Monday, March 16, 2015

A Fistful of Thoughts...about being a blogger, being a cinephile, being old and just, well, ME because today is all about ME!

So, I didn't want to skip A Fistful of Thoughts today, but considering that it's my birthday I thought I'd do this a little differently.  Instead of celebrity news, I thought I'd do this a little differently.  Let's talk about me.  LOL, sort of.  I have a lot of thoughts, and while I covered some of them in my previous post (thank you guys so much for your love and comments), I wanted to elaborate on a few things and just, well, get it all out there.

So let's talk about me!

Alright, so I was thinking about my life in terms of films because, well, being a cinephile is such a large part of who I am at this point.  It's so funny to think that there was a time that I didn't watch movies with thoughts flooding my mind as to where they would fit on a ballot, but there was, when I was very little.  The funny thing is that I became somewhat obsessed with ballots at a young age though.  I still remember being in my pre-teens and catching the MTV Movie Awards and coming up with my own ballots for Best Kiss and whatnot.  

LOL, it was then that I realized movies could be judged and graded.

So, for the first part of my 'thoughts' today, I wanted to talk about film experiences I had that stick out from my younger years, before I was so obsessed with putting them on a list.  I have so many memories of watching films with my family, so I wanted to just talk about a few of them, the ones that I can associate with specific memories.

My first theater memory comes in the form of 1991's Oscar nominated Disney masterpiece, Beauty and the Beast.  I was 6 when this film was released, and it was a family affair.  We went to the theater with another family (including my childhood 'girlfriend') and I distinctly remember having my arm around her the entire time.  We also got our picture together by this giant cardboard poster in front of the theater, and we got a coloring sheet inspired by the movie.  It's a very warm memory for me, and the film itself has rested so well with me (it's not just one of my favorite animated films, but it's one of my favorite films, period), and the fact that I can now share this film with my own children (and have them ADORE IT) is something so special to my movie loving soul.

Moving on from the theater to some memorable 'home viewing', I still remember the night the entire family sat down to watch Star Wars.  I was pretty young, and my father was very skeptical about allowing me to watch something like this.  He's always been really cautious about entertainment, and he was really worried that I would become violent.  LOL.  Anyways, my half-sister had just moved in with us after living with her mother, and she brought with her Star Wars (on VHS mind you) and convinced my father to give it a try.  The best part of this whole thing, in retrospect, is that my father had never even seen these movies.  My mother, who was always telling him to lighten up, had seen them all and so she was backing my sister up.  I always found it strange that my father decided we should start with Return of the Jedi.  I don't see the logic in starting with the finale, but apparently my sister told him it was the least violent.  Maybe she thought those Ewok creatures would make up for the fact that THAT LAST SCENE WITH THE EMPEROR IS LIKE THE SCARIEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN!  Like, for real.  

So, as I grew up, I made it a habit of sneaking movies.  As I mentioned, my dad was super strict, and that never really let up much.  So, when I was a kid (as young as 6), I was sneaking stuff.  Whether it be sneaking Saved by the Bell episodes in our basement (yes, he didn't like sitcoms AT ALL) to sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to see what was playing, I was always taking in stuff he wouldn't allow.  This became a problem with I'd catch something like Child's Play and have to hide the reason I was having horrific nightmares.  I still remember the day I saw this movie.  It was one of those rare afternoons when my parents were so preoccupied I was able to watch something in broad daylight that would have resulted in lots of yelling had they noticed.  We were actually preparing to leave for church, believe it or not, and I was standing inches from the TV with remote in hand while Chucky lashed out at helpless children with a knife.

There are lots of movies that bring me to a special, nostalgic moment, but there are some films fill me with a nostalgic feeling that is associated with so many different memories it's kind of a nostalgic blur, if you will.  I spent many nights watching movie with my father, and my father's favorite films were classic musicals.  Fiddler on the Roof was one of his favorites.  We watched this film together countless times, and watching my father mouth the words to every song is a moment(s) I'll never forget.  Despite the fact that my father was very strict, I have to credit him with my young love of film.  He didn't watch everything, but what he watched he watched with passion, and I love that he instilled in me a love for classic film, which is something I try to instill in my children.  Staying up late to watch an old movie is something my kids also look forward to, and I thank my father for giving me the same memories I'm giving my kids.

This was not the first R-Rated film I had seen, but it was the first I saw in the theater, and it kind of marks the end of my pre-Oscar film life.  My eldest sister was the one who snuck me in, feeding my parents some BS about me spending the night at her place to play games and stuff and instead she surprised me by taking me to see that one sci-fi movie I had been talking about for months because it looked so awesome, and at that point in my life watching aliens eat people was pretty much the coolest thing ever.  Pitch Black isn't a great film, but it spawned the (short lived) cultural obsession that was Vin Diesel and so I guess we should thank it for that (or should we?).  This was released in 2000.  I was 15.  Later that year, I was introduced to a little film called Gladiator, but we'll get to that in a sec.

