I love stories. I’ve always loved watching movies, television, and reading. Stories allow you to experience the world – past, present, future, and fictional. Whether it’s an 11-year-old boy discovering he’s a wizard for the first time or watching Neil Armstrong take his first step on the moon, stories let us live through the eyes of others and empathize with someone different than us.
I don’t remember the first movie I ever saw. I’m sure it was a Disney movie – I was lucky enough to grow up during the height of the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. To this day, Aladdin and The Lion King are two of my favorite movies of all time. Then, between the ages of 7 and 12, I found three life-changing series that cemented my love of movies forever.
The first was Star Wars. My dad was a kid when A New Hope was first released in 1977, so when the re-releases came out for the 20th anniversary in 1997, we sat down and watched the original trilogy. I was immediately hooked. I still have the original VHS box set that I’m sure doesn’t even play anymore. Then The Phantom Menace came out two years later and blew my nine-year-old mind. Sure, it hasn’t aged well since then, but for a kid it was everything. Luke, Han, Leia, R2, 3PO, Chewie, and Darth Vader have been with me for almost my entire life. I still remember not long after seeing the original trilogy for the first time having nightmares that Darth Vader was going to come into my bedroom (slow-motion style like Luke’s vision in Empire) and kill me. Thankfully, he didn’t. But Star Wars opened up my love of movies and of fantastic worlds in a galaxy far, far away.
The next series found me in book form first. If you were a kid growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s and you hadn’t read Harry Potter, you either thought you were “too cool” or your parents thought it would send you down the path of Satan. I. Was. Obsessed. with Harry Potter. I devoured the books as fast as I could and counted down the days and hours as I waited for each new book to be released. Then in 2000, Warner Bros. announced they were turning Sorcerer’s (Philosopher’s) Stone into a movie. Boy, was I excited. I still remember going to the theater on opening night with my parents and being in awe. Quidditch was really happening right in front of me! Harry Potter was lightning in a bottle. Especially for kids my age, to grow up with these books and movies, and especially to grow up with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint – I don’t know if anything like that will ever happen again.
The final series that solidified my love of movies was The Lord of the Rings. I had no relationship with the series before the first movie came out. In fact, Fellowship of the Ring was released just one month after Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and I was already all-in with Harry, so I didn’t even pay attention to Fellowship. Granted, I was 11, so you can’t blame me that much. But once it came out on video, I saw Fellowship at a friend’s birthday party. It was one of those parties where everyone was talking and playing over the movie, but I was able to pay enough attention to realize that this was something I could be into. I watched it again on my own later, and that was it. Lord of the Rings was neck-and-neck with Harry Potter for me during my middle school years. I read the books, saw Two Towers and Return of the King on opening night, and bought all three extended editions (the only way to watch them now). The best part about the extended editions was the hours upon hours of behind the scenes footage and documentaries they included. These opened my eyes to the world of actual filmmaking. I watched these features just as much as (if not more than) the actual movies. From the art design to the Weta armor, from the miniature sets to the music and sound, I wanted to know everything. From then on, movies took on a whole new meaning.
As a quick aside, these three series also developed my obsession with movie scores and soundtracks. I was a band kid, so I was around music a lot, but between John Williams and Howard Shore, movie soundtracks became one of my greatest obsessions. I listened to them throughout high school and college while I did homework or wrote papers. To this day, I still use them when I need to focus at work.
Eventually, I ventured out past the sci-fi and fantasy genre, although it’s still one of my favorite movie genres. Now, I’ll go see anything that piques my interest (although I have to be coerced into watching a horror movie). I’m still catching up on some of the classics and making sure I see as many Oscar contenders each year as I can. The Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in 2008 and after The Avengers came out in 2012, I sold my soul to Kevin Feige. Are they perfect? Absolutely not, but I’ll defend even the worst of the lot (*cough* Incredible Hulk *cough* The Dark World *cough*).
So who knows what this will turn out being? I’ll probably talk about some of my all-time favorite movies, talk about what new movies I’m looking forward to the most and reviewing some of them, and share my thoughts on the movie industry – as well as I can all the way from Alabama. I may even throw in some TV when I want to.
Will anyone read this? Maybe? But I’m excited about movies and I’m excited to give this a shot.