I love movies. So much so, that I have dedicated a large portion of my life so far to them. I studied filmmaking at university but it became apparent to me that I got much more joy out of looking at other people’s films than my own so I moved across to writing about film and went on to do a PhD in film history (hence the ‘doctor of movies’ thing). I have worked as a cinema studies lecturer and a movie reviewer.
I am passionate about the cinema. I believe in film as an art form and I believe in cinema studies as an academic pursuit. Art historian Erwin Panofsky once wrote, “If all the serious lyrical poets, composers, painters and sculptors were forced by law to stop their activities, a rather small fraction of the general public would become aware of the fact and a still smaller fraction would seriously regret it. If the same thing were to happen with the movies, the social consequences would be catastrophic.” I believe movies are important. Storytelling has always been a key part of culture creation, and the movies are where we tell our stories in today’s culture. They provide our heroes and villains, our myths and legends. We learn from movies, about our world, about each other and about ourselves. Movies also serve a social function. Going to the movies with your friends without your parents is an early rite of passage. The movies is where you take a date when we are getting to know them. The movies are what we talk about with people we don’t know in awkward social situations. Movies have an important place in our culture.
But don’t let that frighten you off. I also believe that movies are first and foremost about enjoyment and entertainment. Yes, movies can inspire and move us, challenge us and make us think, but they can also make us laugh and cry and jump and scream. And all of that is just as important. Ninety-nine times out of one-hundred what we want from a movie is to entertain us. So while some film scholars will turn their nose up at Hollywood, you won’t catch that from me. I hate film snootiness. I am an unashamed movie buff.
So welcome to the Doctor of Movies website. This is a place for me to share what I’m thinking and writing about movies. That means reviews and reflections on current theatrical and DVD releases, as well as the occasional old favourite or new discovery; opinions and commentaries on different events and happenings; who knows, I may even feel inspired to venture into some more scholarly analysis. Really it’s whatever tickles my fancy, whatever makes me think and inspires me to respond.
Thanks for visiting…
– Duncan McLean