If you know me at all, you already know I am a cinephile. I simply love movies – I always have and likely always will.
I go to around 40 movies a year in the theater, and I watch 2-4 additional movies at home each week. I have like all the movie channels and Netflix. I am a frequenter of the Redbox. My wife and I’s infrequent date nights almost always include a movie. My wallet has loyalty rewards card to every theater in our town.
It started when I was young – my dad took me to Star Wars a number of times, and legend has it, he would even prompt me to go ask my mom if he could take me to see it again. I was 4 and adorable, so it worked. And I am sure it worked again a few years later for Empire Strikes Back as well.
My parents would take me and my sister to the drive-in. The early show would be family fare, and then we were supposed to go to sleep in the back of the stationwagon during the second film. Of course, I rarely did. I always watched the film – sometimes nude if you ask my folks, but that’s another post.
When I was old enough, my friends and I would get dropped off at the movies any chance we could get. Most of my childhood our town only had one theater – the Lyric – a big beautiful downtown stage theater with a giant screen and auditorium including a balcony. The front of the theater had the classic marquee and a ticket booth window. The lobby had a giant scale and old-school candy counter. I was sad to see it eventually replaced with a modern 4-screen theater, but it was also nice to actually have options on what you were going to see that week.
I remember my buddies and I almost getting kicked out once for whipping candy from the balcony down to other kids below. Luckily for us, the manager asked if we were throwing Gobstoppers and we honestly said “no we are not throwing Gobstoppers.” and he let us off. (We were actually throwing Sprees.)
Then girls came into the picture and the movies became a whole new adventure. I hope to never stumble upon Out of Africa (1985) or Quicksilver (1986) on TV, because all I remember from those films was the kissing and hand-holding and that’s the way it should stay.
Out in California I had the luxury of covering several film festivals as a member of the media, and got paid to watch movies all day – what a dream come true. The bonus was watching many of those films with their directors and casts; and talking with them about their passion for movies and the process of cinematic story-telling. I wrote what felt like a novel on the 2-hour masterclass with Kevin Costner after his premiere of Open Range. And thanks to my LA friends in the special effects industry, I shared a bottle of vodka with Steve Zahn at a party. (Erin and I love Zahn, but no one seems to know he is when we tell our story.)
And now a days, I sneak off by myself to catch a late show here and there as the perfect escapism from the grind of my long hours of work, cooped up in my office at the computer. My friend Jason, makes fun of me because he thinks I love every movie I see (where as he hates most movies, even before he decides to not go see them). But the truth is I don’t love every movie, but it is very easy for me to find parts of it I do like. Because I love the movie-going experience so much, it only takes a single scene, actor’s performance, or unexpected plot-twist to make the film worth my time and make me unable to slam it outright. If the film has artistically executed cinematography, captivating dialogue, or a great soundtrack – I can overlook the holes in the plot and focus on what is working for me.
What’s exciting is that I have passed my love of the movies to my daughter. Her and I have trekked off to the movies a couple dozen times, and she loves to find a new movie on DVD or off the Wii (Netflix). She even decided to have her 4th birthday party at the theater to see Rango with her friends. We discovered some of her classmates had only seen a couple movies in the theater or none at all. She couldn’t understand why they don’t see all the movies like she does!
We are patiently waiting until Eva is able to sit through a movie, so we can get back to going to Cinema Grill as a family, where we can have dinner and catch a flick all that once.
So, do yourself a favor and go sit in the dark at a local theater to bask in the glowing entertainment of a good movie.