I've seen a lot of goddamn movies. Thirty-seven years worth of movies, if you count flicks that I vaguely looked toward when I was in diapers. (Not the adult kind; my bowels are 100% functional, thank you.) Today, I was pondering some of those many, many movies and thinking about the rare times when a movie catches you at just the right moment and speaks to you in just the right way and becomes something of a touchstone in your life.
Here then, in a sad, time-wasting act of utter masturbation, is a chronological list of the movies that have actually kind of meant something to me as I've aged into the sad, flabby bastard I am now.
Star Wars--This one's not the least bit surprising. Any guy my age who wasn't completely obsessed with Star Wars is the kind of guy who chops people up and stores them in his freezer. Star Wars affected my world view, my taste in women and--for six year--took up the entirety of my tiny little disposable income. Even the supernatural shittiness of the prequels cannot dim the light that the original shone onto my life all those years ago.
Ghostbusters--This film did not change my life. It did not sum "ME" up. It did not have any kind of lasting affect on my existence beyond a low-grade desire to live in a firehouse and get to slide down the pole whenever I wanted to. This movie is on the list because it so perfectly matched my eighth grade sense of humor that I went back and saw it four times in the theaters. I can forgive Dan Akroyd a whole lot of late-career lameness because of Ghostbusters.
Say Anything--My first date with the girl to whom I lost "it" was to see this movie. In fact, I was so clearly a Lloyd Dobbler minus the athleticism and the good looks that this movie is probably the reason she took "it" from me. Thanks, Cameron Crowe! All subsequent John Cusack movies have kind of counted as touchstones to me 'cause of this one. (Okay, not all of them. Serendipity, I'm looking at you.)
Glengarry Glen Ross--This film came out right around the time I was rehearsing one of the two plays I've done in which I can honestly say I think I did damn good work. It was a production of Speed the Plow and it made me feel like I was an expert on Mamet. So I was wildly enthused when this flick was released. And it nearly lived up to expectation. Nearly. I didn't think that all of the actors necessarily nailed the rhythms of Mametian dialogue, but it was serviceable. Now, I've come to forgive Ed Harris his imperfections.
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset--I was a year or so out of college and my Gen-X slacker life was in full swing when the first of these was released. Loved the talkiness, loved the relationship between the two leads, loved Julie Delpy. Loved Julie Delpy. It just seemed like the movie that Reality Bites wanted to be but sucked too much. It really nailed what it was like to be that age at that time. (If you were a college-educated white kid who hadn't had to serve in Desert Storm or have any other massive trauma in your life beyond an excess of navel-gazing.) Then the second one came out and the characters had aged just like I'd aged, only more successfully. Hope they make another. (This one knocks apart the chronological order a bit, but how can you separate them? You can't, pal. You just can't.)
High Fidelity--See #3 above. I was a bit younger than Rob, but his feelings about wanting to mature and not wanting to be a desperate horndog matched my own. And the flick turned me on to the Beta Band.
I'm with ya on 1, 2, 3, and the first half of 5. Glengarry Glen Ross??? ??? ??? Puh-lease. Mamet is made for the theater. I shut that movie off after 5 minutes while muttering to myself "WHY DOESN'T THEY SHUT THE FUCK UP???"
American Buffalo - top 5 theater experiences in my life. Speed the Plow - saw it this year and LOVED it. (On the stage, that is.)
Glengarry Glen Ross didn't translate well to the big screen for me. To much yakety yak ety yak ety yak ety yak....