I think everyone has a movie that defines the year. You know, the movie that you rent and your friend comes over and says, “God, this reminds me of my sophomore year when I lost at naked Frisbee.” It is weird to think that two hours of cinema bliss can bring up memories that define the 8766 hours of a year. I guess it is the entertainment generation we grew up in because I have heard my grandparents reminisce over a dinner plate. My point is, is that movies can bind people together, link memories to momentous occasions and even make it easy to score with your date. I have my own but if I only had a year to live I would have 12 movies for my last 12 months. Here they are, starting with January.
Over looked by most and loved by too few, this movie is a must in January. I think it is because by the first of the year I want something so opposite of the holiday season (including horror movies from October) that I need a little summer and a lot of crazy. Many people think that Bob (Bill Murray) is just a harmless and innocent schizophaniac that looks up to and latches onto his therapist’s, Leo (Richard Dreyfus), life and family but I know better. I know this is more than a comedy. I this is a dark twist on a funny story and Bob was trying to hide behind his cute innocents and quirky ways to bump off Leo and take his place. Do you think I have seen this so many times that I see too much into the plot? This is my Catcher in the Rye.
When I Googled an image for “What About Bob?” this is what I found. Awesome.
For February it will always be Empire Strikes Back. Even though it is my birthday month February is like the Monday of the year. There is nothing that special about the month except that growing up in Atlanta, this is when we have our annual few days of snow. Living in a city that shuts down for two inches of frozen precipitation, it is a guaranty that school is canceled. Now I don’t have any siblings and there is no way that my mom would try to drive me to a buddy’s house if there was a chance of “black ice” so this was when I became Luke Skywalker. I swear that I was on Hoth, ignoring blades of grass sticking out the snow, battling Wampas and Imperial snow troopers. Armed with a wiffle bat light saber and the force, I made it clear to the neighbors that I was child to be wary of.
Even today, when February comes and there is a 30% chance of frozen precipitation, Empire strikes Back makes it to the VCR and thoughts drift to when mom put plastic sandwich bags on my feet to protect against frostbite from wet sneakers. I never had snow boots.
Ten more months tomorrow. I have to work tomorrow really early. sucks
For March it will always be Something About Mary. I think this movie has a special place in my heart because when it came out on DVD, there was something about Mary for me. I got dumped on my ass by some chick while on deployment in Kosovo so I needed to focus on an unattainable goal. I specifically remember sitting on the couch with all my Army buddies thinking, “what have I been doing for the last two years? I need to date a girl like Mary.” While Warren stole the show for my friends, Mary stole the focus and was a new motivation to get back on horse. Yeah, I was young and dumb but every March this movie will be watched. I don’t watch it for Mary anymore but rather I watch it to remember the bumbling idiots I served with who were the real reason I didn’t go crazy after receiving a Dear John letter.
It’s years later and I am no longer a hard charging infantry man but I can put this movie in and see my friends faces as clear as day. Some are like me and have moved on, some are still in and have to put up with wild kids like we were and some have not come home alive from Iraq and Afghanistan. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night in a panic that I have forgotten what they look like or someones first name. Luckily the mind works in funny ways and Something About Mary can take me back to that couch, laughing with the greatest people I have ever known.
When spring hits I think less about Easter candy and bunnies but rather The Last Stafighter. I’m not sure why because I am fairly certain I saw this when it was released in the theatres some 100 years ago. Like fake Easter basket grass wrapped up, choking a vaccume, and black jelly bean tongue stains, this movie symbolises the death of winter and the birth of allergies. I feel sort of bad for Lance Guest who played Alex Rogin. What an underrated actor! When I was 10 he was my idle and then came Jaws 4. Why Lance? Why?!?! You could have been great but now you are tarred and feathered by a velvet shark!
I think Grig looks less like a navigator on a Gunstar and more like a Grandpa Mutant Ninja Turtle, but that is just me.
For May I think Lane Myer (snort, snort…weeeooo) is the man of the month. Better Off Dead is a story that all middle of the road socialites like I was, have lived through. There will always be a week in high school were you think that it can get no worse and it usaully happens around the final weeks before summer. This movie has everything; the prettyboy bully, the weirdo neighbors, stalking paperboy, an asian Howard Costel, claymation Van Burger and failed suicide attempts. It’s aces and it should go down as one of the greatest pieces of cinema to ever grace the screen.
