Movies have always been a big deal to me; which I am sure you have realized since you are here. There is something about sitting in a theater, lights down, watching the screen flicker to life. It’s my happy place. Many years ago, I decided to go back and track exactly how many films I have seen in a theater. That list has been transferred to this blog. This page is the first section of that list.
Update: As a part of my “Old School Review” series, I am creating reviews for all of these older films. Look for the (Review) link to see my modern thoughts on these movies.
The 1st film I have seen in theaters…
I was 8 years old in August of 1987 and this was the first movie I saw in a theater. I applaud my parents for being respectful of other moviegoers and waiting until I was 8, and my brother 6, before unleashing us in a movie theater. I was a little shit and they knew it.
1: Masters of the Universe – My brother and I were MASSIVE He-Man fans back in the 80’s. This movie is odd in how well, and how badly, it has aged. Despite it’s bizarre take on He-Man I loved it. It was my first, and you never forget your first. It is the only movie I saw in the theater for 1987, and is therefore the Best and Worst of the year. (Review)
Yes, After being exposed to cinema, it was nearly 2 years until we went again. Now, we had a large VHS library and cable TV, so I did not suffer. In fact, I would say that my film exposure was FAR beyond what other kids got to see. These were the days I first saw Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Godfather, Caddyshack, and so many other R rated films. I am not sure why my parents took off the filter, but It definitely broadened my horizons. This new-found freedom did not carry over into the cinema as my theater experiences would remain kid friendly for a while.
2: Honey I Shrunk the Kids – I remember enjoying it. It was a cute movie. (Review)
3: Peter Pan – My mother dragged us to this one, a re-release of the Disney cartoon. A good movie, a classic even, but even today I would watch almost any of the other old Disney flicks before reaching for this. (Review)
Glaring omission: My parents did not take me to see THE MOVIE OF THE DECADE- Batman. I have no idea why. I saw it on VHS Christmas day 1989. It was the best movie of the year. (Review)
4: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – A defining movie for kids my age. In 1990, if you were 10, there was nothing on Earth cooler than the Ninja Turtles. (Review)
5: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II – Secret of the Ooze: NINJA, NINJA, RAP! This has not aged as well as the first film, mostly because it sucks balls, but I love it. Tokka and Rahzar were hilariously stupid substitutes for Bebop and Rocksteady. Every kid sang that Vanilla Ice song, though. (Review)
6: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – This one was powerful! The last film of the original Star Trek Crew! The trailer shocked me, in that the story could ever end. here it is, still gives me the weeps. (Review)
7: Hook – Bangarang! Rufio! Bizarre movie, but I have a soft spot for Mr Smee. Williams was a good choice for Pan. (Review)
8: Batman Returns – The first film was a true event picture, but this one was my favorite of the original series. Keaton was great, and had the best batsuit of the series in this film. Michelle Pfeiffer was sexy as hell for a 13 year old boy, too sexy even! Danny DeVito was born to play Penguin. Christopher Walken is always welcome. A Classic. (Review)
9: Home Alone 2 – It has charm, and I certainly laughed, but even I knew this was more of the same by this point. Yes, I was starting to develop TASTE. (Review)
This was the year I turned 14, started High School, watched X-Files, dated my first girlfriend, and began to grow up. My comic collecting began in earnest this year, once Superman kicked the bucket and Bane broke the Bat. This was a big year for me.
10: Jurassic Park – Blew my goddamned mind! This was probably my “Star Wars” moment in cinema, meaning that this was something I had never seen before; A similar experience to audiences seeing Star Wars in 1977. Those Dinosaurs were astounding. Still one of Spielberg’s top 5. (Review)
11: Son of the Pink Panther – This starred one of my new discoveries- Roberto Benigni. I first saw him in a VHS rental called “Johnny Stecchino”, and I was hooked. The guy is hilarious. He re he plays the son of Inspector Clouseau. It is notable as the last entry in the original series. I am happy to have seen this, the last, theaters. I love these movies, particularly Herbert Lom as Dreyfus. (Review)
12: Naked Gun 33 1/3 – The Final Insult: Funny funny movie. Leslie Neilsen’s Frank Drebin running amok at the Academy Awards. Fantastic. (Review)
13: Major League II – We enjoyed it, a lot, but it had none of the teeth of the original. The inclusion of JOBU made the movie though. (Review)
14: The Flinstones – This is remembered fondly by many, but it did nothing for me. John Goodman was made for this role though. (Review)
15: Star Trek Generations – The first film of the Next Generation, but also the Death of Captain Kirk! My first memory on this earth is pressing my nose against the TV as Captain Kirk fought the Gorn. Watching him die was devastating. First time I cried in a movie theater. (Review)
16: Batman Forever – This was a huge movie at the time which has taken a bit of a hit following the B&R fiasco. Jim Carrey was at the top of his game, and the insane style was somewhat fresh to 1995 viewers. (Review)
17: Ace Ventura 2 – That Rhino “birthing” scene still destroys me. One of funniest thing I’ve ever seen in a theater. (Review)
18: Goldeneye – Bond returns! Brosnan debuts! Best of the year. (Review)
This is an interesting year. I turned 17, lost my father, got my first job, and procured my driver’s license. I wonder what will happen when Superponte has wheels and money?
