Movies, movies and more movies

I am going to be boring you guys to tears with movie reviews for a while from here on out.

I watch movies all the time, just like everybody else. The difference here is I have made movies back in the day of Super 8 and 16 millimeter. In fact, I shot a movie once on Super 8 entirely edited in the camera; I shot it the way it would’ve been edited, thus removing the need for editing after the fact. It was great.

Also, I grew up in a household of movies. My dad was an actor, James Whitmore. We lived in Rustic Canyon, near the Pacific Palisades in sunny Southern California. Our neighbors were Lee Marvin, James Arness,among many others.

When I have time today I watch movies in the theater or on my flat screen with surround sound at home. The sound is great; five Bose speakers situated perfectly around my living room. When I turn it up, the walls shake. It’s great. Sound is vital for movies. Without it, it just sucks.

I made a movie once broadcast on Public Television, KCET, Ch. 28, here in the Southern California area, and the sound was awful. Actually, the whole movie was pretty bad, but the sound was the worst. It sits hidden in my attic, where it belongs. It was called “Choices” and was part of KCET’s Independent Eye program, lo’ these many years ago. I shot it on 16 mm over a long weekend for $7,000. Jeez! That was something. A seasoned pro once screened the movie and said I should rethink my entire career. Sound advice that I promptly ignored.

I have been known to watch movies over and over again, whether it’s “Open Range,” “The Company You Keep,” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” – what a great movie that was. I just like certain styles, Michael Mann, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and, of course, Marvel.

Marvel certainly has carved out the immediate future of film-making. I know there are those who poo-poo those movies. Screw ’em. I say. If a movie is good, it’s good. There is just no way getting around that. And Marvel is making good movies.

Last night, My wife, Eileen, me, and my son, Brennan, watched “Big Hero 6.” And it was terrific. I cried. Course, I’ve been known to cry during American Express commercials, so what the hell!

I was somewhat embarrassed because I was completely immersed in this cartoon, I guess nowadays “cartoon” can be construed as disparaging because the animation is so beyond anything I saw as a kid. I loved this movie. As mentioned, I even cried near the end. Couldn’t believe it. But my family also was moved by the film. It is not a cartoon for kids and yet kids can watch.

What a great movie. The characters, the story, and the relationships as well as the action, it was all good. I found nothing wrong with the movie, and now can see why it won the Academy Award for best animated feature.

Next on the agenda is a film made in 1967 called “The Flim-Flam Man” starring George C. Scott. This was the first movie I saw as a 17-year-old kid that spawned the desire to take off “on the road” so-to-speak. The scenery is to die for and the story is simple and sweet. It made bumming around the country an ideal pastime. And I did just that.

So, now it’s off to the moves.


About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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