I have a few friends who are indifferent to the movies. They wouldn't say that, they would say the love movies, but they don't have a clue what it is to love movies. Kinda like a picky eater who claims to love food.
It wasn't until this Oscar season that I realized I had a full-blown obsession with the movies. I had been called a cinema buff, which I took as a compliment of sorts, and thought of myself as a cineaste, which is a highfalutin word for the same thing. But I hadn't acknowledged the extent of my involvement with the movies, maybe to the point of powerless-and-my-life-had-become-unmanageable. I don't watch the Oscars with the objective of seeing who wins so much as seeing the Hollywood animals in their native habitat. I watch movies all the time, go to the latest ones in the cinema palace and rent two or three a week. Added to those I find commercial-free on Turner Classic Movies and those I stumble into on the cable channels, it turns out that movies are like wallpaper in my life. I like silly romantic comedies with pretty people in them and dark violent murderous ones with sweaty guys shooting each other's faces off (as long as there's a woman around somewhere). I like mysteries, a smattering of science fiction, relationship movies, and even occasional animated cartoons.
How many movies do you have to see before you admit your addiction? I'm not sure. I'm still in denial here--I'd like to say I'm movie-dependent rather than a movieholic. But the line draws closer all the time.
I have adored Jeff Bridges since The Last Picture Show and The Great Lebowski, but had not seen Starman until I rented after the Oscars. (Yeah, I loved it.)I especially liked him in The Contender and The Door in the Floor, both of which I suggest you rent if you haven't seen.
I love Meryl Streep as much as even movie non-lovers do. She is classy and enormously gifted in both comedy and drama, with that uniquely chameleon quality that transports her spirit while channeling that of someone else. Whether she wins an Oscar or not is irrelevant at this point. She is Hollywood's reigning queen, and she carries that mantle superbly. I can't wait to see what she does next.
My interest in the art form is not so much related to the technical achievements as it is in its transformational component. I like to leave the movie house feeling like a different person from the one who went in. I even have known this phenomenon when watching a rented movie in my own home. It's the magic of the writing combined with the magic of acting--both of which I do myself, so it's interesting that I can be transported by the work of others. Sometimes I'll say to myself, "Good scene!" at the end of a good scene, or even "Great line!" and at others I am just transfixed at the performance of the actor who just delivered the great line or good scene. This does not even mean I wasn't able to suspend my disbelief--I can be totally there while the critical half of my brain is doing its work to disarm the inner child who is living life up there among the pretty people performing. In watching The Matrix I experienced flying with the characters, and it was awesomely familiar. I knew I had done that in my dreams. Had I had the foresight to see the Imax version of Avatar I'm sure I would have had similar out-of-body experiences.
Something keeps me coming back to movies, always hoping that some little moment will take me out of myself and put a smile on my soul. In more cases than not, it happens. It's mind expansion and heart expansion, and, man oh man, it can be addictive.