I’m a “film guy.” You know that person in your life who is really, really into movies? They talk about camera angles or maybe throw out terms like “diegetic music” or even own a few art house films on DVD? For many people in my life, I’m their “film guy.” They know I have a love for and a wealth of knowledge about the movies, and they can always come to me for who starred in what, when what was made, and learn more about the craft that goes into making a brilliant film.
What they don’t know is I still haven’t seen Casablanca.
That’s right. Casablanca, often considered one of the greatest films of all time. Casablanca, the film that brought all the best cast members of The Maltese Falcon back together for an equally-compelling story. Casablanca, the film that has been quoted, parodied, emulated, and studied quite possibly more than any other film in history. Yes, that Casalanca. I haven’t seen it. People are floored to hear that and their estimation of me as a “film guy” wavers just a little. No matter how often I tout the greatness of Bicycle Thieves or sit people down to experience The Seven Samurai, this glaring oversight in my viewing repertoire is too obvious a gap in my film experience. But that’s what this week’s recommendation is all about.
This week or weekend, your recommendation is to take time out to start reading that novel or short story, watch that movie, listen to that record, or otherwise experience that piece of art that is the definitive glaring oversight in your ability to claim status. You know Literature with a capital “L” but you haven’t read The Great Gatsby? Shame on you and your high school English department – get to work! You claim to be the “rock-n-roll” expert in your group of friends but have yet to experience Hendrix? Get thee to a used CD shop! You know movies but haven’t seen Casablanca, Bicycle Thieves, The Seven Samurai, The Maltese Falcon, or the cinematic genius that is Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure? Get. Cracking.
I have plans to watch Casablanca with my wife this week (her copy – she’s seen it a dozen times). Maybe then I can win back my “film guy” status. Maybe next week I’ll try to bone up on my capital “L” Literature knowledge by reading my first Robert Owen Butler novel or see if Catcher in the Rye is right for me or maybe even tackle The Grapes of Wrath.
As for you, what’s your missing link? What haven’t you yet experienced but you know you need to for a fuller understanding of the art you so desperately desire to know and love?