Moviegoers like to believe that those they have made stars are great actors. People used to say that Gary Cooper was a fine actor probably because when they looked in his face they were ready to give him their power of attorney.
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APAPauline Kael Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=moviegoers-like-to-believe-that-those-they-have-made-stars-are-great-actors-people-used-to-say-that-gary-cooper-was-fine-actor-probably-because-when-pauline-kael
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Since I have an aversion to movies in which people say grace at the dinner table (not to the practice but to how movies use it to establish the moral strength of a household), the opening night montage of Sunday-night supper in one home after another in Waxahachie, Texas in 1935 a whole community saying grace made me expect the worst.
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A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact, not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again. If somewhere in the Hollywood-entertainment world someone has managed to break through with something that speaks to you, then it isn't all corruption. The movie doesn't have to be great; it can be stupid and empty and you can still have the joy of a good performance, or the joy in just a good line. An actor's scowl, a small subversive gesture, a dirty remark that someone tosses off with a mock-innocent face, and the world makes a little bit of sense. Sitting there alone or painfully alone because those with you do not react as you do, you know there must be others perhaps in this very theatre or in this city, surely in other theatres in other cities, now, in the past or future, who react as you do. And because movies are the most total and encompassing art form we have, these reactions can seem the most personal and, maybe the most important, imaginable. The romance of movies is not just in those stories and those people on the screen but in the adolescent dream of meeting others who feel as you do about what you've seen. You do meet them, of course, and you know each other at once because you talk less about good movies than about what you love in bad movies.
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Watching old movies is like spending an evening with those people next door. They bore us, and we wouldn't go out of our way to see them; we drop in on them because they're so close. If it took some effort to see old movies, we might try to find out which were the good ones, and if people saw only the good ones maybe they would still respect old movies. As it is, people sit and watch movies that audiences walked out on thirty years ago. Like Lot's wife, we are tempted to take another look, attracted not by evil but by something that seems much more shameful -- our own innocence.
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The movies have been so rank the last couple of years that when I see people lining up to buy tickets I sometimes think that the movies aren't drawing an audience - they're inheriting an audience. People just want to go to a movie. They're stung repeatedly, yet their desire for a good movie - for any movie - is so strong that all over the country they keep lining up.
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