Confessions Of A BackRow Denizen: The Beginning…
This blog has started because I got to thinking that I wanted to talk about my own personal moviegoing experiences, how I got to be the film fan that I am, and where I could rant and kvetch about things that really bug me.Originally I thought I’d keep this separate from Popcorn N Roses, since I see PNR as more of a news and occasional opinion site, whereas this is going to be more personal than PNR now is, and more resemble some of the stuff I’ve written up about my background for my music site, The Kirkham Report. But ultimately, I don’t see why I can’t put it here for all the world to see. So here’s hoping that you find this interesting as well.
I’m also gonna talk about other things…like how I sometimes feel that people don’t take me seriously. More than once I’ve been on the receiving end of a remark along the lines of “You host a film podcast, and you (GASP!) DIDN’T go to film school?”
Or there’s this one: “How DARE you think you have the right to talk about films on your podcast when you don’t have a film education!”
And the ever popular “You can’t join our film critics society because you don’t get paid for what you do.”
That last one varies from metropolitan area to metropolitan area, but it does keep me out of the Boston Society of Film Critics, and for some reason, I haven’t qualified for the Online Film Critics Society either, even though I thought I’d met their criteria a long time ago – five+ years of work on Popcorn N Roses, 4 years of Indie Film Spotlight and Boston Popcorn, and closing in on 300 podcasts, all about film. But no, I guess not – I’ve been turned down the last two times I applied, and I’ve decided not to reapply this year because I haven’t changed my style or the way I do things. I’m actually thinking of trying to get a Podcast Film Critics Association off the ground, but we’ll see – I tried about three years ago on this and didn’t make much headway…
In response to comments like the above brusing my ego somewhat and hurting my feelings, 2011 is becoming a labor of self-education for me. I’ve vowed to read a film book every week, to complete my resolutions lists from the past four years, and to do a whole lot to help raise the profiles of all PNR Networks sites. I hope this will allay fears that I’m apparenly too stupid to think some movies are amazing and others are out and out s**t.
In any case, I will always be upfront, honest, and opinionated in this column. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!
I thought I’d kick things off by trying to recall my first moviegoing memory…and darned if I can pick out a specific one….it’s hard…
When I was a wee tot, we lived in the smallest town in Washington state (then, not sure about now), Waverly. Population at the time (late 60s): 79. When my parents split up, my mom began seeing a young man who had moved to town recently. He would end up becoming my step-father for several years.
There was a large age difference between the two of them – my mom was 30-something and my stepdad was in his (very) early 20s. He was into biker movies, country music, and cheesy science fiction. My mom was into gothic mystery and classic horror, and they both loved movies. So in the spring and summer when I was about 4 to when I was about 6, we started making regular trips to the drive ins in Spokane and vicinity.
I don’t remember the name of the one we frequented the most, but it was on the west end of town, probably actually in Opportunity or Dishman rather than Spokane proper. A search over at the wonderful Drive-Ins.com yielded no positive results – they have several area drive-ins listed, but I don’t think they have that exact one. They DID have a listing for the North Cedar Drive In, where we went for the horror movies my mother liked – nothing too serious, mostly Hammer and Amicus films from the UK.
Anyway, back to the first one. I remember seeing “Swiss Family Robinson” there – my mother could never get me to cut my hair again after I saw that movie, and saw that Francis had relatively long hair. I also remember seeing a number of cheesy biker films too, most notably “The Wild Angels“, which is memorable only for Bruce Dern attempting to strangle (Or drown…or both) Nancy Sinatra in it – I was a HUUUUUGGE Nancy Sinatra fan as a tot, and loved “These Boots Are Made For Walking” and other songs she did. I also recall seeing “The Green Slime” at this drive in, though it MIGHT have been at North Cedar as well, I don’t remember…I was FIVE, gimme a break…
You know, it’s a shame there are so few drive-ins left. I loved going to the drive-in when I was a kid, even if mom was too paranoid to let me play on the playground equipment most of the time. You could sleep in the back seat (which is usually what I did for the movies they wanted to see) and not have to worry about offending anyone else. As long as you were in the privacy of your own car, you could do pretty much whatever you wanted to do (well, within reason, at least…heh heh heh…).
My wife has virtually no memories of the drive-in experience, because she went only once, when she was very small. And today’s kids, unless they happen to live near one of the drive-ins still operating, are missing out on a fun experience. I found my love for the movies at the drive-in, but it really exploded later, when I got old enough to go to a real movie theatre….
More on that next week! Cheers!