If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know I have an intense love for movies. Since I was graced with my driver's license, I have seen over 600 movies in a theater. About five years ago, I started ranking movies that I see every year and using that to influence my decisions when voting for the Oscars (I am not a member of the Academy, just a huge dork). About two years ago, I started writing movie reviews for my blog. Needless to say, I am pretty obsessed. But why? During this year's Seattle International Film Festival, I began asking myself this very question. After a little thought, this is what I came up with...
Some of my happiest moments as a kid center around watching movies with my brothers. We would spread ourselves out on the living room floor. With slices of pizza and soda, we would each watch a movie our dad rented for us from Pick-a-Flick. Sometimes our parents would join us and we would make it a family affair. We would often begin with Lucas' movie since he was the youngest, then Clayton, and finally me. Then during the summers or weekends, we would make those movies our own as we played in the backyard. Some kids just pretend, but we made movies. We created elaborate scripts focused on good overcoming evil. We would play for hours lost in our own little world. When I look back at this period in my life, I can't help, but smile. This is where my love of movies began.
At the age of 16, I would graduate from the living room to the movie theater. Going to the movies had always been a treat. I usually chose to go to the movies for my birthday with a group of friends. It was my happy place; a place I could continue being a kid and enthrall myself in the story. My obsession began with my best friend from high school, Brian. We would get off of work on Fridays with our newly cashed paychecks and head to Lawton, Altus, or Wichita Falls. We would go to the mall, out to eat, and usually a movie. Dependable as a clock, we could be found in some other town experiencing cinema. In college, my fraternity brothers and I started "Pike Night at the Movies." We would gather fraternity brothers and whoever else wanted to tag along to go see a movie as a group. We always went on Sunday after our executive council meeting. This was a great way to continue my high school tradition, but it also instilled in me the practice of going to the movies every Sunday, which I still do to this day.
Some people go to church on Sundays. I go to the movies. Much like a house of worship, some of my greatest life lessons are learned there. In my seat there in the dark surrounded by strangers, I can wrestle with life's mysteries. I can draw a parallel to my own life. I can see the world through someone's else's eyes. I can lose myself for a couple of hours and escape. I am not one for meditation or long periods of quiet spent alone. While I consider myself a deeply insightful person, my breakthroughs have almost always been a response to some outside source. As I grow older, movies and book provide more of those moments.
No matter the movie, I almost always leave the cinema with some new and profound insight. Without these moments, I would feel lost. No medium does what movies do for me. "Into the Wild" convinced me to move to Seattle. "12 Years a Slave" made me question my white privilege. "50/50" made me realize how close we are to death. The list could go on and on, but the point is this, I would be lost without movies. They have been a staple throughout my life and will continue to be going forward. Why? Because I still have much to learn and the world's storytellers still have much to teach me.
Be good to each other,