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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

What if there are no Special Effects?

When special effects gets to be too much, what sort of movie do you watch ?

Let me say this: I love special effects. Most especially when it's used to make something "unreal" look real, and when others are used because.. well, because they are needed for effect!

But sometimes I find myself tired of special effects. Sometimes, I don't mind them in the movie.. but I don't want them blown up in my face continually, ya know?

Most movies use special effects in one way or another.. and to be honest with you, if there had been computers when I was young, I think I would have tried to work in that industry of making special effects. (so .. I do appreciate them!) But what happens when you just don't feel like seeing them? Do you just not watch movies?

Many times I watch TCM channel.. old black and white movies, where few if any special effects were used. (and certainly nothing like we have available in today's movies!)

I was thinking on this today.. probably because SQT happened to mention something to this effect on her blog. When I read her post my mind jumped immediately to a few movies that, for whatever reason, have stayed with me over a number of years. These movies did not use special effects. (at least not that one could tell.. which is a good thing)

Besides being a movie without said effects, they were not big moneymakers. In fact, some could sit here and read the titles and say "huh? never heard of them". Not a big surprise, but a sad one, because they were very good movies. And before they were good movies... they were good books. But again,maybe not the most exciting.. but stories that stuck with me.

Below are three movies that I thought more than worth watching, yet never made it very big.

The Whales of August by: David Berry 1987

Libby and Sarah are widowed siblings who have vacationed for half a century at a seaside cottage in Maine. Now in their eighties, the sisters have unexpectedly arrived at an impasse: While Sarah embraces change and the possibility of romance with a courtly Russian suitor (Vincent Price), the stubbornly bitter Libby rages at the inevitability of death. As the summer months wane, can Libby and Sarah rediscover the powerful bonds of memory, family and love? (dvd movie)

The Grass Harp by Truman Capote 1951

Book Description: Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits--an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies--who one day take up residence in a tree house.AS they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, "that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life."
dvd movie )

An American Quilt by Whitney Otto 1994

An extraordinary and moving reading experience, HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT is an exploration of women of yesterday and today, who join together in a uniquely female experience. As they gather year after year, their stories, their wisdom, their lives, form the pattern from which all of us draw warmth and comfort for ourselves.
dvd of the book)

One thing these movies/ books had in common was the fact that they were all about older people. Which made me stop and think. In these cases (and others I am sure) these were obviously character driven stories.. thus no real need for special effects, all they needed was a good actor/ actress.

There are many movies/ books out there just like these, while admittedly fewer all the time. I guess they don't make the studios big money so they try to avoid them... but they are good stories and it's a shame that the movies are never appreciated like the big expensive special effects ones are. There's great stories, and great actors doing them. Many movies never make it to the status of any awards... but it doesn't mean they aren't worth watching. In my opinion that is.

So my question is this: Aside from really old movies on TCM, tell me of a favorite movie of yours that isn't filled with special effects, and yet you can't seem to forget??


Blogger Chris said...

I know exactly what you mean. Like you, some of my favorite modern classics are loaded with special effects, but sometimes you just want a good story filled movie. Two of my favorites are Sofia Coppolla's first two movies: The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. Especially Lost in Translation...I could watch that movie again and again and never get sick of it....let see, what else. I don't know, I'm drawing a blank of course, but I'm a movie nut! Great topic!

12:28 PM  
Blogger Ladytink_534 said...

I'm not really sure off the top of my head maybe Shawshank Redemption or Fried Green Tomatoes? I really enjoy older movies though!

4:17 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Chris: don'tcha just love a movie you can watch over and over and never tire of?! lol. I have so dang many of them! hahahaha

Ladytink: excellect choices!! I love anything Jessica Tandy is in! and love love love Fried Green Tomatoes!

4:21 PM  
Blogger Nymeth said...

wow, I never knew there was a movie version of The Grass Harp! I love love love that book. I need to watch the movie now! How To Make an American Quilt is very good indeed. The movie, that is...I haven't read the book.

I'm with Chris on the two Sofia Coppolla movies. Another two I love are Before Sunset and Before Sunrise, both by Richard Linklater. I have watched them over 10 times each. They are as straightforward as it gets, and absolutely beautiful.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Cath said...

Um... The Last of the Mohicans has to be one of the most visually stunning movies ever made. And one of my favourite character driven movies is Witness with Harrison Ford. I can watch that over and over and never get tired of it.

7:32 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

nymeth: how funny! You never knew of the movie and I've never read the book (but I will be sending for it!) The movie is very :o)

Cath: ahhh good choices! I tried to mention movies that weren't widely known but deserve to be.. as you know, I could watch harrison read a phone book and enjoy it lol.. ever see Mosquite Coast?? It's one of Harrisons favorite movies he made.

7:37 PM  
Blogger SQT said...

I'm a sucker for Pride and Predjudice. No special effects needed.

3:01 AM  
Blogger Cath said...

Yes, I've seen Mosquite Coast, Pat. Good film. But I don't care for his later 'thriller' type movies so much. Can't *wait* for the new Indy film though. John Hurt was on TV on Friday night and said that he's not allowed to speak about the movie at all for fear of letting out spoilers. 8-S

When my girls were in their teens we were addicted to the old movie version of Pride and Prejudice with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. People laugh about that movie these days as it's not too close to the book, but I still love it to pieces.

6:32 AM  
Blogger animewookie said...

I love, love. Love Antie Mame, 1958 with Rosalind Russell. That's definitely a movie I can watch over and over again. I also love Back Street, 1932 starring Irene Dunne. It's a total tear jerker. For those days you need to just, let it all

8:10 AM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Sqt: good point in that most older period pieces never use effects.

Cath: what's getting harder is to find "new" movies without special effects! (though I absolutely LOVE all the YA movies they are doing! lol)

Animewookie: ah yes Rosalind russell did the best Auntie Mame! (Lucy just couldn't quite do it)

8:32 AM  
Blogger Dark Orpheus said...

You make a good point about how the "simple" character-driven stories are not as appreciated as the big budget special effects movies. I guess the Hollywood executives have come to believe people don't want stories about ordinary people anymore. But that's so rubbish.

The last movie without any special effect but left its mark on me is "Juno" -- it's just good acting, a good script with good-hearted people trying to figure things out.

These days the best places to find the storytellers are the indie movies. Where you have filmmakers without much money just trying to make a decent film.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Carl V. said...

I generally don't think much about this because I watch such a wide variety of films. Despite having favorites in the sci fi/fantasy genre, my most frequently rewatched films are period pieces or modern travelogues like A Good Year or Under the Tuscan Sun. I probably watch the Jane Austen films over and over again more than anything else. I do think there are films that rely too heavily on effects and most of those generally end up being stinkers or, at the very least, not holding up after multiple viewings.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Kim L said...

Special effects are great and all, but too many directors today try to replace decent story-telling with special effects. Yuck! And then people talk about a movie, "well the story was dumb, but boy that one special effects sequence was so AWESOME!" Special effects can't redeem a bad movie.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Carl V. said...


1:33 PM  

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