Film Essays

The essays below are not film reviews in the normal sense. A film review gives you a summary of the film, often more cogent than a trailer, and a quick evaluation. Much of the film writing I find on the Internet is little more than a summary of the film. I find verbal summaries of an essentially visual medium rarely successful.

Nor are my writings film criticism. Film critiques tell you what, in the opinion of the writer, is good or bad about a film. Aside from rarely stating the philosophical basis on which these judgments are made, the major flaw of many of these film critiques is that author does not really talk about the film he or she saw, but the film they would like to have seen. They “correct” the filmmaker’s product. I also find these unsatisfactory since the author is not writing about the film I saw.

I like to think of these film essays as “film analysis.” My ultimate goal is to make the viewing of these films more fun. I am constantly looking for subtext in film: to find meanings that will expand the film but that are not immediately obvious. My favorite tools are psychology and mythology (to Carl Jung there would be little difference between the two). I occasionally dabble in culture and politics, like the essays on the Alien films.

The essays vary in length, pretty much by my whim. I write until I think I have unearthed what is I believe worthwhile to share and then quit. (I always fear overstaying my welcome.) Thus, some of these essays are book-length, like North by Northwest and The Wizard of Oz. Most are much shorter.

These essays are from a very personal point of view. Therefore, I am not looking for agreement. In fact, if you disagree with me, I think I’ve reached my goal – to have my readers think about the films they watch and, hopefully, thereby enjoy them more.