Never Underestimate the Power of Escapism

Robocop (also known as one of the best movies of all time) © Orion Pictures Corporation 1987

Lately, there haven’t been too many movies to see…I’ve read a few articles online about the surprise success of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  Just goes to show you that people will still spend their money on a couple hours of non-thinking.  I have not yet been Blarted, but those of you who know me know that I am a movie lover and will see just about anything (save for really insultingly unrealistic romantic comedies, i.e. any movie Drew Barrymore has made in the last five years).  For me, movies are complete and utter escapism.  Some people do drugs, I go to the movies.  I gave up the drugs years ago.

I’ve been inspired by countless movies.  The first movie I ever saw in the theater was Sleeping Beauty, and I’ve been hooked ever since.  My tastes range from comedy to action to science fiction to animation to drama and everything in between.  I love a huge Hollywood blockbuster, and I love a small indie.  I love popcorn.  I love Diet Coke.  I love the dark.  I love the whole experience.

I added some of my favorite directors over yonder on my Inspiration sidebar.  None of them are going to shock anyone.  I’m pretty sure most of them are everyone’s favorite directors, but thinking about all of their wonderful contributions to my imagination makes me happy.  I have also had the humbling pleasure of photographing many directors (and some writer/directors and actor/directors) such as Paul Verhoeven, Wes Anderson, Marc Forster, Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Haggis, Zach Braff, Emilio Estevez, John Lasseter, Mike Judge, and Kevin Smith.  These shoots were all super fun because I was able to nerd out with a fellow movie junkie.  I think my favorite anecdote from any and all of these interludes has to be during my shoot with Wes Anderson.  I shot him in New York on October 11, 2001.  I was so nervous that there was going to be some sort of one month anniversary terrorist attack that day, and I was having a really hard time focusing on the shoot.  It was an important shoot for me.  It was my first shoot for GQ, and I was a big fan of Wes’ movies.  In the cab ride uptown to the location, I heard a car backfire, and it was all over for me.  I was a wreck, even once I got to the shoot.  I kept telling myself to calm down and concentrate on the lighting, on Wes, on the shoot, period.  It wasn’t until my assistant asked him, “Hey, have you ever seen a movie called Bottle Rocket?” that I actually snapped back into reality just in time to hear him say, “Yeah I have, and I wrote and directed it too!”  We all cracked up, I relaxed, my assistant was embarrassed, and everything was gravy from there on out…oh and no one blew up either which was a bonus.            

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