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I’m a movie buff

To say you’re a movie buff in Washington, D.C., is to make small talk about your hobbies. To say you’re a movie buff in New York is to risk public humiliation from someone far more obsessed. In D.C., you like to watch movies and see your favorite actor perform. In New York, you go to see films, and talk about your favorite director’s work. It’s like the scene in Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, when Katsushiro picks up a stick and strides toward the door and waits for each potential samurai to enter so he can surprise them by bringing the stick down on their head. If any given samurai is as good as his reputation, he’ll “parry the blow” instinctively.

I didn’t buy The Criterion Collection’s 25-film box set of Kurosawa’s work. (For $300, I’d want a hologram of a geisha to pop out and explain key scenes of the movies to me in English.)

But I did enjoy watching a couple of his films this year, Kagemusha (with all of those samurai costumes in color), and a repeat viewing of The Seven Samurai (after reading a book about a mother obsessed with the movie, The Last Samurai).

On the one hand, I didn’t see half of the movies nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Picture. On the other hand, I do have an unlimited-all-you-can-watch movie pass from the repertory cinema down the street from me.

I’ve met enough movie snobs to know that I’m supposed to look down on the Academy Awards as lacking critical value. (Crash as best picture of the 2006? C’mon.) But despite the snobbery, every year I want to throw an Oscar-watching party with friends. I think of it more as National Movie Day.

In other words, I like to watch movies sometimes. How about you? What’s your hobby?

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