Why HT? Reminisce about your Pivotal Movie Moment

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Clay D. Major, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Clay D. Major

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    Hey gang,

    I wanted to throw this subject out there because I'm curious -- given the vast range of ages, incomes, tastes and talents gathered here on the HTF -- how we all got Hooked on this thing we do, which at its heart is simply a quest to reproduce, as faithfully as possible, the experience of watching films in a 'real' theater. It's strange to think that some of us here may never have known a time before multiplexes and malls, where single-screen theaters meant lines around the block and packed houses every Friday night, no matter what was playing. That some of here, possibly, can recall a time when -- for the cost of a nickle -- you could sit through a newsreel, half a dozen cartoons and a double feature while the country wandered helplessly through the Depression outside the cinema doors.

    So I want to ask you, What started it all? What is your favorite memory of The Movies? What film changed your life, let you bond with a parent, helped you light up a child's day or got you through a dark time in your life?

    Where did This Thing We Do all start? I think we'll all enjoy hearing our stories.

    Take care,

    -cdm
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Let's try this discussion here in the Movies area.
     
  3. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Producer

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    I remember being able to get into our local theater just by having six corks from soda bottles glued to a door hanger. This was the mid-sixties. My brother and I would be allowed to go to the movies every Saturday where we saw three films between Noon and 6PM. They were generally Vincent Price/Roger Corman horror films along with a weekly dose of Hells Angels motorcycle movies. Other weeks it was Christopher Lee as Dracula or Rasputin and westerns. This was the place where we met our friends from school and were able to be "grown ups" for 6 hours every Saturday. Great times and many great movies.

    As a family, we visited our local drive in every time there was a new Disney release. My Uncle and Aunt owned the land the drive-in was located on and we got to go at least one Friday out of the month.

    As I became older, the movies became an ever present enticement to see things impossible living in a rural Kentucky community. My first big movie was the premiere of "The Poseidon Adventure" right around christmas time. I was amazed at the intimacy of the twin cinema and how caught up I was in the passengers struggle to survive.

    The power to fully pull me into a movie came with the release of "Jaws" in 1975. I was running late and almost did not get a ticket as I stood in line for nearly an hour. I ended up sitting on the front row and nearly had an accident when the shark first appeared behind Brody[​IMG] . I have been hooked on movies all my life and am so glad I can now recreate that experience somewhat at home.

    I have already taught my son to love movies as I do and to always find ways to see movies in their original presentation. I love this hobby.[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    While the original "Star Wars" was fun for me, it was the first "Superman" film back in 1978 that got me completely hooked. Seeing the "S" hit on screen with the Superman theme was just an absolutely perfect moment for me.

    Flash forward to Christmas 1997. I was on the receiving end of a broken engagement (her doing), when I went to see "Titanic". We'd planned to see it together, but I wound up seeing it alone. The whole death-and-life theme of the film helped me deal with the catharsis of the end of the engagement. To this day I've not been able to watch the film a second time. I've seen bits and pieces on HBO and NBC, I've seen clips on my VHS copies of the film, but added all up together doesn't even make for a complete second time I've seen it. Go figure.
     
  5. Kami

    Kami Screenwriter

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    I'm a youngin, barely 22 years old so my experience will be a lot different from most here. My first "wow" moment was Jurassic Park. Saw it in the theaters countless times and I wore out my VHS tape of it.

    As for movies that literally changed my life, Lord of the Rings. I've spent the last 5 years anticipating, talking about, and watching these movies. Not to mention spending all of my disposable income on stuff related to LOTR. I'll never love a movie as much as I love LOTR, but there's still plenty more to enjoy. [​IMG] I had already read the books so when I heard these movies were in production I went pretty crazy and haven't let up since. I don't know anyone personally with a love of LOTR like myself.

    Started buying DVDs in early '99, Got into HT more seriously in early 2001, and bought my first big screen TV (Toshiba 50h82) a year ago.
     
  6. RodneyT

    RodneyT Stunt Coordinator

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    for me, the first movie moment i had when i knew i just had to get into HT was Twister. I saw it five times at the cinema back back then, and at the time that was a record.

    The other film that made me appreciate DTS was Dragonheart. I was sitting in the back row of a pretty empty cinema, with a good mate of mine, and the bass levels we experienced that day were almost unbearable: and thats coming from a confirmed bass junkie. The pounding LFE was simply awesome, and i knew that at some point, i had to try and reconstruct that feeling at home.

    So I did.

    My first widescreen purchase was a letterbox copy of Speed on VHS. After that, i never went full screen again. My first DVD purchase's were Twister (of course) Anaconda (sorry about that) and Wild Things.

