Monday, October 22, 2018

Facebook Film Foolishness Part 3

Welcome back to me obsessing about how many movies have driven my personality.

Here’s a whole other top ten list of movies disqualified based on my already describing the effects of the first time I saw them in previous posts. Clicking on the titles will take you to those posts.

Jaws (1975) doesn’t count for any list. Since my initial viewing was incomplete due to demanding my Dad remove me from the theater after a certain pop up head scene.

The other films with key first viewings burned into my psyche were:

1977 - Star Wars    
My parents taking me to this via a train in the Bronx led to what became really more of a lifestyle choice than a film.

My grandmother introduced me to this type of screwball spoofage in the Denville Theater.  Fun Fact: Catherine Up the Lake did a spectacular impression of the Jill Whelan's reaction to having her IV knocked out scene.
I probably should mention the first time I saw the sequel was at a cousin’s house on her early release fancy network in the preliminary years of cable, and is disqualified only because that viewing was cut short by us having to go home.  Considering I watched it seventeen times the first week it premiered on HBO a couple months later, it’s worth a mention.

My introduction to the James Bond franchise, suggested by Jesse after my first, dismal outing as a game master for the 007 Role Playing game.

My aunt and uncle drove Nick, Skip and I to this action and foolishness based stunt fest in their Volkswagen van from Up the Lake.  We spent the trip home yelling, “Dun dun DUUUUUUUN!” and pretending to be accelerated to the back of the van.  It was the first time I saw Dom Deluise on the big screen, cementing my life long fandom. It was also a weird but effective introduction to the Rat Pack.
A bonus: the same Aunt and Uncle drove me in the same van to see Orca: The Killer Whale in the summer of 1977.
I don't remember a lot, and a subsequent viewing when older revealed it to be pretty much crap, but the whale miscarriage scene gave me nightmares for a week.

Being talked into a sleep over at Jesse’s to watch it based on descriptions of the humor led to my realization of horror fandom.
Another bonus on this list:  that same post mentions the humor (Wildy’s coming) being the reason I first watched 1985’s Death Wish III when Lee brought it over. 
Seeing Charles Bronson take out the surprisingly multicultural gang led by Chuck Cunningham, and containing Ricky Coogan was my gateway movie to the violent action genre. Lee then brought over Terminator and Predator and the rest is history.

Gilbert Gottfried’s USA UP ALL NIGHT bumpers enhanced an already fun film.  My sister got to tell David L. Lander how much we all like this one when she called into a radio interview. His utter shock and amazement anyone had heard of it confirmed it is only our immediate family.  Fun Fact: This is the reason we all occasionally ask, “You are frightened of baloney?”

Dad took Jesse and I to our first R rated film in the theater, proving once again that my family values quality comedy over social morays.

The reveal of the Enterprise A on opening night is still the loudest cheer and most unifying audience moment I’ve ever been a part of in a theater, that extended into the mass of friends and family crammed into the car on the way there and back.  

1987 Robocop 
The theatrical experience where I learned to be part of a group that cheered at the carnage.  The satire elevated it even further above the violent awesomeness.

Dad’s discovery of the Greatest Film in the History of the Cinema and its importance to our family is well documented.
And the fact that it’s my favorite movie is known to anyone who has talked to me for more than three minutes.

Of course there’s more, as I remind my daughter whenever she’s surprised at how much she gets into a film.
“Movies are in our blood.”

The following four movies are all films I found by extension. I quote them all the time and watch them often.  They are truly and deeply a part of me, but there’s a rule violation for each.

I have no idea when the first time I saw The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)  was. Based on my fandom of  Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks films...

Aside: Of course I was a fan of Gene Wilder from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), but that's not a as a film, that's a personality goal.

Mom rented Sigerson's tale one time…and then another time…and then as many times as I could get her to. I eventually found it on cable, and now there’s a Blu Ray! There are subtle differences between a Wilder film and a Brooks film. It’s somehow sweeter, and definitely more musical.  Wilder tells more straight forward love stories, Mel’s films tend to be more about friendship (which are far less common than romance films) as do a large percentage of the movies I like now that I think about it.

I definitely know I saw Murder by Death (1976) on TV first, because it had extra scenes that weren’t on the video release and I went nuts in the years before the internet thinking I imagined them. However, I have no idea when that first viewing happened. I do know my interest was initially piqued by Peter Sellers being in it after seeing Pink Panther movies.  I quote this movie far too often to be healthy, even compared to the other movies in these lists.  I'm proud to say I have actually said two of the Sam Diamond lines in business meetings. 
I'm also proud to say that its spiritual successor Clue fills this spot for my daughter.

I do vividly remember the first time I saw some of Beastmaster (1982) We saw this live action Dungeons and Dragons with extra animals, in the drive in Up the Lake  where we were definitely all "under ten" yielding free admission (requiring some slouching and the girls painting freckles on themselves) for a double feature with Strange Brew. However, the girls made us leave half way through it, and I don't remember when I saw the whole thing first on HBO (Hey! Beastmaster’s On).
I also don’t quote it that often, but since Bubba Ho Tep didn't fit in anywhere, and it just had its fifteenth anniversary, I needed to pay tribute to Don Coscarelli somewhere.

My Python fandom first attracted me to a Fish Called Wanda in the summer of 1988.  I know the first time I saw it was going from Up the Lake with my family.  It was funny, but there wasn’t a great impact at first. It grew on me as the more times I saw it, the more I appreciated the Fawlty Towers like precision timing and execution of all the plot threads.  Now whenever I have looked up a line for the George Awards, I ended up watching the whole thing again.

Speaking of missing key films, and the Eighties…Yup there’s still more next week.

I really need help. 

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