This is a loaded question. There are probably multiple incidents in my youth that I could point to and say, “Yeah, kid, you are a DORK.” However, when I was asked this question, one summer stands out in my mind, so I’ll go with that.
Let me take you back to Summer 1985. Hoover, AL. I was 11 years old. My father loved movies. He still does and he passed that love onto me. He was an early adopter for a VHS machine, so we were renting movies before most people knew you could. The first place we rented videos was in the back of a pool supply store. Yeah, you actually walked passed the giant debris nets and powdered chlorine to get to the 3 or 4 shelves of VHS tapes they had for rent. It was surreal and AMAZING to say the least. Anyway, my dad would also take my brother and I to the movies every chance he got. But that particular summer, two things happened that would forever alter my brain chemistry.
1. Back to the Future was released on July 4.
If you read my blog, you will know I have a seriously unhealthy obsession with Back to the Future. When it was released my dad actually checked me out of school early so we could go see one of the afternoon showings. IT. BLEW. MY. MIND. I loved it and for the first time in my life, I actually wanted to see a movie again, in the theater. IMMEDIATELY. Return of the Jedi was two years earlier. I was 8. I loved Return of the Jedi, but I didn’t really have the urge to see it again after I saw it the one time because I wasn’t at the stage yet where I realized watching the movie again would be just as awesome. I mean, I wound up going to see Return of the Jedi again, but with Back to the Future, I wanted to see it again. Right away. This leads directly into #2.
2. I-95, one of the local radio stations was running a promotion with Riverchase Cinemas (now the Carmike Riverchase 10) for I-95 Night. It occurred every Monday for the entire summer. Box Office admission was $1.95, sodas and popcorn were .99 each.
This, at the time, was cheaper than renting movies. So, every Monday for the entire summer my dad took my brother and I to the movies for I-95 Night. And guess what I saw nearly every time we went? Yep, Back to the Future. I swear I must have watched it nearly 12 times that summer. The majority of those viewings were without my dad as he just didn’t want to see it again. I can only think of one movie I saw that wasn’t Back to the Future, it was American Ninja. And my dad and I snuck into that movie after I watched Back to the Future. So, yes, I was a little obsessed. So with the release of the 11 year old mind altering movie Back to the Future and the ability to watch it over and over and over (ad infinitum) again turned me into a movie theater whore. From then on I would go to the movies every weekend. I digested movies like I did food. We started renting movies 6 at a time to catch up on things I’d never seen. That summer was a movie orgy and it continues until this day.
So, it was these two incidents, along with a father that also loves movies, that came together like a perfect storm of AWESOME to completely and totally turn me into a dorky, strange kid who watches more movies than is probably healthy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.