Marina Caitlin Watts is a senior studying Communication. In addition to writing for The Sun, she has also been published on various film websites along with The Daily Beast. She loves Frank Sinatra and hates decaf coffee. If you need her, she is waiting for Godot. Watch Me If You Can appears on alternate Fridays this semester. She can be reached at [email protected]
The 2015 biopic Trumbo depicts the struggle that many screenwriters faced during the Red Scare. Dalton Trumbo (played by Bryan Cranston), along with nine other screenwriters, was tried and charged for contempt of Congress under the accusation of writing films promoting anti-American ideals. As a consequence, he and many other writers faced blacklisting, forbidding them from writing and getting paid, wasting an enormous amount of talent. After his jail time, he decided to use the loopholes in his court orders to his advantage. Trumbo wrote films under the identity of Robert Rich (another screenwriter who was away on military leave) and even won an Academy Award for Best Original Story for The Brave One.
Movies that walk you through how a movie is made give off a metatheatrical vibe. The Academy also happens to favor these kinds of film when choosing best picture. Here are some films that are reflective of show business. ARGO. The film that Ben Affleck directed and starred in hit it big at the 2013 Academy Awards, taking home the little golden man for Best Picture.
Even though Citizen Kane is turning 75 this year and I LOVE keeping up with the number of things on the list with their age, I realize that 75 things about Kane would be lowkey obsessive, even for me. But how else could I honor the best film of the twentieth century (and perhaps all time) without going a bit berserk? This one’s for all the Orson Welles fangirls out there. I feel your love. It won the 1941 Oscars for Best Writing for an Original Screenplay, but was nominated for ninth overall.
In the twentieth century dd even until today, the emphasis of character has been shifting to that of personality. It is seen everywhere, from the conception and implementation of social media involving major figures to plebeians of today. We are more interested in personality than ever before. “Self-realization” has become a matter of increasing concern, as personality is connected to the growth of psychology and psychotherapy. Americans are more likely to consult professionals now more than ever, especially due to the advances made by Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis methods.
2011 saw the release of Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris. Viewers follow an American screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) as he wanders around Paris drunk one evening, gets transported to the 1920’s and grows infatuated with the famous figures he interacts with. His affair with another time period interferes with the time he tries to spend with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams). One does fantasize about the lives that contributed to a golden age of art, music and literature. In fact, I’ve been testing out this theory of using wine as a vehicle to time travel for a while.
As ideals changed in American society, trends in what Americans considered entertaining changed as well. A shift from a vaudevillian aesthetic to a narrative one of comic realism was necessary in order to sustain an audience. The vaudeville aesthetic dominated comedy. It was a variety show of short units, commonly called a “revue.” Success in comedy depended on personality, along with a rapidfire number of jokes. There was no time for exhibition, or a plot.
After World War II, many things changed in American culture. There was a chain reaction, from soldiers returning home to their families, to the baby boomer generation being born. Thanks to the highway systems built in the 1950s under the Eisenhower administration, families were able to move to the suburbs in order to live more comfortably. This suburbanization became the hallmark of the post-World War II period. On weekends and workweek evenings, families with smaller children would stay home and gather around their television as the primary source of entertainment.
If not for the strong desire to assimilate into American culture, the film world would have struggled to launch itself. Immigrants came to America and found it easier to adopt these values instead of embracing their own culture. However, the content of film was just as important. With this, there was an ability to make, edit and distribute movies. There was a drive in the technological world, thanks to Thomas Edison and Eadweard Muybridge.
Recently, I have finally come to accept the fact that I am addicted to people-watching. From viewing the great migrations to the Jurassic Park score (I mean, students commuting in between classes) to sitting in my dorm and watching everyone shuffle from place to place from far above, there is some therapeutic aspect to it that I enjoy. The desire to find out what people are doing without knowing they are being watched is a little creepy, yes, but the observer effect would completely ruin the organic scene unfolding before me.
But why do we enjoy people-watching, posed on the outside of things, looking in? There in fact is a word for it: voyeurism.