Going to the movies has always been exciting to me. My dad is mostly to blame. He made something as simple as going to the local theater feel like going to Six Flags! lol As kids the movies were everything to us. If we didn’t cut up during Sunday School and church we were able to go to the movies with dad on Sunday evenings. Actually it was quite common for us to have family movie nights. We’d all curl up on the couch under these thick blankets and watch the movie of the night. Each person got a chance to pick a movie in a weekly rotation.
Popcorn was the thing in our house. Many times we didn’t have full meals but we ate popcorn and sandwiches! Sometimes, we ate popcorn for days until the next check came in. We didn’t even mind. My dad taught us the quality in stove-top popcorn at an early age. I don’t care how you like it but there is a very distinct difference in the taste of microwave popcorn and stove-top popcorn. It took time for the stove-top to cook. You had to wait until the kernels were hot enough. To boost the heat we used to hold down the lid and move the pot back and forth across the stove eye. We did it until you could see little sparks around the bottom of the pot. That pot had a name in our house… “the popcorn pot.”
After it popped, you had to wait while the butter melted in the same pot you popped the popcorn in. Once the butter turned brownish-golden you poured it on top of the popcorn. But while the popcorn popped my dad would hold conversations with us about school, whomever the girlfriend was at the time, or even what the movie of the night was about. Mostly he’d ask questions and let us do all the talking. He’d just listen.
I realized after sometime, it wasn’t really the popcorn that we liked. It was the fact that we talked and our dad listened. Some fathers talk with their sons over a beer. Mine talked with us over popcorn. Even when we went to the movie theater we would talk while the lady behind the counter popped our popcorn. To this day, I stand there at the counter and hold conversations with the workers while they pop my fresh popcorn! lol But more seriously, most fathers haven’t found that common interest between them and their sons. Therefore there is no authentic father/son talk time.
Now days, people won’t microwave relationships and they don’t want anything to build up. Love needs to melt. It adds flavor to your relationships. It takes time to build up something special. Microwave relationships are already fixed and you have no control over how they turn out. You will miss how great something can be by neglecting to build it yourself. It takes time to make it just right for you.
In closing, dad taught us about quality in a movie. We learned about scripts and screenplays at 8-9 years old. By junior high I was writing plays for the school and by high school graduation I had starred in over 30 stage plays. Acting was like art to me. I was taught to watch for innovation in a script. The director’s screenplay should a special passion within it. If a curse word was used, it had to be used to express something and not as a replacement for the lack of vocabulary development. If a sex scene was in the movie, my dad always taught us to look for the art in it and not just a scene to glorify nakedness. We watched for dialect to see if it matched the era in which the script depicted. Costumes and clothing had to be on point. The twists and development of each character made you admire the art of the writer.
So most movies that people enjoy today don’t mean anything to me at all. We watch for different things. For most people all it takes is some shooting and sex and they’ll say it was good. Mostly because they have a lack of culture and artistic maturity. Maybe that’s the reason most new movies fail to become classics. They lack real story lines and passion within the scripts.
So anyway, here are my Top 20 Films of All Time:
20. Sommersby (Richard Gere)
19. As Good As It Gets (Jack Nicholson)
18. Remember The Titans (Denzel Washington)
17. Crooklyn (Alfre Woodard)
16. Dances With Wolves (Kevin Costner)
15. The Five Heartbeats (Robert Townsend)
14. Cold Mountain (Nicole Kidman)
13. Slumdog Millionaire (Dev Patel)
12. Troy (Brad Pitt)
11. The Time Traveler’s Wife (Rachel McAdams)
10. What’s Love Got To Do With It (Angela Bassett)
9. The Last Castle (Robert Redford)
8. Avatar (Zoe Saldana)
7. Enemy of the State (Will Smith)
6. Legend Of The Falls (Anthony Hopkins)
5. The Color Purple (Danny Glover)
4. Good Will Hunting (Matt Damon)
3. Braveheart (Mel Gibson)
2. The Notebook (Rachel McAdams)
1. Gladiator (Russell Crowe)