The Goonies – 1985 – dir. Richard Donner
I’m a fairly serious film fan. Call me a cinephile, if you like, or go ahead and call me a film snob (I can take it.) I spout opinions and trivia like nobody’s business. I read heady, theory-based film criticism for fun. I get persnickety about aspect ratios. I can, on occasion, be a lot to take.
But before I was a cinephile, I was simply a movie lover, a kid who got high on the movies and gobbled them up voraciously, in whatever form I found them in. That often meant that they were formatted to fit my screen, and sometimes meant that they were unceremoniously censored; or interrupted by commercials; or jumpy and pixilated, subject to the dangers of broadcast television, the whims of the weather and the UHF signal. I was a child of the eighties and nineties, reared on videocassette tapes and the cinematic menus offered by local TV channels. (On WSBK 38 it was “The Movie Loft;” on WLVI 56 it was “Boston’s Big Screen.”) The effects of videocassettes and of TV broadcasts were similar: they lead to repetitive viewing patterns, and thus, fans who could quote their favorite films (and even some of their not-so-favorite films) at the drop of a hat. I grew up in a generation that didn’t just speak about movies; we actually spoke movie, exchanging remembered lines of dialogue in a kind of half-coded language. Movie lovers, like me, and like most everyone I remember growing up with, don’t just watch movies, or analyze movies, or judge them. They absorb them.