29 March 2018

NETFLIX AND CHILL: MOVIES AND MUSEUMS

THROWBACK THURSDAY

BY: LEORE ZECHARIA

The semester is almost over, and summer is almost here. It is now time to relax and catch up on all the movies and television you didn't have time for while you were writing all those papers and assignments. But, if you feel like you’re missing school, here are some movies and television shows you can binge. Therefore, for the last time this school year, I’d like to throw it back to the different movies and television that take place in museums.

1. Night at the Museum Trilogy (2006, 2009, 2014) 

The Night at the Museum trilogy follows Larry, the night time security guard at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He is a divorced dad who applies for the job as it seems easy enough. However, an ancient curse has caused the museum to come to life. The subsequent movies follow as many of the exhibitions are sent to the Smithsonian and then to the British Museum (don’t worry, these movies also involve new curses and ancient tablets). This movie is essentially my dream come true. Our jobs would be much easier (and cooler) if we could actually speak to the artifacts in museums and get first hand insight into their lives.

Ben Stiller and Robin Williams in Night at the Museum. Source.

2. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

This movie follows the robbery of a precious painting from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York. Pierce Brosnan plays Thomas Crown, a billionaire, who bestows large donations to The Met, while planning a large heist to steal a priceless painting. Things get steamy and complicated when Crown gets involved with an insurance detective played by Rene Russo. This is a remake of McQueen’s 1968 movie of the same name, but instead of a bank robbery, it is set in a museum.

Pierce Brosnan as Thomas Crown (1999). Source.

3. House of Wax (1953)

Directed by Andre de Toth, House of Wax belongs to the first wave of 3D movies. This is a horror film which follows Professor Henry Jarrod, an expert wax sculptor. His craft puts the aesthetics and art of wax sculpting first, and refuses to commercialize his work with gore and guts. However, when his partner burns down the museum for the insurance money, Jarrod sets out his revenge.

Movie poster for House of Wax (1953). Source.

4. The Monuments Men (2014) 

This movie doesn’t take place in a museum, but it does represent a very important issue still permeated in museums today: the repatriation of Nazi looted art. The Monuments Men follows art scholars, historians, architects and other experts in the field who form a retrieval unit for masterpieces stolen by the Nazis. This mission becomes even more important when the team learns that Hitler plans to destroy all of these artworks. As students of museums, not only is this something I believe we all can understand in terms of appreciating art, but it still affects museums today. We are still finding Nazi looted art and creating policies on how to deal with it. 

Source.

5. Museum Hours (2012) 

Museum Hours looks at the friendship formed between a Vienna museum guard and a visitor at the Kunsthistoriches Museum. During the course of the movie, the pair explore their lives, the city and the way the artwork of the museum reflects the world around them. This movie represents how we, as students of museums, hope to run museums: not as a cold, top-down institution, but as a place in which artwork and artifacts can spark discussion that transcends time and themes.

Honourable mentions: 
When in Rome (2010), Bones (2005-2017), Russian Ark (2002), La Ville Louvre (1990), One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing (1975), Topkapi (1964), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Blackmail (1929), National Treasure (2004, 2007), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), The International (2009), The Da Vinci Code (2006), Mysteries at the Museum (2010-), Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Woman in Gold (2015)

Source.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Source.
A lot of people do not understand what we study in the MMSt program, even though it says so right in the name. So, when there are movies or television shows that highlight something so important in my life that I have dedicated the time to study it, it allows me to share that part of my life in a more accessible way. We love movies because they have the ability to transport us back into time, into another dimension, and stretch the possibilities of imagination.

When museums are prominently featured in movies or television, it makes me happy that something considered boring to most can become exciting for a moment. It sparks a conversation, an interest and even a coveted visit to a museum, and into to my world. 

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