The title of this post is cribbed from a podcast of the same name by director Joe Dante and screenwriter Josh Olsen. The premise is brilliant: each episode has a guest who gets to choose the topic, which of course, is about films that influenced them. It can get pretty specific; I seem to remember an episode where Ilianna Douglas listed her favorite wide-angle shots in film history.
But it’s usually just a list of the guest’s favorite movies, often with a theme. So during the pandemic, I thought I would write a bit about the movies that made me.
Hopefully this will serve several purposes, chief among them is it will give me something to write about besides this fucking virus. And maybe, if anyone’s reading this, it might spur you to check out a movie you otherwise would completely miss.
As Joe and Josh often point out – although we now have easier access to films than at any other point in human history, we no longer have any context for understanding or appreciating them. Amazon Prime is a great example of this. You can find a lot of great films there, but if you don’t know anything about them, they just look like random titles.
Before VHS, there were only two ways to see a film – ever. You either saw it in a movie theater, or, if it was old, you watched it on TV. That was it. So if you were really into it (i.e. you’d read books about movies), they would become these legendary things that you’d build up in your mind..
VHS changed all that. Sure, in the 1970’s there were “Midnight Movies” that played cult films at midnight on the weekends at your local movie house for stoned teenagers, or if you lived in a college town (or Manhattan) there were “Art House” movie theaters, but it was the humble VHS tape that created movie rental stores where you could rent a film and go home to play it on your shitty TV.
The cool thing about the idea of “Movies That Made Me” is that they are not lists of the greatest films in history. Some of them are, at least to me, but I fully acknowledge that many are a matter of personal taste. Regardless, they are all special.
So without further ado – tomorrow I will post my first one. I have no idea what it will be, but that’s part of the fun.
See you then – stay home and stay safe!