The difference between movies and film: How to impress your friend who loves movies

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How many times have you been encouraged to see The Fate of the Furious, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales or Transformers: The Last Knight?

These “popcorn movies” represent a popular and important arm of the film industry where the goals are to entertain and make money. A less commercial side of the industry exists where film is intended to capture the essence of filmmaking, evoke emotion and inspire thought.

“For some people, going to movies is the same as going to an amusement park,” said Duane Andersen, assistant professor of digital cinema production.

Popcorn movies are fun and are meant to allow the audience a chance to suspend reality, take a ride and let the experience take care of itself. Mainstream moviegoers are unaware that they are watching a tiny percentage of the movies being made every year. The industry doesn’t wait around for the next chance to produce a Captain America movie. In the space between James Cameron’s next big idea (Avatar 5 to be released in 2023) is another world in which some of the finest films are being made.

Everyone has a friend who loves movies more than anyone else. When you ask them what they thought of a movie, you end up getting a lesson in film production. They enjoyed the lighting decisions but the music was a bit distracting. They also thought the dialogue was forced and too often the director relied on jump cuts for emotion and, to them, it all felt contrived. “If people have the opportunity to study film as an art and a craft, they start to see [those details],” said Andersen.

These people are called “cinephiles”. They have likely seen every movie you have seen, many you have not and even some you haven’t even heard of.

The creation of film requires writing, cinematography, costume design, choreography, music and more. These elements must be in sync just to have a presentable film. But, when everything is working well, we get art.

Just because art is the focus of the film doesn’t mean it’s something to turn away from. Films like Inception and Interstellar are great examples of artistic films that achieved incredible popularity.

Because emotion lies at the core of art, many art house films work to be relatable, if not realistic. The goal is to evoke an emotional response from the audience. For this reason, many come with an R rating.

Because it’s fun to shock people, try watching one of these films and see what you think:
Sci-Fi: Moon
Action/Adventure: Hero
Drama: Sing Street
Romance: Amélie
Comedy: The Royal Tenenbaums

Bring it up the next time you’re with your cinephile friend. If you like the genre, you’ll enjoy the film. If they’ve seen the film you chose, you’ll blow their mind. If they haven’t, you can revel in your superior knowledge.