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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Life at 24 Frames Per Second

Life at 24 Frames Per Second

I love movies. I’m one of those people who sits in the theater long after the action ends, reading every line of the credits. I even know what gaffers, best boys, and key grips do. Movies mark and shape many of the turning points and epiphanies in my life.

Being a child of the eighties, the first movie I ever saw in the theater was The Return of the Jedi. Other movies followed, although not all of them on the big screen. I remember the first movie I saw in which the good guy didn’t win: Gandhi, starring Ben Kingsley. I stayed up every Easter to watch Charlton Heston part the Red Sea as Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.

I remember that my parents wouldn’t let me watch Tom Cruise and Rebecca deMornay in Risky Business and staying up past my parents’ bedtime and sneaking downstairs to view my first comedy: a late-night, uncut version of Airplane. I also remember a less illustrious episode when I got sent home from the YMCA for ‘inventing’ what my eight-year-old mind thought was a clever, if somewhat potty-mouthed, rhyme for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

In later years I remember being shocked when my grandmother laughed at the oral sex references in Monty Python’s The Holy Grail, and I remember my first date at a drive-in theater outside of Saco, ME. (We actually saw the whole of the two movies, which I suppose means it wasn’t a very good date after all.)

I’m as in love with the movies as ever. When I’m depressed, an afternoon of “chick flick therapy” restores my spirits. (Anne of Avonlea once convinced me to leave a soul-sucking, dead-end job.) Comedy, Animation, Romantic, Action Adventure, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Thriller, Drama, Foreign, Experimental, Blockbuster, or Independent, I’ve no genre prejudice, just a love for good performances, writing, directing, soundtracks, and visuals. Movies have become a way of measuring the both popular pulse and the underground movements of a society. They also provide a mirror by which we can examine our own lives.

One thing I hate, however, is how expensive going to the movies has gotten, which is why I’m often found lurking in second-run theaters around Somerville, Cambridge, and Arlington. This also brings me to the point of this week’s feature: movies here on the UMB Campus.

The Student Arts and Events Council (SAEC) has put together a terrific schedule of on campus movies (see inset, left.) The SAEC is the student group that brings us those discounted movie pass sold at the Student Life Office on the third floor of the campus center, as well as bigger events like Cirque do Soleil, Student Night at the Museum of Science, and concerts such as last year’s Kanye West.

Their funding comes out of our mandatory Student Activity Fee, the proceeds of which are partially disbursed by the Student Senate. (Maybe more of us should think about running, eh?) The Student Activity Fee also funds on campus initiatives such as The Watermark, UMB Athletics, Library resources/events, the Beacon Fitness Center, and the Harbor Art Gallery, among others. Since we’ve already in effect ‘paid’ for these activities, it only makes sense to take

advantage of them!

The movie series this year promises to be good. Senior Amanda Ung, head of the SAEC, tells us that the project came up this past summer during a brainstorming session with Kelly Meehan, now the Assistant to the new Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Patrick Day.

“We looked at the success of the past movies we’ve run, Crash, Pride and Prejudice, etc., and we decided we wanted to do something bigger. It was no longer enough to just provide discounted movie passes,” says Ung.

Vice Chancellor Day was quick to embrace the idea as part of his avowed mission to increase both the quality and the quantity of time UMB students spend on the campus. (See The Mass Media, Sept. 5, 2006 “Dawn of a New Day”.)

Ung and Meehan acknowledge the challenges of providing compelling programming for a commuter school without dorms, but are committed to delivering a high-quality movie series. Ung says, “We want to give students more opportunities to hang out with fellow classmates and build community.”

The series is diverse; it mixes foreign film, independent film, and Hollywood blockbusters. At a special screening of Employee of The Month (see left) last Thursday, October 5, Meehan said: “Chancellor Day wanted to the series to reflect the diversity of our campus. He didn’t want to keep showing only blockbuster movies, or ethnic movies only during ethnic holidays. So, the series is a mix.”

Day also felt it was important to show foreign films in their original language whenever English subtitles were available; an Indian movie included in the series is all in Hindi.