Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I recently read an article by Film Crit Hulk over at Badass Digest, a passion piece about Hulk’s love of cinema, that really struck a chord with me. Not only was it a smart and simple set-up for an article, I felt I knew more about the writer after reading it than I have after reading thousands of words of his reviews.
It was a completely non-cynical dedication to his passion: cinema.
And now I’m totally going to rip it off.
But I prefer to think of this more as a geek chain letter and I’m paying it forward. Having spoken with Film Crit Hulk about it, he seemed to be excited by the carry-the-torch aspect of his piece. I’d love it if this spread around the net with movie writers of all shapes and sizes contributing their reasons for loving cinema. I'd also love it if it inspired talkbackers below to show what they love about this particular crazy artform we spend so much time obsessing over.
I hope that after 16 years of typing words for this website a great many of you have a feel for who I am, but if you don’t I think this will give you a very clear impression of my taste of films, what turns me on about movies and what really inspires me.
There was very little re-arranging and editing that went into this, so you’ll see a more or less pure stream of consciousness with these answers to one very simple question:
Why do I love movies?
Because my first memory is of coffins rising up out of the ground thanks to Poltergeist (sorry Mom).
Because of Robert Shaw in Jaws, naturally.
Because of Nick, Nora and Asta.
Because they named the dog Indiana.
Because of every word Preston Sturges ever wrote.
Because of the desperation in Peter Lorre’s voice when he pleads for “Reeek” to save him in Casablanca.
Because of Errol Flynn’s laugh in The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Because of Tim Curry’s legs in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Because of Ricardo Montalban’s chest in Wrath of Khan.
Because of Christopher Lee’s blood-red eyes in the Hammer Dracula films.
Because Stand By Me taught me about growing up when I needed it to.
Because it’s all in the reflexes.
Because of the Ferris Wheel scene in The Third Man.
Because of the way gunshots sound in spaghetti westerns.
Because of that gorgeously haunting shot of Shelley Winters in Night of the Hunter (you know the one).
Because of the crites.
Because A Hard Day’s Night captured the personalities of every member of my favorite band as perfectly as any documentary could… even though it isn’t a documentary.
Because Paradise Lost saved an innocent life.
Because even though I don’t want to admit it that Ewok death in Return of the Jedi still makes me tear up.
Because of that dangly bit of flesh on Jack’s neck An American Werewolf in London.
Because wolf man’s got nards.
Because even if a man is pure at heart and says his prayers by night he may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.
Because of R.P. motherfuckin’ McMurphy.
Because of every note Ennio Morricone ever scored for Sergio Leone.
Because Large Marge terrified me as a child (okay, and kind of as an adult, too).
Because of Gene Wilder in general, but specifically for Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka the crazy, rich, fun as hell father figure we all wanted.
Because my grandmother sent me money specifically so I could go see her favorite movie when it was re-released in the ‘80s. That was Song of the South and it was before Disney refused to acknowledge it existed.
Because of the friendship between Eliot and Pete.
Because of Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent in Mary Poppins.
Because of the way John Travolta dances in Saturday Night Fever.
Because of the way Robert Hayes dances like John Travolta dances in Saturday Night Fever in Airplane!
Because of the way Jessica Harper dances in Phantom of the Paradise.
Because of the way Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced together.
Because of the way Gene Kelly dances in everything.
Because of Crispin Glover’s line delivery in Back to the Future.
Because of Crispin Glover period.
Because “I love you.” “I know.”
Because love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Because I love lamp.
Because people still screamed in the theater when they re-released The Exorcist in 2000.
Because seeing a pristine 70mm print of Lawrence of Arabia at the Cineramadome in LA felt like going to movie-church.
Because of Alan Rickman in Die Hard.
Because that rug really tied the room together, did it not?
Because of the opening of Lost In Translation.
Because of the ending of Sleepaway Camp.
Because of the chase scene in The French Connection.
Because of the bridge scene in Sorcerer.
Because of the moment Jeff Daniels steps off of the screen in The Purple Rose of Cairo.
Because of the little girl in the red coat in Schindler’s List.
Because of MacReady’s huge, unexplained hat.
