Welcome back to another heart pounding edition of Ask The LAMB! Let’s get right to it!
This week’s guest contributor is Nick Jobe from Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob!
I love movies but don’t know very much about them other than just whether or not I enjoyed a particular film. Do you have any recommendations of books or websites that can help introduce me to film theory or film studies? Or will learning that stuff automatically turn me into a film snob and make me hate all my old favorites?
To Learn Or Not To Learn.
To truly gain knowledge and understanding of the deep intricacies of cinema (what?!), I think the best approach you can take is to do most of the leg work yourself. I would suggest that you simply spend some time with specific genres, directors and actors to come up with your own opinions and ideas before you venture out to read other people’s opinions, thoughts and theories.
For example, say you’d like to learn more about Spaghetti Westerns, the best way to do so is to sit down and watch three or four Sergio Leone films and take observational notes on each film. See if you notice any specific characteristics about the genre and/or the director, like technique, actors used, music, tone, dialogue, etc., then move on to the next director and repeat the process all over again. Once you’ve gone through four or five directors and about fifteen or so films, then I would suggest reading reviews, books, and/or watching documentaries on the subject. By doing it this way, you will already have your own ideas that will then be broadened by someone else’s, and at that point, you might even come up with even more theories because your creative juices are flowing like a Peter North film.
Now, if you continue to do this with a handful of different genres, directors, or even specific actors, over time you will (or at least should) become a fairly knowledgeable film fan, and the ability to theorize will come much easier to you. Just remember one thing: film is subjective, and no one person’s opinion is the right one. Well, except for mine.
First off, I think if you are keen to understand cinema, it is important to keep a record of it. I got the idea from Peter Biskinds Easy Riders, Raging Bulls book, whereby apparently film director/historian Peter Bogdanovich always kept notes of every film he watched. I read that book almost 5 years ago and since then, I have kept a small card for every film I have watched. It forces you to analyse further than whether it is good or not – what thoughts come to mind when watching the film? What films are similar? The look of the film? the narrative? etc. Whatever you are interested in. Just a short couple of notes takes 5-minutes after viewing and they can be a real great reference point when writing about films further in a blog post.
In terms of books and reference points its difficult to say – there are so many! Also depends on what you want to do – do you want to make films? do you want to criticise films? do want to be a film academic? Basic introduction books are called something along the lines of “Film Theory: An Introduction”. Its the specifics which would separate how good they would be for you – but basic stuff is covered in them all. In the same way, different University courses or websites will vary depending on the nature of your interest too.
I don’t think all Hollywood filmmakers are interested in what separates the Auteur theory from the Psychoanalytical theory on film – and I doubt all critics deem this a neccessary understanding for solid criticism. Academics, on the other hand, will probably be skilled in one theory over another rather than understanding all of them.
Whether it’ll turn you into a film snob or not is irrelevant. It is what it is. If it’s your bag, then so be it. If not, thats fine too. But don’t just blindly follow advice – follow what you are passionate about and what you like. It should all work out in the end…
Dear To Learn Or Not To Learn,
Yes, doing that stuff will make you all snobby and 90% of the internet population will be incredibly annoyed with you. On the other hand, the other 90% will, for some reason, love you. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s 180%! That makes no sense!” But it’s math–it never makes sense to about 90% of the population. Including, sometimes, the 90% that understands it.
In short, listen to film commentaries and watch behind-the-scenes featurettes instead. They’re much more entertaining and are about 90% less likely to turn you into a snob while still giving you plenty of extra knowledge from the filmmakers themselves on the films you actually care about. And then, since you’ll be focusing primarily on your favorites, you won’t end up hating them. 90% of the time, anyway.
Yahoo! User #11:
Is there any way at all I can meet Shia Labeouf?
I’m from the Uk, Shia Labeouf is my celebrity crush haha, I’ve had a crush on him ever since even stevens when I was younger! I know there probably isn’t but just incase, is there any way at all I can meet him? even if it’s just for a minute? please help:(
This is easy.
First, the prep work:
1) Qualify for a U.S. Work Visa or (if you’re of college age) a student visa.
2) Get a job in Los Angeles (preferably in the film industry) or get accepted into a college in Los Angeles.