So, now I ask you; what cinematic memories clutter your nostalgic happy places?  What memories do you have of growing into an appreciation for movies?

So, moving on from that 'thought', we'll talk about the movies that really started or anchored my passion for the art of film and my current obsession with all things Oscar and, well, my personal awards.  These are films and experiences that have changed the way I look at film and have, in many ways, changed me as a person.  

Gladiator was a huge deal for me.  I was 15 and my friend snuck this into my house and we sat up in the dead of night, with eyes glued to my 13" television as we took in the greatness that was Russell Crowe.  I became OBSESSED, but more than that, it opened my eyes to the world of Oscar because it was in that moment that I had seen and recognized a film that Oscar embraced.  Because of this I visited IMDB for the first time, found out that Crowe was filming A Beautiful Mind, saw it opening night and tuned into my very first Oscar telecast.  I also threw a bitch-fit when Crowe lost, turned off the TV and skipped the next Oscars in protest, returning to regular viewing in 2003.

I guess I had a diva moment.

When Paul Newman died in 2008, I was well into my love of Oscar and all things film, but at that point I was still in this "see everything new, follow the race, love modern cinema" stage and had yet to really embrace classic cinema as a whole, unless it was the classic I grew up with.  Then Newman died and it was the first time that a celebrity died and I noticed the impact it had on everyone around me.  The media covered it with a heavy hand, and a lot of people I knew who were obvious older than I was were mourning the loss of one of their favorite actors.  I, feeling somewhat ashamed of that fact that I watched the Oscar every year and had yet to see a single Newman movie, did a quick search on TCM to see if I could catch one.  I wound up catching a marathon, and in a single day I saw Cool Hand Luke, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Hustler and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  It was that final film that made my heart skip a beat.  I was just completely enthralled in every moment, and it spawned my absolute LOVE of Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor.  From that moment onward, TCM became practically the only channel that mattered to me.

Jules et Jim was the first time that I felt like my life was being projected on screen.  It was the first time where I made that personal connection to a film, to the themes, to the story.  I felt it in my heart.  It pressed down on me with this weight of absolute honesty and truth and it made me realize that film can be a medium for release, for expression of repression and a way to escape through uncanny relation.  I saw myself, my own plights, my own worries and concerns and in that moment, I felt understood.  I remember the day I saw it.  I remember my wife was out with friends and I was using the day to catch up on my DVR recordings and I remember sitting on the floor in our bedroom unable to move because the finale felt so brutal and so honest and so EVERYTHING I WAS FEELING that I crumbled inside.

I will forever credit this film with helping me fully understand that animated films should never be regarded as mere children's movies.  Grave of the Fireflies is such an emotionally devastating film, and such a brilliantly constructed one.  Until seeing this film, not only did I consider animated films beneath me (despite liking some of them), but I thought of Asian animated films as laughable, calling to mind Pokemon and Dragonball Z and thinking about my brother and his pre-teen obsession with them and how dumb I thought they all were.  Still, I was told I was wrong about my feelings towards animated films and I was told that THIS film would change my mind.  It did.  It also came to me at the worst time (I was a new parent) and it made me sob so uncontrollably that my wife woke up and thought I was dying.  This is one of the best films that I will never, ever recommend to anyone.


More than a film, Mommy is an experience that transcends everything that came before it.  I've spoken a lot about my love for Dolan and this film, and I will for a long time to come because, for me, this is perfect cinema.  A story that hits my soul, but it's not just the story but the way you tell it, and Dolan tells this story with such brilliant visual and emotional composition.  From the music to the cinematography to the dialog to the edits to the lasting notes of something more, Mommy transcends cinema, and isn't that what experiencing film, truly EXPERIENCING film is all about?

So, let me ask you; what are some films that have changed the way you look at film as a whole?  What films stand out as representative of how you feel about film, how you feel about Oscar, maybe even spawned your current obsessions?

So, moving on, my next 'thought' has to do with age, since, you know, I'm getting old now.  LOL.  Not really, but it's my birthday so I'm supposed to think about aging.  Thinking about age in terms of film, it had me wondering, what films do you think will stand out as classics from our generation as we get into the future.  Which films from the aughts are we going to see mentioned alongside the likes of Citizen Kane or The Godfather or Casablanca?  I've thought about this, and have come up with the one film that I personally think will live on and be considered a masterpiece, a 'classic' film, a film that will 'age' in a way that cements it as one of the all time greatest...

