I love when Facebook comes to the rescue. I have to thank Kurt for posting a simple question the other day. The paraphrased question was simple. What movie most impacted you cinematically?
That's one tough question, which immediately became the subject for this week's post. There is no simple answer for this. I listed four movies that had a major impact on me when I was younger. But it's unfair to list this to just four movies without explanation. So much of my favorite movies aren't impacted by the movie itself. Instead, they are impacted by the circumstances surrounding that movie.
One of my most impactful movies was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990). I grew up in the 80's and love TMNT. I wasn't a big reader. Sure, I'd go to 7-11 and pick a comic off the spinner rack and thumb through it. I'd read books on tape and the comics that came with my He-Man figures. Much of what I did was look at the pictures, but I had a book in my hand so it counts. I had no idea how dark this movie was. Raph saying, "Damn," was a big deal. Since he could say it, I could too, right? Sure. If you say so. The fights, the storytelling, the dark nature of the movie compared to the show, and the seriousness of the material for the time are all very impactful for me. But that's not the reason I would put this on the list as one of the most impactful movies of my life.
Much of the movie going experience is subjective to your life. I have a vivid memory of this movie. I remember when my dad took me to see this movie. It was a big deal because my brother was going with us. My brother is a few years older than me and wasn't the biggest turtle fan. At this point, he was beyond playing with toys and found the cartoon too childish for his taste. He didn't want to see this movie. Looking back, I don't blame him. But my dad knew how much I needed to see this in the theater and he dragged my brother. This is the first movie that I remember going to where I got to pick the movie even though my brother (possibly my father too) didn't want to see it. It's the first time I remember winning the battle over what to see.
With that in mind, I remember sneaking my naked splinter action figure into the theater in the inside coat pocket of my jean jacket. I remember going to the drug store (right next to the theater) to pick up candy so we could sneak it in. Sneaking candy into a movie is a staple every child needs to experience. We had to get on line, which went pretty far down the sidewalk. Then we waited to get in. We didn't have assigned seats or prepaid tickets. We waited on line.
When the movie was over, I remember my dad asking my brother if he liked it. Fortunately, he did, which was cool. My dad gave him the old, "Aren't you glad you came," line that I'm sure I'll give my kids one day. This experience has nothing to do with the movie, but my love of cinema grows from it.
Another impactful movie of mine is Sister Act. This is a hysterical movie, but I'm not sure how it holds up today. I haven't watched it in the longest time. It's not a movie I study for storytelling or character development. If you haven't figured out how this post is going, the impact of this movie has nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself.
Sister Act is one of the few movies I remember going to with just my mom. I remember going in the theater and sitting on the left side of the aisle. My mom got us popcorn and a soda. We may have snuck in candy from the aforementioned drug store. To be totally honest, there isn't too much I remember about this movie. I have a vague image of Whoopie Goldberg dressing like a nun and singing. I believe she was a stripper or something. It's your typical fish-out-of-water movie situation.
If I don't remember this movie, what was so impactful. It's simple. I will never forget how hard my mother laughed during this film. I'm pretty sure she and I were the only ones in the theater. For my mom, this must have been the funniest thing she's ever seen. She practically fell out of her chair any time a joke came across the screen. This wasn't just laughter either. It was deafening. It sticks with me to this day.
The experience of the movie theater is one that can impact a person in so many different ways. So many bad movies are made better by the people you're with. I try to take my kids to any movie they want to see. To me, it doesn't matter how bad the movie is. There reactions will make it better for me. Monster's University was not a good movie. I wasn't fond of Cars 3 either. But, since I was there with my kids, I had a different reaction to them. I enjoyed them because they loved every second. It makes me think that my stories, good or bad, could have an impact on someone simply because they exist.
You never know who's going to react or how they're going to react. You may not understand why they react the way they do either. I have always written for myself. If you like what I present, that's fantastic.
Till next time.