rec room home | short films

the listener
by miki howald

You know the awesome thing about movies? For me, it's everything. I love the movie-going experience of the theater: popcorn, sticky floors, surround sound, and not being able to stand the last five minutes of any movie because I just drank 44 ozs of Diet Coke and it needs to go somewhere. I love that large screen and the way moving pictures (oooh, moving pictures) take up that space. I'll watch pretty much anything on the big screen, except maybe "You, Me and Dupree." Once, when I lived in Alaska, I dragged myself out of the apartment (it's very hard to do that in the winter. Or fall. Or spring. It's all kind of the same…) and to the Anchorage Film Festival, where I saw a bunch of shorts (including a really disturbing one about a sociopath and an old blind woman. Blech, that still gives me the creeps) and a great feature-length animated film called "Mutant Aliens"(totally recommended for anyone who has a sense of humor).

I also love movies at home. That's why I own a DVD player. et has thought about buying a DVD player before but hasn't gotten around to it because someone once promised her one and now it's some weird principled stand not to buy one. Anyway, this is only mildly important as I had to lug said DVD player to Black Rock for Short Films night, and it was totally worth it.

I don't really want to summarize each of the films we saw, and I apologize to anyone who missed the show and therefore may want some kind of TWOP recap of the night, snark or no. Originally I had so many ideas as to what I would write about for this show, ncluding something about how in the course of 10 minutes I developed and lost a gigantic crush on Bob Rokos. I'm sorry, Bob, it's just not going to work out between us. It was just moving too quickly or something.

Maybe other people don't do this, but I have strange attachments to movies that have nothing to do with the merit of movie, necessarily. For instance, "12 Monkeys" is one of my favorite movies because every time I watch it I'm reminded that I don't need to depend on linear narratives to tell my stories. Such a simple thing, but I've been dragged down by attempts to move from point A to point B when really they have no relation other than being immediately next to each other on a timeline. Given the way we think and process information, that just doesn't seem too a strong connection to me. Another movie that always stands out to me is "The Jerk," which I watched in 2002 in a time of intense emotional distress that had been carefully suppressed for months. But the moment I saw Steve Martin trying to dance with his poor, sharecroppin' family and not having any rhythm, I burst into tears and cried through the entire movie. I don't know if any work of art has been that cathartic to me. Then there's "The Big Lebowski," which, in addition to being really funny, sort of remains a cue for me to go to bed. et, back me up on this because I think it may have happened to you, but my old roommate in Pittsburgh had a habit of coming onto my friends when I brought them over. After we were all trashed or whatnot, and it was 2 or 3 in the morning, he'd suggest we watch "The Big Lebowski". Because I'd seen it 100 times, I would usually excuse myself and go to bed, leaving him alone with any one of my hot friends. The man was not shy. JD never failed to make a move (though he sometimes failed to get a positive reaction from it)! Other movies that have meant a lot: 'SLC Punk", or the story of why I left Pittsburgh; "The Little Mermaid" (I don't know, I was 12); "Thin Red Line", or, how lyricism in image works. I like movies because they are not, as my father contends, stupid. They do not dumb me down, instead they make me think harder about what I'm trying to write or create. They remind me of new ways-angles, images, voices-to approach things I already know.

Short Films night at Rec Room was probably one of the best nights I've had there. It's really exciting to know that so many people are playing around in this medium, and more than just playing around, coming up with good films (I admit, it's totally magic to me). Anyway, I really hope we do another film night sometime. I think everyone enjoyed it, even if we are all having nightmares about the world's oldest boy…