I’ve watched some 80,000 movies in my life. That’s 10,000—each eight times. I’ve been to city movie theaters with padded seats and fine red carpeting, mall theaters with gum on the floor, and vintage drive-ins with crackling speakers.
Many films have run right in the comfort of my living room—on television, video, DVD, or via the magic of my personal computer. Snippets of all these films remain with me, spinning around my head decades later. It’s system overload. Who was that masked man? I haven’t a clue.
Watch out, this is where the bad guy shoots his boss. I’ve seen this before. Wait, he’s got a gun in his jacket. Oh, maybe that was a different film with Rex Harrison. Or was it George Harrison? Help. After the next curve, the schoolmarm springs from the train. Oops. Nobody jumped. Wrong blockbuster again?
I love Bette Davis, but can’t tell you the name of any of her films. I am Hollywood-challenged. I can’t tell you the birth year of James Cagney, the birthplace of Doris Day, or the marital status of Meg Ryan. Clint Eastwood has how many Oscars? Not only can’t I name Liz Taylor’s husbands, I’m not even savvy about which Bond, James Bond came first. My movie data has been stirred, not shaken.
Ronald Reagan, now there’s a name that’s a blast from the past. But I can’t recall a single title of his movies. I can’t name that tune. I have my Cabaret mixed up with How the West Was Won. Or maybe it was West Side Story. There’s not a clear scene in my head, being so un-Beverly Hills. I remain completely unaware what a gaffer does, why a best boy is needed on the set. I can’t tell you which movie studios merged, which have gone bankrupt.
Bollywood, Dollywood, Hollywood. Life is so confusing. Is there anyone out there willing to give me a crash course on the whole Spielberg spiel? Alas, I dream of conversing intelligently about the film industry someday. It seems unlikely. Thanks to movies, I have a fear of sharks, not to mention attics in Victorian mansions and any basement stairs. Day or night, a killer always lurks. You can feel it in the music. It’s just a wild guess, but their boat is going to sink, and birds will swarm in out of nowhere and attack the town. The butler did it. The clock is ticking, no, I think it could be a bomb. Call the cops, alert the press.
Where are we in this scene, Paris or Rome? If this is Tuesday, it must be Baltimore. Somebody just robbed the bank. See the dust, the posse’s coming round the bend. Again I ask, who’s that guy in the mask?
Oh, where’s Leonard Maltin when you need him?