Movies: A Personal History

Ben over at Views From the Sofa recently reviewed the first film in the Mission: Impossible franchise. For those of us in denial, that one came out back in 1996. 1996! This franchise is nearly 20 years old, and that makes me feel ancient. Remember how that recognizable Mission: Impossible music actually played on the radio for a while? That was bizarre. His post reminded me that I’d watched it at the home of one of my friends, who by the second film, in 2000, had become my boyfriend, and by the third film in 2006, was my husband, and by the fourth in 2011 was my ex-husband.

A lot of movies, the good and the bad, are loaded for us with what was going on in our lives at the time. Some movies we remember more fondly, some are guilty by association. Here’s a little look at some of mine, and if you wanted to jump in with some of yours, I’d be tickled pink. Particularly if you had nice memories that could usurp some of my ex-husband ones.

Night at the Roxbury: Matt and I had a laugh recently about this one when our coworker suddenly asked us, seemingly out of the blue, whether we’d heard of this one. Like it was a new movie we might not have seen yet. No indication that it’s a throwback from 1998. She’d come across it on Youtube, because she’d been listening to that head-nodding song from the soundtrack. Now, Matt and I happen to be the exact same age, which means we idolized SNL at the same time, and saw many of the same movies as a result. I remember seeing this one with a big group of my pothead friends at an ancient movie theatre called The Port in my hometown, a one-screener with a red velvet curtain and a balcony that was mostly condemned due to a drooping\flaking ceiling. The ticket taker complimented me on my feather boa (I know, all shots to the head right now would be totally deserved) and remarked that in 42 years of taking tickets, I had to be the first to prance in wearing one. And I probably had been prancing. Anyway, we laughed uproariously, as a bunch of kids who’d recently learned about putting shrooms in McFlurrys will do. Two or three years later, I was respectably employed by our federal government, which was hosting a “ball” to thank its dedicated employees. My friend Caroline and I watched as our respective boyfriends did the head-nodding thing to this song and agreed that this was bliss. We have both since ditched these boyfriends, thank fucking Christ.

(Also, I believe I owned that exact jacket that Will Ferrell is wearing. I may or may not have worn it with a feather boa.)

Mission to Mars: I cannot say that I saw this is theatres, but I did buy a ticket for it in 2000 and was sitting in a theatre while it played. It is the first and only movie I’ve fallen asleep at. I felt awful. I think I remember some weird stuff happening, but that could have been my fever dreams. I went home and puked up a Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich, the first and only time I’ve eaten Wendy’s. It turns out I had Mono. I was very, very sick, and I have held a grudge against this film, and against Wendy’s, ever since.

Shrek the Third: I was on a date and attempting to see this movie when fire broke out in the Scarborough cinema. I believe it was a grease fire at the concession stand Burger King. We were evacuated and made to stand about the parking lot for what felt like eternity before being given vouchers so we could see the movie again, elsewhere. Not only did I not see that movie ever again, I didn’t see the guy again either (he evacuated in an every man for himself kind of way, without so much as a glance over his shoulder to see if I had succumbed to the flames). I did however see Spiderman 3 with another guy that very night in Toronto, and guess what? That one wasn’t any good either. I have never revisited either movie.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: My best friend and I had meant to treat her young daughter to this movie but custody issues arose at the last minute, so Rachel and I saw this one by ourselves, wearing dorky 3D glasses. I think the movie was okay but what I remember most is seeing a preview trailer for Up. We thought it looked amazing and made plans to see it as soon as it hit theatres. Rachel passed away before that could happen, so its release really felt like a lesson in life goes on. Some plans never come to pass. It was difficult to watch and still is, but it’s actually about going on after the death of a loved one, and continuing to embrace life and its many adventures. I have, but I still hold that movie close to my heart, and it serves as a bit of a talisman.

ellie

 

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36 thoughts on “Movies: A Personal History

  1. fragglerocking

    when I was 18 I had an ‘older boyfriend’ and he took me on my birthday to the pictures in Luton. I dressed up to the 9’s and wore blue eyeshadow, (far worse than feather boa) 🙂 I can’t remember what movie it was supposed to be but it was full, so as there was another one on and it was in 3D we decided to go to that. It was in jurassic times so the 3D glasses were white card with a red & green filter in each eyepiece. Once in the cinema it became apparent something was amiss when I looked round and saw loads of seedy looking chaps all wearing the glasses, I was the only female in the place, and when the first scene was of a blonde hotty of dubious character soaping her booblies in the shower, it also soon became apparent why I was the only female. I remember being mortified and we left rapidly. Thanks for dragging that out of my black hole of a memory 😀

