Very seldom do I put to paper my thoughts on a particular movie that I have seen, regardless if it is fantastic or a rotten tomato. Partly this is because I prefer to write about other subjects that are more salient to my inner world. And secondly, I think that the Net is already flooded with amateur and professional critics who do a fine job reviewing all the movies out there. I don’t sense a void which my insight could fill. And I don’t really have anything fresh and clever to say. I’m not being self-deprecating here, just honest. This doesn’t mean I don’t love movies as much as the critics. I do! I have always loved them. And they don’t have to be viewed in the theater. I get great pleasure watching on my computer screen as well. And a television will do, though mine is currently in storage. I’m not all that picky.
The most memorable movies of my childhood were seen on the big screen with my dad, sister, and brother. My dad's love of movies meant we were taken to the cinema quite often, especially during the summer. Ones that stand out are Alien, Raider’s of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars. Dad never denied us a rated R movie, no matter what our age was. I was raised in a very permissive environment—not a bad thing, btw.
Not surprisingly, my siblings became huge film buffs too. And the torch has been passed. David, my son, loves them as well. This last Christmas, he and I saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at Harkins Cinema in Sedona. It was the perfect day. We both did exactly what we wanted to do. We were two atheists watching a film in public on a Christian holiday. Going to the movies on Christmas Day is a favorite outing for Jews as well. The theater was packed wall to wall and all shows for the day were sold out. So there must have been some Christians in the mix—and definitely some new age types. That’s a given. We were in Sedona, after all. David and I didn’t have a Christmas tree but we had candy and popcorn—which we sneaked in. (I never purchase food or drinks at the theater. I either don’t snack or I bring my own. Call me cheap; I call it smart.) David and I have been going to the movies on Christmas for several years now and hope to go next year as well.
So although I rarely write about individual films, I do want to give a quick shout out to my favorite director. I absolutely love Pedro Almodóvar. I have been a fan of this quirky Spanish auteur since the late 80’s. My sister and I saw our first Almodóvar film in 1988 in Florida: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It was weird, funny, twisted, dark, and unlike anything we had seen before. And women were the central characters of this film—how rare a find. We loved it! Since then, I have seen many of his films, but not all. These are my favorites, roughly in the order of preference:
Broken Embraces (Los Abrazos Rotos)
The Skin I live in (La Piel que Habito)
Talk To Her (Hable con ella)
All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios)
Bad Education (La mala educación)
Live Flesh (Carne trémula )
Once a fan of an auteur director, one becomes an auteurist—a tourist of the auteur’s world. And each new film is looked forward to with great joy and anticipation and relished like a little present, which is both familiar and new.
Slates writer June Thomas' article: Repeat After Me
I watched every Pedro Almodóvar movie. Here’s what I learned.
Dana Stevens' and June Thomas' Spoiler Podcast : The Skin I Live In
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