Blog No. 132
The other night, Christian and I went to go see the new Mad Max movie. I told myself beforehand I wouldn’t write about it. While this blog isn’t about anything specific, it’s certainly not about movies. Something happened though. Despite all the hype (and I’ve heard a lot for this movie) it happened to be one of the best movie going experiences in recent memory. The movie was a fast, exciting, crazy thrill ride. I completely lost myself in the film and I still haven’t come down from the fun of it. It made me think of all the other great movie watching experiences I’ve had (too many to fully recount) and I decided I would try to touch on a few of them here. I have been an avid movie fanatic my whole life. I’ve talked before about my family being big movie watchers and the massive collections of movies we all have. It’s been a big part of my life and those memories have been an integral part of my desire to tell stories and will influence me for the rest of my life.
The Temple of Doom:
There are two distinct memories I have for what I consider my favourite Indy film. One is at the last drive in movie I’ve been to. At eleven, for my birthday, the family went to the last drive in showing in Windsor. It was a double feature of Indy and Teen Wolf two. I don’t have a lot of specifics rattling around in my head (I fell asleep) but the event itself has always stuck with me.
The other memory is of watching the movie with my mom while she did a pile if ironing in the living room. I often watched movie with my mom that way (her bust working, me glued to the screen). I specifically remember that one for some reason. I have glimpses of others (High Road to China and Beyond Thunderdome among many more) but that day stands out.
Back when I was in grade school, Billy Madison was in theaters and it was all the rage with my age group. I didn’t have anyone to go with, so my dad offered to take me. Initially I was embarrassed (as 13-year-olds hanging out with their parents may be) but we had a wonderful time and I learned a lesson about image and family and poop jokes. The next year I bought a copy of the film for my dad for Christmas and every time I see Adam Sandler, I think of going to see his first movie with my dad.
Some younger people, and those who don’t watch many movies, tend to underestimate the impact The Matrix had on cinema. When I first saw the trailer I thought it would be a Jonny Mnemonic rehash. My friend, Arvin, expected it to be the best movie of all time. While I wouldn’t say all time, it was the best movie of that year. Sitting in the theater, I know nothing in action movies (and likely any movie) would be untouched by the impact of that green tinted, cinematic undertaking. My memory actually is about the following summer. The old theater in Devonshire Mall was playing just out of theater movies for two bucks. The Matrix was there and Arvin would go often after school and a couple of times I joined him. He was near obsessed and I was happy to go along for the ride.
One summer, many moons ago, my friend James and I discovered that we were both single and possessed expendable incomes. We were working college students off school for the summer and being the movie fans that we were, we decided to do a weekly trip to the theater to see whatever was playing. It was a magical time filled with great and terrible films, but the best (and most memorable) was Brotherhood of the Wolf. James had an idea what it was about and suggested it. I had no idea, but agreed. It was spectacular. Later on that year the move came through town again and we dragged as many people to see it as we could. We even both bought the special edition DVD when it came out. There are a few other move experiences I’ve had with James (including seeing Princess Mononoke, my first Studio Ghibli film, at his cottage, and seeing Serenity with a large group of friends) but that one stands out in a summer that stands out.
There are numerous movies that I have experienced alone, some of them for the first time, some of them during a repeated viewing where something stands out or sinks in. Two of those are the Evil Dead movies and the Alien films. I have memories of watching those movies in the dark basement, on my dad’s big screen TV, on a 15 inch tube TV with poor tracking, and many other scenarios. I would “study” with them playing in the background and watch them on long summer afternoons. I have shared viewings of those movies with others, but I remember watching them alone many times.
I could go on and on, there are hundreds of distinct memories of thousands of movies. This post is getting long, but I just want to squeeze in two more.
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure/ Bogus Journey: One of my favourite sets of movies, my friend Matt and I watched the first one to the ruin of two VHS tapes, memorizing the lines through sheer volume of viewings. My brother and I stood in line at a now gone theatre to see Bogus Journey on opening day. It was a fun time hanging out with my big brother doing something cool.
Mortal Kombat Annihilation: My friend Rob and I went to see a movie (I don’t remember what one) and saw the trailer for Alien Resurrection and were geeked. The film came out and we went to see it, but were denied by being less than a month under the 18A rating. Instead we saw the sequel to Mortal Kombat and nearly walked out. We felt ripped off, until we finally saw the fourth Alien film. It’s not as bad as Annihilation, but it’s not good.
Thanks for sticking with my through my romp through my memories of films. There are so many more, but those stick out to me right now. If you like action films, Mad Max is great. See it with a friend and make a memory. It may inspire you to create your own stories.