It’s odd. I have so much to say about films that I almost burst at the seams. I leave a cinema ready to splurge on about this and that. My splurges usually have to do with scenes and feelings. I have never been big on names and homages.
Thankfully I have Geoff and my Brother John to listen to my rants. They help give shape to my insanity and help me realise I am not alone but this was not always the case.
I am opinionated (hence the podcast). I used to force myself to remain quiet at parties when others declared they were “movie nerds”. They would say ow much they love film and then just talk about James Cameron and Steven Spielberg or other “mainstream” talent. I would giggle at their opinions and I would push down the urge to overshadow their “knowledge” with my Movie bravado. Irony is, when I first started being around other movie critics, I realised I knew very little about film.
But back to my absurd ego. I suffered the same false ego as many keyboard warriors do today. Every time I see the memes “do you even lift bro” I think of this considerable gap in my self-esteem that made me feel the urge to bully the noob at parties.
I thought about the reason behind bullying a lot as I have been bullied in my life and I was never the dashing, popular sporting guy. I could never play an instrument or even keep a tune. Why would I feel the urge to treat someone like this when I hated others doing it to me? The answer was simple yet slightly depressing; my world view was that everyone else was good at other things. All I was good at were movies. Please don’t take that from me too. I am sorry to start on a downer but I really think the above has such a strong link to why I loved film. For many years it defined me before I was able to define myself.
I have grown older and more accepting, I understand that there is a common and bonding factor to why we all love films. This factor is shared by the Movie Fan, nerd, Buff and critic. It is the Suspension of disbelief. A good film sends you away from your everyday life and you disappear, you escape. In the real world I am not the guy who got the girl but in movies, I was Superman flying with Lois lane on my arm. I was Patrick Dempsey riding off into the sunset with his girl on his lawnmower in “You can’t buy me love”. I was Cary Grant realising Deborah Kerr never stood him up in “An Affair to remember”. I know now that I am simply a movie lover and far from a movie nerd. I can’t tell you who won what Oscar in which year. I can’t tell you which scene is a homage to Ingmar Bergman. I can just tell you what I love about movies and how they make me feel.
Another aspect of growing older is that I love movies more for the memory of the film than the film itself. Some films take me back to the world I was when I watched them. Some good memories and some bad. I remember the movie “Angel” about an avenging prostitute hunting down a serial killer. I remember it fondly as it was an odd film that watched as a kid and maybe should not have. I remember hurting my Brother John’s feelings when I went to see “Back to the Future 3” without him. My oldest Brother John was my first Movie buff friend. He would take me to the cinemas all the time and we would watch so many films. We would then talk about the film on the way home. Like many, the dialogue from the films entered into our vocabularies to the point where some of our conversation can have up to twenty different films references and not even be about films. We had an unspoken agreement that we shared films together.
In high school I had to do a work placement for a week. John managed a video store. I went to this video store and all week we just watched movies whilst he made me clean the shelves as well (I was his little brother afterall and I had to do some work).
But not only John, our entire family loved films. My late father, an amazing Dad, loved films to his core. We would watch Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, The Godfather trilogy, An affair to remember, High noon, The Jolson story and so many more. He would laugh his boisterous laugh and slap me on the back with pure cinematic joy when Al Pacino yelled “HOO-AHH”
My Mum loved different films. Every time she ironed our clothes she would watch Willow. I would come home and hear Willow Ufgood and Madmartigan being chased by scary ass dogs and realise my Mum was in a cleaning mood and I should watch out. I know more dialogue from Willow than I care to admit. I was a daddy’s boy, so my Mum and I never bonded over much until I found that I could bond with my Mum with movies but I had to watch her type of movies. Mum loved Horror films. We would watch Stephen king films, the puppet master, Troll and any other B grade horror film that came our way. 20+ years later, I still haven’t admitted to Mum that I hate horror films. The closest I enjoy are thrillers. But she did introduce me to the X-Files. Thanks Mum.
You don’t actually realise how much a part of your life, film has been. How many you have actually watched and how it has impacted other areas of your life. I love Superman. I have a love of the character and what he represents. I love his moral compass and I idolise him. I found this character because of Richard donner and Christopher Reeves. I still aspire to a similar moral standard as Superman. This love got me into my love of comic Books and then novels and eventually writing. It all started with film.
Today, I watch my 5 year old son look at the new Marvel films the same way I watched the Superman and Batman films in my youth. He flies with Ironman and stands strong with Captain America. At the end of Avengers: Infinity war, my son crawl into my arms and cried for a full ten minutes. He successfully suspending disbelief. His heart broke as he watched Spiderman ache to Iron man “Mr Stark” and fade away. This is an ultimate moment for me as I see the magic of film takes its place within my son’s heart. With the right films, he will learn so many new and different concepts and perspective.
Movies can be a great teacher. Obviously it should not be your only teachings but a good film should make you go out and strive to learn more. For movies to teach you, you have to watch the films you don’t normally watch. You need to step outside your comfort zone and watch the films you wouldn’t normally. A good example for me was Philadelphia. It showed me the pains of homosexuality and I saw their lifestyle was not very different from their own. It had love and pain, ups and downs like every life. It just wasn’t accepted. It gave me more understanding of a concept that was new to me. You just need to understand the lesson of the film.
I am going to wrap this up as I know I am bordering on pretentious and the air is getting light here on my “High Horse”. We all love movies for different reasons. We all love different types of films. That’s what makes it so damn cool. In our lifetime we will watch a plethora of films that, if approached properly (by the filmmakers and the movie goer), will open our hearts, our minds and ultimately our lives.
We will watch so many films that they may blur. A lot of them you will only remember when you see them on TV. You stand there watching the TV as it all floods back, a film that looks so familiar, you know the words, you can feel the VHS cover or the cinema seat you first saw it in. You know the ending but for the life of you, you can’t remember its name. This is a life spent under the cinema lights.
There is more to be said but we don’t have the time. I just want to tell you that when I sit in a cinema, the light turns down and the trailers come up, these times are some of the greatest times in my life. I don’t care about my issues, or yours. I don’t care about my surroundings. I am a blank canvas waiting for the film to complete me. (I have officially hit pretentious) I am sorry if it may not make much sense to you but it does to me. My father used to say “to each his own” and when it comes to movies, there is no better description.
Talk to you soon.