Sunday, October 02, 2005




Movies in my Life

I’m celebrating with a glass of Mountain Dew while our cat, Sabrina, moves between her salmon food and the backyard window. My friend, Mark, and I have had two screenplays optioned and the contracts have been signed. If nothing else happens, if the projects crash-and-burn tomorrow, this moment is worth it. Too cool.

I’ve always enjoyed the movies and, at different times, they’ve become touchstones in my life. If I let myself drift during a television broadcast of Rio Bravo or The Alamo, I can picture myself in my pajamas in the backseat of our family car watching these films at the drive-in theater. I saw Bambi for the first time at the long-gone now West Coast Theater in downtown Santa Ana with my mother and younger brother. Mom had worked at this theater when she was a teenager (she met my father there). After the movie, we got a tour of the projection booth.

In those days, we only had seven television stations and, as Jeff Foxworthy notes, if the President was giving a speech we were devastated because he was on every channel. I remember that Channel 9 would have the Million Dollar Movie and they would broadcast the same film all week long. I saw The Magnificent Seven and High Noon until I could recite the dialogue along with the characters.

In junior high, we moved from Orange County, CA, to Richardson, TX, a suburb of Dallas. There was a movie theater a few blocks away and my brother and I went there every Saturday afternoon. There we saw Cool Hand Luke, The Dirty Dozen, Planet of the Apes, and Wait Until Dark. I literally held my brother in his seat during the climax of To Kill a Mockingbird (do you remember when the studios used to re-release films before they went to television?). At that theater I saw my first James Bond movie. Actually it was a double bill of From Russia with Love and Thunderball. For a seventh-grade boy, this was cool beyond belief.

My father stopped going to the movies for some reason but one Father’s Day, my brother and I dragged him to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He loved it. I can still hear him laughing when I see the film today. It is a special memory. We didn’t know it at the time but he would not be with us for much longer after that.

My brother, Tim, and I fought during most of high school. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on much of anything. After I moved out of the house, and especially after the birth of his son, Brian, we become best friends again. Every time a western was released (and there weren’t many any longer), we’d get together and go see it. We saw Silverado and Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider. Shortly after seeing Pale Rider, a drunk driver killed my brother. I miss him terribly. He would’ve gotten a big kick out of me selling a screenplay.

In 1997, I met Annie and her daughter, Katie. Fortune smiled on me. The first movie we saw together was Disney’s Hercules. I remember Annie crying through the entire movie of When Dreams May Come (the main characters in the film were Annie and Chris). I gave her my handkerchief because she’d used up all her Kleenex. Later she gave me tissue when I choked up at the end of Saving Private Ryan. Good memories. Recently, Katie and I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in IMAX. Enjoyed the movie but I’m not sure I want to see a film that big again.

Movies. They’re entertainment, a diversion for a short time. But…
...hopefully, someone will have a fond memory of the movies that Mark and I have written. That would be cool.

{Note: The picture is a waterfall in Duluth, MN, where my heart is.}

1 comment:

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