I think a lot about movies. If you read this website with any sort of regularity, follow me on Facebook/Twitter, or just know me in general you know this to be a very true statement. For the entirety of my life I have dedicated an enormous amount of thought, dedication, and passion to the art of cinema.
I honestly ask myself that question every day. Why do I do this? Why can’t I be as excited and ambitious in my pursuit of a career in investment banking or spinal surgery? First of all, I’m way too dumb for those things. They are also far too specific for my tastes. The art of cinema is just one facet of the art of storytelling Stories are a fascinating thing. How many times have you had a conversation with a stranger and just one simple story provided you with a glimpse of their morality, of their charisma, or of their heart? Stories are what bring us together and the best part about stories is that they can be about anyone or anything.
I remember the first time that watching a movie had a transcendent effect on me. It’s going to sound like a cliché, but I dare not downplay the introduction of my passion for film. It was Christmas Eve and I was five-years-old. And I was a sick little guy. My baby Brother and my Mother were off to our Grandma Annie’s place for the usual Christmas festivities with her side of the family. We always got to open a few presents from our Aunts and Uncles on Christmas Eve, so it was a devastating loss for five-year-old Dave. My Dad, who was tasked with staying home with his plague-ridden child, knew how upset I was that I wouldn’t be able to go. He decided, and I remember this moment with the electric vibrancy only a life-defining moment could provide, that he was going to make this Christmas Eve the best possible one yet.
He was going to show me STAR WARS.
Yeah, I know, we all saw STAR WARS and were deeply affected by it. It’s a tried and true story. I’m not trying to say I saw a different STAR WARS than you or was even moved by it more. All I’m saying is that something inside me woke up that day. It’s one of my earliest memories. I have fleeting etches in my mind of moments prior to that, but that one is a fully formed memory from start to finish. I remember my Mom and Brother leaving to them returning home with a brand new Knock Hockey Board.
Between Brian & Mom leaving for Grandma Annie’s and them returning with the Knock Hockey board was STAR WARS. Being swept up in this story about another place and time gave me a deep hunger for more. I needed to feel that way again. To go somewhere, see things I’ve never yet seen, and to feel things I’ve never felt or never even knew I could feel. I experienced feelings through Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s scorched skeletons on the Lars Homestead, Luke igniting his father’s lightsaber for the first time, Obi-Wan Kenobi sacrificing himself for his friends, the dogfight to destroy the Death Star, and that final throne room scene that were unparalleled in my then extremely brief life.
You grow up with movies. My Dad took it upon himself to take me out the movies every other Friday to make sure that he fed this little beast he had happily created. He is one of the biggest movie fanatics (Filmthusiasts?) that I have ever met and I continue to prove my genetic relationship to him with my constant consumption and speculative dissection of each movie that I’m able to get my hands on. This led, eventually, to a love for acting in film & theater, writing movies, and the constant ambition to try and direct my own stories. The pursuit of this career is one that I’m certain will follow me until the moment of my death. And I could not be happier about that.
I recently heard someone wonder if movies are important or if they are simply escapist distractions that are drawing our gaze from the important issues of our time. I understand that question and, more than that, encourage its being asked. There is a great debate to be had about the escapist merits of BEASTS OF NO NATION and whatever new TRANSFORMERS movie is being hoisted on us. To be honest, I do spend more of my time wondering what awesome doo-dads Doctor Strange Sanctum Sanctorum will have than I do studying up on Bernie Sanders’ political merits. That’s more of a personal flaw than anything. My eye is constantly drawn to the most exciting voice in the room and movies are often the loudest voice in this very big room we are lucky to be living on.
Movies offer insight to the present, using fiction or history or anything they have at their disposal to hold up a distorted mirror to our times and somehow show us a more honest image. They offer catharsis when we often can’t find any. How many times have you retreated into your favorite movie after something in your life went awry? How many times have you leaned on a comedy to make you laugh when the world was trying to make you cry? How many times do you go right to those sad movies to just get the cry over with? How many times have you put on that movie that makes you pump your fist in the air because the world can be a scary, dark place and all you need in that moment is just one honest to goodness win? My answer to these questions is “a lot.”
Movies aren’t the whole world. They can’t be. There is so much going on in this world that is far more important than the next STAR WARS or how bad BATMAN V SUPERMAN really was. Yet movies , if you let them, will further your reach into the world and give light to experiences you didn’t think were possible. They can equip you with the tools to go out into the world and put up a real fight. I’ve learned so much from movies: How to be good, what the right thing is, what the wrong thing is, and how to truly be happy and comfortable with the person I am.
I love movies. I always will. Thank you for reading what I have to say about them. It’s something that gives me great joy. Even if all you’ve read is a breakdown of a teaser trailer, the ability to share that with friends, family, or strangers who have somehow found their way into our small nook of the internet is not a small thing for me.