Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Cinematic Event of My Lifetime


I've often wondered why we often try to label things in a manner far exceeding in importance than they really pertained. The Event of Our Generation is a term all too often found in commercials. The Event. Singular. Important. Stoic. Removed of any possibility that there could exist another event at any point in time.

Out Generation. Whose generation? The marketers? The filmmakers? Whomever is watching? Seems unnecessarily vague, in a half-laced effort to make anyone watching feel suddenly attached to the associated product (in my case, a movie).

Combine both and what you get is an important event anyone watching must be apart of, or they have therefore failed to subscribe to their generation. Sorry, but I don't buy it.

People have been trying to sell me for years on what is the event of my lifetime. The event of my generation. Titanic came out when I was 11, that was a big deal. Did it define, or shape, me in any way? Not really. The Harry Potter series is still a big deal, and has been since I was 12 (ish). But it hasn't really resonated itself with me in any element beyond appreciation and joy.

The list of films, and series, which are the event of my generation (in so far as they define a generation) is nearly infinite. The Dark Knight, Avatar, Twilight, Fight Club, etc, etc. All which came out during my lifetime sure, but what did any of them mean to me? To be quite honest, and in some cases less so than others, nothing.

In many respects I can trace my love of movies back to a handful of moments. The kick-starter being the first time I saw Glory. Another being when I saw my first Kurosawa films. But these events are very disjointed, and spread apart. No, an event is something connected, nearly singular, if only in association and mind. So, I've wondered to myself: What would I consider to be the event of my lifetime? ...Well, to this point at least (I'm only 23, cut me some slack).

As a kid I distinctly remember J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. A book which could be presently found at the bedside of me, my sister, and our mother, than most any nursery rhyme. I grew up with tales of Middle Earth rattling through my brain. So, I suppose it shouldn't take much effort (with the pictures as handy guides) for you to figure what I settled on as my cinematic event.

I was 14 years old in 2001 when Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring came out. To say I was giddy with excitement would be to say I've only seen a couple movies. I couldn't wait. I checked the calendar constantly. Reminded my parents in the most awkwardly casual of fashions. "Oh, Fellowship of the Ring comes out in a couple of weeks... in case, you know, you were curious." And of course when the day of release came, I piled, family in tow, into the car, and headed to the nearest cinema to observe Jackson's cinema.

Love at first sight might be stretching it. It should suffice to say I relived every inch of that movie in my mind about 500 times before it's sequel came out. And with each passing Lord of the Rings entry I was once again sold to the highest degree. I made sure to get the special extended edition DVDs (each of which add 30 - 60 mins of footage), and watched each one of them with the greatest due diligence.

Years later I still remember the sad, and somber feeling, I felt as the credits rolled on Return of the King. A sense of farewell to something that had so hooked itself into my psyche I felt every fabric of the story flowing through me. And to be honest, it's an experience I've not felt watching any series since then. That powerful of an association. The inspiring of my desire for wonder, and awe. The Lord of the Rings trilogy reached into every part of me, and took hold.

For that reason alone, watching those films come to the screen over those 3 years. To this point, that is the event of my lifetime.

8 better thoughts:

Sasha (The Final Girl Project) said...

Amen, brother.

Chase Kahn said...

Was 13 when I dragged my dad to "Fellowship of the Ring" and I still remember sitting in that theater during the Mines of Moria fight. (BTW, the first is still my personal favorite by a long shot.)

On a home-viewing level, when I was 18-19 or so, I watched "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "A Clockwork Orange" back-to-back and I haven't been the same ever since...

Mike Lippert said...

LOTR was never my thing, but this was a nice post to read regardless.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Seeing the books I'd read as a teen come to life so vividly was indeed a major event.
If I look back to major movie events when I was young, the original Star Wars trilogy and the Indiana Jones series comes to mind. The first changed summer movies forever and the second became THE perfect adventure film (Raiders) and spurred the creation of PG-13 (Temple of Doom.)

Simon said...

Lovely post, even though I never got LotR.

BStearns said...

I agree 110%. It was an absolutely fantastic work, and as far as being the event of a lifetime, I'm right there with you. The third installment was the most appealing for me, I was even so lucky as to watch it 2 days before release. It definitely brought my love of fantasy to new heights, and I'm sure it is why I am still so passionate about the genre. Great post!


Will said...

Yeah LOTR was a huge event, especially Fellowship. I remember buying my tickets ahead of time. I saw it twice on opening day, first showing alone and then a night showing with a bunch of friends. I ended up seeing it seven times. Good stuff!

Kaiderman said...

I like your break down on this... very good points... when they speak of a generation to an audience that could cover 3 to 4 different generations. I know LOTR wasn't the event of my Grandma's generation.
As for me, the first Spiderman movie and the Nolan franchise of Batman films were HUGE. I'm an unabashed comic nerd and those are my 2 fav charcters and to see them brought to life so well was monumental in my movie going life.
Spiderman, some would say, was not a great film but I got to be an extra in the film so it holds a special place in my movie heart!

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