With Whom?

Have you ever watched a movie, formed an opinion about it, watched it again—maybe several years later—and wondered, “What was I thinking?”

Maybe you hated it the second time. Maybe you loved it. Either way, you completely reversed your outlook on the picture. Why? Was it that you matured? Maybe your tastes have just changed.

Another possibility to consider: the person with whom you saw the movie. Did you see it with your sweetheart the first time? Did you watch with your best friend? Were you sitting with your parents (and totally embarrassed and weirded-out) that first time?

I believe that whom you share a movie experience with has a huge impact on your opinion of the film. Think about how you feel when you’re with someone you love. Think about spending a carefree night with a close friend. It seems that friends and loved ones make everything better. (Unless you’re stuck with your mom covering your eyes during a surprise love scene.) Having a friend with you sets the stage for your expectations.

Think about how it is to go through something exciting, thrilling, frightening, or beautiful with another person. It will either draw you closer or tear you apart. Though the story on the screen isn’t real, the feelings you experience can be. The way you feel about the person you share this event with can cast a shade over the whole thing.

AND, I will go on to suggest that how your relationship grows or changes over the years can affect the way you look back on the movie, as well.

The memories that I have from seeing Superman, Jaws 3D, Return of the Jedi, Midnight Madness, Mission Impossible, and The Right Stuff, are vastly different from the memories I have from seeing Christmas Story, Weird Science, or The Ghost and the Darkness. The latter bunch I saw with my husband, and the former I saw with family and friends. They each, in their own way, altered how I saw each film at the time, and how I feel about them now.

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!


What Movies Do For Me

I love movies! I do.

From the opening sequence of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, my very first movie outing, I was hooked. Forty years later, I still spend a considerable slice of my life watching, talking about, analyzing, quoting, and imagining movies.

Movies give me hope, help me laugh and cry, and urge me to be a better person. They allow me to walk in others’ shoes for an hour or two. They give me the chance to travel to other parts of this world and worlds beyond. They reflect and influence the culture around us, for better or worse.

Movies capture moments in time, and hold them for us. They remind us of how our country has changed in just a few decades—fashion, music, technology, language—and how much it stays the same. Movies mark milestones in our own lives, too.

What was the first movie you saw on a real date? For me it was The Right Stuff, in 1983, starring Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Dennis Quaid, and Ed Harris. It was about Chuck Yeager and the first crew of American Astronauts. I saw it with Eric somebody.
Obviously, the movie made a better impression than my date for the night.

Movies, like plays, books and radio shows, fill a niche in society once held by the revered Story Teller. They remind us that there is more to life than work. They encourage us to look beyond our own situation, our own boundaries, and see with someone else’s eyes. They teach us lessons from the past, and inspire us to move forward with strength. They offer us a little time away from our worries. They help us face fears, fight a good fight, find the hero within, and laugh until our cheeks are sore.

I’ve been a writer since I was a kid, but the longer I write and the more in-depth I study writing, I find myself thinking more critically about the films I watch, and so I decided to blog about that.

I am by no means a film critic; I am too much in love with movies for that. Even films that leave me deflated usually have a redeeming quality upon which I can focus.

I also don’t consider myself a film buff. There are multitudes of people far more qualified for that moniker. I, like many of you, consider myself a fan.

When I speak of movies, I won’t limit myself to feature films that one can only see in theatres, because most of my very favorite films I saw first on TV. I love movies, television and books and I love the way they marry themselves to tell stories.

My blog won’t really review movies—well, maybe a little bit, but honestly, I’d rather just have a conversation and tell you how different films speak to me. For the most part, it’s just my opinion. My hope is that if you haven’t seen a film I write about,
you’ll want to watch it. Moreover, if you have a film suggestion for me, I’d love to hear it!

And so begins my Toast to Cinema! Thanks for reading!

(originally written 4.14.11)