Because of every second of Nic Cage in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
Because of that moment when Clark Kent turned into Superman and then back to Clark Kent again with nothing but a subtle shift in body language from Christopher Reeve.
Because if it wasn’t for Superman: The Movie I’d likely not exist (first date movie for my parents).
Because of the moment Wizard of Oz goes color.
Because I don’t care that nobody’s speaking with a Russian accent in Enemy At The Gates.
Because the Phoebe Cates pool scene in Fast Times At Ridgemont High kick-started my puberty.
Because hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
Because I fight for the users.
Because a Derrick never runs.
Because your mother ate my dog.
Because of the precious.
Because of The Big Chill soundtrack.
Because of the Tiny Dancer moment in Almost Famous.
Because Moulin Rouge gave me the courage to spill my heart to the girl I was in love with, even if it didn’t work out.
Because of Keifer Sutherland’s haircut in The Lost Boys.
Because of the twist in Gambit.
Because of Clint Mansell’s Lux Aeterna.
Because of every Busby Berkeley musical number.
Because of Jack Palance in Panic in the Streets.
Because of the way the BNAT audience for Rocky Balboa cheered and roared through the fight scenes so loudly that for brief moments I forgot I was watching a movie and really thought I was watching a live fight.
Because of grandpa’s speech in Silent Night, Deadly Night.
Because of Crazy Ralph.
Because of Atticus Finch.
Because of Attica! Attica!
Because of the cameos in the Muppet movies.
Because of Jack Starrett.
Because of Jack Cardiff’s photography in Black Narcissus
Because in space no one can hear you scream.
Because you can see Willis O’Brien’s fingerprints on Kong. Literally.
Because of Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate.
Because of Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio.
Because of M. Emmet Walsh’s hand in Blood Simple.
Because of the Danny Boy scene in Miller’s Crossing.
Because of the overflowing toilet in The Conversation.
Because of that great mine cart light reveal of the pissed off Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom.
Because of the Hare Krishna zombie in Dawn of the Dead.
Because of Donald O'Connor in Singin’ In the Rain.
Because of the usage of Singin’ In the Rain in A Clockwork Orange.
Because of how gloriously out of tune Shelley Duvall is in Popeye.
Because of how Shelley Duvall’s out of tune Popeye song was fit into Punchdrunk Love and became something else entirely.
Because when I heard DTS for the time on Jurassic Park my ears smiled.
Because I can remember my first viewing of Jurassic Park as vividly as anything in my memory.
Because of the silver spheres in Phantasm.
Because of Reggie’s quad-barrel shotgun in Phantasm II.
Because of the feral kid in The Road Warrior.
Because of the line “Send more cops” in Return of the Living Dead.
Because of the meaningful, bonding conversations that can be held between movie geeks using only movie quotes.
Because of the emotional gut-punch that is the end of Irreversible.
Because of Jackie Chan in Drunken Master and Drunken Master II.
Because of Saddam Hussein in South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.
Because Murder By Death taught me to use my goddamn pronouns!
Because Steve Martin was born a poor black child.
Because of Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.
Because of James Cagney in The Public Enemy.
Because of Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein.
Because of Boris Karloff in Frankenstein.
Because “we belong dead.”
Because of Frank Booth.
Because of Frank the Rabbit.
Because of the amazing poster art we’ve gotten from artists like Drew Struzan, John Alvin and Richard Amsel.
Because this house is clean.
Because I am the motherfuckin’ shore patrol, motherfucker!
Because of every second of Harold & Maude.
Because I love introducing people to Audition by telling them it’s a romantic comedy.
Because of the hammer attack hallway scene in Oldboy.
Because of every frame of The Seven Samurai.
Because of the arrow in the neck in Throne of Blood.
Because of Isaac Hayes in Truck Turner.
Because I wanted my own Falcor, goddamnit.
Because The General is still funnier than every comedy released today.
Because of Dick Miller.
Because of Christopher Walken’s speech in Pulp Fiction.
Because of the train fight between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love.
Because of the way the hallway bulges when Neo flexes, realizing his power in The Matrix.
Because of Mozart’s laugh in Amadeus.
Because of the end of The Wild Bunch.
