Over break I saw four movies.
I was pretty bored, as you can imagine. And that’s what inspired me to go to the first one–the latest installment in the star wars saga: Rogue One. It was exciting and action-packed and reminded me of when I was a little kid playing with action figures. I only looked at my watch one time.
As break progressed and more plans were made and familiar faces came home, I had less time, but still returned to the movies. I saw Office Christmas Party and Why Him with friends and my girlfriend, and enjoyed them even though they were pretty silly.
I was addicted. I watched trailers night and day, listened to actor interviews, read profiles in Vanity Fair, and made plans to go to the local theatre with friends and family. It was fun and interesting and gave me something to talk about.
Then the last movie happened. I’d heard that Casey Affleck and Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea was heartbreaking and incredible, and I needed to find out for myself. It was raining when I got to the theater and the seats were so crowded that I had to shuffle down towards the front in that awkward movie-theatre way.
Two hours later it ended. The reviews were, for once, right. It was heartbreaking, but I felt so full of emotion and such a strong release at the same time that I knew it was worthwhile. It stayed with me the rest of the day.
The power of that movie got me thinking about our generation and the current status of art in America. Film was originally used as an escapist tool, allowing victims of the depression and World Wars to forget about the troubled times they lived in and mindlessly enjoy some entertainment. This isn’t the style across the earth–in other countries film is taken as seriously as any other art form.
I’ve always thought of film in the escapist way. But after seeing Manchester , I realized the value of the more serious movie.
With extreme technological advancements and new studios popping up every day, Film has become the visual art form of our generation. Very few people reads novels anymore or enjoy a trip to the art museum to look at paintings.
I include television in my definition of film. All those Netflix miniseries that everybody loves to binge are, in my opinion, just as important as serious movies. They all make us think about our lives from a detached perspective.
I think it’s part of our civic duty now to take in as much well-made, not always serious, television and film as possible. Especially in uncertain times, it’s important to gain a better perspective on your surroundings, and get lost in a good story in the process. Hopefully a greater appreciation for this type of art will make more of it appear, and the movies and the couch will become places we go for fun, but also for help.