I have attended football games all over the place. Lincoln, Norman, Ann Arbor, Pasadena, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Tempe. None of them ended in slow motion.
I have attended Major League Baseball games in at least five states, and none of the games ended in slow motion.
But every time I watch a football or baseball movie, it ends in slow motion.
Is it a requisite? “Must end in slow motion.”
Maybe the director has to stretch the movie out because it didn't take up enough time. That must be it. He's got 10 minutes to go, and he doesn't have 10 minutes worth of action and dialogue.
I know better about slow motion. It is used to add drama to drama.
I don't think I have ever seen a football or baseball movie end in real time. Or basketball. Have you seen “Hoosiers”? Jimmy Chitwood goes up ... up ... up. It takes 20 seconds and there are only three seconds left in the game.
Directors can manipulate time all over the place. There are flashbacks and flashforwards. Some movies have both, so you have to pay attention.
“Back to the Future” starts in 1985, goes back to 1955, and returns to 1985, after Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) tinkers with events. I like Fox. He is going to star in a new television series. He's an inspiration.
There is film that was famously shot in nearly real time. It's “High Noon,” starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. I look at clocks in movies. Most of the time they don't change during a scene. In “High Noon,” clocks are shown throughout the movie, and they are all ticking down the minutes until the bad guy, Frank Miller, gets off the train and comes gunning for Will Kane (Cooper).
It takes place in Hadleyville, in the New Mexico Territory. The film is #27 on the American Film Institute's list of great films.
Some movies start way in the past. They are called period films. I am not crazy about period films, like “Pride and Prejudice.” Mr. Darcy doesn't do much for me. Most period films are humorless. There has to be a little humor, doesn't there?
Not always. There weren't a lot of one-liners in “Schlinder's List.”
A film came out in 1968 that was set in 2001, “A Space Odyssey,” and it seemed very futuristic. We hadn't even been to the moon yet. Now 2001 has come and gone.
Sometimes time plays tricks on us. It takes forever to wait 15 minutes in line at the pharmacy or on hold on the phone, but 15 minutes goes by much too fast when you are with the one you love.
One of my favorite manipulations of time happened in a cartoon series: “Peabody's Improbable History,” which starred Mr. Peabody and a precocious boy named Sherman. It was featured on the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.”
During every episode, Peabody and Sherman would get in the WABAC (pronounced “way-back”) machine and time-travel, to discover how an important event in history actually happened.
You had to be a sharp cookie to watch “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” It was full of clever references and wordplay.
Another one of my favorite time-travel films was based on a Mark Twain book, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.” The 1949 version that starred Bing Crosby is the best. Hank Morgan (Crosby), a 19th-century resident of Hartford, Conn., suffers a blow to the head, and winds up in the sixth century, where he is perceived to be a magician because he has a book of matches.
Suffering a blow to the head, dreaming, or fainting are the easiest ways for the scriptwriter to time-travel his characters. I time-travel just about every night. I dream about my father, and it is very vivid and real. But it never is.
It's time to wrap this up.
Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org