This week’s movie fan profiles features Filmbuffet member, Patrick King. He shares some of the moments in film that sparked his love for the movies.
Q. Was there a particular film that sparked your interest in the movies? If so, what movie and why?
A. My interest in movies started very young, probably at the age of 8 or 9 years old. And I can remember 3 distinct movies—all for different reasons—that sparked my interest in cinema. First, was the movie “Jaws”, released in 1975. I was 8 years old at the time and my best friend, Matt Paul, told me that he got into the theater and saw “Jaws”. I was so envious of him. I mean, how do you compete with that? I won at ‘Hide & Seek’. He got into see “Jaws”. It’s a no brainer! He was the Big Kid on the Block. So I can remember going to movies not just to see what was playing but also trying to get into films that I wasn’t old enough to be allowed to enter. Talk about motivation and a spark of interest…I viewed PG-13 as a challenge to this 9 year old.
Secondly, I remember going to the movies with my first girl. A friend really, but I thought she was smokin’ hot nevertheless. Well, all the stars aligned, other friends cancelled at the last-minute (thank God), and there we were--entering the theater to watch “Summer Corvette” in 1978. Not only did I really enjoy that movie plot and seeing Mark Hamill re-build the Stingray at high school shop class, but I got my first real taste of Date Night at the movies!
Probably, the one early spark to my interest in movies occurred during the summer of 1977. My family took our annual drive from Eugene, Oregon to Great Falls, Montana, to see my grandparents. And it was during that trip that my parents loaded up our station wagon and we all went to see this new summer hit called “Star Wars”. I remember the long lines. And the hype. At 10 years of age, this movie really captured for me all that cinema is capable of delivering to audiences; romance, fear, suspense, laughter, life beyond Earth, the future, good vs. evil. All of it. And it’s for those reasons that I strongly feel that 1977 and Star Wars was a turning point in not only in American film, but cinema worldwide. Star Wars was the first, true “blockbuster” movie phenomenon that went global. Of course, later we had ET: The Extra-Terrestrial and Poltergeist in 1982. But Star Wars really sparked my interest in movies and that of millions of others too.
Q. What is your most memorable movie moment?
A. My most memorable movie moment occurred in 1986. I went to see Top Gun on opening night with my girlfriend that I’d been dating since my junior year in high school. I was now a college freshman enrolled in Air Force ROTC at Oregon State, studying to become an Air Force pilot after graduation. I remember the movie theater was one of the largest ones I’d ever been in and it was packed full. Of course the movie was great and people cheered as the United States fought back in Navy F-14 Tomcats. But as my girlfriend and I were leaving the theater she was very unresponsive and kept her head turned away from me. By the time we got to our car, she completely lost it and cried on my shoulder. She told me that she didn’t want me to become a military pilot and that she could never go through what Meg Ryan’s character experienced in losing Goose. That hit pretty close to home. We continued to date another year or so and I later became an Air Force pilot (and still to this day am on Active Duty), but I’ll always remember that post-Top Gun moment where I realized that my career path and risks associated with that choice, will always have an impact on the people I love most.
Q. What sparked your interest in writing about movies?
A. As an elective in college, I began taking Film courses and fell in love with watching movies and writing about them. We studied the all the greats from the silent film era, including Buster Keaton and, of course, Charlie Chaplin. I remember writing movie reviews for my class on Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers dance movies as well as Marilyn Monroe’s “The Misfits” film. I found it very interesting to compare the different genres and styles, like Buster Keaton’s physical comedy is similar to Jim Carrey’s today, particularly in his movies like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Recently, I started posting on my Facebook wall movie synopses after I’d seen them, assigning an overall letter grade to each review. Many of my friends, while not always agreeing with my movie review ratings, appreciated my effort and perhaps helping them to avoid shelling out big bucks or wasting valuable time on less than stellar movies. And a few of my friends have told me that I should pursue movie reviewing after I retire from the Air Force.
Q. What type of movies are you typically drawn to and why?
A. I’m drawn to movies with great performances and inspiring stories to tell. I really enjoy sports movies, especially if they’re based upon true events. One of my all-time favorite movies is The Rookie with Dennis Quaid coaching his high school baseball team while pursuing his own dream of playing in the Major Leagues. His supportive spouse willing to put everything on hold while Quaid finds out if he’s still got the flame-throwing arm is a great story. And true. I love that about films, telling real life stories. The same thing with The Blind Side. Unbelievable, but true.
Obviously I’m also drawn to military movies. Just as I’m sure doctors or lawyers roll their eyes and throw up their arms watching hospital or courtroom movies that don’t quite “get it right” for accuracy in our trade, I feel the same watching war movies. If I see flagrant fouls in a war movie on issues like wearing of the uniform incorrectly or dialogue that is so over-the-top, it’s sometimes hard for me to continue watching. So, while I’m drawn to these movies, I also find them much harder to enjoy and rise to the level of believably that we all go to the movies to get.
Lastly, I love Date Night movies with my wife! We probably see our share of “Chick Flicks” but we also enjoy the action thriller, comedy, and drama variety too. And being able to get close to her, hold her hand, and cherish those dinner/movie Date Nights in what life’s all about.
Q. If you had to guess - how many movies do you think you've seen in your lifetime?
A. I’m still adding to my FilmBuffet collection, but, just guessing I would say around 1,500-2,000 overall—only 1,000 though if you exclude Sylvester Stallone, Bond, and Batman movies!
Q. What movies are you looking forward to seeing in 2012?
A. I’ve been waiting for The Dark Knight Rises for 4 years. As a huge Batman fan, a lot of credit goes to Christopher Nolan for elevating this DC Comics series to a whole new level of film entertainment. First, with Batman Returns, then with The Dark Knight. Credit also should go to the late Heath Ledger for one of the best movie performances ever, in my opinion, as The Joker. And also props to Christian Bale and Michael Caine for establishing themselves as these characters and setting the bar high for future castings in those two roles.
Also looking forward to Taken 2 with Liam Neeson. Is there anyone more BAMF right now in cinema than 60-year old Liam Neeson? I don’t think so. Other movies I’m excited to check out later this year include James Bond’s Skyfall and a really intriguing film called Alps. Also, Clint Eastwood plays a baseball scout in Trouble With The Game—which I will definitely see!
Q. Where do you prefer to watch movies at the theater or at home?
A. I’m very comfortable watching movies in either of those environments. I probably prefer the movie theater for the opportunity to feel the audience reaction and making the film part of a bigger afternoon or night event—for example, going out for dinner with my wife before the showing. I love those nights!
I also enjoy watching movies with the troops at deployed locations all over the world. I've noticed that movies bring the troops together in far away spots, including down range in combat locations. Being able to watch films as a crew, a squadron, or even with our host nation allies, has been instrumental to keeping morale high and allowing all of us to feel connected to our friends, family, and fellow Americans back home.
Q. What is your favorite movie quote?
A. “You can't handle the truth!
Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives.
You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me there.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty... we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.”
From the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men” and Jack Nicholson’s character, U.S. Marine Colonel Nathan R. Jessep.