Throughout this period of time, I became a frequent theater hopper at the Green Hills 16. About one or two Saturdays a month, I would walk over to the mall and take advantage of the basement like setup of the 16, where a person could easily move from screen to screen and never be seen. I was able to devour so much cinema during this period, helped in part because the 16 is a Regal Arts Cinema, meaning it focused on artsy fare mixed in with the blockbuster junk. I saw such films as Secretary, Late Marriage, Spirited Away, Adaptation, and more.
It was also in this time, that I switched from being a communications major to English, and never regretted the decision once. I was immediately with peers with whom I clicked, who saw the world in a similar way to me. I was in classes that motivated me with great discussions and analyses. I also became part of the English Major Movie Night, suggesting titles such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
and I (Heart) Huckabees
I became more and more interested in reading about the ideas behind and interpretations of cinema at this point.
I began to think about tracing footsteps back in film. I was very aware of contemporary cinema but wanted to know more about the films of the past that influenced today’s pictures. During summers on campus I got my library card for the Metro library and was able to consume massive amounts of cinema, going back every other day at some points to pick up new holds. It was in 2004, that I became enthralled by a filmmaker who would influence me in my writing and thinking even today, Robert Altman. In the matter of a few weeks I saw MASH, The Long Goodbye, Brewster McCloud, The Player, and Short Cuts. The fractured and cacophonous nature of Altman’s filmmaking appealed to the same part of me that ate up the more post-modern literature I was consuming at the time.
I also graduated from college in this time and suffered an intense post-collegiate depression.
One of the things I began doing at the time was cataloging the films I saw over 2005, a practice I still maintain today. I began to fight my way through the depression and film played a major part. The apartment I lived in had cable with every premium channel plus a DVR unit. I began checking the schedule a week in advance and planning out what to record and was able to see volumes and volumes of excellent film that continued my education. In 2006, I worked for a brief time at the Edmonson Pike branch library and was able to have daily access to great works of film, having 20 or more DVDs out at a time. I was able to continue keeping up with contemporary works as well as back tracking and seeing more historical films.
I came to a conclusion in early 2006, that I wanted to live somewhere else and made plans to move to Washington state. The last film I saw, the night before my flight to WA, was the opening night of Superman Returns. While the film hasn’t aged well, the experience remains as one of the most significant in my life. I saw it with my father and brother, both of whom since my relationships with have become very damaged and we haven’t spoken for over a year. We got to the theater only to see a long line coming out. I remembered my former roommate Seth Hatfield was a manager there so we stepped inside. I found him and he let us in for free and into the theater before every one else. Seats were found in the very middle of the theater and I remember being taking back to my childhood by things as simple as that iconic theme by John Williams.
The second day I was in Bellingham, WA I got a library card and began using their system for its film potential. Ups and downs were had those first six months in Washington and I found film to be a way of helping me get through the tougher times.