Growing Up in a Darkened Theater
The origin of my love of movies
I grew up a shy, socially awkward kid who enjoyed a darkened movie theater to forced interaction with people who didn’t understand me. I was lucky enough to grow up during an incredible time when movies were becoming blockbusters, and filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas seemed to make movies just for me.
Through the power of movies, I went on adventures with the likes of Flash Gordon, Ferris Bueller, and Indiana Jones. I flew with Superman and swung a lightsaber with Luke Skywalker. I piloted the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo and tagged along with Mikey and The Goonies to find One-Eyed Willie.
Those experiences nourished my early love of the movies. They still have an impact today.
Gen Xers grew up with some incredible movies.
My history online
I began writing about movies soon after, sharing mini reviews and suggestions with my family and friends.
My love of movies led to working at several video stores from the late 80s through most of the 90s, from basic clerk to store manager. I was able to bring home a lot of films I’d never heard of. Foreign films, indies, art house pictures—you name it. That’s how I first discovered David Lynch and a side of film I never knew existed.
This all grew to writing movie reviews and commentary in online newsgroups back in the early days of the internet. I had to talk about my growing love for film, and the internet was where I did that.
When one of my regular groups closed down without warning, my discussions were gone. I felt lost and devastated, so decided to teach myself how to start a website and create my own space.
I began a small movie review and discussion forum in the early-2000s. It became moderately active until the late-2000s when Facebook and social media took off. Traffic plummeted as people went to larger alternatives. We weren’t Rotten Tomatoes, after all. Eventually, it was a ghost town.
I also hosted a movie discussion podcast on that site from 2002-2005, during the dawn of the podcasting craze. It was a lot of fun. Time constraints kept us from continuing.
Taking a break to live life and write stories
Then I took a break. At that time, the Internet was changing. Previously, real-world niceties generally carried over online. That was my experience, anyway. People were helpful and engaged in spirited, lively conversation. When smartphones and social media exploded, the online world changed. It became stressful, rude, and full of selfishness. I was raised with Midwestern manners and a low tolerance for bullshit, so when things began to change, I took a step back and focused on the calmer parts of life.
I focused on writing some stories that had percolated in my head for years and learned how to self-publish. It was a rewarding process and I’m quite proud of those books. They aren’t perfect, but they mean a lot to my family and loved ones, so that’s what matters to me. It makes it even more gratifying when people I don’t know tell me they’ve read my stories and enjoyed them. That’s a deeply heartening experience.
As the years went on, I got older. My body didn’t work the way it used to anymore and my midsection grew. I went through some health difficulties, like open heart surgery. It reminded me to start treating myself better than I had been. That’s an ongoing process.
The COVID pandemic quarantine of 2020 gave me time for a lot of reflection. I watched the online and real worlds disintegrate into chaos. People treated each other more like enemies than neighbors. I thought back on how much I enjoyed my early time online when people were kinder and more patient with each other. It made me miss those days.
And I spent more time with the movies I grew up with instead of the bland world of remakes and reboots that permeates today.
It felt like a good time to bring back a focus on some good, old-fashioned movies full of originality, style, practical effects, and heart.
This blog allows me to remember the movies my generation grew up with, and also share opinions on the plethora of new material we have to consume today.
When I asked myself if I was ready to have my own space online again, I figured—what the hell? I ain’t gettin’ any younger.
Thanks for stopping by. Don’t get too rowdy, I just rent here.