I've loved this movie since I saw it, but for me there is something special about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that sets it apart from most every other movie to receive the critical acclaim this one defies genre.  There really isn't another film out there like this one, at all, and that quality alone, I believe, will keep it continually in the conversation.  Whenever you talk with someone about this film, there is clear passion in the air.  It is a film that evokes a real reaction and a film that is dissected and debated and interpreted in so many different ways.  It's funny, it's charming, it's romantic, it's devastating, it's alarming; it's so many things and yet it never feels like too much.  In 20 years from now, I wouldn't be surprised if this was considered the Citizen Kane of our times; a film that changed the way stories could be told.

So, how about you?  What's the one film you think will leave this decade a classic?

So, now let's talk about blogging.  We had to come around to this, right?  When I started blogging, it was merely to keep track of my own thoughts.  I wanted a place to construct my personal awards and a place to store my reviews and babble about films as I saw them and as my opinions changed, grew, formed; whatever.  It was never something that I thought would become, to me, what it is now.  You see, I don't talk about film much with other people.  I have a few friends who have discussed certain films with me, who have debated certain films with me and who have watched the Oscars and talked to me about it, but no one that I know 'in the flesh' has the same cinematic passions as I do.  As I started to blog and become consumed with it, those passions grew, which made the desire to talk to others about it all the more strong, and yet all the more painful because I really didn't have anyone to talk to.

Now I do.

Now I have an entire community of friends who share my passion, who share their opinions with me, who love to talk film and talk aspects of film that maybe I don't always gravitate towards and so, because of all of you, my passion and my appreciation for film has grown.  Because of fellow bloggers, I have delved into cinema and paid attention to aspects of cinema that I would never have thought to on my own, and so I thank you all for this!

So, what about you?  Why do you blog?  Why did you start blogging?  What blessing has blogging given you?

And, lastly, let's just talk about films we love!  It's been 30 years that I've been on this earth, so why not close this discussion out with 30 films!  So, here are my favorite films from each year I've been alive (obviously subject to change):

So, how about you?  What are your favorite films for each year of your life?


Here's What I'll Be Reading Today:

Jenna & Allie review Wild
Josh predicts his own CinSpec Awards for 2015
John reflects on the Motion Picture Production Code
Kyle talks Holy Motors
Mark looks at 16 films Oscar snubbed for Cinematography
Wendell reviews Coming to America
Candice reviews Kumiko
Chis takes a look at the books high on his reading list
Birgit remembers her father

And, in case you missed it, let's fawn all over these videos of Mommy's wins from the Canadian Screen Awards!


  1. Well enjoy your ME day! :-) Great list of fave movies, we have some of those Disney movies in common as I grew up watching them.

    1. Some of those Disney films are timeless, for sure!

  2. Very interesting read. Like you, my parents were very influential in my earlier years, especially with those Disney films. Also, I was totally caught off guard by Grave of the Fireflies too. What a devastating film!

    In terms of recent films becoming modern classics, the first one that comes to mind is 'The Social Network', since it's such a time capsule.

    I actually wrote a similar post a few years ago, I don't know if you've read it:

    1. Yeah, I feel you on The Social Network. It would have been on a list of 5, had I done one. It really does serve as a glimpse into a generation in itself, and because of that will, in a way, be timeless.

      I will check out that post of yours ASAP!

  3. Happy birthday, man. Great post.

    I feel like I have to see Grave of the Fireflies immediately, but I'll probably just watch something terrible instead.

    1. Er, if you want to weep like an abandoned infant, then go ahead and watch it...but you have kids, so, like, run away.

      That being's an incredible film.


      And thanks, bro!

  4. Dude. Wow! I love this post. So much. It's funny. I've been working on top ten lists of every year I've been alive for awhile now. I'm almost to a place where I can go back and pick my favorite from each year. Be on the lookout for a post of that nature in the near future.

    I've been so busy lately and the weather's gotten so nice here, I just haven't been able to make myself sit inside and write. But why do I blog? Pure catharsis. If I didn't, I would go crazy. I love movies so much that I just have to write about what I see, especially new stuff. Most of my friends aren't big film buffs and my best friend that is lives 200 miles away. I blog because I want to hone my writing abilities. As you know, I enjoy digging into themes both as written in screenplays and in how filmmakers highlight them visually. Blogging is something that, in the last year, I just felt I NEEDED to do.

    For me, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II are the movies that stick out in my memory from childhood. Also, Disney movies The Sword in the Stone and Aladdin.

    A few game changers for me are, to name a few, Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction (of course), American Beauty, pretty much every film by PT Anderson and David Fincher, and (as you listed) Children of Men, which is simply one of the most important films of my lifetime.

