Hello, my name is Thomas Manning. I have lived in Boiling Springs, North Carolina for my entire life, with my parents and older sister. There are many different things that I have taken an interest in over the years. Currently, fitness, nutrition, and sports analysis are big passions of mine. I am an ultra-marathon runner, and my love for food goes hand-in-hand with this. As for my status as a sports fan, keeping up with football, basketball, and baseball has been something that I have consistently done since I was about five years old. However, throughout my life, movies and television have always been there in the background for me. I have devoted a great deal of my time to these other hobbies, but whenever I wanted to switch things up a bit, movies and TV shows were my go-to.
Growing up, some of the earliest memories I have of films viewed in theaters include Disney produced projects like Sky High, Herbie:Fully Loaded, and Freaky Friday (2003). In recent years, I have revisited a couple of these films and felt great feelings of nostalgia. Other movie experiences that come to mind are at-home viewings of Pixar films like Toy Story, Monster’s Inc., The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo. Seeing sequels to many of these childhood favorites of mine recently has been very satisfying. (However, I don’t appreciate seeing young children in the theaters at films like The Incredibles 2; they do not have a clue how special the original one was.)
As I grew older, my palate of film evolved to include Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel and DC superhero works, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. The fast pace of these films and their constant action intrigues me. Even in the slower sections of these movies, the filmmakers do an incredible job keeping the audience’s attention by building suspense through the drama. Scenes are rarely wasted. Each sequence has an impact on the story.
A common element that each of these film franchises shares is the fact that they are all stories with components of fantasy and the supernatural. As I mentioned previously, one of the primary reasons that I enjoy films is to take a break from some of my other preferred activities like fitness and sports. I spend so much time in the real world, so it is nice to mix things up and travel to a completely new world through the magic of film. The writers do an exceptional job crafting vivid cinematic universes that are remarkably creative and palpable. While Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, and DC are based on books and comics, the filmmakers use their poetic licenses to insert original ideas. Most fans of these film series would probably agree that there is a direct connection felt with the characters on the screen. We as the audience feel the same emotions and sensations that these fictional figures are experiencing. Filmmakers with this ability to build a link between the audience and theatrical characters are at the pinnacle of their occupation.
In looking at my tastes in film, it is pretty obvious that I am a nerd. I don’t deny that one bit. I know way too many useless facts about Star Wars, Marvel, and DC that will never help me with anything in life, but that is simply something I enjoy! I look forward to learning more about the intricacies of film criticism in this class. Previously, I have taken a course examining the process of filmmaking, analyzing directors and their art. I anticipate this particular course to be little different. I expect to spend more time studying the films themselves, paying more attention to the product, rather than the creator. There are so many aspects and elements to evaluate in the world of film, and I hope to continue to expand my knowledge in this broad entertainment category.