One of my goals this year is to watch one movie a week. This week, I watched Ice Age, which is one of my favorite movies from high school. Watching a movie with a stopwatch has never interested me, but I did it anyway. My original intention was to analyze the plot points, but I did that so often for classes in college that I just can't bring myself to turn this blog into homework. So, instead, I'm going to talk about the things that interested me.
One of the reasons I love this movie is because it always makes me laugh. I've read that every page of a comedy should have at least one good joke, but what I found when I watched Ice Age was that there were far more jokes than that. Sometimes, they racked up quickly because of back and forth dialog, but just as often the comedy was visual.
In fact, I only noticed TWO scenes in the entire movie where there were no jokes for the majority of the scene (approximately 2-3 minutes each). The first is when Manny remembers his family and we learn about his tragic past--here a joke would be inappropriate, but this scene is still very powerful. The second scene is when Manny and Sid reunite the baby with his father. There are other scenes that are more heartwarming than funny, but even these are full of jokes. When Diego tells Manny and Sid to go on without him, the humor makes the scene more powerful, because it prevents the scene from becoming melodramatic.
Another thing I noticed was the framing device of the film--that crazy squirrel with his nut. The squirrel is funny and provides multiple laughs throughout the course of the film, but the two squirrel scenes that frame the film also highlight the themes. In the first scene, the squirrel, much like Manny and Sid, is isolated and on a quest that goes wrong. In the final scene, the squirrel misses out on his nut, but finds something better--a coconut. This echoes the journey of our main characters, who also ended up with something completely unexpected and far better than they could have ever imagined: a family.
I'll stop here, because I'm sure others have made these points before. Overall, I found it incredibly educational to watch a movie with stopwatch, even if the process was exhausting instead of entertaining or relaxing. At some point in the future I am actually going to count jokes per minute. But probably not this month.
Another of my goals is to read one screenplay a week. This week I'm going to read A Serious Man. I'll post about it on Saturday if anyone is interested in reading with me.