This is the first time that I have ever tried to do something like this. Last year, with the inaugural June Movie Project, I watched 52 Disney films and 13 Disney/Pixar films over the course of about two weeks. But that wasn’t a planned event. It was spontaneous and came about because I caught bronchitis in June. However it is with that period in mind that I decided to make this project happen. The second annual June Movie Project is going to start tomorrow and it is a fully planned event for me. 30 movies in 30 days, with a write up and a best-of-screencaps post to follow, this is the most well planned movie project I have ever done. And as I gear up for it tonight with my last off list movie, I felt like I should explain a bit about why this is something I am putting significant time and effort into.
Two years ago, around this time, a friend of mine told me to start watching Breaking Bad. As an avid fan of Serialized Television (as opposed to Procedural TV) I became hooked almost immediately. I watched the first four seasons in relatively short succession but eventually I got to the third episode in Season 3 which stopped me in my tracks for a few days. As a brief recap (spoiler alert for those who are intending to watch the show soon) Jesse Pinkman has just been released from rehab after finding his girlfriend dead next to him one morning after an overdose. Jesse does nothing in that episode with the sole exception of calling his dead girlfriend’s phone number to hear the recording of her voice. This happens six or seven times through the episode as the other characters continue on their way until the final scene where Jesse calls the number again and finds that the number has been disconnected. His face darkens, and it looks as though he has lost the only thing in the world holding him to any kind of happiness.
I balled. I wept like a child watching that episode and then I left my house and went for long walk to think about life for a while. That episode made me feel more deeply than most events in ordinary life can. And for the most part that is my story with film and television. I can remember being young and watching Radar O’Reilly come into the MASH operating room to deliver news of Henry’s passing. Sure it was on DVD and I was maybe seven, but MASH and Wrath of Khan and My Girl among many others taught me about death. Toy Story 2 taught me about mortality and Close Encounters taught me about wonder and Jaws taught me about fear and courage and the list goes on and on. But the theme is the same; stories are above all else a perfect conveyor of emotion and while the other cultural parts are important, the fact that I can sit down with a movie and become immersed in its world is, to me, a miracle. And now, for a laugh, here is the Spielberg Face video