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December 26, 2002

The Theme this Christmas: Movies

Every Christmas must have a theme, and this year's was clearly Movies.

We got and gave movie passes to three different people, and Jen (my spouse) got me a copy of David Thomson's Biographical Dictionary of Film. It's a wonderfully opinionated work, with no pretension to completeness or objectivity.  Jen found it after a recent Fresh Air interview.

I've also enjoyed William Goldman's  Adventures in the Screen Trade and  Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in the Screen Trade  Goldman wrote the screenplay for The Princess Bride. Reading Goldman gave me a new appreciation for the role of the screenplay; it's quite enlightening to help understand the difference between a movie and any other medium.  It's quite interesting to consider the problem of adaptation when you consider Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films.

In other medium, I enormously enjoy the Inside the Actor's Studio series on Bravo.  James Lipton, the host of the series, is certainly a person who is easy to caricature.  But what I truly enjoy about his show is the way he gets artists to talk about their craft.  Listening to Spielberg or Lawrence Fishburn, Robert De Niro, Ian McKellen, or even Hugh Grant is wonderful.

And finally, back on the movies theme, the extended 4-disk version of The Fellowship of the Ring is perhaps the best DVD I've found yet.  Others have noted that these extended DVD versions are like mini-film schools; this one is that to the Nth degree.  Well worth the $26.