A grab bag approach to choosing movies.

Mass-market movies rarely appeal to me.   I’m drawn to stories that reveal a personal or distinctive voice.  Production companies are interested in appealing to the broadest audiences and in-turn making the most money possible as soon as possible.  They want the opposite: movies that appeal to the masses.  Personal, distinctive or hard-to-category stories just don’t fly there.

Foreign Letters

People usually forget about or ignore independent, documentary and short films, even though the best stories are often compelling and memorable.  They receive so little publicity that they lay or languish below America’s pop cultural radar.  Well below it.

I was grateful a few years ago it dawned on me just what kind of eclectic selection I could have in movies if I simply visited my local library a couple time a week!  While the feature-length movies are supposed to be organized by genre, after borrowers’ hands touch them they don’t stay so strictly organized.  That makes it adventurous.

I’ve found several films that way, which I might not or flatly would not have noticed if I’d relied on a social media queue or searched for those, which my friends recommend.

I recently discovered Foreign Letters, which documents the childhood bond between two almost teenaged American immigrants.  Their bond helped to insulate them from the cruelties that children can levy on one another.  And it stuck with or sustained them into their adult lives.  Most children know what it’s like to move to a strange place, be the new kid and have to carve out a new social life.  The girls’ story is sweet, smart, perceptive and dramatic.  Rare!

You just don’t find these stories at your local mall’s multiplex anymore!

hollywood sign index

While social media movie queues have their places, there is a pleasure, an old-school (or maybe just mid-20th century) pleasure in the randomness and adventure of watching what a grab bag give you.  A grab bag approach to choosing movies is a fun and novel way to accidently find some of the best and most unappreciated films you might not have otherwise found.  You could probably do this via Facebook or Flixster, but those media lack the hands-on and face-to-face satisfaction that I appreciate.


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