Sunday, February 22, 2015

Movies as the Highest Form of Art?

It's time for a culturally relevant post! It's time for a post about movies! On Oscar Sunday!

There's a part of me that tends to think that a great movie can be the highest form of artistic expression that we have in the modern age. This is a bold statement (at least in my mind), so I'll take a couple minutes to try to back that up with at least some semblance of reasoning. 

By definition, I think that art has to be culturally relevant, in the world we live in, if you make a great painting that is considered by critics and viewers alike to be a masterpiece but 1,000 people see it. How does that compare to a movie that is thought of as a masterpiece by critics and viewers but 50 million people see it? If the goal of art is to lift society to a place that it wouldn't have gotten on its own, a place of higher knowledge, a greater sense of self, of being in more in tune with our emotions, wouldn't a movie that does those things that reaches a wider audience mean more than a symphony? or a modern masterpiece painting?

Granted, the movies that are most likely to be considered artistic masterpieces generally aren't the same movies that are being seen by 50 million people, but I think the point remains the same even if you scale back the numbers from one thousand versus 50 million to 1 million versus 5 million.

So that's one way of reasoning my bold statement, here's another. A great movie can combine so many different artistic elements when other forms of art are limited to one element. Think about it this way, a great movie tends to have a great soundtrack or score. It has great actors, it might feature dancing or other highly choreographed routines (think fighting or other). All together there are so many elements that each seperately can be considered a form of high art, that when combined in a great manner it is much more powerful than one piece. It's like going to a museum full of art as opposed to looking at one piece in a person's private collection.

Even when you think of the all the effort that goes into making each scene visually stunning (think of the lighting, the angles, the sound and more), it just makes it so that when a movie pulls that "woah" moment off even more special. Plus, in my mind at least, the dynamic moving images of a movie usually means more and hits harder than the static image that a painting shows.

So yeah, that's my argument and I'm sticking to it, and that's coming from a self-proclaimed musician.

As for tonight's picks.... this is my picks, not who I think is going to win

Best Movie: Birdman. Just narrowly edges out Whiplash as my favorite movie this year. While Whiplash is the closest thing I've ever seen to a depiction of what it is truly like to connect with an instrument and with another person in a musical sense, Birdman has a lot more elements going on in my mind and I think Keaton and Norton kill it slightly harder than Teller and Simmons. Plus the whole movie being one continuous shot is in my mind a little more impressive than the 5 minute drum solo that Whiplash finished with.

My other favorite movies this year: Gone Girl, Nightcrawler. These 4 were in the top tier and a decent distance before you get to the Boyhood, Interstellar, Grand Budapest tier of movies.

Best Director: Linklater. Takes a lot of fine tuning for the story of the movie to outshine the gag of the way the movie was shot. I think the emotional connecting in this movie was top notch and it's not easy to do that with child actors.

Best Actor: Of the nominees: Keaton. Of all movies: Gyllenhall. Maybe I'm the only one who loved Nightcrawler so much but Gyllenhall is becoming one of my favorite actors.

Best Actress: Julianne Moore, I had to literally stop watching this movie because her portrayal of alzheimers had me so stressed out. Rosamund Pike was great in Gone Girl, but damn, I still stress out about Julianne Moore's character in that movie (which was just an okay movie overall).

Supporting Actor: JK Simmons
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette

Whiplash and Nightcrawler for their respective writing genres.

That's it for week one of this project.

'Til Tomorrow

Tomorrow: Something to do with Mental Health (I'll try to figure out my angle later)

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