    If it wasnt for Dragonhearts exemplary surround mix, and Twisters as well, i would probably not have been all that interested in movies, or Home Theatre at all..... thankfully, I am!
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    In more or less chronological order:

    I was both too scared to watch and too hooked to leave when I first saw Bambi. It drove my mother crazy. This still stands out in my memory even though I was only about five at the time. Still a favorite.

    Saturday matinees—usually a Western, preceded by a serial (often Buck Rogers) and a cartoon. Sometimes you got a double-feature.

    The first time I saw Beauty and the Beast—our teacher took the class. I was too young to know that I was seeing a film by a leading French artist. I just thought it was a magical fairytale. . Still a favorite—and probably why I don’t much care for the Disney version.

    The first time I realized that a movie could be more than just the story was the first time I saw Stalag 17. I was probably about twelve at the time. Still a favorite.

    Seeing the French New Wave when it hit the States.

    Went to see Wild Strawberries and The Virgin Spring right after the release of the later on a first date. She was not impressed.

    Going to a triple feature: The General, The Sky Above, the Mud Below and Seven Samurai in Japan. I had to get my girlfriend to translate, as my Japanese was mostly non-existent. A great experience, even so.

    And on and on…
     
  8. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    My first memorable movie experience was at the Senator theater in Baltimore. Since I grew up in the country, going to a movie was a rare treat (1-2 a year). In 1989, one of my friends invited me to go see Empire of the Sun with his family. The scene where the American planes strafe the Japanese airfield was my first surround sound experience and it blew me away.

    The next major moment was watching a double feature of 'The Killer' and 'Hard Boiled' (re-released). I realized then that there could be some pretty incredible films made outside of Hollywood. I'm still a bit of a film neophyte but I continue to enjoy exploring other non-Hollywood films.

    The first Home Theater 'wow' experience was watching portions of Terminator 2 and Twister on a Meridian digital HT system w. a big Runco CRT PJ. Impressive to say the least...
     
  9. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I think my love of film stemmed from watching films on TV with my dad more than the theater. I loved watching his old war movies and westerns.

    I also loved films like Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and Rollerball when they hit TV and they made very big impressions on me.

    I can't really remember what the first film I saw was, though I do remember seeing the surround screen thing at Disneyworld, some 10 or so projectors in the center of the room showing a film all around you in a round room.

    Of course I remember Star Wars and especially CE3K. I don't remember if I got to see Jaws, I do remember reading the book and I think it was because I wasn't allowed to see the film at the time which makes sense (I would have been 7).

    Home Theater became a thing when my roommate got an LD player around 91 or so. Hard to believe a 27" TV, Pro-Logic and LD was a home theater, but then again this was a time when MTV on your stereo was still new. The advances in integrating stereo systems with TV/video in the last 15 years are incredible, nevermind the latest wave of flat displays including front projection.

    But a nice, loud Pro-Logic version of T2 was plenty to get the home theater blood pumping and the LD rentals rolled along pretty briskly for us.


    When I got my first front projector in 2000 I really felt like I had stepped fully into home theater myself. Hard to believe that's already 4 years ago and that my first DVD player is 7 years old now. Still seems new to me.
     
  10. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    What else, STAR WARS! For my generation (now in their 30s) this almost always seems the seminal movie.

    But for HT, that's a mixed bag. I've bought a fair number of VHS releases in the early to mid 90s (widescreen when available), but watching them on a regular 25 or 29" TV with mono or at best stereo tracks hardly seems to qualify as HT.

    The next "development" would really be getting into DVDs -- I more-or-less bypassed the LD era, mainly because it was too expensive and I was still a student then. Also, the perceived benefits weren't really there -- TVs were still small, stereo is, well, just stereo.

    For me the "killer app" DVD was The Matrix. Even then, I started modestly, getting a DVD-ROM kit and thereafter watching DVDs on the PC. It wasn't until I saw a demo of Saving Private Ryan on a modest HTiB set that I finally jumped in whole-hog.

    Now, with a nice audio setup, the trusty Wega 29" 4:3 is just a little too small...

    It never ends, does it? [​IMG]
     
  11. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Well, I don't have an HT yet, and it was a friend who referred me to this site, so I'll talk about why I switched to widescreen instead.

    Can everybody say Star Wars? [​IMG]

    I always thought it was a little odd that the opening crawls in the original trilogy on VHS weren't fully visible when they first appeared on the screen, but that was my only problem with the pan-and-scan version until I saw Star Wars in the theater. As soon as I saw the opening crawl in OAR, I knew what I was missing out on, and so I bought the widescreen version of the SE trilogy when it came out. I plan on getting the original trilogy in OAR from eBay soon.