    Again, great post! I need to get back in my writing routines.

    1. And a very happy birthday, by the way. Big 30! I hit it myself not long ago.

    2. I look forward to that post from you! Those are always fun to look over.

      I agree with pretty much everything you said in your second paragraph. Blogging is such a need because it allows you this outlet, this way to just lay it all out there. I have to say, I started blogging out of a curious desire...but I continue to blog because I NEED to do it.

      I hate that I still haven't seen Ghostbusters!

    3. Oh, and it was your When I Was 30 post that kind of inspired me to make this a big deal :-P

  5. love finding out what films influenced and affected people! i think if you grew up in the late 80s/early 90s there is no way that those disney movies would not have been a huge part of early movie-going experiences. and thank god they as good as they are! imagine if we had been born a little earlier and had FOX AND THE HOUND and THE BLACK CAULDRON...yikes!

    and wholeheartedly agree that ETERNAL SUNSHINE will rank as one of the greatest of all time...

    1. Aw, I quite like The Fox and the Hound :-P

      And yes, Eternal Sunshine is going to be remembered for a VERY long time to come!

  6. This coming July will represent my 15th anniversary as a writer though it will be 5 years in that same month where I went blogging full-time and for good due to unfortunate circumstances.

    I will be doing something for that anniversary as it's currently a WIP thing at the moment. I'll divulge more about these things this coming July.

    1. I look forward to your July post!

  7. Those are some very interesting questions. I've got a long list of those movies which have impacted my interest in film in some capacity. It's probably impossible to name them all, and I've got so many it's practically become a tradition on my blog to celebrate every 100th post with a review of one of those films (so far I've done Zulu, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Captain Kidd). Probably one of the biggest impacts came from 2001: A Space Odyssey, though I know several others that helped in some form or another.

    As for why I blog, that's also a good question and one that has a long-winded history. I think putting it simply it was a way of expressing all my film-related thoughts. There weren't very many venues available to me that allowed me to really express myself. There was a blog my high school film teacher once started for his class, and I contributed some great material there, but ended up stopping once it became clear that none of the class outside of myself and the teacher were even checking it, let alone taking the time to read articles. I get to do some great analytic stuff in my education but often there are restrictions. Blogging allows me to express myself how I want, and to share my thoughts the way I feel they need to be shared.

    1. It's funny because when I first started this blog, I never really thought about it being this huge outlet or way for me to express my opinions. I was so used to not sharing them because no one cared to listen that I just didn't think about it much anymore. I was using this to store reviews no one would ever read or compile personal awards...but as I grew to embrace the blogging community and found people who wanted to hear my opinion, this blog became something so much more for me.

  8. Great questions!

    As far as cinematic childhood memories go we're coming from different places. By that I mean that when I was a kid there were no VCR's and if you wanted to see say The Wizard of Oz it was a once a year event that the whole family gathered around the TV to watch. Gone With the Wind was something you went to see in a theatre on a re-release, an extremely cool outing since it was shown in the roadshow format of entrance music, cartoon features, an intermission and exit music because until 1976 it wasn't shown on television and that was a one time gig that wasn't repeated for another two years.

    For TV movie memories the first movie that I remember watching on my own, probably around age 6, was the Technicolor swashbuckler "Blackbeard, The Pirate" and I was hooked both by classic film and the film's star Linda Darnell who has remained my favorite actress to this day. After that I scoured the TV Guide the day it arrived searching for cinematic gold. I was lucky that we had a station, I think channel 48, that had a show devoted to classic films. It was on in the afternoon about two o'clock so if I hurried home from school I could often catch most of the movies they showed, jiggling the rabbit ears throughout the film to get a good picture!! Alas there were other films I wanted to see that were on in the middle of the night which I had to forgo at that point. If it was something I really wanted to see I tried the alarm clock method but my mother put the kibosh on that when she caught me once struggling through the appropriately named "Night Without Sleep" with my beloved Linda Darnell at 4AM on a school night. I remember it specifically because I've never been able to find the film since!

    There was also a station that ran a Movie of the Week, which is exactly what it sounds like. Each week one film, always one from the Golden Age, was shown at least twice a day once mid-morning and again right after dinner and so if I liked the film, it was rare I didn't, I would see it at least 6 or 7 times. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've seen the Barbara Stanwyck/Clifton Webb version of Titanic, which was an apparent favorite of the programmer since it showed up at least once a year on the program. It actually sparked my interest in the disaster and disaster movies, a genre I still have a great weakness for!

