Jeff Moore loves to go to the movies and let himself be absorbed into what’s happening up on the screen, losing himself in a good story.
That’s part of what makes him a natural in his role as the executive director of the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture, or OKPOP, which will honor the state’s greatest creative talents.
Like he says of how they will tell stories like that of Ron Howard, the Oscar-winning filmmaker who’s not only a native Oklahoman, but who also had family members take part in the Land Run prior to statehood.
“We’re really embracing storytelling about artists from Oklahoma and storytelling about Oklahoma, from films to Broadway musicals and more — and there’s just so much more,” he said.
This is a big week in the story of OKPOP: Moore and many others will celebrate the groundbreaking of the museum on Wednesday, leading to a planned opening in 2021 across the street from Cain’s Ballroom.
For this recurring series of stories, we asked Moore about all of his movie favorites.
What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
This is really difficult because I have lots of favorites. But as someone who studies the history of pop culture, I look at a film’s cultural impact. And I would say that “Star Wars: A New Hope” was that film for me. Although it was just called “Star Wars” in 1977. I lived in California then and it was a true blockbuster, with us waiting in line for more than an hour around the building. And after I saw it, I had to have all of the action-figures and toys. It had such a huge impact on me and my friends. I remember Sears being the place for the toys. My sister got Darth Vader and Princess Leia, and I got Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
What is the funniest movie you’ve ever seen and why?
This is tough, because I love comedies. I might have to go old-school and say Peter Sellers and the “Pink Panther” series. But I also admire an actor’s commitment to character, and Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Andy Kaufman in “Man on the Moon” is another favorite.
What is the movie that scared you and why?
I get scared by dark twists. One movie I’ve only watched once because it’s so creepy is “Primal Fear” with Richard Gere and Edward Norton. Director Jordan Peele (“Get Out,” “Us”) is a master of this as well. Those psychological things scares the tar out of me more than campy gore horror.
What is the movie that makes you cry, and why?
As the father of a daughter, “Interstellar” really got to me a few years ago. Every parent wants to make a difference, make their child’s world a better one, and I was tearing up pretty good in that one. I shouldn’t admit this, but I’m a sucker for a tearjerker, I guess. TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREHigh school football: See where Nebraska, OSU, OUand North Dakota commits rank in Week 8
What’s the best movie you’ve seen this year, and why?
The OKPOP project colors the way I watch movies now. I really enjoyed the Elton John biopic/musical “Rocketman,” knowing the relationship between Elton and Oklahoma’s Leon Russell, and the way they depicted the Troubadour show blew me away. It’s this legendary show, and through my research knowing the effect that it had on both Elton and Leon, that was very cool and made my enjoyment that much more.
What is your favorite movie experience, maybe one you saw as a kid, or with friends in summer, or a midnight movie, and what made it so special?
I grew up with a father in the military and the theaters on the Army posts always had matinees on Saturday afternoons. I went every week, even by myself. It was great, and because the Army had access to old movies and Disney classics, I got to see a lot of the movies my parents and my grandparents grew up watching.
At the theater: Where do you prefer to sit, and what are your refreshments of choice?
I like to be in the center of the theater, about halfway up. Food choices are Diet Dr. Pepper and popcorn. It was Junior Mints when I was kid.
What upcoming movie are you looking forward to seeing?
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Dec. 20), even though I think they missed some critical elements with the last two movies. I’m always hopeful that they’ll get it right in the end.
Do you have a favorite movie star whose movies have many times made you go to the theater because you like that person’s films so much?
Because of my work with OKPOP, I am hyper-aware of Oklahoma actors, and Brad Pitt has had two great performances this year with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Ad Astra.” Mary Kay Place’s performance in “Diane” was powerful as well.
Is there a director whose films you like so much that you will see any movie that they make?
Steven Spielberg has such a big imagination, and his films can have an impact on people’s lives. My father thought it would be a great idea to see “Jaws” at a Saturday-afternoon matinee and then go immediately to the beach to play in the ocean. I can’t help but hear that “duh-dum, duh-dum, duh-dum” music every time I go to the ocean.