On Story: “The Heart of a Film”

To begin, I’d like to set aside the qualms I had with the latest episode of ‘On Story’. The episode description deems Edward Scissorhands and Toy Story “classics”. Classic is a term I find to be overused and improperly used. By definition, cultural classics become classics once they reach twenty years of age and continue to be popular. Scissorhands was released in 1990, so… technically, yes it is a classic, but Toy Story… unless you would openly call a junior in high school “classic”, I’d say that’s pushing it. Okay, now that I’ve sent you into a state lethargy with my political correctness… onto the good qualities!

I loved the interviews with Caroline Thompson. For a while, I considered being a screenwriter and she’s the type of person to cause that bug to reenter my system and force my ideas to flow from pen to paper. Whodathunk the awkward but eager Edward Scissorhands was based off of the demeanor of a dog? ‘On Story’ supplied supplemental footage from the film and, suddenly, the personification of this man burdened with scissor hands became clear! Man’s best friend is also man’s best inspiration.

John Lasseter’s responses were not surprising. If you’ve seen a Pixar film, the foundation of the film is not the animation — it’s the characters. If a company is willing to work three and a half years on the story alone, they’ve put a lot of thought and heart into their production. Also, if Pixar can place Ed Asner in a heartwarming film [Carl Fredricksen in Up (2009)] and conjure tears and emotion from the audience, they’ve got a formula that works — I don’t recall Lou Grant giving me a fuzzy feeling on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

There’s a comfort in knowing the authors of these beautiful films (be it the director, screenwriter, producer, etc.) have a connection to their works and I believe, regardless of what Caroline Thompson or John Lasseter claim, this connection is “The Heart of a Film”. How else could an audience relate to a man with scissor hands or a toy cowboy if there wasn’t some underlying meaning?

Next Sunday, KACV will be airing yet another episode of ‘On Story’ at 5:30P! I cannot stress the importance of a show like this for people who are interested in film as a career or even as a hobby. The stories and interviews are fascinating; the short films at the end of the episodes charming. Oh, and rumor has it… you might want to whip up a batch of liver and fava beans before you watch, because Ted Tally is discussing the synchronicity of “The Silence of the Lambs” in the next episode!

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