Movies 101: A Crash Course

Illustration by Olivia Brazier

For this article of Kalam, I was advised to write about a form of art that is timeless to me.

Naturally, I chose movies. No, not because our generation is too lazy to read, or is too uninterested to understand Monet pieces; this past year I have read more books than I can recall and went through various online art exhibitions and virtual events.

It is simply because Scorsese and De Palma have carved their way through my heart with masterpieces such as GoodFellas and Scarface in ways no other artists did.

You must be thinking that my opinion is cliché as I cite these movies. And I understand you!

Some people quote Tony Montana without even knowing which movie he comes from.

This proves how cliché these films are, but when did cliché ever become a bad thing?

I think we should put our egos aside, and admit that when something is cliché, it is simply because it is wonderful, comforting even, and just brings joy to a great deal of people, and why would that ever become a bad thing?

Quit trying to stand out and instead try to understand why these movies are so appreciated by the public.

This article is far from being a movie review, or a social revolution. It is simply me asking you to expand your cinematographic library. 

You must feel bad about yourself if you don’t know why Sonny beats up Carlo in The Godfather, if you can’t hum the song Mia and Vincent were dancing to in Pulp Fiction, if you haven’t seen Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo Dicaprio) try to go down the stairs while he’s under the influence in The Wolf of Wall Street.

Movies are here to educate us, they are as efficient as books, if not more. So take advantage of your Netflix subscription and after rewatching Friends for the millionth time, try The Irishman, Casino, Catch Me If You Can, The Matrix… The list could go on for thousands of pages. Even go further than this, as Netflix is one of the reasons we are not woke enough about old classics : it is so limited (how can a streaming platform consider itself decent if it does not stream Casablanca?).

One would go on then and thank god for , and for their unlimited library. Despite the fact that these websites are illegal, they feed off our thirst for knowledge. Take my word on this, a Ray Liotta movie can and will make you break the law. It is that good, and desperate times call for desperate measures because nothing eats you up inside more than being in the dark about the great stuff in life, and in this case, the great movies.

Audrey Hepburn said “Everything I learned, I learned from the movies”, and those are words I live by every single day. I have developed skills, witnessed my growth and learned more while watching films than my 19 yearlong academic journey has ever taught me.

Movies help you develop your character and personality, they help you discover things about the world, and yourself. Mostly, movies challenge you.

I once watched Inglourious Basterds and got so embarrassed for Enzo Gorlomi (played by Brad Pitt) that I booked Italian lessons the next day. I would never want to find myself being in the same position as he was! And yes, it could happen to you even if you weren’t a World War II American soldier.

More than this, movies challenge your thinking.

Watch Inception and tell me that your brain has not left your mind at least once during the movie. Simple, you can’t.

Some movies are so mind distorting that you probably won’t be able to make it to the end in one piece. Watch Donnie Darko and try to prove me wrong. Other movies are so avant-garde that you won’t be able to believe they were made 20 years ago; The Truman Show is the perfect example.

It is our generation’s mission to pass on all the amazing movies our parents watched before us. 

We must watch and encourage the screening of films that are inspiring and intellectually challenging. So if you are reading this today, I count on you to tell Vito Corleone’s story to a younger person and make them sit through the entire 7 hours and 30 minutes that Coppola meticulously presented it through the film series. Trust me, he’ll thank you one day.

 Note: If you have any great movies that you think everyone should watch, drop their titles in the comments!

Arts et Culture

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