    Another strange event that sparked my interest in classic film ocurred in early summer 1973, the Great Celebrity Apocalypse, when a dozen stars died within less than a month. Beginning on June 23rd with Fay Holden (Ma Hardy of the Andy Hardy films) she was followed rapidly by Betty Grable, Veronica Lake, Joe E. Brown, Robert Ryan, Lon Chaney, Jr., Jack Hawkins, silent screen star Mary Carr, Ernie Treux, George Macready, Clarence White (the guitarist for the Byrds) and finally ending with Bruce Lee's death on June 20th. It was so notable that editorials appeared in the papers and news programs did spots on it so naturally young me became intrigued by who these people were, especially Veronica Lake who my mother said she and her sisters referred to as Veronica Snake during her heyday.

    1. This is such a beautiful comment! I love getting that glimpse into your childhood. Like you said, we're coming from different places and yet I love the slight similarities.

      We tend to take for granted the amount of film that is at our fingertips now, but when you put it into perspective, we really should be grateful that we are given this privilege of somewhat full exposure.

      I don't know what I did before TCM, and yet I didn't really discover it till about 8 years ago.

  9. Good Lord I can't believe it took all that to answer one question! Okay I'll forgo the others and say that's great that you can list a favorite from each year, I've never done that and it's not something that can be pulled together in a snap so in honor of your birthday here's an estimation of my top 30 favorites, I can't say with certainty that these are THE top thirty but all would be in my top 50.

    All the President's Men
    Deadline at Dawn
    From Here to Eternity
    Hannah and Her Sisters
    The Heiress
    Howards End
    How the West Was Won
    Inherit the Wind
    A Letter to Three Wives
    The Lion in Winter
    The Mating Season
    October Sky
    The Poseidon Adventure
    The President's Lady
    The Prize
    The Return of the Soldier
    Running on Empty
    Sense & Sensibility
    Titanic (1953)
    Torch Song Trilogy
    The Towering Inferno
    Watch on the Rhine
    White Christmas
    Witness for the Prosecution
    Woman's World

    1. Aw, thanks for the list! Now I have a slew of films to add to my queue! Love to see Lifeboat and Hannah and Her Sisters on the list. I almost squealed in joy when I saw Titanic...and then I saw the (1953) :-P I still need to see that one.

    2. I like the James Cameron Titanic well enough, it would be more truthful to say I like the second half after they hit the berg quite a lot for the technical aspects, but the love story is such crap it takes me out of the film. DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have a decent chemistry but class division was too strong and ingrained at that time on that ship, it just could never happen. I know movies are about suspension of belief but this one is just a bridge too far for me. Especially when the other two versions, the Stanwyck one and A Night to Remember, have far more believable couplings.

      The period detail is dazzling and all the female cast members do admirable work, I particularly like Gloria Stuart and Frances Fisher, and I know many people just love it but that main aspect just doesn't work for me.

    3. I just love the feeling it gives me. It's such a DUMB movie, but like, it's such a technical feat, and in some ways it reminds me of a classic Hollywood production and story because it throws all logic to the wind for a love story you can't help but FEEL, even if it makes so little sense.

  10. Wow that's a lot of questions :) As for the cinematic memories, to be honest every single movie that I see in cinema is a separate adventure on its own, because I just love that atmosphere so much. That's why I always try to go see something in theater when I just want to escape - it's like going away for several hours. As for why I blog, well I need to have a decent outlet because I have high opinion of my opinions and I have this obsessive need to share my brilliance with people :) And imdb is most definitely not a decent outlet, it's a pit filled with shit, so I started a blog.

    love to see Brokeback and Atonement are your favs out of their respective years!

    1. "As for why I blog, well I need to have a decent outlet because I have high opinion of my opinions and I have this obsessive need to share my brilliance with people"

      Damn straight!

    2. Oh, and yes, IMDB is the worst place for 'film discussion' on the web. They are all disgusting over there. I spend a lot of time over at Awards Watch. They are all snarky bitches over there, but they are also a loving community of smart cinephiles and they weed out the trolls pretty quickly :-P

  11. Aw, thanks for taking us on this trip down memory lane with you. I love posts like these.

    I also started with Return of the Jedi and watched backwards, what's up with that? We only had that and Empire on VHS, I didn't see A New Hope until it was re-released in theaters. I suppose it was interesting to watch Darth Vader progressively get meaner.

    American Beauty will always have the most profound film moment for me. It came out when I was 12, but I remember watching it when it premiered on Starz. I was really unhappy at home and watching this dysfunctional family actually made me feel better about a lot of it. Free therapy!

