SAG Screener Season
When I was growing up, my family didn't have a television. I used to beg my parents for one of those TV/VCR combos that were perpetually on clearance at JCPenney. They defiantly resisted my pleading, reasoning that a TV-free home would encourage me to read more. I imagined how convenient it would be to watch television any time of the day. I constantly looked forward to the next time we would be reunited again.
Although we didn't have cable, I was always allowed to go the movie theatre on opening weekend. My Mom would pick me up from school, rush against the 5 o'clock traffic, and race to make it to the early matinee showtime. We would stop off at Walgreens to stock up on candy to avoid the concession stand's exorbitantly overpriced popcorn.
I consistently check out Moviefone to see which new trailers have been released. My only qualm is that I'm incredibly impatient. The trailer for The Vow was released in June and the film doesn't even open until Valentine's Day. Anticipating a film for seven months is a huge test on my patience. I'm the same way when it comes to waiting for DVDs to be released.
As you can imagine, receiving SAG screeners in the mail tops one of my favorite times of the year, officially dubbed "SAG Screener Season." This evening, I came home to two manila envelopes waiting on my doorstep. I eagerly ripped them open to see which ones I had received.
Tucked neatly inside were The Artist and The Help- these were two of my favorite films of 2011 including Like Crazy, Young Adult, and Drive. Do you remember when you were a kid and would watch movies over and over again? The only times I got to do that was when I was visiting my Grandparent's house but I would repeatedly watch Clueless, rewind it, and pop it back in the VCR.
That is exactly what I felt inclined to do after seeing The Artist for the first time. The final dance scene at the end felt like a classic take on an old Disney film. The actors are completely charming in their distinguishable roles. I looked forward to their character's bumping into each other on the old movie lot. The most memorable montage was watching the evolution of Peppy Miller from day player to leading lady.
Our society's forms of entertainment are vastly changing with quantity over quality. With a constant steam of new videos available online, most people's attention spans are diminishing. I wasn't at all expecting to be completely captivated by a silent film. I was skeptical that it would hold my attention. However, the characters were so dynamic that they didn't even need conversation to keep me interested. It's a true testimony to the classic phrase, "Actions speak louder than words."
I han't seen The Help over the summer when it first came out. I picked it up a few weeks ago. I knew it wasn't going to be a light hearted film and I wanted to wait to watch it until I really had time to sit down and focus on the plot. I can't stand starting a movie and pausing it for later if I don't have a full two hours to watch a film. I was blown away by the performances. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are inspiring examples of definant strength with the ability to carry a plot that portrays 1960's Mississippi. Their heartfelt characters sometimes left me snickering ("chocolate" pie scene), other times I was appalled by their hardships, and they always kept me rooting for them.
In 2011, I was most inspired by the production of Like Crazy because the director Drake Doremus opted to shoot the film on the Canon EOS 7D with the only upgrade being a prime lens. It's a true example that technology is providing new ways for filmmakers to produce high quality footage on a minimal budget. The scenes were mostly done without a script, just an outline. This lead the action to continually feel in the moment, spontaneous, and not at all bit rehearsed. The film was a refreshing reprieve from yet another cheesy, cliché, predictable "Hollywood Love Story." It truly felt like the reality of two people's lives unfolding separately as they attempted to find a way to stay together.
Which films stood out to you as the highlight of 2011?