Growing up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, I was an impressionable starry-eyed youth, who learned as much from sitting in a movie theater as I did sitting in a classroom. Some people did drugs to expand their mind, I did cinema and I’ve been under the influence my entire life.
The good news is the side effects, for the most part, are not life threatening. Here are some of the ways the movies influenced me as a kid and no, I did not sensationalize, these are all 100% true stories, you can ask my mom:
I saw "Rocky" and quickly learned that apparently salmonella was not a worry of my mother as I stood in front of her in my grey sweats and downed a glass of raw eggs. I was able to bang out about a quarter mile jog while listening to “Eye of The Tiger” on my Walkman, before spewing sunny-side-up into the bushes!
"Animal House" caused one of the most memorable “go to the office” moments of my school career. Thanks to John Landis and John Belushi for introducing me to the human zit so that I could recreate it in the cafeteria during rice pudding Wednesday.
I don’t condone it, but if I told you I didn’t sniff glue after seeing "Airplane," I’d be lying.
I think "Star Wars" was George Lucas’ crusade to make it cool for boys to collect dolls, I mean action figures. They didn’t make noise, light up or even hug me back. What they did do was fit into a Darth Vader Head carrying case so my nerdness became mobile.
"Karate Kid" was great for me, but horrible for my neighbor. I used the wax on, wax off technique to wash my neighbor's Cadillac, only instead of sponges. I used Brillo. My mom was so proud of me she actually started crying when I told her I used the "pink, hard sponges." Thank God Mr. Fouss was the best neighbor ever. When he learned what I had done, he just said, “Ah, I needed a new car anyway,” and even paid me $5 for the wash!
"Star Wars, Return of The Jedi" and "The Empire Strikes Back," continued to grow my action figure collection in the right direction and the likelihood of ever dating in the wrong direction.
I think I was in line buying a whip before "Raiders of The Lost Ark" even ended. I remember the day it was taken away from me, because it was the same day I bought it. I was in my room with a friend who was holding a Pixy Stick I had given him in-between his teeth while I attempted to whip it out. After hearing a few loud cracks, my mom rushed in and that was the end of that!
"Carrie" just made me terrified of Sissy Spacek. Not her character, but actually Sissy Spacek! A terror I’m unable to shake to this day.
"E.T." put me in touch with my emotions. It was the first cinematic tear I ever shed. I could go on, but I… I still can’t talk about it without… damn that alien was cute!
"A Christmas Story" landed me a BB gun. I guess my parents didn’t pay attention to the “You’ll shoot your eye out” part. That, or they didn’t love me. Either way, I didn’t shoot my eye out, but I did successfully shoot a bird out of a tree from my bedroom window. After running outside to inspect my marksmanship, being a good shot became very uncool, very fast. I retired the BB gun then and there.
"Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" may have been my mantra movie. Ferris taught me the ridiculous art of walking that fine line between selfishness and likability. Danke Schoen!
"Vacation," "Caddyshack" and "Trading Places" were a trifecta of one-liners. I was successfully able to memorize every line from those movies. If I could have only applied those memorization skills to my studies as opposed to movie lines, maybe I’d be writing policy instead of blogs.
When I started watching "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" I was a boy, and then Phoebe Cates emerged from the pool and removed her bathing suit top, and something happened… I was still a boy, just a much, much hornier one!
"Gandhi"? Never saw it, too long.
So that’s a look at what films did to me and what I did because of them. My hope is that one day my son, now almost 3 years old, will see "The Hangover 10" and have his own stories to tell.