By JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
I have a song stuck in my head. Ever since I watched Anne Hathaway sing “I have a dream” in the movie “Les Miserables,” the song has been running through my mind, often on repeat. I am no songbird so I only hum a few lines here and there.
I went to watch the movie in between Christmas and New Year’s. An English major with a passion for literature, I couldn’t wait to see the French history novel come to life through song. Yes, the entire movie is a musical based off Broadway. It was sad and depressing, but yet captivating at the same time. I walked out with a song on my lips and the dream of becoming a Broadway star.
“Les Miserables” was my last trip to a theater in 2012.
The first movie I ever saw was Walt Disney’s “Bambi” in 1988. However, my parents were originally taking us to see “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” There was a mix-up at the theater. Either the movie was already gone or sold out. The only other movie for children was “Bambi.”
I remember being unhappy about the switch until we sat down in the dark theater. I don’t remember if I had popcorn or any candy that day. I only recall feeling very small in the seat looking up at a giant white screen. I paid close attention, keeping my hands and feet to myself and not talking. It was like being in a classroom or library with an unspoken rule of silence. I am sure it was easier to maintain that code of conduct in the late ’80s. No one had a cell phone when “Bambi” was a popular Disney film. In all honesty, I figured theater police kicked people out if they misbehaved. A few times, I turned around to look at the tiny window of light. I knew the movie was inside that room. I imagined someone turning the movie reel — it looked like a record player in my 8-year-old mind — by hand, over and over again.
I left the theater in awe and a bit sad. The killing of Bambi’s mother seemed tragic. I wish I could say it was routine outing, but there were books to read and bikes outside in the yard. I only went a few more times as a child.
The next memorable movie came 10 years later. I was 17 when the “Titanic” swept the award shows in 1998. I even took my late grandmother to the matinee. It is one of my favorite memories. I think I watched her more than Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. By the time I entered my freshman year of college, I had seen the movie at least four times. That is the only movie I have viewed more than once in a theater. I bought the VHS, but the small TV screen didn’t quite capture the big boat’s dramatic end. I prefer the big screen version.
Even today, I am particular about movies I see in the theater. Some movies — like romantic comedies and love stories — are better viewed at home. I want to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate. Yet, action and epic dramas belong on the big screen. James Bond in a theater? Yes, please. Another Nicholas Sparks movie? I will wait for the DVD.
My movie critic career is amateur at best. I refuse to read reviews of upcoming films in fear I will become disenchanted before I buy a ticket. I don’t watch to analyze the characters or critique the plot. A movie is either good or bad. If it is good, I will carry the characters and their story out of the theater or I will hum parts of the film’s score. If its bad, I will simply forget. I can’t imagine writing a review of a film. I think it would be a hard job because the entertainment value would be lost in a sea of papers and notes. Movies are a way to relax, not work.
It is a new year for the box office. A few upcoming movies have already caught my attention. “The Great Gatsby,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Man of Steel,” “Oz: The Great and Powerful” and “The Wolverine” are five movies I will want to see in the theater. And as much as I liked the Bella and Edward’s love story, I am relieved there isn’t a “Twilight” movie on the list for 2013.
Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @BDTParsell.