    Then I think I named my VHS "WWF RAW" so my parents wouldn't catch me with it, because I recorded American Pie right afterwards. lol

    1. LOL, that's hilarious that we share the 'Jedi' story!

      I also love your connection to American Beauty, because for me that has always been the biggest draw to these artistic mediums, whether they be movies or music or books...they have the ability to understand us, where we are, what we're feeling and, in a way, make us feel better.

      Like you said, free therapy :-)


    There were a few things that got me into film, but I distinctly remember getting really into it when I was young because when we would go to the allergist's office, the only magazine they had that I was ever remotely interested in reading was Entertainment Weekly. When I discovered they had Box Office reports and TV Ratings, etc. I read it obsessively every time I was there. Being a huge trivia nerd even at a very young age, I was all about knowing which film opened on top and which TV show was the highest rated. Because I was always reading it, my parents eventually got me a subscription for Hanukkah one year. My first issue had Toy Story on the cover and I was SO excited. I remained a subscriber until college, at which point I would read it in the bookstore each week (they hadn't quite begun posting everything online yet). I saved all of the issues I ever got until my parents sold the house, at which point I only kept all the year-end issues (which I still buy), the Oscar Issues, and the "special" issues (listings of all Seinfeld, X-Files, Buffy, and Friends episodes, etc.). And, of course, the first issue I ever got.

    The other big moment was the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Films list. I cut a print version of the list out of the newspaper and checked off the ones I had seen and over the summer rented all the ones I was interested in from the local video store, starting at the bottom of the list and working my way up. Later that year, TCM had a Hitchcock marathon and I obsessively went through the TV guide figuring out when everything I wanted to tape was on. I filled up four VHS tapes with most of what they showed. After that, there was no turning back.

    LOL at that Star Wars story. You are so right about the last scene with the Emperor - that shit is SCARY. I remember after the first time I saw Star Wars (on rental from the video store), I brought the tape with me to a family event at my grandma's because I always got bored (my sister and I were by far the youngest and preferred play to talking, which was what everyone else did). I somehow got permission to put it on, and by the halfway point of the movie, EVERYONE had crowded into the den and was watching it. The communal experience was incredible.

    1. I love that you mention Entertainment Weekly. That was a big part of my early film adoration. I got a subscription when I was 18 and had moved out of the house and it was the only magazine I would read cover to cover. It also was a great asset to following the Oscar race for me, before I got into different Oscar forums online.

      And I love that you mention AFI's 100 Years, 100 Films list. I also printed that out and checked off the ones I had seen and made plans to see the ones I hadn't yet!

      Love your Star Wars story. I love when a film can bring everyone together :-D

  13. That's great when a favorite(Beauty and the Beast) can be introduced to your children. Part of the fun of raising kids that you show them what you love.
    TCM is a great channel :)
    what are some films that have changed the way you look at film as a whole? Titanic, I just couldn't believe my eyes.
    What's the one film from 2000s that will become a classic? Today my pick is The Lives of Others, because of its historical significance.
    Thanks for the link, kind sir!

    1. It really is a great experience to be able to pass something down to your children and have them build those same memories you did. Being able to take my daughter to see Beauty and the Beast in the theater when it was rereleased in 3D was such an amazing moment, because how many people can say that they took their children to see a film that their parents took them to see in the theaters!

      I love The Lives of Others!

  14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind!!! I love that movie.

    And what a beautiful post! I loved every minute of it.

    A film from the 2000s that will become a classic? Memento. As for the rest of your questions, I need more time to think about them. Maybe I'll write a post like this.

    1. I hope you do, Irene! I'd love to read it!

  15. A lot to respond to. Here I go...

    My childhood movie watching experiences are pretty much the exact opposite of yours. When I was really young, it was still the pre-VCR era. So a movie playing in theaters for a year or more was fairly common. It was a year, or two, or five before they would get to TV. By TV, I mean regular network TV with commercial breaks and cut all to hell. That didn't matter much to me because I was so young, though. The "opposite" stuff really comes in what I was allowed to watch. One of my earliest theater experiences was going to see Enter the Dragon. Star Wars, the first one, was also one of my early trips to the movies.

    By the time I was a teen, I watched basically what I wanted. She personally took me to see things like Beverly Hills Cop, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Rambo: First Blood Part II, Purple Rain, and just about whatever else was popular during the early/mid 80s. Plus, she also gave me money to go with my buddies on our own. And believe me, most theaters didn't bother asking how old you were when you were buying a ticket. By the way, these movies and many more from the late 70s through the 80s "clutter" my cinematic memories and helped start me on my way to being a cinephile.

    ESotSM is a great pick. I also love this film. It's magical from beginning to end. You're so right about it defying genre, too. It just does everything well. It's certainly on my short list of masterpieces from the 00s. Others on that list: Oldboy, City of God, Memento, Requiem for a Dream, Children of Men.

