Small Screen Big Screen Childhood: Act Three

When it comes to the Oscars of 1990, I think I will always defend Dances With Wolves when it gets slapped about for not being the epic that warranted Kevin Costner and co winning on the big night. Remember, at that time I was transforming into someone who knew he wanted to avidly follow and help create the movies. I don’t think I fully grasped the politics of the Academy Awards then (but I soon would, yikes). I just wanted to enjoy movies. I wanted to be a screenwriter, which is quite apt as I was writing stories quite a bit when I was a kid. A lot for a kid I mean.


Significantly, my love for the movies took a huge leap around that time. My father took my brother and I to see Dances With Wolves. He had taken us to see a hundred movies or more over the years, but with this it was different. He had already seen it, very recently, but his enthusiasm for the movie was inspiring. He just loved it. He was humming the score by John Barry even before we got to the cinema. He could not get there quick enough. He was taking us to see this movie because he wanted everyone to see it. It just so happened he had two sons old enough to go see it with him, and perhaps even enjoy it. My father was the child here, he had seen this great movie and wanted to share that exhilarating cinematic experience. And he was excited. In truth, I can now say I know how my father felt. He was not just my father taking me to any old movie because that is what you do with your kids. He was showing me the movies. He was saying, this is a movie son, you simply have to see it. He was right. And I loved Dances With Wolves too. It swept across the vast screen before my very eyes. And the score by John Barry is timeless and perfect. I’ll hum it to my daughter when I force her to sit through it with me. I look forward to taking her to the cinema to start up her journey to the movies. Dances With Wolves, the movie and the music, stayed with me for a while. It is with me now. I listen to it and everything is okay. It brings tears to my eyes. I listened to it then and I was transforming emotionally to Barry’s music. It made me think, and feel. It formed a poignant part of the soundtrack to my adolescence, as I transcended from boy to teenager on the long road to manhood. A lover of movies all the way.

So maybe my mother was the TV parent and my father was the cinema parent. So obvious that seems now, even if not quite as black and white as that, but a really redeeming concept. I know I went to the cinema with my mother from time to time, but I don’t remember as vividly as when going with my father. Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut – I saw that with my mother. And how can I not mention before my sixteenth birthday how she took me on an all-day cinema visit. I saw Reservoir Dogs, Sister Act, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Single White Female. Three movies classified for people 18 years of age or over. Don’t tell on my mother for allowing me to watch movies. As for my father, taking his boys to the cinema was part of his role when he saw us once a week. To go do something worthy with that small period of time. Like going to see Rocky IV or Arachnophobia or Falling Down. At the cinema.


Something that deserves a whole write-up of its own is that my father remarried into a family that owned a small video shop. Oh, what a selection. We could grab a video, and go upstairs and watch it. A kid’s dream right there. There are wicked step-mothers in stories for children, then there are treasured step-mothers who let you watch any movie you like. A video shop is a toy shop you know. I remember when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came to video, and we watched it straight away. As a little boy I was proud to be one of the first to watch it on video. I had privileges, I was something special. Means nothing in the grand scheme of things now, but when you are a child it means a whole lot more. Its a big deal.

So thank you mother for allowing me to watch TV. Thank you father for taking us to the cinema so often. Things we take for granted. Things that just happen in life. We watch the television, and we go to the cinema. Dear parents, you played your part in my experiences, small screen and big screen. I would hazard a guess that you perhaps don’t even know how much you have inspired me, as an absolute movie nut today. A writer of movies that maybe one day will inspire others. And I love you for it.


Act One

Act Two
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