by Shari K. Green
What was the first movie you ever saw? Where were you? Who was with you?
You can answer all these questions I posted to you, not only because of your long-term memory being in intact but because it was that meaningful of a moment in your life.
Movies have always been magical. Your first movie might have been funny, perhaps frightening but one thing's for sure, it left an imprint. It may have inspired you to go on to be creative yourself -- be it painting, writing, singing and dance or getting involved in the film business in some capacity.
Films are enchanting because they transform us into another place and time. They give us the power to be who we’re not and see things we cannot. On purpose, one thing they definitely are not is limiting.
Making an impression
When Steven Spielberg made the thriller, Jaws, we were on that boat off of Amity Island with Brody, Quint and Hooper. We were drinking, singing and showing off our scars. We were also in the water petrified to move because Spielberg was so good at capturing every moment realistically; directing the actors to give us characters who were brave yet not afraid to show fear in the eyes. We’ll never forget the feeling of being eaten alive by a shark because we were there, our nerves on edge.
Taking you back
Then there are the family favorites, which is more likely where you started your film watching. These will always have a grip on you for more sentimental reasons. Sitting around the living room, you on the floor, Mom and Dad on the couch and your siblings scattered about the room, is an important event... especially if you were allowed to stay up later than usual to finish watching. You all sat together and watched something from Disney that everyone was looking forward to -- or maybe it was Christmas and a holiday classic was playing.
It doesn’t even have to be one of your first movies, but these moments, long past, are cherished and always will be for the tender, sweet, loving story playing out on the screen as well as for the people in that room with you -- some of whom you may no longer see. What was the first movie you watched with your entire family. Unless it resulted in a fight as to what it was you watched, it’s most likely a beautiful memory to recall from time to time.
Animation and Music
If your start came from watching an animated film, the enjoyment of it most likely surprised you and, from that point on, you had to see that movie as often as possible, daily even (sometimes to the dismay of anyone within earshot).
Disney/Pixar films can be the ultimate discovery, no matter your age. Is the first one you saw still one of your favorite films of all time? Mine was ‘Bambi’ but it’s not my favorite.
Do you still get the same warm feeling inside that you got after seeing it back then? Those early family films get almost get rooted into your very being and you have a visceral reaction whenever you hear a line or song; a reaction that will never stop happening.
Soundtracks and scores play an incredibly large part in them, in all films, to lift you and drop you at a moment’s notice, done by design to manipulate your state of mind. This works for all genres. Thank God this was discovered because when it works, you’ll never be the same.
Think Star Wars. Will you ever forget that composition? How do you feel when you hear it? What do you see? Thank you, John Williams. If you don't agree that sound works, watch a horror film with your ears plugged. You won't get scared once.
What Nightmares Are Made Of
Speaking of, terror never lets go so horror films make a big impact. Seeing a horror film when you're young isn’t the best for the psyche. The impressions such films create stay with you are hard to ignore and therefore move on. Looking up to make sure The Blob isn’t oozing from the ventilation system, after seeing just a small portion of the flick, is one such example.
By the way, did you ever watch something you weren’t supposed to when everyone thought you were in bed? Did you sneak yourself behind a large piece of furniture and watch something you weren’t allowed to? These dark films always came on late at night, when everyone in the house was able to watch, except you because you weren't old enough.
However, if you were able to successfully get away with watching horror movie by sneaking in the room, and especially if it were the first, were you afraid to sleep alone that night?
Mine was Westworld and I haven’t forgotten how it made me feel toward actors. He intimidated me like no other. The fact Westworld is a series on HBO now thrills me and I never miss it, though nothing about it terrifies me in the way Yul Brenner’s Gunslinger did. His performance was magnificent. It sold me. He was a robot and he was going to get me. Period.
The Opening of a new Adventure
Whatever film you began this journey into illusion and imagination might have been, as with everyone, it’s kicked off with a spark of music accompanying, generally, an animated logo from the studio presenting the film to you. Just hearing this can get you prepared and elated for the trip you’re about to take. Don’t ever lose that excitement for film.
Many adventures await!