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Being picky about movies

Anyone who knows me really well knows that I am a big movie fan. I'm not talking about the cheesy chick flick romantic comedies or the cheap-thrill blow 'em up action movies.

Yeah, I know it sounds like I'm really picky with my movies, and I guess I am. But what it boils down to is I like any comedy that is authentically funny. That means it can't use worn out cliches to get laughs. It has to be creative.

I am also very fond of dramas with solid acting and especially good camera work. I need inventive shots, not your run-of-the-mill, straight-ahead camera angles. I like unique.

The most important thing, though, is they have to be relatively clean. The less cussing, violence, drugs and sex the better.

In the midst of writing this, I do see where I'm quite selective with my viewing. That's a good thing though. I'm sick of all the half-baked over-used story lines that get plugged into a formula and spit out as the next blockbuster.

I demand something more.

And the more people that see the high quality movies, the more of that kind will be made. It's still a supply and demand system after all.

I've been thinking about movies a lot more lately because I do that every time I see an M. Night Shyamalan movie. For those of you saying "Who?" right now, he is the director of The Sixth Sense. You know, the "I see dead people" movie. He also wrote, produced and directed Unbreakable and Signs.

Shyamalan recently released The Village. The critics are split on this new one. Some think his supernatural suspense thriller with a surprise ending technique is getting a little worn out.

But how can you wear something out that you practically invented. No one else is making this kind of movie because it's a pretty tall order. If someone else is making something similar, they're doing a terrible job at it. I liked The Village. It's a great piece of art, just like his other movies.

Obviously Shyamalan is a born movie maker. He writes well, and he directs like no other I have seen since Alfred Hitchcock. That's saying a lot, because I consider Hitchcock to be the master.

If you've got the time and the money -- movie tickets cost way too much these days -- then go see this movie. Don't read or watch anything about it beforehand; that will ruin the surprise.

I can say that seeing it stirred up old feelings of wanting to write and direct my own movie. But that's another column for another day. Tune in next week for some anecdotes from my filmmaking past.

Web posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004

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