Column: I learn a lot watching movies

I enjoy movies.

New ones, old ones, classics, mysteries, action movies, dramas, historical movies, science fiction and comedies.

I even enjoy remakes: Superman, Batman, The Thing from Another World (The Thing), Lost in Space, Cape Fear, War of the Worlds and more.

I enjoy the old. I enjoy the new.

That includes Planet of the Apes, which No. 3 of the remakes hit last week. I’ve not seen it yet, but I will. And as cheesy as the Roddy McDowell and Charleston Heston movies from 40 year ago were, they were fun to watch,too.

Remakes I enjoy also include any Star Trek move not directed by William Shatner. Capt. James T. Kirk is one of the greatest movie characters of all time, but Shatner’s Star Trek movies were, well, not very good.

If I’m having a bad week. I try to take a Wednesday afternoon off and see a movie.

But if I don’t get to a theater, I’m OK with movies on TV.

I’ve seen the Shawshank Redemption more than 25 times, the same for The Hunt for Red October. If the movie Truman comes on TV, I don’t have to watch the whole thing, but I do have to watch the last 15 minutes or so. The original Odd Couple — with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau in the movie theater — may be the funniest movie scene of all time.

The most enjoyable ending to a comedy of all time? Easy. “Always look at the bright side of life,” from The Life of Brian.

I couldn’t be a movie critic.

I’m not critical enough.

I head to the theater to get away from real life for awhile. And 99 percent of the time, I enjoy that little bit of escapism.

I have only walked out of one move in my life. It was the last film Alfred Hitchcock made. Since then, I’ve watched it again, and I must have been having a bad day when I left “The Family Plot” not more than 30 minutes in. The second time, it was still pretty awful, but I watched the whole thing.

This has been a wonderful summer for movies.

And I’ve seen most of the big hits.

Wonder Woman was wonderful. The newest Guardians of the Galaxy was a hoot.

You can learn a lot from movies. This summer, I finally figured out what a lot of friends and family and former co-workers love about comic books.

Next year, I’ll have been out of high school for 40 years. And it was just in the past couple of months that I came to appreciate what a lot of my friends and co-workers have known for years.

Finally, I understand the love and fascination that comic books can bring.

Oh, I read my share of comic books at the barber shop when I was growing up. In fact, I always showed up a little early so I could get in an extra 15 or 20 minutes of reading time before I hopped into the chair. If my brothers and my dad were with me, I usually got more than an hour’s worth of reading time.

I didn’t read a lot of Marvel comics or DC comics. You know, the folks who brought you Thor and the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man and Batman and Superman and Wonderwoman and Spiderman and more. I still don’t know all the characters. But when I need a lesson on comic book heroes, I just have a chat with my nephews Nick and Nate or my niece’s husband Dustin.

I was far more interested in Archie and Vernonica and Betty and Jughead.

Now, I appreciate what I was missing by not reading Marvel or DC Comics’ best.

It took a while. But now I get it.

The first comic book I remember brought to the big screen (other than Superman and Batman) was the Incredible Hulk, you know, the one with Eric Bana, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott and Jennifer Connelly. It was rather amusing, the way the movie screen was made to resemble a comic page.

And then there was Mickey Rourke in Sin City. It was dark. It was entertaining. But it was forgettable.

Then along came half a dozen reincarnations of Batman and more of Superman. They were good, but didn’t really do that much for me.

I remember how proud I was 10 years ago when I saw the first Capt. America movie. I even bragged to some co-workers how smart I was when I figured out the connection between Howard Stark and Tony Stark. Now I know why they were not as impressed as I was by my movie intelligence.

Then one day I watched Thor. I knew the story, well, I knew he was not of Earth. My co-workers had talked of Thor and of Loki. In fact, Gere and Steve Goble named their dog Loki.

Since that movie, I’ve been hooked on Marvel’s famous characters, from Iron Man to Thor to Black Widow to the latest incarnation of Spiderman.

I’m looking forward to more movies based on DC Comics.

So now I get it. I think I know what my friends and former co-workers got out of those comic books. If they liked them a fraction as much as I enjoy the movies based on those characters, then I’ve lost out on half a century worth of enjoyment.

There’s another reason I enjoy movies.

I learn from them.

The first time I encountered Jennifer Lopez (Moneytrain), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games) and Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow) were at a movie theater.

And this weekend, I’m ready for another learning experience.

The movie Dunkirk opens Friday. It’s been a long time since I have been so intrigued by a movie trailer.

Dunkirk is based on a true story, something that really happened in World War II.

Why I have never heard of Dunkirk, I don’t know.

But this movie? I want to see it. I hear it is good. The reviews I’ve seen have been generally good.

However, for me. I want to learn more about this heroic story. I’m fascinated.

After the movie, I’ll read about Dunkirk. But for now, I’m going in blind, my appetite whetted by the trailers I’ve seen.


Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer



Email Russ Kent with story ideas or comments at [email protected]