    Films that changed the way I look at film and at Oscar? Hmmm...great question. There have been many to change the way I view film. Scream was a revelation to me. That a movie could be that self-aware and still be good at the genre it's essentially spoofing is amazing. By the way this is one reason why even the very first Scary Movie doesn't work for me. It tackled Scream, but as Roger Ebert put it, 'how can you spoof a spoof?' Pulp Fiction was another, going further down that self-aware path. Plus the way the movie is sequenced makes it seem almost random, but it works perfectly. The Matrix was huge for me because, well, it changed everything. The animated movie that let me know they weren't all for kids was Heavy Metal. Lots of nudity, including a couple sex scenes, lots of cussing, and some drug use. I saw it when I was 12 or 13. The big one, though, was Do the Right Thing. That was my "truth" moment. That movie depicted my reality to a large extent.

    As far as Oscar goes, I don't think there was one film that sparked an interest. In fact, it's a rather recent interest for me. Before really declaring myself a film buff, I'd always watched a lot of movies but they were mainly action flicks and comedies. I wasn't watching too many things the Academy was interested in. As my tastes expanded and developed I naturally wanted to see how what I thought were the best films matched up to what the snooty folks who make up the Academy thought.

    Why do I blog? I love writing. And I love writing about movies. I did it for a few years with virtually no audience so I don't necessarily need one. However, I do like having found a community of people to discuss movies and still have a place to get out my entire opinion of a movie without being interrupted! And yeah, to borrow from Sati, I have very high opinion of my own opinion. be continued

    1. Lastly, coming up with a definitive list of my faves for each year of my life will require some more serious thought. To save time, honor your birthday,.and offer something in the form of a list, I'll give you one of my favorites for each year YOU have been alive. I say one of because, well, that whole more serious thought needed thing. Anyhoo,

      Back to the Future
      Stand by Me
      The Untouchables
      Coming to America (duh)
      The Silence of the Lambs
      Malcolm X
      Schindler's List
      Pulp Fiction
      Donnie Brasco
      Saving Private Ryan
      The Matrix
      Requiem for a Dream
      City of God
      Maria Full of Grace (just to pick something besides Eternal Sunshine)
      Sin City
      Children of Men
      No Country for Old Men
      The Dark Knight
      The Hurt Locker
      Toy Story 3
      Django Unchained
      Fruitvale Station
      Gone Girl (so far)

      I've not seen anything good from 2015 yet, so I'll stop there.

    2. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to type all that out. I love hearing about everyone else's movie experience, their childhood, the differences in our lives and really the things that bring us all together.

      I feel like I need to rewatch Do the Right Thing now!

      And thank you for the list of favorite films from the last 30 years. There are some incredible gems in there! I love your love of Scream. That film is such a benchmark for the Horror genre because it did something that no other film had done up to that point, and no other film was able to repeat.

  16. Happy Belated Birthday dude! What a fun post this was to read as well, thank you! I may just have to dedicate a whole post of my own to answer your questions, because they've really got me thinking :)
    - Allie

    1. That would be awesome! I'd love to read it :-D

  17. This is a really nice post:) I can't believe I started working where I am now when you were just 6. My dad gave me my love for movies. I would ask him "who is that?" "Are they alive?" When did they die?" etc.... He knew all the answers. We would watch Movies for a Sunday Afternoon and I grew up with Tracy, Stewart, Wayne, Hepburn and all the rest. I recall I could not wait for the television premiere of The Sound of Music. I thought this film but also the great musicals fortified my love of films. I joined the A to Z Challenge this year(my 2nd time) and I will do the same thing I did last year-film stars. It's in honour of my dad and me and all the questions I hit him with. I started blogging because I love creating cards and it opened up a whole new world to me. I love seeing everyone's cards but I also found people who love to write and love film. I would say the film that can be considered a classic, or I should say, the trilogy would be the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Now with that I am heading back to bed. I tried to be up for longer than an hour but I am very sick and I hope I don't have pneumonia (had to go for chest x-rays today). I just have the flu:) OK sick and back to bed

    1. Aww, I really hope that I can cement the same memories you have with your father with my children. I'd love to be the source of their movie love as they get older. Thank you for sharing with me. I just love hearing about everyone's early years.

    2. Oh, and as Wendell said, please rest up and get well soon!

  18. Excellent post! And thanks for the link! :)

    1. Return of the Jedi is definitely one of my fond cinematic memories as well, since it was my first Star Wars film, too. (Why one of my parents got that one from the library I'll never know.) When I was younger, I'd rewatch films I loved constantly, and the original SW trilogy was a HUGE part of my childhood. (Seriously, my inner child is freaking out about the upcoming Star Wars movies.)