19: Black Sheep – Chris Farley and David Spade for the last time. It is a shame that these two couldn’t be making movies today. (Review)
20: Broken Arrow – I remember my pal and I having a hell of a time getting into this one. It was rated R. I was 16 and he was 17. They would not let me in! We traveled to another theater and walked in- no problem. Cannot remember one detail of the movie though, lol. Honestly! I think there was a missile in it? (Review)
21: Executive Decision – My friend was insistent that we see the new Steven Segal movie. I was never a huge fan, so imagine my surprise when he dies 15 or so minutes into the movie! Kurt Russell, who I really liked, takes over. He was pissed. I was elated. (Review)
22: Mission impossible – I loved this movie. Turning Phelps evil was genius. I will die on that hill. (Review)
23: The Phantom – SLAM EVIL!!! I don’t care what people say, I will always love this film. Another hill I will die on. lol. (Review)
24: The Rock – Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage battling Ed Harris on Alcatraz! Connery’s last great film. (Review)
25: Independence Day – I have not seen this in years, my wife despises it, but I enjoyed it on release. It was my birthday present. It is the quintessential 90’s movie. Huge, nonsensical, full of explosions. (Review)
26: The Frighteners – I don’t recall what brought me in to see this, but it was pretty good. Directed by LOTR Peter Jackson! (Review)
27: A Time to Kill – I remember the movie running long and we had to leave early. I did not see the ending until years later. Fantastic performances by all, especially Spacey. This is where I first became aware of him… unfortunately lol. (Review)
28: Kingpin – Still my favorite Farrelly Brothers film. It marked the unofficial start of Bill Murray’s ascension to godhood. (Review)
29: Joe’s Apartment – Not a good movie, but I remember it being the first MTV movie, which was a big deal in the day for a teenager. MTV still meant something in 1996. (Review)
30: Island of Dr Moreau – Yikes! So bad. I can still remember sitting in the theater, so confused by the mutant clone that was so expertly lampooned by South Park and Austin Powers. The making documentary is better than the movie. (Review)
31: Star Trek: First Contact – An amazing movie. The best from the TNG cast. I will never forget seeing this one in the theater. (Review)
32: Mars Attacks – This movie was pure Tim Burton insanity, and I love it. It’s hard to believe it got made. It’s like a fever dream.
33: Scream – This is the one that defined my generation’s horror. SCREAM! It literally saved and restarted the horror genre. It inspired many filmmakers to do the self-aware horror movie and elevated Kevin Williamson to Kevin Smith levels of esteem – high praise in 1996.
Well. Holy Crap 1996. Who could have guessed that Money + Car = MOVIES!
Lets recap the total movies seen in this, my first full decade of cinema.
- 1987-1995: 18 movies
- 1996-1996: 15 movies.
That’s right. By the end of 1996, 45% of my total movie attendance was in this one year.
Now that we have a larger body to work with, we can really delve into Best/Worst of each year.
Broken Arrow: I can’t even remember the damn thing, not one detail of the plot aside from Tavolta’s death. Worst by default. At least Island of Dr Moreau stayed with you. This is literally a void in my memory.
Scream: This was the defining film for me in 1996. It was almost Star Trek, but this one was special.
It was one of those movies that hit at just the right time, me being a senior in high school. Looking back, it also captures a time, and place, in my life: high school. They listened to my music, talked, and dressed, like my friends. This was a true touchstone for me. It also rekindled, and strengthened, my love of horror films. It wasn’t just me though. Aside from the sequels, this movie spawn a slew of teen horror movies. Most were pretty good too!
Part One of the list is done! The adventure continues as we finish off the 90’s: 1997-1999.