Like a good sadomasicist, I will always screw myself over before going to the beach by watching Jaws. The sequel to the movie that scared thousands out of the water terrifies me more for some reason. I think it is the beginning scene when you see the enormous fin breach the water at night while music is faintly heard in the background from the openning of the new Amitty hotel. God, that gives me goosebumps.
So June is the month of the shark and damn it if I don’t think about that in the ocean, pool, tub or toliet. I even get freaked out when wading in knee deep water, afraid that a charred corpse will fling itself out of the waves. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.
I like baseball but I certainly don’t go shit crazy for it. The Sandlot was a perfect depiction of what it is like for a new kid with no athletic skills and his quest for peer acceptance. This was totally me when I moved to Phoenix, AZ and the quickest way to make friends was to join the local little league team. It turns out that my fear of being beamed by a 35 mile per hour pitch out weighed actually hitting it so that made me the worst player in the world. No matter. I was befriended by Tony Rodrigez which he coinsidently looked a lot like Benny “the jet” Rodrigez. I could have ran the wrong way around the bases and it didn’t matter because I was friends with the coolest kid in school. Thanks Tony. July will always be for The Sandlot.
Fuckin’ shit, man! Every August this movie preps me for the Halloween season but a few years ago it nearly scared me into a coma. I came home alone after a night out with a few friends. Earlier in the evening we had dicussed which films we could not watch alone and The Exorcist was unanimously the movie. So, that night it found its way into the VCR and I sat on the couch, alone, and watched it. About 45 minutes into it the power went out and there was a little speck of light in the middle of the TV. But there was something strange and there was a different feeling about this power outage. It’s that different feeling, like when a funny sitcom is made into a movie and you notice there is no audience laughter during funny lines. I looked out the window and noticed that my apartment was the only one without power. I was so scared my feet went numb and I left to go drink 6 or 7 beers at the local pub. I have no explaination but I know I will never watch that movie alone again.
Ah September. Time for camping! I have never been camping the same after watching The Blair Witch Project. I don’t know why people were dissapinted in the movie. This film scarred the shit out of me, especially when the dead kids were kicking the sides of the tent. What a great scene! I always think about that when we go up to Tennesse and camp out near the site of The Bell Witch. There is actually a historical marker that states, the most documented haunted spot in the United States. Even Andrew Jackson had his carriage messed with by the Blair Witch.
On the other side, the movie An American Haunting is a real dump in a jar. Don’t see it. I hate Donald Sutherland for it.
Well, it’s the Halloween season and what else would one watch but The Great Pumkin? I know it is not a movie but in 29 years I have not spent at least two hours or four viewings of this classic. Immortalized by X-E and loved by millions, this tale is what Halloween night is all about; tricks or treats and the anti-commercialism that Shultz disguised in animation. It isn’t the Halloween season without watching Linus roll a pumkin out of control only to see his sister stab it and gut it to the theme so aptly named “Linus and Lucy.” Just thinking of this timeless classic makes me want to rake leaves.
Every Thanksgiving holiday our family has the tradition of going to the movies. This annual tradition started around 1981 or 82 when we went to see Empire Strikes Back. While I have no specific memories of Wampas or Ion cannons I definitly remember teh trailer to the Creepshow. This image to the left has been burned on my brain insuring that every night before I go to bed, the curtains are shut. There is nothing more scarey to me than seeing that outside. The only other movie that comes close is Salem’s Lot when that dead kid was scratching on his buddies window. So when I am eating turkey, mashed potatoes and grean bean cassorole you can be sure at some point the Creepshow will find it’s way in the DVD player and we can all remenise about when little Billy hosed himself in the theatre before the movie even began.
Last but definitly not least, for December I will always stick with The Christmas Story. Thank God for TBS showing 24 hours of this because I could not unwrap presents without the background noise of the Bumpas’s dogs eating all the turkey. This movie encompasses everything that is Christmas for a boy. It’s not the season for peace and joy, it’s the season to get an official Red Rider, carbine pump action BB gun with a compass on the stock and this thing that tells time. I can identify. I spent a three month campain just for the USS Flag. For those who don’t know, that was the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. The thing was 7 feet long! And no, I didn’t get it.
Well that only took two weeks to post. So there you have it. These are movies that define my months of the year. What are yours?