    The current Mr.Fraggle also took me to see Pretty Woman on my 30 somethingth, and I cried a contact lens out which was costly. We have home cinema now 😉

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  2. kmSalvatore

    Ok my turn.. I say laughingly , trying to churn the memory box, after reading this I can’t even think any More.. Maybe that’s s good thing;) or I’m just in z place in my life I’ve forgotten all the wicket .. Or.. Embarrassing things I’ve done in my life;)) but in any event, I enjoyed reading this Jay

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  3. Carrie Rubin

    Music takes me back more than movies, but Desperado with Antonio Banderas stands out as a movie associated with a certain time in my life. I saw it post-call as a chronically exhausted medical resident. I remember just needing an escape, and that movie did it for me. Or maybe it was Antonio Banderas who did it for me…

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  4. Ben

    I’ve never felt this way about films but certain TV show and music has the same affect. I think I can distance myself more with movies because I look at them differently since I started the blog. (Thanks for the link as well!)

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  5. tubularsock

    Jay, great post. Made Tubularsock laugh several times. Tubularsock is a great believer in what that guy in the Bible said ….. “don’t look back!”

    Tubularsock, because of that doesn’t have salt on his pop corn even when he has a “Lot”.

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  6. J.B. Whitmore

    Not too long ago a friend recommended the French version of Lady Chatterly’s lover from about ten years ago. Luckily watched it at home with my husband. Wonder if it had the same effect on my friend? I’m embarrassed to ask her.

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  7. adeleinglasses

    Great post, it’s really interesting to read these stories, I hope that you have more to share with us too!

    I have so many memories associated with movies, as they have always been a big part of my life. I do remember, when I was very young, that my parents tucked me up in bed at the usual time. Then, I heard what sounded like my parents (who would always stay up beyond my bedtime, of course) and MY BROTHER sneaking down the stairs. Ok sure, he was 5 years older than me but where was my invite? I crept across to his room to investigate my suspicions and to my horror, his bed was EMPTY. So, on returning to my room, I made quite a bit of noise… LOL. My parents weren’t best pleased and told me that they were watching a film he had wanted to see and that I wouldn’t like it because it wasn’t suitable for my age… and that, ladies and gents, was my first experience of The Elephant Man.

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  8. ruth

    It’s crazy that the MI franchise is 20 yrs old!! Yes I feel ancient too! There are some 80s comedies I remember fondly, like The Gods Must Be Crazy, Top Secret!, etc as I used to watch those in high school with my family. Those are the kind of comedies I love, that’s why I can never laugh at the raunchy R-rated comedies they produce these days.

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    1. Jay Post author

      I’ve never seen The Gods Must Be Crazy but it was a favourite of my aunt’s and I remember it being part of her VHS collection. I guess I should put that on my list!

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    2. Jay Post author

      Matt and I were just discussing something similar about TV – how sitcoms used to be so corny and horrible, like Full House and Steve Urkell (Family Matters), extremely sanitized and “family friendly”. Those shows couldn’t exist on television today!

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  9. Christopher

    This was so wonderful, running the spectrum from hilarious to sad. One of my favorite movie memories is the time a friend and I carried some plastic spiders into a showing of Arachnophobia on our college campus and threw them into the audience. It didn’t cause nearly as much mayhem as we’d hoped, but, as with so many other things, the real joy was in the planning and anticipation. And getting the hell out before we got caught.

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  10. SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

    Beautiful and unexpected. I laughed until I nearly cried. Your story about Up was emotional. It shows the power of cinema to help us in life.

    And Shroom McFlurry. Hahaha. I’m pretty sure I’m happy I never tried that. 😉

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  11. laura kilty

    Beautiful tribute at the end, Jay. Up is just an incredibly beautiful film that means a lot to me too. Another is The Matrix. I remember, really vividly, my first time seeing it- it literally changed my life, helped me to see there were other people in the world who thought there was more than all the people around me spoke about. I remember, at 18, feeling for the first time since being a little kid “I’m not alone” and that was an over-whelmingly amazing realisation. I just knew life would get better after seeing it and feeling the reaction of people in the cinema. Films and all art really do impact people in a visceral way. Another great post, thanks for sharing.x

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  12. lolabees

    Movies are like smells, aren’t they? They can definitely bring up old memories. I think my 2 friends and I are the only people in the world who didn’t like Forrest Gump. We were distracted by… boys! So we couldn’t get into the movie at all. We ended up walking out of the movie. For years, I felt like an asshole for that. Then I saw it again… and still didn’t love it. I guess I’m still an asshole (too.) 😉

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  13. Pingback: I second that emotion! | Assholes Watching Movies

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