How a Film Fanatic is Made

I am weird about movies. Here are the factors that led to my decline.
  1. My grandmother
    My mother's mother loved movies, and when she came to visit for the weekend in the summer, our first stop on the way home from the train station was the video rental place. The tradition was to get one recent movie, one classic movie, and one kids' movie.
  2. My parents
    My parents love movies too, and my mother's movie kung fu is still fierce. One of their favorites was…
  3. Alfred Hitchcock
    My parents loved Hitchcock movies, and we would watch them whenever they were on TV. Hitchcock was a master of visual storytelling, and we would sometimes talk about his techniques for creating tension. You could hardly ask for a better introduction to the study of film language.
  4. Bravo
    Believe it or not, the TV channel Bravo started out as a highbrow arts channel that focused on foreign film, theater, opera and classical music. Every weekend they would show the classics of world cinema, and, being a curious fellow, I would watch whatever was on if it sounded remotely interesting. This was my introduction to Fritz Lang, Kurosawa, Bergman, Fellini, Roman Polanski, et cetera.
  5. Stanley Kubrick
    One day I suddenly realized that a bunch of different movies that I loved were ALL DIRECTED BY THE SAME GUY. Wait, what?
  6. My buddy Jeff
    When I was a junior in college, I made a friend who was as intense about movies as I was. He had some old book about film history that he knew backwards and forwards, and we would flip through it and talk for hours about the films we had seen and the films we wanted to see. The next semester he signed up for the college's German Expressionist film course, and I tagged along. This had a huge impact on me as well.
  7. Dr. Mabuse der Spieler
    The paper I wrote on this movie for the German Expressionist film course was probably the best piece of work I put out in college.
  8. Theater 80/Theater St. Mark's
    After I graduated, I was dirt poor and underemployed in NYC. There was a revival house on St. Mark's Place that showed amazing stuff, and you got a double feature for some absurdly low price like four dollars. Between that and my reading, I probably got as good a film education than the kids down the block at NYU.
  9. Luis Buñuel
    One day at I showed up at Theater 80 and realized I had gotten the schedule wrong, and I knew nothing about the movie that was playing. It was called "The Exterminating Angel". This is another whole story in and of itself, but suffice it to say that it was one of the most intense experiences I've ever had at the movie theater.
  10. More Buñuel
    If you're not chilled by this look, you're too dumb to know that you are about to get your ass kicked.
  11. The Conformist
    This was another film that made a huge impression on me. Seems like it's still relevant today. I was lucky enough to see it in the big screen; I still have that ticket stub.
  12. Romance
    Met a girl who loved movies as much as I did, and we went a lot, sometimes more than once a week. Sometimes more than once a day. Her ability to identify obscure actors at a glance is almost supernatural.
  13. HMV, Tower Records
    Despite having little money, I haunted HMV and Tower Records in the mid-90s looking for interesting videotapes. Of course I never thought to just straight up ask them to special order stuff, because that would be weird. Much more normal to just come back every week and prowl around silently like a vampire. right?
  14. The Criterion Collection
    A national treasure. My collection: My Criterion Collection Collection
  15. Turner Classic Movies
    A gold mine. Will always hold a special place in my heart for introducing me to Black Narcissus.
  16. I believe we're currently in another golden age of cinema. Take advantage!
  17. See you at the theater!