When I was about seven years of age, my older brothers would take me to see movie monster matinees like Godzilla. The sound and fury had an enormous impact on me, and ever since, I’ve been a major movie addict. My parents also took me to the drive in theater, and to me, that was an even better experience. From the comfort of our big car I watched, mesmerized, as the doomed ship Poseidon flipped over, and everyone’s world turned upside down. How horrible and exciting at the same time.
The impact of movies even followed me into the hospital, where I would spend months at a time recovering from various surgeries. I was laying in my bed one night when the world television premier of the classic “Planet of the Apes” started playing. I asked the nurse if I could be wheeled closer to the television. She went and grabbed a gurney, lifted me onto it, and brought me as close as she could.
The television was tiny and just black and white, but to me, it was a magic portal to another world. I forgot about my pain, watching the struggles of a man caught up in a nightmarish world far worse than mine. The effect of being so engaged lasted well beyond that two hour trip into an alternate universe. When the movie finished, I was wheeled back to my bed. Well into the night my mind wandered and wondered about time travel, future earths, and talking apes.
Entering adolescence, movies played a major part in my growing independence. Every time a new movie came out, especially if it was science fiction or fantasy, I would want to see it. At first my parents insisted on coming with me, but eventually, my love of movies far outgrew theirs. I began taking public transportation to get my weekly fix in that darkened hall with the large and bright flickering screen.
In high school, the movie that most affected me was Star Wars, episode IV, and in my opinion, still the best of the entire series. My brother and I had arrived late, and the only seats available were in the front row. When the scrolling text intro that went on to infinity dwindled, and the gigantic starship slowly glided over our heads, my movie addiction was further cemented into my brain cells. It felt like I was with Luke Skywalker in the back seat of that X-wing fighter, as it bobbed and weaved in the final battle. As many of us in the theater did that day, I let out a victorious roar when the death star exploded.
While writing this post I realized that none of the finer technological points of movie viewing matters to me. Sure, IMAX rocks as compared to tiny screen number twenty five. But if the movie sucks, it will still suck as a “3D, Sense-around, holographic, scratch and sniff” experience. If a movie is really good, it will still engage and transport me even if it is just viewed on a three inch screen.
Despite the fact that it is getting harder and harder to find movies that are actually good, I would still classify myself as addicted to movies. The problem is not that there’s nothing of quality, but the volume of releases world-wide has increased so much, finding the movies we love is more time consuming. Even with websites like Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDB, I still get caught investing time and money in some real stinkers.
In the end, almost forty-five years after seeing my first movie, I still get excited by just the previews, never mind actually going out to watch a movie on the silver screen.
(Are you also a movie buff? If so, feel free to share what your fond movie memories are by posting a comment here, or back on Facebook).