LIFE’S WONDERS PRAISED IN SUGGESTIVE, ODDBALL, AND NONSENSE WAYS
As a counterpoint to my usual cynical antics, I’ve committed myself to a weekly, year-long discussion of my life’s joys. But, never one for the more traditional approaches, I intend to keep things a little off side, a tad outlandish, and always one foot outside of polite company.
I’ve never been a particular fan of the Star Wars movies, and yet this weekend I plan to watch all three films of the original trilogy, back to back to back. Why? The answer is simple: because I love movies.
All of my life, I’ve had a particular love affair with cinema. No, I’m not talking about art house cinema or indie efforts that aspire to be quaint, quirky, or (dear, God, help us all) subversive. What I am talking about are the kinds of movies that play at the local multiplex, the kinds of movies you watch while eating buckets of popcorn, the kinds of movies that, while not necessarily pushing the boundaries of narrative, are nevertheless compelling or thoughtful or bold and epic.
I love movies so much that I frequently go to the theatre by myself. Actually, I sometimes prefer seeing movies by myself; company just distracts from the actual film. This is a habit I developed as a student while reviewing movies for the McMaster University newspaper, and while not a particularly sociable trait of mine, it’s one I make no apologies for.
For this, you might blame films such as The Land Before Time (the first movie I ever saw in theatre), or White Fang (the first film to make we weep uncontrollably) or Jurassic Park (the first movie to delight and terrify me in equal measure). Or maybe you should cut right to the heart of the matter and lay all of the blame at the feet of The Shawshank Redemption, a movie that is so narratively compelling and emotionally resonant that it remains my favourite today, eighteen years after I first watched it.
Please understand, I don’t just enjoy movies. Everyone likes to be entertained, but that’s not what keeps me coming back to the theatre time and time again. To be honest, it’s almost embarrassing to admit it, but movies affect me on a physical level. To be clear, my response is emotional, but that emotion always swells to a physical response. Even during movie trailers, I find my chest tightening or my eyes watering or my heart pounding. It’s exhilarating.
Which brings me back to Star Wars. Unfortunately, I had a bad start with that franchise. Not knowing there was more than one, I rented The Empire Strikes Back thinking it was the only one, and was completely befuddled. First of all, what a miserable ending to a stand alone story. And why does Luke have magic powers? And where the hell is the death star? I mean, everyone knows about the death star, but it sure as hell wasn’t in the movie.
Shortly thereafter I realized my mistake, but the first impression had already been made, and it was not an especially good one.
While I saw all the movies at least once, I never became a diehard fan. But in the buildup for the new film, The Force Awakens, I can’t help but catch the Star Wars fever. Sure, the movie likely won’t live up to expectations, but its release has become a cultural event.
Now, people are as excited about a movie as I always am. We can share in the experience together. Even better, my eccentricities seem almost normal by comparison.
Of course, this means I won’t be able to sit in the theatre alone, which sucks.
Then again, maybe being alone is overrated. After all, where would C3PO be if not for R2D2?
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