A Little About Me – Jennie Stoddart

Hi, I’m Jennie, and here’s a little info about my movie life.

Top Five Favorite Movies

(as of today… maybe…  Also, please note that these are my personal favorites, not necessarily the movies that I think are the 5 best movies made.)

In alphabetical order:

American Beauty: 1999

Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers: 2002 (I love the whole Trilogy, but The Two Towers is my favorite of the 3.)

The Matrix: 1999

Rear Window: 1954

Stranger Than Fiction: 2006

Favorite Childhood Movie

According to my mother, when I was very young, my favorite movie was “Swan Lake”, but I can’t really recall that.  My recollection is that one of my favorite childhood movies was 1964’s My Fair Lady.  I would watch it over and over again.  This movie is 170 minutes long and I remember that it was on 2 Beta (yes BETA) tapes and I had to get up and change the tape halfway through the movie.  I still know every word to every song.

Guilty Pleasure Movie

The clear winner for me in this category is the 1998 dark comedy Dead Man on Campus.  I couldn’t even tell you how many times I have seen this movie.  I completely wore out my VHS copy, and my DVD is on it’s way out too. I quote this movie in my head a lot as it is too vulgar for most situations. A close second would be the 2006 comedy Grandma’s Boy.  I have no idea why I love this movie, I just do.

Favorite Movie Scene

This is actually a really hard question.  There are so many great, great, great scenes in so many movies.  There are really great scenes in movies I don’t even like.  I think I’ll go with a scene from a movie I like though.  It is the final climactic scene in the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair.  It’s clever, well shot, contains a lot of art, and is perfectly accompanied by Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman”.  The clip is a little over 6 and and half minutes long and does contain some spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen it.

Movies I Cannot Get Into

This is easy for me – Horror Movies.  I am apparently a big scaredy cat even at 30 years old.  Even though I LOVE all the behind the scenes stuff that goes into these kinds of movies.  Even though I know that there are some scary movies right now that are critically acclaimed, smart, and generally enjoyable.  I just can’t do it.  Even when I see a scary (or even kind of scary) movie that I like, I regret seeing it shortly thereafter.  I cannot begin to explain the neurosis of my dislike of horror films so I won’t, but I assure you, I will not be reviewing any anytime soon.

My Film Background

I can not really pinpoint the start of my love of movies.  Some of my earliest memories involve me laying on my stomach in our family room watching The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, The Muppet Movie, and much more.  My parents owned (and still own) a LOT of movies and I watched nearly all of them.  They owned most of the major musicals, the award winners, and animated films over the past many (many) decades.  I didn’t know when I was 8 and watching Bringing Up Baby and Gone with the Wind or when I was 15 and watching 12 Angry Men and Platoon that I was watching some of the greatest films ever made.  I didn’t realize that I was building up a love of movies that would turn into what, some would say, is a bit of an obsession.

I studied photography in college, and while film was not my field of study, going to an art college exposes you to all sorts of different mediums, including film.  Sometimes you would get on the elevator and someone would be holding a prosthetic head or their arm would have a horrific gash on it.  You never knew what you might see.  I was also given the opportunity to hear some lectures and have some assignments that further expanded my knowledge and love of film.  I remember a group from Disney came for 5 days to do lectures and film viewing with Q&A afterwards.  This was required for all animation majors, but open to everyone.  I couldn’t wait!  Most of these were done in large lecture halls, but one that I was able to attend was in a room of less than 50 people.  It was a lecture on the Disney short John Henry.  We got to see storyboards, first drafts, talk to animators and watch the completed short.  This memory is one of the strongest from my time at college.

As several of my fellow reviewers surely have mentioned, as the years went by I ended up with a group of friends who share in my love of movies, and as a group we see a lot of them.  During awards time we’re a bit nuts.  For the last several years we’ve, as a group, been attempting to watch all the Oscar nominated movies, including all the shorts, animated, documentaries, and foreign films.  We’ll spend an entire day at a theater sometimes arriving for the earliest showing available, and leaving when they are trying to close up shop.  This year I was able to see 49 out of the 53 nominated films.

What I Watch For In Movies

For movies that I like to watch over and over again, I generally lean towards movies that are more fantastical.  I love special effects, prosthetics, miniatures, elaborate makeup, etc. as long as they are done well (for their time of course.)  I’m the person that watches every minute of the behind the scenes footage, more than once usually.  I can quote and talk about the behind the scenes footage as well as I can talk about the movie sometimes. I generally won’t buy a movie if it doesn’t have a bunch of extra stuff.  I enjoy streaming movies online, but I feel like I’m missing something when I can’t see what went into the film.

All that being said, what I watch for predominantly are the visuals.  Was the makeup or prosthetic work realistic?  Were the sets believable?   Is the CGI well blended with the real life?  For the less fantastic I still watch for appropriate lighting and framing of the shots.  For newer movies, I judge them very harshly if there are very obvious green screen moments.  If aspects of the movie are over the top and unrealistic, is there an artistic reason?   There have been some films over the last few years that remind me how much I love this stuff.  Hugo, Anna Karenina, Black Swan, Inception, and many more.

Jennie Stoddart (24 Posts)

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