I. Love. Movies. I always have done, I always will do. I am shaped by the movies I watched as a child, the cinema that babysat me when my Dad was off playing professional baseball and my mom still wasn’t home from building houses until 5:30pm. I am who I am because of stories I saw told on small television sets after long days at school, on weekend nights with friends crammed into a theater, on Tuesday afternoons when I was home sick from school, a Luden’s cherry cough drop in my mouth and yellow Gatorade at my side. I am ten thousand memories of Indiana Jones, of Joe vs. the Volcano, of Dances with Wolves, of Labyrinth, Willow, of Rocky, and Field of Dreams. When I close my eyes, I dream in moving pictures on the dark screen of my imagination, when I write, to this very day, I see the words as though they are acted out and real, if only in the multiplex of my mind.
I am the Gaslight Theatre in downtown Helena, MT. I am the Circus Twin in the valley, two screens playing two films, the AC a reprieve from sweltering Montana summer night. I am Twister and its stunning tornadoes played on my 15th birthday, only to walk outside to a massive thunderstorm and wonder if it wasn’t all make-believe after all.
I know it’s silly, I know there is so much more to life than these fictions played out by the same millionaires over and again, I know how important books and literature are, I know the value of turning off the television and getting outside, but I’ll be damned if movies, if cinema, hasn’t played an absolutely massive and formative role in my life. So much of how I write, how I photograph with my still camera, how I frame the world in my own mind as I wander through the world, has been shaped by the movies I watched, and continue to watch to this day. I am a sucker for storytelling, for character arcs, for cinematography and for the soundtrack to it all. I hear a film score when I watch a sunset, when I kiss my wife, when I travel, when I weep and cannot fit the emotion of life in this body. I aim my own camera at those I’m paid to aim it at, and I see them as though actors in my own film, I capture them the same.
Movies. Plain and simple, movies. This is my love letter to the films that helped make me who I am today, too many to list here. From the cheesy 80s movies to the crazy action films that are more stunt than dialogue. From the rom-coms to the rom-drams, to the Disney classics. From the Rocky Balboas to the Goblin Kings, the Godfathers to Gandhi, Lawrence of Arabia to Lord of the Rings.
I wish to know the cinema that shaped you. What are the stories you grew up watching over and over again. And, this is the biggest and of all time, if you had to, absolutely had to pick just one film, a single motion picture that was your all-time favorite, what would you say?
For me, definitively and without reservation, I say Joe vs. the Volcano and I feel no strangeness in saying it’s a movie that quite literally saved my life. I stand by this, and I always will. Now…what’s yours?
*Also, if I spoke in the podcast about needing, but not having, Intro music or a "theme song” please note, I recorded the audio before I figured out the theme music :) Sorry for the confusion.*
Shaped by cinema,
moving pictures on dark screen,
stories of my youth.
Song of the Week
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