This initially started as an article about films that made an impact on me throughout my life, those important movie’s that either turn us into either a more obsessive fan of cinema at a younger age or set you off on a particular path of movie watching. But it sort of developed into an auto-biography told through movies…I was thinking of not putting it on the blog, as I ended up just writing it more for my own amusement eventually, putting all of these memories into words before i’m too old to remember them.
But here it is, I hope you find it somewhat entertaining and I encourage you to do the same, I found it a really fun experience.
Part 1: Caddy Shack, Jackie Chan & An Unexpected Bush Shot
If you’re reading this blog then it is most likely that, like me, film is a big part of your life. I’ve been on a steady diet of cinema for as long as I can remember, never really being one of those kids that would run down to the local park for a game of five-a-side all that often, no, you could usually find me sat about two foot from the TV, bad posture in effect, watching something like ‘Commando’…
If fact ‘Commando’ is one of the first movies I remember watching over and over again…I was about five. You might think it’s irresponsible for a five year olds parents to allow this to happen, hell, even at the time I must’ve thought it was weird because I do remember asking my dad for permission every time I wanted to watch it. But they were never really bothered by action movies, like me now they probably just thought “It’s not ‘violence’, it’s action” (And yes, there is a difference). They did however rightfully draw the line at sex or plentiful nudity in movies like most parents, in fact this is one of the reasons I used to ask for permission to watch ‘Commando‘, due to the scene where Arnie is causing a ruckus with Bill Duke and a rather full chested lady pops up from underneath a duvet. I really did used to enjoy that scene rather a lot.
This wasn’t the reason I always wanted to watch it by the way, I just loved the action. I can’t count how many times I used to act out the classic “kitting up” scene towards the end with my own arsenal of toy guns. But tits, were the reason I went through a ‘Caddy Shack’ phase (as well as the awesome Gopher…obviously). I can’t quite remember the context of the scene now, but I do remember there being some tits on display for a lengthy period of time. So, now and then, I’d excuse myself and say “I’m going to go and watch Caddy Shack”, pop into the back room, watch that scene a few times and be back watching Des O’Connor or something with my folks ten minutes later, I’m surprised they didn’t think I had ADD.
But yes, as I was saying, action movies were fine, sex and nudity was a bit of a no-no. I remember the first time I watched ‘The Protector’, I must’ve been about 7 and it came to the nude massage scene which contains a bit of full frontal female nudity…So, in effect, the first time I ever saw a vagina was thanks to James Glickenhaus’s ‘The Protector’. Cheers Jim.
But, because of the law that was in place by my parents, it really seemed like I’d seen something I wasn’t supposed to (obviously this is correct, I was seven for fucks sake), so it almost soured the viewing for me. I recall chatting with my mother half way through the movie and after she asked me if I was enjoying the film, I replied with something like “Hmmm it’s OK, some woman got naked and you could see her fanny” (For you American readers, fanny in the UK = vagina). Her response was something like “Oh…I see…oh dear…”, obviously the last critique of a Jackie Chan film she’d expect me to have.
I can’t watch ‘The Protector’ now without thinking of that odd moment and it makes me chuckle a bit, as does the rest of the movie in all fairness with it’s mega clichés, goofs and drastic misuse of Jackie Chan. I still think it’s fantastic though.
It was also around this age that I began to watch the same film every night for about a week, and then switch. I’m not sure why I used to do this, I’d just really get in to a particular movie and not want to watch anything else. I know people always have a film they watched “all the time” when they were younger, but I’d be switching it up every Monday night, I practically had a movie rota.
From what I can recall ‘The Goonies’ was one of them, as was ‘Teen Wolf‘, ‘BMX Bandits‘, ‘Crocodile Dundee’ and maybe’s ‘Temple Of Doom‘. This also proves, in case you were thinking otherwise, that I did watch stuff aimed at kids when I was young, I wasn’t constantly on the look out for violence, tit shots and forbidden pubic close ups.
It was around this time that I became aware of Jackie Chan. I remember my older brother calling me into the room to see something, it was the final moments of ‘Police Story’ when Chan’s character turns the bad guys innards into mush by rapidly smacking him in the guts about 50 times. I remember my brother giggling at how cool it was, and it was, I remember being a bit blown away. So after that I started renting his movies from Video World…well, I say I did, my mother would rent them for me and not just because of my age, I went through a phase where I was scared to go into video shops (more on that later…). So yeah, I went through ‘Police Story‘, ‘Armour Of God‘, ‘Project A‘, ‘My Lucky Stars’ and of course the aforementioned ‘The Protector’…
Later that year we were on a caravanning holiday (oh, how British!) when I saw the Jackie Chan episode of Jonathan Ross’s ‘Incredibly Strange Film Show‘, which just cemented me even more as a fan of the man. They showed clips of a movie I hadn’t seen yet, ‘Drunken Master’, in particular the fight with the Stick King and the “hungry dog eats shit” line, which as a kid had me in hysterics (Who am I kidding? It’s still hilarious). So as soon as we got back, my brother, mother and I went down to the newer, larger Video World that had just opened and I rented ‘Drunken Master’ and my brother rented Hulk Hogan’s ‘No Holds Barred’…Age does not bring taste obviously.
Next time, my introduction to Bruce Lee and his masterpiece ‘Game Of Death 2’ and my temporary fear of video shops…