    My first HT experience was at my cousin's apartment back in 1996 or so. He popped in Jumanji in his laserdisc player and we watched it on a nice, big screen (probably 60" or so) with 5.1 surround. I wasn't blown away at the time, but it was nice to experience a film like that at "home." He was going to show me and my sister Star Wars too, but it was bedtime by the time we got the movie started, so I only saw the first few minutes. [​IMG]
     
  12. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    I was a kid in the late 70s so Star Wars was, of course, a big event. But, as much as I liked those movies, I was much more interested in the accompanying toys than the actual films themselves.

    The first movie experience that really nailed me was seeing Alien when I was in the sixth grade. My parents thought it was a Star Wars type film and took me and my younger cousin to see it. I spent most of the time with my hands covering my face trying hard not to scream in terror while my cousin cowered on the floor weeping amidst all the spilled popcorn and soda.

    That was the first time I ever had a really visceral reaction to a movie and I loved the feeling. Plus, it provided me with a lifetime of quality taunting material against my cousin. To this day I still drop the line "In space no one can hear you scream" when I see him. He may be an Army Ranger but dang if you can't see the subtle twitch in his eye when the subject comes up.
     
  13. Robert Todd

    Robert Todd Agent

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    As a child, I had a neighbor whose grandson would visit over the summer.The old lady ran the concession at one of the local cinemas, and her grandson and I could watch all the movies we liked throughout the summer. One weekend, we
    went to see 2001. This was 1968, and I was 10 years old. This film had a more profound effect on me than anything I had or ever would see in the cinema. At the end of the movie, when the alien monolith/swiss army knife turned into
    a stargate and the psychedelic visuals began, my mind was blown. I thought about this film for not weeks, but months
    afterward. I was convinced that the portrayal of our future
    space efforts was not only realistic, but plausible. How disappointed I was after Apollo. This is the only film I have ever seen which portrays a very advanced civilization's capabilities in anything other than a cartoonish fashion, and it had a universal effect on every subsequent sci-fi film. I have also been disappointed in the relative lack of ambition, and fluffy subject matter in more recent sci-fi efforts. Hollywood in my opinion UNDERESTIMATES the intelligence of the audience for this genre, and there are wonderful novels which could be translated into equally moving and visionary films. When will someone make one???
     
  14. Stephen Orr

    Stephen Orr Screenwriter

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    Ray Harryhausen movies and King Kong. Nuf said.

    BTW, my first home theater experiment was in the early 70's when I hooked up car speakers to a sound Super 8mm projector.....
     
  15. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    For me there were two pivotal moments...

    1977 in a theatre watching Star Wars when it first came out. This made a big impression on me as a 13 year old.

    1994 when I just purchased a hi-fi stereo vcr and bought my very first vhs tape (Jurassic Park). Up until that time, I used to copy films I liked on my old mono vcr with plenty of tape hiss. So hooking up this new vcr to my Sony stereo receiver was a huge jump in audio quality. This was the moment that got me involved in home theatre. I remember right before all this seeing demos of Terminator 2 on laserdisk. The only problem is that it was out of my pricerange but it did leave somewhat of an impression on me.

    Of course, the arrival of dvd in 1997 really was a major point in time.
     
  16. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Well, as I'm still under 30, I had a different series of events that really made their mark on me. I wasn't able to see Star Wars on the big screen (I think the only one I did was Return of the Jedi), but there are a number of indelible moments for me.

    I recall Conan the Barbarian to be the first 'R'-rated movie that I recall seeing in the theater. As an interesting comment on our culture, I considered that to be the first sign of maturity, that my mother considered me able to see an 'R' movie. I recall it with no small amount of pride that she believed I could handle the violence and sex but also that she was involved enough to make that decision with me (as a hard working single mom, she did an outstanding job in raising me and being a part of my formative growth).

    I recall seeing Die Hard and being, for the first time, truly impressed with the craft of a movie. Not so much in exceptional dialogue, but that it had such thrilling pace, excellent polish, fun and memorable characters, and epic scale. Everything about it felt fresh and inventive, from the smart bad guy that I could want to win and a hero whose improvised plans didn't always work out. I think it was there that I started to really look at the craft of movies more objectively, action films and otherwise.

    The mid eighties just opened my young eyes towards the imaginative worlds that were being realized onscreen. The Goonies, Brazil, Buckaroo Banzai, Aliens, Big Trouble in Little China, and Ghostbusters all stood as high water marks for me at the time.

