Star Wars (1977, 1980, 1983), and Spider-Man (2002, 2004, 2007).

Then there's the (rare) kind that starts with the first movie, again a huge success; followed by the second movie, equally or even better; and the third film, even more better. This type of films series is the kind that understands progression in story and character development, as well as what great movies and stories should be. Key examples in this category include the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003) and the Toy Story movies (1995, 1999, 2010). A latest example that could potentially fit this category is Christopher Nolan's upcoming Batman sequel The Dark Knight Rises (due out summer 2012).

And there's a third (but not final) kind that, again, starts with the first success, but then takes a falter with the sequel. Then, for one reason or another, the third film in the series makes a rebound, intending to be as good as or better than the first time around. Specific examples in this category include the Indiana Jones films (1981, 1984, and 1989) and the Back to the Future trilogy (1985, 1989, 1990). A latest example coming out this summer could potentially be the Transformers sequel Dark of the Moon (due out July 1, 2011).

More info coming soon from yours truly,
B.E.