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Richard

JWfaners' Filmic Influences.

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This is a little subject that I've been thinking about, lately. 

What got JWfaners "into" films, what keeps JWfaners interested in films, and, more importantly, what, in terms of cinema, are JWfaners' influences?

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I've also been watching VHS bootleg recordings of TV broadcasts (complete with commercials and everything) since I was very little. We digitized most of those when we got a DVD player (about as late as 2007) and still have the bootleg DVDs of the bootleg VHSs. Might be one of the reasons I'm still fine with DVDs. Our most prized one is the 4-hour epic that puts RotK and Ben-Hur to shame: terrible amateur recordings chronicling the first 4 years of my life, with included major time jumps because we didn't have a camera, always had to loan one from friends.

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Fantasy and music

 

Growing up with Wizard of Oz, Disney, Spielberg, BTTF, Star Wars, LOTR, Harry Potter 

 

Fanboying in my teens over Kubrick, Tarantino, Scorsese, PTA, Wes Anderson, Coens, Monty Python, Beatles movies

 

Found more stuff to get excited about in my 20s. Powell/Pressburger, Kieslowski, Bunuel, Truffaut, Lynch, Almodovar, Demy, Ophuls, Has, Anger, Hertzfeldt, Mclaren, silent movies...

 

Kinda simplistic, there are outliers but I figure fantasy and music is the general trend with me

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I think my interest in films started out around the time I was in high school, a few friends and I would get together and we made a couple of short films, and habitually caught films at the cinema for the major releases. It sort of blossomed into my interest in wanting to produce art and design work for films - The Lord of the Rings was had a major influence in just the sheer level of creativity and detail that was on display and wanting to be a part of that. Films were part of our culture, discussing and debating them during lunch and waiting for Revenge of the Sith to come out. Yet it was also my love for the music of the films that amplified my love for them.

Before that I have distant memories of my parents showing me A New Hope on VHS and I remember falling in love with Darth Vader and Lightsabers. My love for film really wouldn't be there without those iconic films - they serve as a nice jumping-off point to where I'm open to seeing indie films and dissecting the art and craft of filmmaking today.

 

 

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Raiders, Duel, Whistle Down the Wind, The Neverending Story and Superman. Those were key movies in my very young years which sparked more than a passing interest in the medium.

 

As I've gotten older, my enthusiasm for movies has waned somewhat, indeed nowadays I look to longform TV for the really great entertainments, but that doesn't mean I don't still really love and appreciate film gems whenever I find them.

 

The whole trend of modern blockbusters, the superheroes and the 'four quadrant' productions, I have absolutely zero interest in any of them.

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I think for me it boils down to an above-average vivid imagination and a sensory apparatus firing on all cylinders, but I don't really know who I inherited it from. My mother is more likely than my father, I guess.


Since I was a kid, I was always interested in storytelling, being engrossed by a universe and visual stimulation. I had a knack for drawing, and created several comic books and comic book characters myself (in addition to reading thousands others, of course). I also had a knack for writing, and wrote several short stories and even two short novels when I was about 12-13. I also had a natural musical talent, and composed piano themes by improvisation when I was 5-6. It's my greatest regret that my parents didn't give me piano lessons when I was kid; I'd probably be a musician today. My film interest seemed to be an extension of all of that. I also grew up in a pre-internet time when visual stories (film or TV) had more exclusivity than they do today; it was an accomplishment to actually find and get certain films, so that heightened the experience even more.

 

But I can't really give you any specific film or time that triggered my film interest; it seemed to be a gradual evolution.

 

Interestingly, my interest in soundtracks didn't really come from films, but from my interest in prog rock and electronic music with lengthy instrumental passages and a 'concept' feel. I think that's why I don't like C&C releases and prefer soundtracks that are re-conceptualized for listening.

 

Oh...and you asked for what types of cinema that shaped my taste. Well, in the beginning it was obviously 99% Hollywood and traditional films. That's where the Spielberg passion came from. But as I grew older, I became interested in other forms of cinema. These days, I tend to prefer cinema that is more about communicating ideas through audiovisual means, whether it's completely arthouse/indie (Antonioni, Ray, Godard, Lynch, Tarkovsky etc.) or auteurs using a traditional format to forward such ideas (Spielberg, Scott, Burton, Fincher etc.). I also have a strong fascination for 'action auteurs' like Paul W.S. Anderson, Roland Emmerich, Michael Bay etc.

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4 hours ago, Richard said:

Yes. Saturation seems to be a good way of immersing oneself, in any given subject. Was any one videotape of particular influence, or was it a general thing?

 

The latter. They were mostly on those old BASF tapes, recorded from free-to-air TV, movies like Ghostbusters, Superman, Superman II, Superman III, Supergirl, Raiders, ToD, Close Encounters, Poltergeist, Star Wars, Empire, Masters of the Universe... and I'd routinely watch these over and over. Those tapes helped shape me into the manly man I am today.

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Films are less interesting to me than music.  There are many great scores I love to bad movies and vise versa.  For example, I love James Horner's score to wolf totem and ignore the movie.  I get great pleasure from that soundtrack and I ignore the film.  To me, what engages me in film is that it has the potential to engage more senses when the movie and music work harmoniously.  Like a subset of the ideal of Wagner's Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art") which sought to engage all senses.  So not just music, but included visuals, vocals, acting, staging, sets, lighting, sounds, smells, etc. 

