Movies are magic. They bring us together in seemingly impossible numbers, especially since the invention of the internet. If I wanted to I could strike up a conversation right now with someone on the other side of the world on whether Han shot first (of course he did) or which Star Trek film is the best (it’s Galaxy Quest). Movies build communities as much as they build imagination and a desire to escape the mundane.
This month, I’m going to be writing a blog post a day on movies. Every day will be a particular topic, and I’ll highlight at least one movie that fits. Sometimes I’ll do one or two. My site, my rules. I encourage you to discuss the films (and your own personal examples) in the comments.
Without further preamble, let’s dive in.
Day 1 – Your First Movie
This was always going to be tricky. Memory is a fickle thing, and facts dance away from grasping fingertips as you struggle to remember your first this or your first that. How on earth can I remember the first ever film I watched? To put it simply, I can’t. But I can narrow it down to three.
As a very small child, I lived in Kuwait in the late 80’s. I have very few memories of that time. I remember someone selling clothes door-to-door out of a very large suitcase. I remember the blue tiled mosaic columns outside my father’s bakery (and the hours of fun I had picking the tiles off, ruining it forever). And I remember an advert for a pizza place called Pizza Italia. I’m pretty sure that they had some sort of deal on where you could get video tapes from them. Again, memories are fuzzy things. But if memory serves me well, that’s where I got what I’m sure are the first three films I ever watched. On Betamax. I’m so old.
Ah, Batman. Hero to children everywhere. Such excellent family fare from noted warm-and-fuzzy director Tim Burton. Looking at the trailer there, two things strike me. 1) That’s an awful trailer and 2) DAMN this film more violent than I remember it. If my parents had seen this trailer, there’s no way they would have let under-10-year-old me watch this. They baulked at Gremlins. Guns! Punching! Explosions! Jack Nicholson’s eyebrows! Yikes. This is still my favourite Batman film, though time hasn’t been especially kind to it. Mind you, at least it’s not Batman and Robin.
Ah, now this is more like it! The film, that is, not the trailer. The trailer’s almost as bad. The first of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, this gave me a thorough appreciation for special effects. Look at those suits! The facepieces! The Splinter puppet! This film had such a great balance of goofiness to darkness. And, if you keep your eyes peeled, you can spot a very young Sam Rockwell in one scene. The franchise went downhill fast after this. This one still gives me the warm fuzzies.
For a long time, this was the best animated film that wasn’t from Disney. Thrilling and heartwarming by turns, it’s a wonderful work of art that still stands up today. I defy anyone not to be moved by THAT scene with Littlefoot and his mother. I’ve got a lump in my throat just typing this. From the score to the beautiful animation to the joy of running around screaming ‘YEP YEP YEP YEP YEP YEP’ – this film is forever cemented in my psyche. Just don’t ask about the sequels. There are no sequels.
These are the first three films I have any memory of watching.
What are yours?