Monday, December 22, 2008

I-Spy for movie-mind

Every so often, I experience a weird moment when I'm watching a movie in a theater.

I restrain myself from falling fully into a film.

The typical movie-goer enters a cinema, grabs a seat and waits for the feature presentation. The movie starts and viewer willingly relinquishes sight, feeling and hearing to the story plastered across the silver screen.

I mean that is the whole point of going to a movie: being exposed to an environment, event, experience that is unique, hard-to-come-by through a certain lens, perspective; that's the draw of them. That's why sometimes I'll pay $10 to go to Regal or Bethesda Row.

But, have you ever noticed how weird Hollywood is? American filmmakers and producers make nearly 1,000 movies a year, all different, but there's only a handful of people to play the roles.

We see the same person (Tom Cruise) play a honorary Samurai in one movie, a German WWII officer in another, a pilot in another and a sports agent in another. Different eras, wildly different stories and different people with different characters. And for whatever reason our brains don't even register that we're seeing the same face. I mean, we might recognize that it's Tom Cruise, but it doesn't affect our absorption of the story.

I think when actors are type-casted (i.e. Michael Cera as the awkwardly cute boy-next-door), it makes sense. But, it's interesting; type-casting seems to be looked down upon. Same role over and over again. No challenge. But, it seems like it's a natural thing; it makes sense.

It's also weird to tell yourself that the people you are seeing are acting. They aren't really the person. I mean, it's to be obvious to know that these celebrities are not in fact the characters they play, but sometimes during a movie, it's weird to conciously know that these people are just reciting lines.

But, I guess it is more than that. It's not just reciting lines, especially when you are watching really good actors and actresses. It's those people who really trick your mind to believe you're seeing the real deal, in the actual time and place, that are the award-winners. And even then, I still think a lot of amazing actors and actresses are overlooked or compromised by star-studded politics.

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