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Lots and lots of cartoons and Muppets. Gremlins was the first non-animated/non-Muppet film I ever loved as far as I can recall.

Through that, I raised myself on a steady diet of horror movies (equally of the mainstream A and obscure weird B-variety) of all eras, in-between servings of Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Tex Avery, Woody Woodpecker and Muppets/Sesame Street.

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Wow. @publicist, there's so much in that post, not the least of which is the part about The Wall. To live under those circumstances, and then decide to have no more of it... It could have its own thread.

It's good to know that you discovered a "soundtracks" section, in the record store, even more so to learn that it contained TSON!

 

Ps, VIOLATOR is absolutely brilliant, and MUSIC FOR THE MASSES is not far behind.

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Well, i did decide not much of anything, as i was 12 years old back then. ;) But i sure remember those glory days in November '89: you crossed the iron curtain into west Berlin, Helmut Kohl gave everyone 100 marks and sent you on a shopping spree. Which meant walkman, Mars bars, Nutella and records (no one had a cd player).

 

World of Music was the gigantic music store on Kurfürstendamm and they had the largest possible selection of everything (it's where i bought the Star Wars Anthology in 1993) and with great fondness i remember the long afternoons i spent there listening to cd's on their try-out racks. I had so much patience back then that i could listen to whole Pink Floyd albums cowering next to the rack and to 'Gremlins 2' after that (the movie came out in summer 1990), deciding that i gotta have that and that this Goldsmith guy was a somehow cool dude.

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3 hours ago, publicist said:

 

 

Later came comedies, which always was my preferred filmic idiom - the word being a mightier than the image, you might say, though i value that much more highly in hindsight 

 

If that is true then why not stick to stand-up comedy? Or books? 

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4 hours ago, Thor said:

Ha, ha...a "grouch stand-off" between two of the grouchiest members on the board? My popcorn is ready to go. ;)

 

Just because I'm not lyrical about everything or love the same things as you doesn't mean I'm grouchy, Thor. :)  Even when I said that DJ culture killed music (probably my darkest comment ever), I still did so with humor. Maybe you missed it. 

 

 

6 hours ago, publicist said:

JWFan's major supplier of lead balloons should not speak of either 'comedy' or 'us' in any context here.

 

'Us' as in "the rest of the world", not as in "you and me", pubs.  And lead balloons can be funny because they often contain truths. You know, like my previous post about Germans and their lack of humor. 

 

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I see. Be that as it may, i, for the life of me, cannot find all those pretty serious posts of mine nor do i can find any comprehensible meaning in a sentence like 

Quote

If that is true then why not stick to stand-up comedy? Or books? 

 

What are you talking about? That your hallowed halls of 'Blade Runner', '2001' and the few other films you constantly impose on discussions are stained by something as frivolous as 'comedy' (which is a pretty broad filmic genre). Or that people who read lots of books during childhood should not talk about film music? What is it?

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I had loads of VHS tapes growing up. I have actually had the chance to re-watch a few with a completely different mindset recently. There were the Disney Classics of old which were always fun for Sunday afternoons and what not. Then more stuff came into the picture. Star Wars became a thing for me. Most other movies I can know appreciate are based off books I enjoy (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies are mentionables) and historical adaptations and events (Darkest Hour, The Post, Dunkirk). I also love a good BBC doc. The root of this is probably exposure from the start. I always enjoyed movies. As I watched more, I decided which genres appealed most to me.

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12 minutes ago, publicist said:

I see. Be that as it may, i, for the life of me, cannot find all those pretty serious posts of mine nor do i can find any comprehensible meaning in a sentence like 

 

What are you talking about? That your hallowed halls of 'Blade Runner', '2001' and the few other films you constantly impose on discussions are stained by something as frivolous as 'comedy' (which is a pretty broad filmic genre). Or that people who read lots of books during childhood should not talk about film music? What is it?

 

It was meant like this: If someone prefers words over images then why would he wast his time watching images and discuss them on a forum? Shouldn't he be reading books all the time and just forget about cinema? However, later it dawned on me that even a fan of words wants to sit in the couch and watch a Marvel flick while eating popcorn. We all need a break sometimes.

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7 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

You're pretty serious for a guy who's so much into comedy. Maybe it's the German humor that is lost on us.

 

Because Belgian humour is famously just a laugh a minute.

 

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1 hour ago, Alexcremers said:

It was meant like this: If someone prefers words over images then why would he wast his time watching images and discuss them on a forum? Shouldn't he be reading books all the time and just forget about cinema? However, later it dawned on me that even a fan of words wants to sit in the couch and watch a Marvel flick while eating popcorn. We all need a break sometimes.

 

Your placability is annoying. Can't you just put up a good fight? 

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No, just unreliable in general, because of the big ego of academics. They don't like it when the established paradigm (meaning themselves) gets questioned and they will do anything to discredit anyone who tries. Any institution that doesn't like to be questioned is not to be trusted.

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4 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

Wikipedia says he's a Belgian detective. You didn't know that, Richard? 

 

I meant David Suchet. 

Poirot doesn't exist. He's a character in a trick of light.

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Margo Channing said:

Wikipedia isn't an accepted academic source.

 

Wikipedia is just an electronic library. No. It's not even that. It's a bit like a holding company.

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