I can’t say that I remember watching my first film. I could make something up and you wouldn’t know the difference, but I don’t know what purpose that would serve. I do know that I’ve always loved watching movies. They were fun and entertaining to watch but even more than that certain films hold a place in my memory for many significant events in my life.
Sometime in the mid to late 80’s my grandma (on my dad’s side) taped the movie Annie when it was on TV. My brother, our two cousins, and I used to watch that tape over and over and over again. We loved to pretend we were the orphans and that grandma was Miss Hanagan and she would always play along. Watching that tape was one of our favorite activities when visiting grandma and it never got old. It wasn’t until I was in college that I watched the full version that hadn’t been edited for TV and realized that there was a lot more to this story that had created so many memorable nights at grandma’s house.
Knowing that Annie was one of my favorite movies as a kid, you might assume that I was sheltered. I don’t know if I would say that even though there were strict rules about which movies I was allowed and not allowed to see. I remember being at my grandparent’s house (on my mom’s side) with all my cousins and they wanted to watch The Mask. I was probably in 5th grade at the time and watching a PG-13 movie was not allowed. When my parents discovered what we were planning to watch they put their foot down and all the cousins were in an uproar that we had to watch something else.
At the time I felt it was unfair to forbid me to watch a PG-13 rated film when I was probably only a year or two shy of being 13, but now I understand what my parents were trying to do. Did they want to protect me? Yes. What’s wrong with trying to protect your young children? Nothing. I plan to do the same with my future kids.
My parents weren’t anti-movie either though. They enjoyed films and liked to share with us, their children. I was exposed to scenes from Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail while in elementary school. I was not allowed to watch the entire film, but the classic, “bring out your dead,” and “what are you going to do, bleed on me?” lines were common in our home. Going out to movies was a privilege and often became a father-daughter outing.
Until college I considered movies to be a fun diversion from reality. Even though I had watched movies in high school to search for metaphors and discuss the deeper meaning or various aspects of the cinematography, I thought a career in film was below me. I was better than that. I had a brain and was going to use it.
My freshman year I took a class that changed my life: Introduction to Communication with one of my favorite college professors, Dr. Rendleman. The films we watched in class were used as tools to teach us about the theories and basic communication concepts but I quickly discovered that film could be more than just entertainment. My sophomore year I took a class devoted entirely to film; from that point on I was hooked.
Movies are a glimpse into another world, another lifestyle, and another perspective. There are movies created for pure entertainment value, but there are also good films that say something about the world we live in. They teach us to appreciate the mundane in the world as well as long for the grander things in life. All at once films are an escape and a jolt back to reality.
My hope for this blog is that I will at long last be able to articulate my thoughts on the films I see and be able to share them with you, my devoted readers. I hope you enjoy my perspective and leave your own thoughts as well.