Because Lee Marvin hits a dude with a live chicken in Emperor of the North.
Because of Alice Cooper in Prince of Darkness.
Because of PJ Soles in Rock and Roll High School.
Because of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters.
Because of how your heart breaks for John Candy during his “I like me” speech in Planes, Trains and Automobiles because you kind of enjoyed watching Steve Martin rip into him and now you feel just as guilty as Martin does.
Because when Don’t You Forget About Me plays in public you know every single man, woman and child is thinking about The Breakfast Club.
Because no more yanky my wanky! The Donger need food!
Because of Matthew Broderick in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Because you’ll shoot your eye out, kid.
Because of Olivia Hussey in Black Christmas. Good God, y’all!
Because if I hear two notes from the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theme song it gets stuck in my head for a week.
Because Takashi Kitano answers his cell phone at the end of Battle Royale.
Because of the trailer for Psycho.
Because of the trailer for Dolemite.
Because of the teaser trailer for The Shining.
Because of the fake trailer for The Shining.
Because of Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead films.
Because when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
Because of the midget-as-baby gangster in The Unholy Three.
Because Caesar was a salad dressing dude.
Because the One Of Us chant from Freaks is still used by geeks across the world when recognizing fellow geeks.
Because of Marion Ravenwood.
Because of Jessica Rabbit.
Because of Harvey.
Because of Dustin Hoffman’s arc in Straw Dogs.
Because no matter which state in the US you live in, the OUTATIME vanity license plate is already taken.
Because of the Mexican stand-off in Reservoir Dogs.
Because I can’t play one poker game without someone doing a John Malkovich impression. “I splash zee pot!”
Because of De Palma’s use of split screen.
Because of the animation in The Wall.
Because of Pam Grier’s afro.
Because there’s still a slight glimmer of hope in the heart of every ‘80s kid that we will eventually get the promised sequels to Buckaroo Banzai, Masters of the Universe and Spaceballs.
Because of Roddy McDowall’s scream in The Legend of Hell House.
Because of Oliver Reed in everything.
Because of what the Friday the 13th movie series meant to prepubescent boys growing up; a semi-forbidden look at gore and nudity that made childhood sleepovers epic.
Because of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in the same frame together.
Because of Bogey and Bacall.
Because of Shaun and Ed.
Because of Abbott and Costello.
Because of Leon and Matilda.
Because of the Past Lives Pavilion scene in Defending Your Life.
Because of Gene Tierney in Laura.
Because of the sheer metal on metal carnage of The Blues Brothers.
Because of the lenses Kubrick used on Barry Lyndon.
Because of Lincoln Kilapatrick in whiteface in The Omega Man.
Because of The Red Balloon.
Because of the way Django carries around his guns.
Because of Val Kilmer in Real Genius.
Because of Fraggle Stick Cars.
Because of Roller Girl.
Because of Rollerball (Caan, not Klein, naturally).
Because of every bit of narration uttered by Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption.
Because of the one-two punch of Godfather and Godfather II.
Because of Stephen King in Creepshow (“Meteor shit!”).
Because of Chauncey Gardner.
Because of Rob Bottin’s Darkness make-up.
Because a movie like Killer Klowns From Outer Space exists.
Because of John Wayne in True Grit.
Because of Jeff Bridges in True Grit.
Because of the last shot of Inside.
Because of Wheel of Fish.
Because I can’t feel my legs. I CAN’T FEEL MY LEGS!!!
Because of Charles Bronson in Once Upon A Time In The West.
Because one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen is Snoopy Come Home.
Because Das Boot made me have empathy for Nazis.
Because you’re so cool, Brewster!
Because of Sexual Chocolate! (drops mic)
And because of the million great references, actors, directors, moments and lines I forgot to include and the millions more I’ve yet to discover.
We’re all here in this particular place at this particular time because something in this artform has moved us and now we want to spend our days gathered around and bullshitting about it. Sometimes heatedly, sometimes intelligently, sometimes not-so-intelligently, sometimes for fun… but there’s something we all love about films and that love is universal. Everybody has a favorite movie.
So, that’s why I love movies. Why do you love movies?