When I was in Middle School, I used to sit at my desk while Mr. Snarr lectured us on Magellan and Columbus, Dutch coo-coo clocks, and the First Thanksgiving. I had no idea then that I would end up much like him in many ways: obsessed with history, passionately patriotic, and unable in virtually every way to hold a thought for more than a few seconds. I remember, as he spoke in that gravely, half-decrepit voice of his, that I would try for a minute–maybe two–to take thorough notes and pay close attention. But, my notebook would eventually devolve from full paragraphs of an eight-grade pseudo-intellectual’s historical narrative to rudimentary doodles of stick men fighting with lightsabers. Another of my favorite in-class pen-and-paper pastimes was list-making, a hobby that I embraced quickly and one that soon became a staple of my dilly-dally lifelong amusements. I remember the lists had basketball players (John Stockton and Wilt Chamberlain always at the top; my dad loved Wilt Chamberlain), they had pretty girls (Morgan Angus and Brianna Tuttle occupied the upper echelons of those lists), and most of all, they had movies. So, as Mr. Snarr would ramble on like Robert Plant about the slave trade, I would sit and scribble out–complete with the proper title fonts–the greatest movies of all time. Like any well-behaved and mentally-sound boy suburbanite, I put Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers sat at the top of the list (Return of the King obviously hadn’t come out yet), followed close behind by the recent remake of the Count of Monte Cristo. Most likely, the first Lord of the Rings movie came next, followed by my personal favorite–at the time–Star Wars film: The Return of the Jedi.
It wasn’t until I entered college that I began to recognize the truth, though it had likely been coming to me gradually over the years. It was a bold claim to say these were the greatest movies of all time; I hadn’t seen all of them yet. I partly give credit to my high school passion for rock music in this transformation. My love of Led Zeppelin and Van Halen led me to recognize that good entertainment was not monopolized by Generation X and the up-and-coming millennials, it was a fluid and ever-evolving historical constant. It sparked my curiosity for film. I had been, up to that point, perturbed by the fact that every time I went online or to the library to validate my opinions of Count of Monte Cristo or The Bourne Supremacy, I was made to feel foolish because they turned up on no lists that I could find of the greatest movies every made. What was this Citizen Kane everyone talked about so incessantly? What about On the Waterfront? If these were so unanimously the favorites, maybe I should watch them. I did just that, and by the time I was 21, I had truly embraced the movies.
Herein lies the purpose behind this blog. I want to share, though most likely none will follow me, my views on movies: the idea of movies, the intricacies of movies, and the history of movies. I want to review my favorite films and indulge my liking for lists by providing them here. I want to tell my story as to how a casual, youthful movie-goer became a competent film connoisseur, and his future plans to further that movie knowledge. And I want to give my own prescriptions on how everyone can move from casual to competent…well, at least in my opinion.