‘Tis the day of love, this February 14th, and thus we’ll all be focusing on the loves that make our lives worth while, whether they exist or not. But no matter how many times your heart is broken by another person, you could at least always count on great movies to never leave you.
To honor Valentine’s Day, the writers here at Movie Mezzanine have decided to share with you all the moment that they fell in love with cinema, whether it be through a singular movie that changed their lives, a friend who guided them down the right path of cinematic taste, or something entirely different that may not even involve movies! You never know when love can find you, especially when it comes to the love of the cinema. Without further ado, here’s how we all fell in love with the movies.
Christopher Runyon, Assistant Editor
I’ve already documented pretty frequently how Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining jump-started my love of cinema by opening my eyes to the deeper stylistic and thematic aspects of the medium. But obviously, I fell in love with cinema at a much, much earlier time. Probably as an infant. With my mother’s rather wide collection of old VHSs, it’s hard to really say when exactly I first fell in love with cinema, especially since my memory, like most people’s memories, is a little fuzzy during the infant/toddler stages.
I do know, however, that there were three main instigators of my love of cinema, creating this sort of Holy Trinity of sorts: Disney, Studio Ghibli, and Steven Spielberg. Disney, obviously, referring to any one of their animated masterworks from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to The Lion King, Studio Ghibli mostly bringing up their early works like My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service, and then Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Jurassic Park also coming to mind. What connects these three is how they were able to capture the imagination better than most other filmmakers. The whimsy of an old Disney classic, the pure wonder and awe of Spielberg bringing dinosaurs and spaceships to life, and perhaps most important of all, the sheer melancholy that drives the works of Studio Ghibli. All of these factors combined to create a kind of perfect cinematic childhood, and I’m glad to have fallen in love at an early age, and have that love guide me over the years.
Brogan Morris, Reviewer
As Ray Liotta slammed shut the trunk of that hell-lit car, as the “As far back as I could remember…” voiceover closed and as the crescendoing horns of Tony Bennett’s “Rags to Riches” arrived, cinema had me. That was the Eureka moment: Goodfellas, a mob epic of callous violence that’s perversely one of the most compulsively watchable films ever made, made me fall in love. Martin Scorsese told me about the exciting possibilities of cinema by showing me every trick he’d learnt; it left me not entertained but transfixed, not excited but jubilant, and I’ve been hungry to recreate the experience ever since. Hard act to follow, but that hasn’t stopped me from looking.
Colin Biggs, Critic Speak Editor
The moment when movies transcended escapism and became a passion was when I popped in a VHS copy of The Godfather. I was entranced immediately, the score, the cinematography, the writing all blended together into a journey with characters that felt like you could reach in and touch them. Fortunately, my parents had Part II as well, so I experienced the birth of Michael’s (Al Pacino) criminal status, and the dark spiral that consumed him all in one sitting. It was a frightening transition and a compelling one. After that, I was hooked.
Charles Nash, Reviewer
I’ve enjoyed watching movies ever since I was a kid, and would always anticipate my weekly trip to the local video store on Saturday mornings with my Dad, but I didn’t become truly infatuated with cinema as an art form until the first time I watched David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive when I was sixteen-years-old. I became utterly infatuated with the film’s defiance of having any conventional form of narrative structure to transport the viewer into a visceral, dream-like state of consciousness. The scene that takes place in Club Silencio, in which Rebekah del Rio sings an a capella rendition of “Crying” by Roy Orbison in Spanish (Llorando) is one of the most mystifying and beautiful sequences of film I’ve ever seen; it continues to blow my mind and break my heart to this day.
Kristen Sales, Columnist
When we talk about the origins of my cinephilia, we aren’t even talking about cinema; we’re talking about television. When: the 1990s. Where: my parent’s living room. When: Friday nights at 9pm (later, Sundays at 9pm). What: The X-Files, baby. As a child, I divided my friends into three categories: school friends, church friends, and Mulder and Scully. My formative cinematic influences weren’t George Lucas or Walt Disney, but Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz. John S. Bartley taught me everything I’ll ever need to know about moody, chiaroscuro lighting. Vince Gillian and Darin Morgan introduced me to the art of writing a genius screenplay that’s as funny as it is scary, and that there’s nothing more important than character. Kim Manners and Rob Bowman brought big screen directorial style to the boob tube and it blew my freakin’ 9-year old’s mind.
I read everything I could about the show, including where all of it came from: film noir, ’70s conspiracy thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, The Silence of the Lambs, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the police procedural, pretty much the entire history of science-fiction, Universal Horror, even silent comedy (Google “Clyde Bruckman”). That’s a lot to take in as a kid, and I ate it up. The X-Files was a potent gateway drug to the world of movies, an inextricable formative influence on the way I watch films, as well as a primary shaper of my cinematic (and televisual) tastes. That show taught me what it meant to truly love a piece of art, a mentality around which I’ve pretty much built my entire life. And, yes, I still have a crush on David Duchovny.
Ryan McNeil, Contributor
Where love goes, I was a late-bloomer. Now, that’s OK. Go ahead and laugh at me. I’ll wait.
With that in mind, it’s fitting that my deep love of film was likewise late-blooming. There were early curiosities at eleven and twelve years old…evenings where I would watch “edited for television” versions of movies like Platoon, The Untouchables, and Mississippi Burning. These curiosities showed me that film could be more than the family-friendly offerings my parents were renting on Sunday nights. At that age though, film was just one of many distractions. My heart belonged to baseball, hockey, music, reading, and riding my bike.