As I turned 30 last year year, here is the first of a three-part post. Partly inspired by Cinematic Paradox’s 100 Film Facts About Me post and partly inspired by Front Room Cinema’s Born into Film series, I thought I’d try and give you a breakdown of my film loving life year by year. As I was born in 1981, my first 10 years of the movies were mostly the glorious 1980s. If you want to see my top 10 films of the 80s click here. But for now, here's how the movies shaped, influenced and warped my impressionable young mind.
1981: I was born. The top 5 rated films of the year according to IMDb are Raiders of the Lost Ark, Das Boot, The Evil Dead, Chariots of Fire and Escape from New York. I do not recall going to the cinema or seeing any films yet (funnily enough!). I still haven't seen the last two on that list.
1982: Rambo and E.T. first appeared on screens. It would be a long time till I would see either. My oldest sister was eight at the time and had a hard time at school with everyone calling her ET because they were her initials.
1983: The Star Wars saga should have ended this year with Return of the Jedi. Unfortunately it didn’t. The first Star Wars film I saw in the cinema was The Phantom Menace in 1999 at age 18.
1984: The Terminator, Ghostbusters and A Nightmare on Elm Street were released. Fortunately at the age of three, I was not going anywhere near these films yet. But soon, all three would scare the crap out of me and become three of my all-time favourites.
1985: The Goonies was released. I wasn’t old enough to catch this in the cinema but when I finally saw the film, it affected my imagination so much that whenever I was alone, I would pretend I was in the movie being chased by villains in an underground cave system. I’ve always wanted to write a script as perfectly pitched at kids as this. Back to the Future and Teen Wolf both also came out, resulting in my eventual Michael J Fox poster on my wall that I got from the magazine Smash Hits.
1986: Thanks to Chris in the comments below, I remember seeing An American Tail in the cinema. Must have been age 5 so that's my excuse for crying a lot at the ending! Aliens, Top Gun, Platoon and Labyrinth all released. Didn’t see any in the cinema. But the first CD I ever owned was the Top Gun soundtrack. Still love that shit. I remember thinking CD's were incredibly cool compared to crusty old cassette tapes.
1987: This was the year of getting to go on my first film set. I was cast as Tom the Vicar’s son in a film called The Girl in a Swing and was on set for about three days. I’ve still never seen the film the whole way through but my parents said I didn’t make it into the final cut and that the film is full of filthy sex scenes and nudity. Bad start to my acting career but it opened my eyes to the wonder of filmmaking. Predator and Robocop were released.
1988: Die Hard released. I vividly remember being with my Mum in a shopping centre and walking along behind a couple of guys and one guy was telling the other about the scene where John McClane wraps the fire hose around his waist and jumps off the top of the exploding building. I was seven years old and I couldn’t wait to see it.
1989: My Dad took me to see Back to the Future Part 2 this year and I bloody loved it. My Dad fell asleep and said he found it too confusing. I also remember seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Ghostbusters 2 in cinemas so my love of film was definitely kicking in. I was too young for Batman apparently. And on a cruise ship to Denmark, my older sisters got to see The War of the Roses (which I only wanted to see because it was rated 15) while I was stuck with seeing All Dogs Go to Heaven with my Mum.
1990: The year of Home Alone. This film instantly became my new favourite. I saw it at least twice in the cinema. I desperately wanted to be Macaulay Culkin. I also saw Edward Scissorhands and rfememver having to pull myself together before the lights came on at the end so my sister wouldn’t see I’d been crying. At nine years old, I was also dribbling over everything Ninja Turtles (or Hero Turtles as they were called here in the UK) so the movie was a must-see in the cinema. Still love it. The Witches and Arachnophobia also warped my fragile little mind, giving me a fear of old women and spiders that, certainly in the latter case, has still not gone away. This year I saw my first 18 rated films: Robocop (the scene where Murphy is tortured and repeatedly shot was too much for me to watch), The Terminator (loved every second) and somebody gave me a copy of A Nightmare on Elm Street that was taped off the TV. My first proper horror scared me into having regular nightmares but again, I absolutely loved it. Also Moonwalker was released on VHS this year and I think this is probably the first film my Mum ever bought for me. She got sick of me wanting to rent it from the video store every week.
1991: I clearly remember people telling me about the film Silence of the Lambs that had a lampshade made out of skin in it. I’m not sure there actually is but I remember being told that. As my babysitter had rented Terminator for me, I was beyond desperate to see Terminator 2 in the cinema but it was a 15 so I couldn’t. I had to wait for my older sister and her friend to buy the video because they were both besotted with Edward Furlong. I was jealous of Macaulay Culkin for getting to be in My Girl where he had to do 17 takes of the kiss with Anna Chlumsky apparently. Bryan Adams was dominating the UK music charts with Everything I Do (I Do it For You) from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves sound track. I contributed to both the film and the single’s success by seeing the film in cinemas twice and buying the single on cassette tape. I also saw Rocketeer and TMNT2: The Secret of the Ooze in cinemas.
So that’s my movie life from birth to the age of ten. Coming soon: 1992-2001 the next 10 years of my movie life. If you like the idea, I hope you will all feel free to nick it and try it for yourself but please leave a link to little old I Love That Film!
And while you're here, what were your first experiences of the cinema?