    I think my first film in a theater was also Disney - The Lion King. I had to sit in the front row, and it was glorious. I also loved the animated Peter Pan, which I still think is terrific.

    My first R was The Patriot - the Mel Gibson one. It was a great way to ease into R-rated films. Though, I went overboard, and had nightmares after watching the first two Terminator movies. It was two years before I saw an R (The Matrix Reloaded) in the theater, however.

    2. The Seventh Seal changed film for me. I'd had some exposure to foreign films (Pan's Labyrinth, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and some classics (Sunset Blvd., The Godfather) beforehand, but NOTHING could've prepared me for such a haunting, personal experience. Like, I feel Bergman got me. That film was made for me.

    The Three Colors trilogy is another example, particularly Blue. I love it when a film just won't leave me alone, and Blue did that. To use the word again: haunting. No wonder I now consider it and The Seventh Seal my two favorites of all time.

    My slowly evolving Oscar obsession started when I saw Chicago in the theater months after it'd won Best Picture. Something about the fact that it won those awards (during the first Oscar ceremony I watched) just seemed so prestigious. I wanted to be a part of that celebration, to see the films that were recognized. By 2004, I was all about the Oscars. I remember being excited that something like Sideways would even play near me.

    3. You make a much better case with Eternal Sunshine, but the one film I keep coming back to as one that'll be remembered in A.I. Artificial Intelligence. While reviews were mixed, it's a film that could become more relevant in the future (in terms of technology), and its scope and themes are ripe for critical discussion. Still, I wonder if we're overlooking a Best Picture nominee, since Casablanca, The Godfather, and Citizen Kane were recognized at the Oscars. Maybe something like There Will Be Blood or Lost in Translation?

    4. I started blogging for the same reasons - to publish my awards, lists, and just unleash my love for film in whatever way I could. Happily, there are several people with similar thoughts and aspirations. :)

    5. Love the switch to Children of Men, Atonement, and Moonrise Kingdom! Hopefully we'll agree on Best Picture again before another 8 years is up. :P

    Mine are:

    The Decalogue (Is this Fisti-eligible by the way?)
    The Lovers on the Bridge
    The Crying Game
    Three Colors: Blue
    Three Colors: Red
    L.A. Confidential
    The Thin Red Line
    Eyes Wide Shut
    Code Unknown
    A.I. Artificial Intelligence
    Spirited Away
    Lost in Translation
    Before Sunset
    Children of Men
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    In Bruges
    Summer Hours
    Black Swan
    Holy Motors

    1. UGH, you're awesome Josh!

      1) I find this so hilarious that I'm not the only one who was subjected to 'Return of the Jedi' first. I also remember fondly seeing The Lion King in the theater!

      And, I love that you mention Peter Pan because, well, I just declared love for it in my Thursday Movie Picks!

      2) I had a feeling that Seventh Seal would factor in there for you! It's a film that has grown and grown in my eyes. 1957 as a whole is such a tremendous year. All five of my BP picks may factor into my Top 100 of All Time.

      3) A.I. is that film that continues to gain fans, so you may have a point. I LOVE that film (you'll be happy to know it makes it's way into my BP ballot for 2001) and it is a film that just continue to build appreciation.

      4) I'm happy we're blogging buddies!

      5) Yeah, the more I think about those years certain films have started to settle in and make a bigger impression on me. Atonement and Once are not my top 2 from 2007, Children of Men is my #1 (but I'd still place After the Wedding next), and Moonrise Kingdom has just become one of my favorite movies of all time the more I dwell on it.

      Isn't The Decalogue a television mini-series? If it had a theatrical release, I'd consider it, though!

      Love that we match up 4 times! I may have switch to BBM for BP in 05, but Haneke is still my director winner!

      I'll never grow tired of seeing Mommy as your #1 of 2014!

    2. Thanks pal! :)

      So happy that A.I. makes your Best Picture lineup!

      Atonement and Once are SO GOOD, as are Children of Men and After the Wedding. And I love Moonrise Kingdom, too.

      The Decalogue had a theatrical release in the Netherlands. That could get it in technically, no? Plus, it did get votes in the latest Sight and Sound Poll (as a FILM). Those are the only reasons I consider it eligible. :/

      Go Haneke!

      Mommy just keeps getting better in my mind!

    3. Yes, that would make The Decalogue eligible!

      Mommy really does grow and grow the more you think about it. It's going to be very hard for Dolan to top that, honestly. I know I sound like a broken record, but every element of that film came together in such a stunning way that it was not a movie, it was a feeling in my soul.

      I honestly would change NOTHING about it, and that's rare.