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Movie Buff

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Movie buffs are people who know every line of Back to the Future. They know who did the cinematography for the Wizard of Oz. They know who played who in what version and spend hours talking about the Rocky series.

Most self-identified movie buffs have a different idea of what elements earn them this title. Some say real movie buffs are the people who watch only the classic, critically acclaimed movies. Others believe it's a matter of quantity: they argue real movie buffs watch several movies a week.

However, most people who call themselves movie buffs say it's not what you watch, or how many you watch, it's how you watch the movie.

"In other words, movie buffs watch movies with a critical eye. They're not necessarily negative about what they are seeing, but they analyze the movies they watch," says movie buff Roger Davidson.

According to Jennie Koolen, a film studies student in New Zealand, analyzing a movie may involve thinking about any of the following things:

  • Did you like the movie? Was it entertaining? What did you like or dislike about it?
  • Were the characters believable? Did you identify with them? Was the acting well done?
  • Was the plot well focused? Could you follow the story?
  • Did the movie have a message? Did it make you think about the world or people in a different way?
  • Was the movie like any other movie you've seen before?
  • Was the cinematography -- the use of the cameras, lighting, scenery -- effective? Did it add to the story?

Movie fan Darren Companion says a real movie buff is someone who has analyzed enough movies to recognize contrasts and similarities among different directors' work.

"I think a serious movie fan is able to compare elements from different movies and see where one director has learned from another, has been influenced by another's style," he says.

Most movie buffs also have a favorite genre of movie. In other words, they might prefer comedy, drama, action adventure, science fiction or horror films.

Diehard movie buffs say this is a good activity for people who enjoy creativity and a bit of escape.

Movie watching is a recreation open to almost everyone. Most movie theatres are wheelchair accessible and more and more movies are close captioned for people who are hearing impaired.

For a dedicated theater movie buff, this recreation can be expensive. The cost of a movie theater ticket range can be high -- and that's before popcorn! However, some smaller theatres show slightly older movies or old classic movies on the big screen for discount prices.

If you don't mind watching movies on the little screen, many movies buffs watch movies online or through services like Netflix. Although the picture may not be as spectacular as the big screen, you and all your friends can probably watch two movies and buy some popcorn for the cost of one regular movie theater ticket.

There are a number of options for movie buffs who want to make their hobby a full-time career. Working as a movie critic may be a natural extension of interest for a movie buff. Movie critics watch movies and are paid to provide explanations and critiques of them, either on radio, television, or in a newspaper or magazine article.

Acting might be the perfect calling for the extroverted movie buff. Watching talented performers at work is good training for actors, so if you're a movie buff, you may already have a head start on preparing for this career.

The movie theater has been the training ground for many great directors. Learning about a director's style and technique by watching their movies is a good way for a movie buff to get on the road to a career as a director.

For movie buffs who are looking for part-time employment related to this recreation, working as a clerk or an attendant at a video store or movie theater is a great way to get paid while enjoying your favored hobby.

Getting Started

If the sign of a true movie buff is someone who watches movies with a critical eye, then experts say the best way to reach "movie-buffdom" is to spend time really thinking about the movies you watch.

"If you liked the movie, analyze what aspects of the movie you enjoyed. What didn't you like? How is this movie like or different from other movies you have seen? Imagine what the director's goal might have been," suggests Koolen.

Talking about movies with other people who have seen them is one way to develop a critical eye. Movie enthusiasts say talking about the movie will give you the opportunity to think through your thoughts on it, to be more clear about your likes and criticisms.

If you're looking for movie discussions, there are tons of newsgroups on the Net devoted to movies. Some are general movie newsgroups and others are much more specific. The titles will tell you where the interest of each newsgroup lies.

Reading or listening to the reviews of professional movie critics are also a good way to find out what other people think of movies. Since they're trained movie buffs, their reviews might give you an idea of the kinds of things you might want to look for in a movie.

"You don't have to agree with the critics, of course. Some movie buffs go to see a movie just if a particular critic hated it, because they always disagree with that critic. Their [the movie critic's] opinions might just get you thinking," says Koolen.

Most local newspapers have a regular column with movie reviews written by professional movie critics.

Second only to movie theatres, the Internet is a movie buff's paradise. There are tons of sites dedicated to the silver screen on the Internet, and quite a few destinations designed just to help you navigate these movie sites.


Browse the latest movie information by film or by theater, and find out background information on the movie and where and when it's playing

Internet Movie Database
The trivia buff's movie site, with details on over 10,000 movies, actors, actresses and directors

Box Office Magazine
Offers weekly reports of movies news, information on new movies being made and a comprehensive listing of film and video reviews

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