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The Aquilian

For the love of film: Charlie Slusher and his love for movies

Charlie Slusher holds DVDs of some of his favorite films.

It was July 21, 2023. Charlie Slusher ‘24 woke up to get ready for one of the biggest days for film of the year, Barbenheimer. Around noon, Slusher headed to the AMC Theater in Tysons Corner to watch “Oppenheimer” in 70mm. He showed up to watch the three-hour long movie in white button down shirt with a black tie. His messenger bag was stuffed with full bags of popcorn and snacks. 

For most people, a three-hour film is already a lot to handle and would almost always head home to rest afterwards. However, Slusher brought something else in his bag that day. A Hawaiian shirt for him to change into to watch “Barbie,” which he had tickets for at 3 p.m., right after “Oppenheimerended.

Slusher has been a self-described, “cinephile”, for nearly his entire life, which is not a shock when you learn he has watched at least 970 movies in his 18 years and two months on this Earth. 

Whether you are a teacher or student, part of Gonzaga or never heard of the school, movie-buff or not, if you have ever had the chance to have a conversation with Slusher about anything film related, you would instantly learn that he eats, sleeps and breathes all things movies. He will talk with anybody about anything concerning films no matter the genre or the popularity.

“It’s something I’m so incredibly passionate about. I love talking about movies with people. I wish there was some meatier answer I could give, but honestly there isn’t. I just love it, and I get really excited when people come up to me to ask me about a movie they watched or for a recommendation or something like that,” Slusher said when asked about the feeling he gets from conversing with others about movies.

He will talk for hours if he could about a film or anything concerning it. The directing, acting, special effects—he is fascinated by it all and he has been since he was young.

“I grew up on classic genre films like ‘Star Wars’ and all of the early Spielberg [Steven] movies, and as a kid, I liked watching the bonus features on the DVDs, particularly the featurettes on how the VFX were done. When I was about seven, I watched the featurette on the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ DVD about how the melting head effect was achieved. It opened my eyes to how collaborative an art form film is. A complete film is not one work of art but rather a massive umbrella encompassing the work of a broad array of artists across many mediums. Film is the intersection of acting, writing, cinematography, music, makeup, set design and so many more,” said Slusher when asked about if there was a movie that deeply inspired him and enhanced his love for cinema.

Slusher’s immense love, knowledge and enthusiasm for filmmaking not only positively impacts his day-to-day life, but also some of the lives of other film-loving students around these students bond over it.

“If I see a movie, I’m always excited to tell him because, you know, he’s seen it, so we can talk about it. For example, I watched ‘Whiplash’ the other day, so I went to tell him about it. We just spent a long time just talking back and forth about just awesome things in the movie;  one of the great things is it’s easy to lose track of time. It’s just like a fun conversation,” said Marco Limarzi ‘25, friend of Slusher and fellow cinephile when asked what it is like to talk to Slusher about movies and what movies have meant for their relationship. “I think movies have really brought me and Slusher together in a great way, and I think it’s done the same between him and a lot of other people. A lot of his friends know they can talk about movies, and people who have his level of film knowledge can be really pretentious about it, but he’s always really nice and welcoming about it.”

Limarzi has not been the only person Slusher has been able to connect to through the love of film. We all use specific interests in life to find our community, like sports, food or in Slusher’s case, movies.

“While movies were the common interest that started me and Slusher’s friendship, our shared interest helped me get to know him as a person. With all art forms of interest, like the music you listen to, the movies you love can say a lot about you as a person. Through discussing our shared favorite films, I have gotten to know Charlie and his character on a more personal level, and I think of Slusher as one of my best friends,” said Alistair MacBride ‘25, another friend of Slusher’s.

Slusher’s love and knowledge of cinema has not only been noticed by his fellow Gonzaga students, but also by some teachers who, like him, share a great passion for film.

“He’s kind of our own film expert here at Gonzaga, and I think that’s been kind of how he’s established his identity here, but also it’s more than that. I think he’s someone who cares really deeply and passionately about art and film. It’s the form of art that he’s most passionate about, about storytelling and using the camera to kind of tell really important stories, and he shares that with all of us here at Gonzaga,” said Mr. Ciaran Freeman, fine arts teacher.

Just casually watching movies and talking about them with others is an enjoyable hobby for a lot of movie lovers, but to Slusher, film is not just an everyday hobby; it is a hopeful career.

“I’ve wanted to be a director since I was a little kid. I make a lot of movies for myself, experimenting with different camera settings and editing tricks and such. I write short screenplays every now and then, too. I am very much a student in the process right now, and I think I would benefit from film school. However, film school is a huge investment, and the best ones that open doors to the industry are better for grad school than undergrad. Either way, I intend to pursue filmmaking as a personal creative outlet for the time being before making a career out of it,” Slusher said.

No matter what career path Slusher ends up pursuing, his vibrant love for film and filmmaking will stay strong for a long time.

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