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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Indian pauper wins game show and audiences’ hearts

Published: January 16, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

diverse-city-1-16-09_page_3_image_0001It doesn’t take much to convince me to go to the movie theater. Overpriced beverages, hard to find seats, and more than a couple opportunities to attempt casual conversation with people who didn’t think they would have to see you after graduation are just some of the delights that I eat up when attending a movie (I say this in all seriousness). When viewing movies at home, it takes next to nothing to convince me to watch a film I’ve already seen. Some of the classic cinema I’ve watched an alarming amount of times are “Happy Gilmore,” “High Fidelity,” and “Bring it On” (I don’t have to justify myself, thank you). However, it is a strange occurrence when I find myself going to the movie theater to catch a repeat viewing of a movie I’ve already paid to see.

There have only been three movies in my 20 years of living that have compelled me to return to the movie theater more than twice. Three of those movies have been promptly placed into my collection of personal favorites. The fourth movie escapes me (it probably starred Will Smith, who in my opinion makes every movie he stars in at least ten times better than it would be without him. In case you were wondering). The three movies that I’m positive I’ve seen more than once are as follows:

“Spiderman 2”

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

“Slumdog Millionaire” (I promise we’ll get to this)

What do all of these films have in common? What would make a person watch three vastly different movies again and again in the theaters? What would provoke me to put down the remote control, leave the confines of my home, and travel miles (maybe one) to pay for a movie that I have already seen? The answer is simple (as are most philosophical questions posed by a person who hasn’t taken a philosophy class). Love. (Did you really expect anything else from me?)

I first saw “Spiderman 2” the summer directly after freshmen year of high school. The details of what occurred at the theater are shaky (I don’t remember who I first saw it with), but remembering the feelings I felt afterward are not difficult to recall. The movie experience left me feeling exhilarated and smiling ear to ear. It was a popcorn film at its best. It is fair to say however; I did not think I would be returning two weeks later to see it again. A girl that I was actively pursuing at the time wanted to see it, and being a courteous and sophisticated male that many know me to be, I could not refuse her.

“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (expertly done, by the way) I first saw late at night with two of my friends. I distinctly remember commenting out loud (every five minutes) at the attractiveness of Mila Kunis. But, the reason I returned to that movie was the connection I felt with the main character (Jason Segal). He was going through a bad breakup and I, being the self-loathing crybaby that I am, had not yet gotten over that girl I had seen “Spiderman” with all those years ago (we can talk about my masculinity another time). Once again, I was compelled to see it repeatedly.

Slumdog Millionaire (finally right?) is an entity all on its own. It’s not exactly a movie that one would go to see four times in one month. The movie is a Dickensian story that intersects past and present as the audience watches Jamal (played skillfully by Dev Patel), a boy from the slums of India, play for a million dollars on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

Danny Boyle’s film while not always easy to watch (especially the torture scene involving electricity) is always heart wrenching and beautiful to observe.

Everything that Boyle throws on the screen is a marvel to view. Under the direction of Boyle, colors smack through the screen and things that should look decrepit are so appealing to the eye that the viewer will leave the theater wondering how the man behind the camera did it. To make it plain, Boyle could film Keanu Reeves eating a sandwich and make it interesting to watch.

The movie is a crowd-pleasing piece of entertainment that should easily evoke emotion from even the most callous moviegoers. The story elicits sentiment from the audience with an overarching love story involving Jamal and his counterpart Latika (played by Freida Pinto who was promptly put into the list I keep in my head of the top five most attractive female celebrities).

The movie plays with the audience’s heartstrings so proficiently that it’s a wonder the viewers don’t see a puppeteer pulling cords and smiling devilishly back down on them.

If you’ve stuck with me to this point, you can probably see that “Slumdog Millionaire”is a winner in my eyes. However, that does not account for me going to the movie four times over winter break in order to see the same story played out for me repeatedly. What was it then? (No. It wasn’t a girl or me wallowing in self-pity.)

The answer is easy: I love this movie.