Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Do You Still See A Lot Of Movies?

Answering the questions people have
asked (or I have asked myself) about
my past, present, or future.
You may be wondering this because I've largely stepped back from doing my "Reel To Reel" reviews on this blog. I still see movies -- just not as many, and not for the same reasons as in the past.

Back in 1999, the last year I lived in Texas and the last year at my previous job, seeing movies was a form of therapy for your servant. I wasn't plugged into a life outside of work. And I know I wasn't connected to GOD. Movies became my way of escaping and coping, especially as things at work became progressively harder and full of drama. I knew within three weeks of getting promoted off weekends I had just inherited a new mess of problems, and I couldn't do anything to fix them.

I remember going to the Hollywood U.S.A. multiplex down the street from me in McAllen every Saturday afternoon. It didn't even matter what movies were playing; if it looked halfway decent, I was in. That's how I ended up seeing Music Of The Heart and The Story of Us, two titles I don't think I'd see in a theater nowadays. McAllen got a lot of sneak previews paired with a bonus feature. That's how I saw October Sky paired with Patch Adams and the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair paired with another movie I forget right now.

I remember one week, I was so depressed I saw two movies in one Saturday. I went for a matinee, went home, felt lonely and went back for another film. That's when I think I saw The Story Of Us. Doing this was not solving anything, I know, but this was the best therapy I had at the time. During 1999, I estimate I saw at least 52 movies -- at least one or two a weekend. And I reviewed most of them, in capsule form, on my old-school, do-it-yourself, rudimentary HTML-based website, back in the days before blogs existed.

Writing was the other half of that therapy. I could see a film, take it all in, and write about it with a lot of focus and depth because hardly anything else was competing for my attention back then. I could spend several hours on a long-form review and not worry about having time for something else. That was my lack of a life back then outside the newsroom. I don't miss it at all.

Gradually, after moving to Tucson and changing jobs, I began seeing fewer and fewer films in the theater. That should tell you how my mental state improved. I can still remember the first film I saw after I moved: Anna And The King at the Foothills Mall cinema. This was before a major remodeling, before they got stadium seating and all the auditoriums had that ugly bluish southwestern art vibe to them. The 1970's deposited their old screens there. Then I discovered the El Con cinemas. But they won't take that place in my stressed-out heart of the Hollywood U.S.A. in McAllen.

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