February 2015 has been a busy moviegoing month for me. I saw a total of 11 (8 being the 2015 Best Picture nominees, 2 based on books, and 1 oldie but one of my all-time faves) movies on the big screen. This is quite an accomplishment for me, considering my viewing history. Also, yesterday, my husband and I went to a movie costume exhibit. It made me realize how many movies I haven’t seen.
Twenty-five years ago this December will be the anniversary of the first time (that i can remember) that I saw a movie in a theater. I was tagging along with my high-school aged sister and her friends (a really big deal!). We went to the United Artists (UA) Glasshouse theater in Chula Vista, CA. The movie: Edward Scissorhands (Johnny and Winona 4-eva!).
It’s remained one of my favorite movies of all time. Aside from the most obvious reason (Helloooo, Johnny!), I love the movie because it was the first time I saw a movie on the big screen. It was so amazing.
Up until that day, this was my movie experience: Sitting at home in the living room, popping in a TDK VHS into our Panasonic VHS player (the pop-up kind) and pressing Play. The black and white static would appear on the 13″ Hitachi, then the movie would start. Most of the movies were recorded from the premium cable (i.e., HBO, Showtime) “Free Preview” weekends. In 1990, the only pre-recorded movies we had were Tom & Jerry and E.T.
Oh, and did I mention we never used the remote for the TV, and while the VHS had a remote, it was one you had to plug in? Oh, the horror!
My older brother worked at The Wherehouse when I was a kid, so I did occasionally see “new” movies at the time (selected by my brother – I had no say). The first couple that come to mind are RoboCop and Fatal Attraction. These were perfect choices for a kid under the age of 10.
Other movies we had on VHS that I recall watching during those early years are The Exorcist, Porky’s, Cannonball Run, 9 to 5 and About Last Night. Guess it’s no surprise that I actually didn’t hate (and dare do I say *enjoyed*) Fifty Shades of Grey. (Side note: I saw this movie by myself. First time I’ve ever been to the theater alone. It was a great experience, surprisingly.)
So, basically, from the early 80s through the late 90s, I pretty much haven’t seen anything “classic.” If the name John Hughes isn’t attached to the marquee, chances are I haven’t seen it.
It’s strange, though, how I know *of* movies and their actors and other movie tidbits, like these:
• Die Hard and Revenge of the Nerds – They both star actors that I know from the TV show Moonlighting (I did, however, see Chances Are because it starred Robert Downey, Jr., who was one of my sister’s celebrity crushes).
• Top Gun – Stars Tom Cruise (I mean, who doesn’t know who he is?), with soundtrack with music by Kenny Loggins (the same dude who sang Footloose, which I did eventually watch for a class in college). Oh, and I grew up in San Diego, and people like to point out “Oh! They filmed Top Gun at that restaurant!” Um, okay, if you say so.
• Labyrinth – I’ve only heard of it because my mom signed me up to receive a free issue of Muppet Magazine. It’s this one: Muppet Magazine 1986. I did, however, see Jennifer Connelly in Career Opportunities.
Since I missed seeing so many movies on the big screen during their original releases, it’s been really exciting when I’ve had the opportunity to see the re-releases.
The first was the 20th anniversary of Grease. My sister and I saw it at the Pacific Theaters in Clairemont (San Diego). It was an amazing experience. I don’t think I stopped smiling or singing the whole time. Also, I was amazed at how much more of the movie I could see. Again, my experience watching the movie was on a 13″ TV. To see it on the big screen was comparable to the unveiling of Super Mario Brothers 3 in The Wizard.
A couple of months ago I saw the Back to the Future trilogy. I had seen bits and pieces of the movies, but this was the first time I’d seen them in their entirety. My main knowledge of the movie was that “Alex P. Keaton” got into a Delorean (My neighbor’s dad had one parked in their driveway. I remember when my husband and I were first going out, he had seen it and told his friend about it) and apparently went to the past for a reason I did not know. Also, when I was a kid, I was like “Back to the future“? It made no sense! Also, one of the earliest conversations I had with my husband when we first started dating was that a scene from the movie was filmed in the parking lot at some mall in LA county.
Then, a few weeks ago, my husband surprised me with a viewing of the 30th anniversary (30 years from the original release date) of The Breakfast Club. To make the occasion even more sweet, the movie was preceded by the theatrical trailers for my other John Hughes favorites – Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink — and a Tom & Jerry cartoon. It was definitely a highlight of my entire life so far. I have seen the movie about a hundred times, but the experience of seeing it with other fans was just amazing. Also, it was probably one of the first times I’ve seen it without distraction. I seemed to notice things that I’ve never seen before (like Bender has a streak of blue(?) in his hair).
Although I don’t ever think I’ll ever see the movies that are so beloved by film buffs, I still do enjoy the theater experience as much as when I saw Edward Scissorhands. I mean, where else can you have the experience of of spending an arm and a leg on food to last you 2 hours and not worry about cleaning up after yourself?
Lesson learned: There’s a big difference between 13″ and 30′. Going to the movies is an experience that can’t be beat!