Day 24 Summer Movie Love

My earliest memory of going to a movie occurred when I was five years old.  My mother took me to see “Mary Poppins.”  I remember vividly that I was wearing a tweed coat and a matching cap and when I sat in front of the car my legs did not wrap around the seat but rather stuck out straight.  I don’t remember being told about the film or if the experience was a treat for good behavior.  I just remember sitting down in the darkened theatre and this unanticipated magic unfolded before my eyes.  That was the beginning of a passionate love that changed my life forever.  There are cinematic moments that seem more real to me than my actual experience of living.  I’m always amazed when I meet someone who never watches movies or television because these images have so profoundly influenced my choices and behavior.

I still remember a time when a curtain would rise over the screen and on occasion an intermission in the midst of particularly long movie.  What is there about sitting in a darkened room with a group of strangers while a story unfurls that is so compelling?  I love those moments when everyone jumps simultaneously in a thriller, or weeps at a death scene or relaxes after a long battle.  It feels like unimaginable luxury to be transported safely to Istanbul or an African safari or a loft apartment in Greenwich Village without waiting in an interminable airport security line or worries about the drinking water.

James Bond, Scarlett O’Hara, Julia Roberts or Tom Hanks would never ask impertinent questions or bore me with too many personal demands.  And while they are merely the light and shadow of science and art they have brought me insight, hope and courage.  On occasion I have left movie theatres with renewed energy and fresh perspective.  I am grateful to sit in a comfortable chair, eat hot buttered popcorn and have a battalion of unseen technicians tell me a story for two hours.  While I must admit I rarely go out to a movie theatre these days, I look forward to the next ride—the next movie that gets my pulse twitching or my eyes watering or my heart breaking.  And you—what are the movies that have stirred your soul and shaken your core?

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8 Responses to Day 24 Summer Movie Love

  1. Christopher Williams says:

    One of my all time favorites is Terminator 2. At the end when Arnold is lowered into the molten vat of metal. He sacrifices himself to save humanity. How can that not bring a tears to your eyes? And when Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) realizes that our future can be changed. WOW!!!

  2. Mary t Christensen says:

    Wish I had your memory for movies seen!
    They sound so much better when you describe them.
    Mary C.

  3. June Smith says:

    My experience is slightly different. When I saw Tom Hanks in Bachelor Party so many years ago, I loved that he reminded me of my oldest son Jeff, (who is still boyish and goofy even to this day). Then I had the thrill to be cast as an extra in the movie Turner and Hootch with Tom, filmed in Pacific Grove. He didn’t mix with the extras much, but on the third day it happened that I did get to chat with him about his likeness to Jeff. Tom is still a big favorite of mine, obviously!

  4. Brenda Sorensen says:

    Being a football fan and a mother of a high school Varsity football player, I LOVE FOOTBALL and I adore Sandra Bullock, so I, naturally love Blind Side. Not just because of the “football theme” but also because of the message it sends. How one woman can have blind faith and belief in a young man who is so different from her and her family and yet brought him into her family’s home and life and showing him his potential is such an incredible gift! The best part? It’s a true story!

  5. My earliest memories of movies have much to do with drive-ins and CBS’ ‘The Fabulous 52’–a Saturday night staple of early television which broadcast a classic movie at 11:15pm, right after the late news. I don’t know about the rest of the country but Channel 2 in Los Angeles always and ever was CBS in those days, and I came to live for those classic movie offerings whilst I babysat for dollars for college. As a family, we made many a special Friday night by heading to the drive-in where we saw (first-run, no less) the likes of ‘The Searchers,’ ‘The African Queen,’ most every John Wayne/John Ford Western-or-otherwise, Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, a re-issue of ‘King Kong,’ ‘The Invasion of The Body Snatchers,’ ‘Pinocchio,’ and on and on. With my slightly-older Saturday night viewings my insular little world was expanded, enlightened, and enriched by the great movies of the 30’s and 40’s: ‘How Green Was My Valley,’ ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir,’ ‘Mrs. Miniver,’ ‘The Canterville Ghost,’ ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘(Farewell) Mr. Chips,’ ‘Death Takes A Holiday,’ ‘The Quiet Man,’ ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ ‘The Crusades,’ ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,’ ‘The Prince and the Pauper,’ ‘Little Women,’ ‘Gone With the Wind,’ Sergeant York,’ ‘All Quiet on The Western Front,’ ‘The Three Musketeers,’ ‘The Count of Monte Cristo,’ ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ ‘The Last of The Mohicans’–many of these re-made multiple times in the decades since. All of the movies here stirred my soul or shook my core in some way or other, otherwise how could I recall them so quickly and with such strong feelings attached? Movies helped me recognize that humanity has had far more in common over the eons of our existence than differences; movies awakened me to the possibilities of life and the never-ending genius, generosity and compassion of the human spirit. Evil does not always triumph. Love and goodness do–somehow. Heroes can be anybody and anywhere. We need each other to succeed–and when we fail. Life is what we make of it. Modern moviemaking confirms the indelible Truths; we have only to watch ‘Invictus,’ ‘The intouchables,’ ‘SecondHand Lions,’ ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘Cocoon,’ ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ ‘Schindler’s List,’ Peter Jackson’s imaginings of Tolkien’s works, and myriad other outstanding movies to re-acquaint ourselves with that which is meaningful, essential, timeless and gratifyingly life-changing. Thanks, Father Matt, for asking the question and inviting our reflection(s) on the power of movies and their effects. The best movies, for me, show us each other over and over again and just how much we each matter. Even ‘Ironman,’ ‘The Avengers,’ and all our other superheroes and heroines could not triumph alone. Looking forward to the next installment of ‘The Hobbit.’

  6. jane monroe says:

    Harold and Maude-if for no other reason than the Cat Stevens soundtrack. First date with my husband of 31 plus years..

  7. Julie says:

    I don’t know why I love the Star Trek Movies so much but I really love all of them and HAVE to see them in the theater…never could tolerate the TV show. Movies like Step-Mom, 50/50, Forrest Gump and The Help move me and make me almost feel safe when I cry and relieved when I can laugh at a funny moment (especially when those two things happen very close together). Those kind of films are the ones I cannot pass up while surfing the movie channels when stealing a break in a most crazy schedule – I can understand that about myself, but the Star Trek thing has me totally baffled.

  8. Susan S. says:

    Going to see the opening of Sound of Music at the Wilshire Theater in LA with both my parents – a VERY rare occurrence. The theater had a massive double curved staircase and we sat in the upper balcony. I was four years old, dressed up in a tailored navy blue pea coat, white tights, black Mary Janes, and a matching felt hat. We drove for what seemed a very long trip to me (about 40 miles) to get to that mysterious destination. And then the show started: the aerial camera pan of the Alps, the incredible full crescendo music leading up to Julie Andrews along on the hill, the children singing and dancing, the romance and spectacular mountain scenery unfolded before me like heaven. We brought home a record (the old LPs), and memorial picture book with highlighted scenes from the movie, which I treasured for years and years. I must have watched The Sound of Music 25 times since then, and that magic still returns to my heart like when I was a little 4-year-old girl at the Grand Opening at the Wilshire Theater, with both my mommy and daddy.

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