3) Say goodbye to your friends and family and move halfway around the world.
If you have a job in the film industry, your chances of meeting Shia Labeouf are probably much greater than if you don’t. If you have a normal job or you’re just here for college, you’ll basically have to stalk him. According to a few seconds of research, he lives somewhere on Deervale Drive in Sherman Oaks, CA. He built a very tall wall to keep people like you out, but don’t let that discourage you! Hang out on the street all day and see when he drives by. Get to know his routines, find out what restaurants he likes and hang out at them until he comes in. Make sure to follow him on twitter, in case he posts where he’s going to be. Or, wait for one of his movies to premier at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. It’ll be crowded and you really won’t be able to interact with him on his jaunt down the red carpet, but it’s better than nothing.
If you’re under 18, there’s a much easier way than moving to Los Angeles and stalking him. You just need to develop a life-threatening disease that qualifies for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and use your wish to meet Shia Labeouf. Don’t try and fake a disease. That would be unethical and I’d be a bit sad if some deserving kid got screwed out of their dream just so you could accomplish your lame goal. Really, you’re better off just stalking him.
First of all, you need to go to Mapquest to get directions to the United States. (It’s important you can swim) Once you’ve gotten here you’ll have to find a way to Burbank, California which is his main resting space.
Before you go any further there are two very important things to take in consideration……..the first is the true and correct pronunciation of his name. Don’t mess it up, you have one chance to make a good impression and you wouldn’t want to make him angry. I’ve heard he punches people that say his name wrong, or will just smack someone with the nearest object. I mean, who can blame him, he’s Shia Labeouf!?!?!?! The man has done things. Also, if you could somehow work into your conversation that Brian Austin Green really isn’t that cool, you’ll be golden.
The second most important thing is to remember he remains a member of the not as tall actors guild. A party that includes other big stars like Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner. The thing is, these guys aren’t aware of the fact that they are vertically challenged because they are so busy being awesome. However, if you show up in high heels towering over him, you may blow your chances of anything other than him going all dragon on you and blowing fire in your face.
Now, to find his actual address you’re going to need some magic. And yes, I mean literal magic………..look in the yellow pages in the section titled, “Magicians replaced by Mindfreaks” and you’ll find David Copperfield. He’ll help you the rest of the way, but you’re going to have to butter his ego by telling him that John Stamos does NOT have better hair than him.
If you follow these directions you may be successful in your venture, and if you do meet this crush of your childhood you could repay me by one simple favor…………get Michael Bay’s number from him. I’m in the mood to blow stuff up. By stuff, I mean EVERYTHING of course.
Thanks and best of luck to you!
Sure thing! As a matter of fact, it should be very easy to get hold of Shia now, especially judging from the success of his most recent movie Lawless. All you have to do is get a ticket to the West Coast and go to this address: 315 West Ninth Street #200, Los Angeles, CA. Look for the building called, “The Employment Development Department – Job Services”, go to the main desk and ask to see Sheila (that’s his case worker). He should be there filling claim papers as you read this. Better hurry though; he might find work soon! Good luck!
Yahoo! User #12:
Which movie would be best to watch with my mom?
Total Recall or Seeking a Friend for the End of the World?
Mutants, tri-breasted women and a bit of the old ultraviolence…or a relatively benign film starring milquetoast Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley about the apocalypse?
Dude, go with Total Recall. Seeking a Friend practically has an orgy (or two) break out in the midst of all that chaos – that could cause some psychological damage right there.
I’m sorry, but questions like these really cheese me off. How the hell should I know — she’s YOUR mom!
The better movie to watch with my own mother is SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, partially because I don’t want to look at triple ta-tas with my mum, but mostly because she most sci-fi movies bore her to tears (she considers STAR WARS to be “hard” sci-fi). I know this because I’ve had actual conversations with my mother that don’t involve cleaning my room or eating my vegetables.
So try talking with your mother. You might discover that she had a whole entire life before launching you into the world.
Dear Yahoo! User #12,
That depends. Which version of Total Recall? Both versions have a woman with three boobs, so you really can’t go wrong in that department. I’m not sure if Keira Knightley shows her boobs in Seeking a Friend, though she does in a few other movies… like “The Hole,” which I promise isn’t a porno, and “A Dangerous Method,” which I can’t promise isn’t a porno. Though if you want boobs in an apocalyptic setting, there’s this flick called Return of the Living Dead, and Linnea Quigley is buck naked in that for quite a while. But then she gets eaten. In a non-porno kind of way.
