I’m Such A Movie Nerd

This is something I’ve known for quite some time but it became clear to me tonight. On a Saturday night when most people my age are out with friends or spouses I find myself doing what I am often found doing: watching movies. Like my mother – though without as much skill – I have a somewhat encyclopedic knowledge of actors and the movies they played in. Remember the whole “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” thing? Yeah, I can do that with just about anyone. Even I am within 4 or 5 through a couple of different ways. (Example: (1) my best friend from college was an extra in “Friday Night Lights” with (2)Billy Bob Thornton who was in “Sling Blade” with (3) JT Walsh who was in “A Few Good Men” with (4)Kevin Bacon. Or, I used to go to the same church as (1)Homer and Doris Gere, parents of (2) Richard Gere who was in “Pretty Woman” with (3)Julia Roberts who was in “Flatliners” with (4)Kevin Bacon. Etc.) And now, if you know me, you are too.

So anyway, I was watching “AFI‘s 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes” for three hours. During one of the commercials, the nerd that I am, I downloaded the 100 best movies list that they came out with a few years ago and I brought the laptop into my living room to watch the show and highlight the movies on the list that I have seen and mark the ones that I have. It turns out that I’ve seen 43 of the top 100 and own 15 of them. On top of that, I have a movie book that lists just about every movie with a description and lists every actor and director with a listing of all of their movies. In the back, there is a list of all of the Best Picture/Director/Actor/Actress winners since the beginning of the Oscars. Of those, I own and/or have seen 63 of them going back to 1938 with the movie “Boys Town” with Spencer Tracy.

I have around 220 or so movies in my collection – so many that some of my friends have said that I have more than their local video store. It’s true, I have a lot of movies and I’ve easily seen countless more but there’s just something about movies that draw me in.

A lot of people I know like to read as their favorite pastime. They read to relax and to unwind and can never seem to get enough. I’ve known my dad to read 2 or 3 books a week during vacations. I’ve never been like that. Don’t get me wrong, I like to read. As funny as it may be, perhaps my favorite author is Nicholas Sparks because I get drawn in and can often identify with some of his characters. Some of my favorite books can be counted among the classics. Though I haven’t read it since high school, I remember loving “Tale of Two Cities” and “The Great Gatsby.” I’ve read “1984” and “A Catcher in the Rye” a few times. Though I haven’t kept up with it lately, I’m about 2/3 of the way through “Robinson Crusoe” and I’m enjoying it a lot. But there’s just something about movies…

I’m a very visual person and when I see a movie I am so moved by the camera work, the lighting, the set design, the overall style. I just get so drawn in when it’s done well, it takes me to a totally different place. But more than all of that, and in conjunction with it, I am so moved by a well told story. Even though books allow you to use your own imagination, to me there’s nothing like seeing the expressions on the characters’ faces or hearing the words or allowing their actions to speak instead of a description. It’s so easy for me to get right in there and feel like I’m a part of it. I can identify myself with so many little elemets of each character and I get tied up in their struggles and joys. It must be interesting to watch a movie with me because I’ll be smiling with newfound love and with vulnerable sincerety. I cry during some of the meaningful parts and I feel the tension in thrillers. And I love it.

I remember during my freshman and sophomore years of college I worked in the microform department at the library and worked the closing shift on Friday and Saturday nights – I know, loser – and as I walked home I would imagine how it would look if my life were a movie: high shot of a lone man walking across the plaza under street lights in the cool autumn air, his breath forming steady, yet subtle clouds as he heads home. I would even hear some narration or other in my head too. It’s crazy, I know, but that’s how it was. And, perhaps, how it still is. I know it’s somewhat unreasonable but I keep feeling like any day now is when the story picks up with me living my everyday life until… and then, who knows what comes next.

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