Stage Door

This isn’t the first time I review a movie.  But why should a movie be on a site concerned with studying behavior?

Movies are an art form.  The best art illuminates our humanity.  And the foundation of our humanity is how we behave.  Hence, the best movies are about our behavior.

Take this 1937 film called Stage Door.  It’s absolutely brilliant.  And in today’s #MeToo climate, it gains relevance.

The antagonist is a slimy producer who likes to “interview” many an upcoming starlet.  His name might as well be Harvey.  The young actresses are starving, yet they know what they may have to do in order to eat.  The allusions to their sacrifices are humorous.  But in the light of today’s revelations, they take on sinister connotations.

There’s a moment where last year’s star sacrifices herself for Katherine Hepburn.  Like Christ, Kay takes care of Katherine’s feet, gives her something to drink, and then ascends the stairs into heaven.

The film is also about the needs of the theater.  It’s about the desire of actors to be discovered.  It’s even about the trials unique to young women in a cruel industry.

More fundamentally, this movie is about the suffering an artist must endure to become a great actor.

Studying behavior does not have to be boring all the time.  There are times when studying behavior can be fun, and watching this movie is one of those times.  Please find Stage Door, watch it, and think it through.  I’d like to hear your comments.


PS: This is one of my favorite movies of all time, easily in the top 10.  It’s fast paced, extremely natural in feel, well directed, chock-full of raw talent and youthful exuberance.


Four Movie Lists

Great movies are on my A list.  A great movie is one that you may not want to watch every day, but when you do it makes you feel great.  It only takes a few seconds of video or audio from the movie and you recognize it.

Good movies are on my B list.  The good movies are the ones you have fun watching again and again.  Don’t tell your friends, because there’s a chance they think it’s not a good movie.

Then there are the “bad but fun” movies reserved for the C list.  The campy movies from the 1950 fit well here.  These are the kind of fliks that are fun to sit and watch with a date and a bowl full of fresh popcorn.  And once you’ve seen it, you’re good.

But I also have a “Do Not C” list.  These are movies whose basic plots or premises are so outlandish that the only way I’d be able to stomach them would be to lubricate my stomach with alcohol, and even then I’d have to complain continuously to anyone within earshot.

How’s that for some definitions?  Let’s go watch a movie now.


She screwed him?

Pardon my crude title, but did it catch your interest?  I’m guessing it did.  Sex sells.  I learned that in business, psychology, and in real life.  It sells so well that in our laissez-faire economy we are now bombarded with it constantly.

More than that, we are also immersed in our own virtual universe of entertainment.  In the USA, at least, most conversations tend to focus on the antics of our favorite shows.  Here’s a quick behavioral experiment you can perform for fun, without anyone knowing you’re doing it.  Time how long it takes for any conversation to transition to something entertainment related.  A movie, a video, sports, music, it doesn’t matter.  My guess is that for any group that comes together, entertainment will be the focus within 5 minutes – maybe much sooner.

Is it wrong to expect us to talk about more meaningful topics?  Is it wrong to think that there was a time when things like world affairs, political antics, or technical progress would be far more interesting than “her” hair.  I’d like to think that, back when I was growing up, entertainment was much smaller part of our lives.

Is it wrong of me to equate more entertainment with the idea that our society is getting dumber?  Let me know.  Let’s have a serious conversation.