I watched the movie True Lies for the first time in years the other day, and I really enjoyed it. I mean, I really enjoyed it. I think I had a goofy semi-vacuous grin on my face the whole time I sat on the couch.
I’d watched the film countless times in my younger years, and it was, just as I remembered, a great piece of entertainment — even if I still had it memorized despite my advancing age. But I don’t think that was the real reason I sat watching it in wide-eyed happiness.
No. I sat there smiling because the movie was a memory. Many memories, in fact. Potent ones, of a powerful time in my life. As I watched the movie, it was like watching a younger me watching it: in my first apartment, in my house in Albuquerque, with missed friends, with sought-after girls, here, there … it was like a time-warping flood of movie-viewings. And it was wonderful.
Being the intellectual sort of fellow that I am, the experience got me thinking about the movies of my life. True Lies, after all, isn’t the only movie that has this kind of effect on me. In fact, when I started to make a list of memory-tapping movies, it turned out there were quite a few.
So over the next few weeks I’m going to share the movies of my life in chronological order. Note that these aren’t aesthetic choices. I’m not picking out the “best” movie of the given year. I might not even be picking out my favorite. What I am picking out is the movie that, for reasons I can or cannot explain, best acts as a key to the happy memories of my life (so you can forget Schindler’s List).
Okay. Technically I hadn’t been born yet in 1974, but this one’s going on the list just the same. It just might be the funniest movie ever made.
More than that, though, of all the movies in my life, precious few have held sway as deeply as this classic from Mel Brooks. As it is with many of the early films that’ll appear in these posts, it’s not an exaggeration to say that at any given moment any member of my family might make a passing reference to this flick. It’s like a secret code, this special little set of references that can instantly bring the flood of pleasant familial memories.
I totally tried to keep myself to a single YouTube clip for this movie, but it’s like an addiction. You can’t have just one.
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Return of the Pink Panther
All the Pink Panther films are gold in our family. So you can expect to see at least one more reference to these classics coming up. They’re just too profoundly awesome. It was very difficult not to somehow jump back and start my list in 1964 with A Shot in the Dark, but I figured I was already pushing it with 1974.
Anyway, here’s the brilliant “minkey” scene that introduces Inspector Clouseau in the 1975 film:
Lordy that’s good stuff. Peter Sellers was a staggering talent.