For the last couple of weeks, the film industry has been in the spotlight with the Golden Globes, People's Choice, Screen Actors Guild and the Film Critics Award shows on TV, and I've sat through all of them. Naturally, I am looking forward to the Academy Awards (on March 2) as well.
For me, the Oscars is like the film equivalent of the Super Bowl. I know what snacks we're going to have. I know I'm not answering the phone. And the older I get, the more I know that by the next morning, I will not remember who or what film won, but I will remember that I did enjoy the hours I spent watching the winners say thank you.
Of course, the Academy Awards really start hours earlier as the "pre-game" red carpet TV shows begin airing in the mid-afternoon. That's when you can see all the famous actors stop for incredibly awkward interviews by quasi-celebrities whose basic interview skills include the ability to ask if the actors are excited, who loaned them their jewelry and, of course, the most important question, "Who are you wearing?"
Just for the record, at this point, I'm wearing my jammies.
I love watching the actresses, many of whom sport hairdos that make them look like they just rolled out of bed, wearing gowns that cost more than my house, smile patiently and look longingly to the end of the red carpet, somewhat like the end of the yellow brick road, that will lead them away from the maddening crowds.
I love historical movies. I love foreign films. I love documentaries. I think Netflix is the best thing ever invented. I think movies are truly a universal language.
I cry at the same point every time I watch "Terms of Endearment." As a kid in 1962, I went with my parents to see "Gigot" with Jackie Gleason, where he played a very sweet, deaf and dumb peasant very similar to his television's Poor Soul. I cried so hard my parents actually got up and moved a couple of rows away from me. That movie gets to me even now.
I think our favorite movies say something about us, just as our favorite books do. Some movies have become special markers in our life memories. I still remember standing in an incredibly long line in Michigan City to see the "Exorcist" for the first time.
I remember the tradition of watching "Going My Way" with my Dad on Christmas night. I delighted in my own daughters' reactions the first time they watched "The Wizard of Oz." I cherished the New Years Eves when they'd run a Marx Brother movie marathon, and I even remember calling off sick from work 35 years ago (before the invention of VCRs) because Gene Kelly's "The Pirate" was finally going to be on TV in the morning.
One thing I've noticed, though, is that men, but not women, can quote movie dialogue word for word from their favorite movies. I admire that.
While I can't repeat dialogue, what I can do is remember the "reel" feelings that a good movie has given me.