For those of you who know me (and for that I truly am sorry), you are very well aware that I have an affinity for movies (and for the word affinity). The art of cinema has attracted me since I was a wee one, barely able to bite at my ma and pa's kneecaps. I remember the first movie that ever truly made me obsessed. I was ten years old and while, sure, I had seen a Star War or two and didn't hate em one bit, I never had thought about films as a viable option for me to put my time and energy in. At that point in my life the only two things I remember undertaking with any sincerity were The Power Rangers and Tae-Kwon-Do classes (the latter was obviously a direct result of the former. I wanted to be the Red Ranger so bad).
Up until this point movies were just another form of entertainment, not at all an artistic and personal endeavor, one that people have spent their entire lives pursuing, perfecting, and loving. But when I was ten, all that changed. I saw a film, and the love for that film snowballed like a frenzy into something bigger, something immense, and soon turned out to be an all consuming endeavor. For years I spent all my money on VHS tapes (no I don't remember what that stands for, but I can tell you with the utmost confidence you do not watch these cassettes on VHS players. They are called VCRs), going to the cine with my dad, re-enacting scenes with friends, writing our own movies, filming them. One movie made me reevaluate the things in my life I found entertaining and how I chose to spend my creative time. And that movie was Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
It may seem queer (queer like strange not queer like gay, get a dictionary) that the 1997 Mike Myers slapstick spy spoof would be my first step into the cinematic wonderland I have found myself in for the last 14 years, but I swear it makes sense (It doesn't really make sense). Perhaps I had recently become slightly more aware as a ten year old than I had been at 9, at least when it came to how I soaked up movies. Not by much, mind you, because I still pretty much liked every movie I saw until I was fourteen. But this movie just made me laugh more than any other movie I had ever seen. I didn't understand over half the jokes in the damn thing, but that was part of the appeal.
It was one of the first and most adult movies my parents had ever let me seen before. The most inappropriate movie my parents had finally allowed me to watch, only after begging for hours, days, weeks, was Wayne's World (Wow, love Mike Myers much?). That was a movie I barely understood at age 8, but still found hilarious. I liked seeing movies that were just beyond my reach. The allure of more adult movies, the kinds that more people were watching and enjoying, was an enthralling concept. The cursing, the violence, the adult situations, the scantily clad women (because Femmebots) were just what I didn't even know I was looking for. And I already knew these movies were going to be hilarious because not only did I hear my parents shriek with laughter while they were allowed to watch it, but c'mon, look at Austin's teeth and hairy chest, it's funny (it's kind of funny).
There were many many things in Austin Powers the first time around I didn't fully get, but still found hilarious. But there were even more parts that I do remember genuinely laughing at. When the henchman (played by Mad TV's Michael McDonald) is screaming at Austin from the steamroller, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!" And then you see he's about 50 yards away. That was the funniest goddamn thing I had ever seen in my life. Still makes me laugh to this day.
So I watched Austin Powers probably about 75 times that year. I also started watching every James Bond movie with my dad. It tickled me immensely every time I would now understand a new reference they made in Austin Powers. After we watched all the Bond movies (of which there are far too many, and most of them are far too terrible), we started in on all action movies (Dear God don't even get me started on what Die Hard did for my childhood). And, at the same time, I was now more than ever infatuated with comedies. They were, and still are to this day, my favorite genre of film. I want to be laughing as often as possible, every day, and comedies have always just fit best with me.
And after that, movies became my passion. I saw every single movie I could get my hands on at Blockbuster, and when I got a few years older saw everything I could in the theatres. I started learning as much as I could fit in my head about actors, directors, screenwriters, even box office news. The day I discovered IMDB, I imagine, is like the day people find out they're going to have a baby. I spent every extra cent I had on my movie collection. I made lists upon lists for each year's top ten films, watched and intently cared about the results of the Academy Awards (yeeshrightiknow?) And to this day, for those of you who know me (which seriously, I am really sorry), you know that I spend probably a third of our socially interactive time together either talking about movies (and TV to be fair), or making direct references to movies (and TV to be fair). It has shaped my every day outlook of the world, and how I exist in it. It's pretty fucked up