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)

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