JOHN OSTRANDER: Seeing Movies As Movies

John Ostrander

John Ostrander started his career as a professional writer as a playwright. His best known effort, Bloody Bess, was directed by Stuart Gordon, and starred Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William J. Norris, Meshach Taylor and Joe Mantegna. He has written some of the most important influential comic books of the past 25 years, including Batman, The Spectre, Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, X-Men, and The Punisher, as well as Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. New episodes of his creator-owned series, GrimJack, which was first published by First Comics in the 1980s, appear every week on ComicMix.

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    I love to go to the movies, and I go so much less because the audiences are so rude (and movies are so expensive in NYC). I don’t want to pay $13 to listen to another person’s conversation. However, I’ve learned that if I go during the day during the week, the audience is much more likely to be there to see the movie, not to socialize.

    Also, you can tell a movie for kids is really great when it’s so involving that they keep quiet.

  2. The first time I saw Casablanca it was on a big screen. I remember telling myself how lucky I was that it worked out that way, because the experience was so powerful. Wizard of Oz is an entirely new experience on the big screen, too.

    The opening shots of Star Wars — hard to forget! This was before CGI, before space effects were commonplace, and that ship, moving across that huge screen, getting bigger and bigger and bigger — unforgettable!

    Jurassic Park is another one that was almost too intense for me in the theater (ok, so I’m a light-weight) but is perfectly manageable on the small screen. Very different experiences.

  3. Michael Milner says:

    After years of watching White Christmas on TV or DVD my wife and I were lucky enough to go see it at the theatre this Christmas season.

    The difference was stunning. You began to realize how great the dancers were (Danny Kaye was a better hoofer than most give him credit for).

    We decided that if it does come back again next year we are going.

    I also saw North By Northwest (my all-time favourite movie) on the big screen after seeing it on the small screen for 30 years. Again the impact was great.

    The thing that I found most interesting was how I noticed all the continuity errors (holding coffee pot then not holding said pot). But this just made me appreciate the big screen even more.

  4. mike weber says:

    Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West has got to be seen on a big screen to be fully appreciated – shots so tight that they consist of nothing but Bronson or Robards or Fonda’s eyes … that incredible crane shot that opens up from a closeup on Claudia Cardinale to a huge vista of wide open spaces … shots in Monument Valley …

    Even on DVD you can see why it’s second (to Leone’s own The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) on IMDB’s “Greatest Westerns” list … but you really need to see it on the big screen for the full impsct…

  5. Some movies HAVE to be seen on the big screen. I love seeing classics that way. Denys Cowan and I try to see as many classics as we can that way and it’s almost always a treat. There was one time when it was a bit awkward for a moment, while watching ‘Gone With The Wind’ at an Manhattan theater an elderly woman made the comment, “Those were the good old day!” Denys and I being the calm and cool young black men we were just let it go… after we tapped her on the shoulder and asked “Where the white women at?”

    Ah, good times.

  6. Jess Willey says:

    I remember going to see the well intentioned (but occasionally annoying) Star Wars: Special Editions in the theater even though I had the originals on VHS. I have both versions the even more special edtions on DVD plus the originals. I heard horrible things about the Blu-Rays and didn’t get them.

    Another movie that was surprisingly better on a big screen- and this is because comedy usually doesn’t suffer as much of a loss- was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They were sight gags I missed in the other zillion times I’d seen it.

  7. Mindy Newell says:

    I saw CASABLANCA for the first time in a theatre, and I was blown away! Now I never miss it if it’s on Turner….and I still adore it.

    THE SEARCHERS is among my top 5 movies, even if I’ve never seen it on the big screen. I envy you, John!