Watching Movies Connects the World10/22/2010
By Lizzy O’Laughlin
A movie is an interesting thing. The moving pictures on the screen paired with the sounds radiating from the speakers place a temporary emotion within the viewer’s soul. Whether it be a two hour feature or a two minute short, during that moment in time, the whole audience experiences the same general feeling of happiness, sadness, fear, or anything in between. That’s what has to be one of the most stunning aspects of film. Random people, who will never encounter or say one word to each other for as long as they live, are momentarily brought together by these feelings.
Ever since early childhood, I loved making people laugh. I soon learned that film is one of the best mediums for portraying humor. As soon as my brain had developed enough to turn on a video camera, I began making funny videos. My tenth birthday party was a movie party, where all my friends came to my house and we shot a movie about a chaotic trip to the dentist that involved bizarre patients and a crazy dentist who pulled impossibly large teeth without the use of anesthetics, all while singing and dancing. The unexpected twist at the end was that the dentist (played by yours truly) accidentally turned a patient’s teeth blue. Watching the footage afterward made me realize, at the ripe young age of ten, that movies are really cool. Here I was, watching my friends act out a silly story on the screen, and it was causing me to roll around on the floor laughing until my face turned to an alarmingly bright shade of red and tears of joy were streaming down my cheeks. But what made it really memorable was that I wasn’t alone, my entire group of friends was rolling on the floor laughing with me. For that moment in time, the same thoughts were going through our heads. It was a moment of bliss that seems quite rare nowadays.
On an opposite note, I’m sure many people are familiar with the movie Paranormal Activity, or at least the trailer. In the trailer, we are shown footage of audiences in movie theaters, appearing to be scared out of their wits at whatever is playing on the screen. Each person seems to flinch in unison. Can this interest the viewer, and make them want to see the movie for themselves to see what all the jumpiness is about? Yes, absolutely. But what else does the short clip portray? One audience experiencing the same emotion: terror. This audience is likely compiled of complete strangers, yet they are all brought together by what they’re seeing on the screen and the unanimous reaction.
The experience of watching a film with just one other person, or in a giant theater full of people, is really something to pay attention to. Next time you’re watching a movie with a friend, relative, enemy, or whoever, don’t be afraid to talk about it extensively. You might feel like a dweeb for a second, but I promise you’ll feel enlightened after an engaging conversation about a good film. You may be surprised to discover that the two of you have similar impressions. And next time you’re at the movies, try to take note of how the theater patrons around you are reacting. Chances are, you’ll have many of the same reactions as they will. Movies bring people together in that way, and it’s a beautiful thing that I think will exist as long as video cameras are being manufactured and stories are being created within our hearts.
Lizzy O’Laughlin is a senior at Ballard High School in Seattle.