About Brandon

My Movie Philosophy:

I’m that guy who sits in the front of the theater because I prefer that the screen consumes my peripherals.  I want the volume cranked, I want everyone behind me to chew their popcorn with their mouths closed, and if I have a ravenous urge to pee I will not get up.  I will have a Coke with every film I watch, because a theater experience is not complete without a Coke.  If a preview comes on for a movie I’ve heard will be good (and thanks to IMDB and RT I almost always know in advance), I’ll shut my eyes, cover my ears, and make loud clicking noises.  I’m a purist, and believe every film should be seen with as little previous knowledge possible for maximum enjoyment.  If a film I want to see isn’t showing at the theaters in Bloomington, IN, I’ll drive up to an hour and a half to see it.  If the Oscars are coming up, I’ll often pay to watch two movies consecutively at a movie theater.  On more than one occasion, I’ve spent an entire day at a theater, if the films are good enough.  I see every best picture nominee every year, no exceptions, and I do what I can with my unfortunate rural Midwestern location to see every well-reviewed foreign film, documentary, and independent film.  Those I can’t afford to see in theaters, I rent using either my online Netflix account or my online  Blockbuster account.  Movies are no small part of my life.

Because of my process and research, I rarely see clunkers.  The exceptions are normally popular films that, if I were caught not having seen them, someone might mistake me for a movie snob.

What I most appreciate in a good film is probably its screenplay.  As a writer, I’ve grown to adore fresh, intelligent, surprising dialogue.  There’s no replacement for a great script.  So for me, film centers around the writing; if the writing is bad, I probably won’t enjoy myself.

But even if the writing is great, it’s only one cog in the machine.  My opinion is that a director should normally keep him or herself out of the film as much as possible.  An editor should keep the pace rhythmic, enjoyable, and appropriate to the movie’s content.  The actors need to show their effort in every scene.  And the score— the musical score is such an underrated and rarely discussed portion of a movie experience.  I grew up a musician, so the music in a film will affect me just as much as these other fundamental components.  An aggressive rock song during a delicate, poignant scene destroys that scene.  Cliched, uninteresting brass and choir music during a war scene will diminish its power.  And a constant-running score of any kind will render its attentive audience numb.  Music needs to be properly placed and carefully chosen; I wish more filmmakers paid attention.  Alas.

My all-time favorites:

All-time favorite movie: Fargo

Best actor acting performance ever: Peter O’ Toole (Lawrence of Arabia)

Best actress acting performance ever: Charleze Theron (Monster)

Favorite actor: Al Pacino

Favorite movie villain: Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber (Die Hard)

Favorite director: The Coen Brothers

Foreign Film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Drama: American Beauty

Action: Munich

Suspense/Thriller: No Country for Old Men

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 2001 A Space Odyssey

Comedy: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Romance: Annie Hall

Horror: Rosemary’s Baby

Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Musical: West Side Story

Animated: Toy Story

Western: Unforgiven

War: Apocalypse Now

Trilogy: Back to the Future

Sequel: Godfather Part II

Comedy show: The Office

Dramatic show: The Wire


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