Are you movie crazy? No, I don’t mean crazy for Harold Lloyd’s comedy Movie Crazy from 1932 about a young man with little or no acting ability, desperately trying to be in the movies. I mean, are you crazy for movies period? I must admit I’m a cracker for movies. So, all those who consider themselves movie crazy raise your hands. Yup, that’s almost everybody. Why are we movie crazy? Why do we live in a movie crazed society? Hey, what are movies anyway?
Movies are ideas and/or stories brought to an audience through emotion by sound and a sequence of seamless images. Thanks to Google Search.
How popular are movies? Well, the keyword “movies” boasts a mind boggling 1.1 billion and growing number of searches on Google’s search engine alone. And the keyword “movie trailers” has collected a whopping 127 million plus searches. Watching movie trailers on the internet has become a popular past time for many. I know my husband’s one of them. He loves to watch his movie trailers.
This past year alone has brought in an astonishing box office revenue of 29.2 billion dollars worldwide just for 2009. Movies are watched and made worldwide. The language gap has been dissolved due to the addition of subtitles. Now we can all share in the universal movie experience. As well as being universal, movies are made for everyone young and old. Why you can even see generations at most Disney or kid movie showings. There is something out there for everyone no matter what your age.
We celebrate movies and we celebrate the stars in our movies. We bring them into our homes by way of TV shows dedicated to stars like ET, ET Canada, Access Hollywood and TMZ to name a few. We grab supermarket tabloids like The National Enquirer and Star scanning the latest celebrity gossip and stuff them into our shopping carts when no one is looking.
We have Oscar parties like we do Superbowl parties and even bet or at least announce our opinions on who the winners of the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, MTV Awards, etc. will be. Then there’s the classic TV shows like ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ that we turned on faithfully oohing and aahing over the content like it was fine wine. The show ran for over 10 years (March 1984 – September 1995). What a run! What a concept! We actually got to tag along and drool over the extravagant homes, lifestyles and dream vacations spots of the stars. Today, you can watch similar shows like MTV’s ‘Cribs’ and VH1’s ‘The Fabulous Life of….’
If you’re more of a home body you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to see a movie. You can literally channel movies through your TV’s regular cable or on specialty movie channels like Thrill, The Movie Network, HBO, Movie Central, Showtime, Turner Classic Movies, etc. And that’s after you’ve clicked through the TV movies of the week, recorded movies on your PVR or sent your kids to the video store to rent one of this week’s new releases. Oh, and not to mention you can buy movies from your brick and mortar video store down the street or even online on eBay or Amazon.
How do we get our golden tickets to these grand palaces? We buy cereal boxes and cut out cardboard vouchers, we use our air miles points or exchange reward points to turn cash into movie tickets. We fill out contest forms in hopes to be chosen as the lucky few to attend pre-screenings to our favourite movies before they even hit theatres. We also line red carpets around the world and tune into celebrity interviews on our favourite daytime and night-time shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, Oprah and Regis & Kelly.
What beats the movie experience? Nothing. We cue up for our tickets, purchase our favourite goodies, grab the latest Famous or Tribute magazine for casual light reading before our movie (while devouring our real buttered popcorn or bag of liquorice). The lights go dim, the screen widens and the picture and sound arrive simultaneously. We anticipate the movie previews while watching the nuisance commercials and then there they are. Those big beautiful coming attractions in all their glory. We whisper yeas or nays or give a thumbs up to our pals seated beside us for the next movie adventure we’ll be planning. Then if we’re lucky, that is, the guys will get to hear the bellow of the THX sound effect that roars around the theatre. (Hey, guys you can hear it on YouTube or download it as a free mp3 or ring tone). Then the wait is over. Whoopee! And the adventure begins…
Again, why are we movie crazy? Could it be because movies are inexpensive; a cheap date; or an economical family outing. Is it that the encounter can be even more enhanced through the Imax or 3-D experience. Or does it go deeper. A chance to escape the real world if only for a few hours. Movies evoke emotion whether it’s excitement, laughter, terror, sadness, inspiration, faith, love, etc. Maybe you’re on an unpredictable adventure, figuring out a mystery or watching a family deal with loss. Movie’s take us away; anywhere we want to go. Even the theatre itself is an experience as we’ve discovered. The lights, sound, feel, big screen, comfy oversized fabric chairs, convenient cup holders, popcorn and munchies from the snack stand, etc. The movie experience really touches on all our senses. What movies have stirred you emotionally lately?
The movies are one place where you can choose what you want to see and feel. If I want to be happy I’ll go see a light hearted comedy. If I want to be thrilled I’ll go see a thriller or horror. And if I want to entertain my little niece and nephew I’ll go see the latest animated movie, etc. Then there’s the rest of the genres that fill out the movie experience: action and adventure, crime and gangster, drama, epics/historical, musicals/dance, science-fiction, war, documentary, westerns, biopics, chick-flicks, detective and mystery, disaster, fantasy, film noir, guy films, melodramas/weepers, road films, romance, sports, supernatural, etc.
Movies bring people together. They are something to talk about at the watering hole at your 9 to 5 job, chat amongst your Facebook friends or discuss in forums. We can talk about the worst movies we’ve seen or our all time favourites. We can quiz each other on movie trivia, quotes and songs. We can read or write reviews on movies, look up movie ratings and purchase books on movies. We can even get the latest Hollywood gossip sent to our email boxes or go online to peruse blogs such as Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy blog.
Is there any other advantage from movies other than the whole entertainment experience? Actually, there is. Many professional therapists are using movies to help people in crisis. There is a therapeutic movement using—you guessed it—movies. It’s called Cinema Therapy. Cinema therapy is used because it’s readily available (there’s a movie theatre in every city pretty much) and the subject matter of most films are familiar to everyone. It also enhances the rapport between both the client and the therapist. Who doesn’t want to talk movies.
Other benefits include the release of emotions such as when we laugh during a comedy our laughter releases stress, tension and/or pain. A tear jerker that makes us cry releases built-up/blocked emotions. How about movies that touch on relationships or parenting. These observations and/or lessons can bring us closer together with people, make us analyze our current situations/relationships or make us realize we’ve got work to do.
And if there’s one last thing that solidifies our movie crazy mentality it’s our want or longing to actually be in a movie and/or meet a movie star. Well, this just in—you can do both. Have you heard the term TV or movie extra? If you want a better than bird’s eye view of making of a movie and to encounter a movie star or two sign-up to be an extra. You’ll get paid, fed, be on set and maybe bump elbows with your favourite movie star.
JC Wiebe is an author, blogger and manager of her son, actor Cainan Wiebe (The Sandlot 3, 16 Wishes and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse). For more information and step by step guides for child extras and actors get JC Wiebe’s ebooks: Extras! Stars, Sets & Soda Pop: The Child Actor Series and/or Get Started as a Child Actor: The Child Actor Series.