In summation… pretty much anything would work. Just, whatever you do, don’t put in that mini-DV labeled “50 Shades of Grey Role Play” that you found hidden in your parents’ room. Especially with your mom in the same room as you. That would just be awkward. Go put in Clerks 2 instead.
Much like my answer last time, you’re in luck! I’ve written a movie that combines BOTH films! Now you can just watch that with your Mom! It’s called “Totally Seeking A Friend To Recall The End Of The World”! In it, Steve Carrell is bored with his life so he goes to Recall to pretend to be a spy but UH OH! The world is coming to an end! So he must go on a road trip to Mars to not only hook with a chick but kick a bunch of Martian’s ass!! It co-stars Will Smith just so he can say “WELCOME BACK TO EARTH!” while Steve Carrell crash lands back to Earth. Unfortunately, his wife/fuck buddy dies. Oh, spoiler alert.
Yahoo! User #13:
Why didn’t the movie Marmaduke win any Academy Awards?
I actually had to look this up to see if it was true. Sure enough, not only didn’t Marmaduke win any Academy Awards, it wasn’t even nominated for any! So, the quick answer is that Marmaduke didn’t win any Academy Awards because it wasn’t nominated for any. Here’s what the Academy says about the nomination process on their website:
“Nomination ballots are mailed to the Academy’s active members in late December and are due back to PricewaterhouseCoopers, an international accounting firm, in January.
Regular awards are presented for outstanding individual or collective film achievements in up to 25 categories. Members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominated film editors, etc. However within the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees.
All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.
The results of nomination balloting are announced at a 5:30 a.m. (PT) press conference the third week of January at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.”
Anyway, we all know that these Hollyweird liberals are biased against wholesome family entertainment like Marmaduke.
I don’t know… Tom Dey films are generally very well received and pretty darned good, I might add. You would think in a world where Ellen Burstyn can lose to Julia Roberts that Marmaduke could at least get a nod, right?
The Great White Dope:
Because – and this is one of Hollywood’s darkest secrets, my friend – all the films Owen Wilson stars in have an internal code in them that will subliminally encode a “DO NOT NOMINATE” thought process in any Oscar Nominating Committee member’s brain. See, in the forthcoming book, “The No-Code: Why Some Movies Never Win Awards”, there are a hidden list of actors who, for differing reasons, have been selected to be banned forever from Oscar’s podium to collect their own little golden man. In Owen’s case, it is because he got in a group brawl years ago with Ed Begley Jr, Tom Hanks, Annette Bening and Michael Apted over just what the deal was with his nose. It was kept out of the papers but as many people know, Hollywood never forgives… nor forgets. The film-making community at-large has been fighting to ban the book for the last three years, but its release should clear up many things, including who Marmaduke, The Darjeeling Limited, Drillbit Taylor and You Me And Dupree won NO Oscars. Unless the latest court injunction holds, expect “The NO Code: Why Some Movies Never Win Awards” in bookstores this December. Happy reading!
The answer is obvious. Leroy Lockhorn, Beetle Bailey, Dagwood Bumstead, and Mark Trail are all in the company that chooses who wins these things. Obviously, Marmaduke could’ve just eaten all of them and that’d be the end of it. Instead, Marmaduke teamed up with Hagar the Horrible, Snuffy Smith, and TJ, Brad’s friend from “Luann”, to try to persuade them to vote for the movie. But Leroy drank too much and was dancing with a big breasted bimbo, Beetle was asleep, Dagwood was busy eating, and Mark Trail was busy punching people for them to notice. NOW! If they ever make a Family Circus movie (Plot: Billy is lost and it’s up to Dolly, PJ, and Jeffy to find him by using the trail he left behind!) they would be all over that. Plus I suspect Beetle and the Mom from Family Circus are secretly fucking.
(I read too many comics. Is that obvious?)
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PS: Did you know that Beetle Bailey and Lois from Hi & Lois are brother and sister? ….what?
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