    As with many, Jurassic Park stood as the eye opening special effects movie. The first time something on screen was undeniably real. To this day, and even despite the sequels best efforts, no other film has managed to capture that absolutely perfect implementation of a creature without me being aware of the technology behind it. Even now, I can watch it without the 'strings' being apparent.

    Heavenly Creatures stands as one of the first times I sought out a hard to find art film. It was due, in no small part, to the apparent disturbing nature of the ending. But I found inside a level of storytelling craft that kicked off a whole string of active film discovery.

    Macross: Do You Remember Love (at the time, just Macross), first introduced me to Anime. Outstanding animation and fascinating and unconventional plotting had me hooked.

    Mysterious Island and The Day the Earth Stood Still hold the honor of making me recognize the quality of home theater, as they were the first laserdiscs that I was exposed to. Too late in the game and too expensive for my budget, the dream of matching their quality and the access to intriguing special features would make me jump head first into DVD.

    Finally, I can thank Killer Bee movies (namely The Swarm) for getting me into video collection. A desire to see someone running while on fire and surrounded by bees got me to buy my first VHS tape for collectors purposes. I went pretty far on the VHS jag until picking up a DVD player in 1999 along with The Alien Legacy and Heat.
     
  17. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    I will have to echo Kami on LOTR. Why do I have a projector, sound system, etc that make up a HT?


    Fellowship.

    That's why. That's what started my actually spending money on HT. Fellowship on a 27" was not big enough (4:3 content was fine). I'd been considering a real HT but I'd never heard/been in one (the only one I heard had crappy little Bose-like cube speakers, old 2-head VCR, not impressive). I saw Fellowship 5 times, I think. I never repeat see movies (except I've been considering a repeat view of Eternal Sunshine...)

    Toss in Babylon 5 in widescreen, maybe, too, as being a large force, although the image was bigger that Fellowship's 2.35:1 widescreen.

    Couldn't see getting a big display without surround sound first.

    About $2k later...

    I mainly watch anime TV series on the projector, honestly. But I fired up a certain LOTR movie the other day and it was VERY VERY spiffy. [​IMG]


    But, mainly, Fellowship. Oh yeah, and some other movies, and videogames, and anime. [​IMG]
     
  18. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    What got me into HT "officially", meaning, the movie that made me decide I was fated to spend most of my disposable income on HT gear, was The Phantom Menace (laugh and die, you bastards [​IMG])

    Basically, it was such an audiovisual tour de force that I knew right then and there, that my puny TV would never in a million years do it justice when it came out on DVD. So, I started researching the then-hot LCD projectors. Someone told me to forget about LCD and look into DLP, CRT, or LCOS... Given how broke I was at the time, I just sat on this knowledge. Then along came the LOTR trilogy, and that sealed it. I discovered the HTF thanks to one of the mods at Tolkien Online, that mentioned it in passing, and the rest is history.

    I'm about to fiiiinally purchase my first projector, which will hopefully be coupled with a 10-12 foot wide screen, just in time for the arrival of SW on DVD. w00t! [​IMG]

    Edited to remove my many typos. I swear I'm not drunk :b
     
  19. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Two moments..

    Our grandmother took all of the kids out to the flicks, we went to go see "Fox & The Hound" On the way to the theater, one of my cousins slammed the car door on my hand, breaking two of my fingers. Rather then turn around and go home, I sat in the theater with my hand wrapped in an ice pack until I saw a doctor the next day because of the swelling. [​IMG]

    The other event also wouldn't happen again; an Aunt took us to the theater, we were a bit older, and she thought as a good pre-teen flick, we'd go see "Coal Minor's Daughter" (not a good flick for that age).. my aunt was rather.. eccentric.. still is. Noting that she disliked what theaters charged for extras (and realize, this is when Popcorn was 50 cents) she popped a garbage bag full (LITERALLY!) in her new at-home "air popper" (does anyone else remember these, you filled a slot in the back with kernels, and the kernels, when popped, would blow up and out of the nozzle?) We took a black garbage bag filled with popcorn to the theater. The theater owner told her she couldn't go in.. she looked at him and said "damnit, I just bought four tickets. And my popcorn is better then yours. Who are you to deprive children of food?" He let us go.. inside the theater, other movie goers came over and "refilled" popcorn from her, or borrowed from us.. I can't even imagine doing anything like that now.. I can't imagine doing it then, but it happened. Still one of those moments that made me really love the theater..

    (my joy for the theater was almost broken though, when as a newspaper boy, I was given movie theater tickets as bonuses in years, and received tickets for both "Howard The Duck" and the next time the paper offered tickets, I think a few years later, "Johny Neumonic" [​IMG]
     

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