The Moment I Knew I Would Always Love Movies

I’m not quite sure why it popped into my head, but I was recently reflecting on the question of whether or not there was a single point in my life from which my love for film originated — a particular movie or even a particular scene before which I was a fairly mild film viewer and after which I was a full-blown cinematic fanatic. Was there a watershed moment for me? And if so, what was it?

Quickly, I realized that the answer was obvious. It was this:

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I still vividly remember being unable to sleep the night after I watched Jurassic Park for the first time, not so much because it was an intense viewing experience for my teenaged self — it was — but because I was reeling from the sheer power of its images, and the astonishing imagination behind them. I still get goosebumps as I remember that moment. (Heck, I get goosebumps watching it RIGHT NOW.)

The moment I realized that studying the craft and the inner workings and the men behind the curtains made me love movies even more, not less? That’s just as easy. It was the hospital scene in Unbreakable, as the doctor explains to David Dunn that he’s one of only two…oh, wait a second…explains that David’s the only survivor of the terrible train wreck, precipitating the rest of the film.

I’m pretty sure both of these moments say something about me as a viewer/cinematic consumer. And probably as a human, as well. But there’s plenty of time for me to over-analyze that in the coming days. What I really want to know is:

What are your moments?

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.

  • Nancy

    What a great clip! I got goosebumps too. It’s contagious!

    • Joseph Susanka

      It holds up wonderfully well, doesn’t it, Nancy?

      Just think…1993. That’s over 20 years ago. Given that context, the effects are amazing.

      But still, it’s the way the effects are being used to tell the story/pluck at the emotions that gets me every time.

  • Katrina Fernandez

    Being the cinema connoisseur that you are, surely you’ve seen this …

    • Joseph Susanka

      Was actually just watching that a few days ago, Katrina. It has its own undeniable charm, doesn’t it? (Didn’t keep me awake afterwards, but not everything can be a watershed moment, I suppose.)

  • Christian LeBlanc

    1973, Chinatown.

    • Joseph Susanka

      Love that choice, Christian. Could definitely see it as a “game-changer” film. There are a number of scenes from that film burned into my memory…

  • Sharon Reiser

    That’s an easy one. 1989. Glory. I was a Boston girl, and I’d absorbed my love of history from my father’s Civil War library, so it was inevitable that I would see it.
    Even more than being blown away by the film itself, I remember spending months
    afterwards reading the history and analyzing the choices that Kevin Jarre made
    in writing the script: what he kept, what he left out, what he changed. And
    whenever I asked “Why?”, the script itself had the answers: I saw the harmony
    of the parts and the whole. In retracing Jarre’s steps, I became excited by the
    challenges – and the piercing joys – of this form of storytelling. I’ve had
    many other influences since then, but whenever I write, a little part of me is
    still charging Fort Wagner.

    • Joseph Susanka

      That’s awesome, Sharon. Not one that would have crossed my mind, but I can definitely see what you’re getting at. (For me, it was the first genuinely violent film I can remember seeing, and that ends up being my fondest strongest memory).

      I really like what you’re saying about the script answering your questions. That’s getting at the second “Ah-HAH!” moment I’m talking about here; the (for me) Unbreakable moment. That film (or scene) that made you aware of the craft. And made you love the medium even more, as a result.