Monday, April 27, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Movies That Made Me (Part 1)

These are strange and troubling times for everybody, and I've been trying to keep motivated and actually do creative stuff, but getting my brain in gear and actually doing it is tricky when your mind is racing with the mild panic and paranoia of the world today.

Just trying to think about writing a roleplaying game when your brain is racing through every worry known, wondering what the point is producing a game or two for a world that's falling apart...

But I've been getting there. The writing is happening (albeit slowly) and I've been finding that doing these little blog posts every day - little flashes back to simpler times when you could go out without being so paranoid you feel like throwing up - have been helping to get my mind in the right place.

Each day I've been doing a post about media that has had a big impact on my life. It kinda started with a look at the music that shaped me, then tabletop roleplaying games, and I moved onto the TV shows that have had an impact. Most recently I've listed the fourteen comics that had the biggest influence on my life.

So I thought I'd keep going. It gets me motivated to start writing when I actually want to sleep for about three months and hope that when I wake it'll all be back to normal. What to do next? I've done TV, roleplaying games, music, and comics. I guess the obvious thing that is missing from the list is movies - I love movies. I have always loved movies, and they've been a constant and huge influence on my life from a very young age.

I was going to do fourteen - like the comics - so it would last two weeks. But movies have been such a major part of my life that I decided to do twenty.

There will be humour, horror, excitement and tears. Hope I don't bore you too much with my memories.



May as well start your movie going life with a big one! Not the first film I saw at the cinema, that would be Snow White from what I was told. I can't remember that at all, I was waaaay too young. I have a really vague memory of going to see The Three Musketeers (1973) - the version with Michael York and Oliver Reed. I must have only been about five or six at the time, but it was fun, and a cool day out with my parents.

But it was the next film that really stuck in my mind and really got me into movies in a big way. That was The Man With The Golden Gun. It was a bit of a weird one, as I have this memory of my parents not telling me where we were going. A trip to the cinema was a bit of a day out for us, as the nearest cinema was a good 45min drive away into the nearest city (and my dad really didn't like driving there much). I got into the car and they didn't tell me anything. We were getting close to the city and I asked where we were going, and I remember my dad saying we were going to see a particular glam rock artist who won't be named here (I didn't like him then, and he's since become a bit of a controversial figure). I was annoyed, upset and disappointed as you can imagine...

Luckily, it was all a ruse to keep me guessing and we were soon going into the old Cecil cinema for my first experience of a James Bond movie. Couldn't have asked for a better introduction, with the cool opening sequence in Saramanga's weird funhouse target range.

The whole thing was just great, especially when you think I must have been about six or seven (it wasn't busy so it must have been after the Christmas it was released, and into the following year). It had car chases, an insane car jump, guns, martial arts, tracking devices, and a face off at the end in that creepy funhouse target range again.

From then I was hooked. My mum was a big fan of Bond, and owned all of the novels (old Pan editions that I still have today), and she encouraged my fandom. We watched the movies when they were on TV, and we made another cinema trip in 1977 to go and see The Spy Who Loved Me. I have a distinct memory of us stopping at the toy shops on the way home from the cinema, my dad almost as enthusiastic as me, to try and get a Corgi Lotus Esprit that turned into a submarine. Of course, the toy shops were sold out, the car being immensely popular. I think my dad ended up buying me/us the Stromberg Jet Ranger helicopter helicopter that fired little missiles.

Anyway, that was the first big movie that shaped my life, making me a Bond fan from a very early age.

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