• ERIC BUTLER

A Father's Day Gift


Today is Father's Day, a special time to reflect on the special times we have shared with the male role models in our lives: actual fathers or just the amazing men in our lives who are there through example and action. Some people don't have that and so I want to give you something my father gave me many years ago...an appreciation for movies. I don't mean just the blockbusters shoved down our throats every Summer and Winter, and not just the Oscar-worthy films of gay cowboys eating pudding. I mean all movies, even those with a shoestring budget, terrible directors or even worse producers who won't get out of the way, pretty people who can't act, and special effects done by a blind puppeteer.


My father gave me a love of movies at a very young age, and since he missed the class about censoring what children should see, I was able to enjoy many classic films in their natural environment, the cinema. That said, I was lucky to be born at the dawn of the VCR age and many of the movies I missed either because of age or where I lived when they were released, I was able to catch up on. Add in a friend with HBO in elementary school and my dad getting the Movie Channel and I had it all covered.


My father loved comedies, sword & sorcery, and science fiction movies the most. However, the only genre he avoided was horror. He was terrified by them. When I was young we lived on base in Germany(early 80s) and you were forced to watch the movies that the Army provided. They were the newer ones but always later than the US release date. No biggie if you've been overseas for any amount of time. I remember seeing Raiders of the Lost Arc, Star Trek 2, Excalibur, and Clash of the Titans to name a few.


My father was such a fan of movies, I remember the reason we saw Clash of the Titans. The PX was selling a Clash of the Titans notebook and when he saw it he remembered it was playing and we immediately dropped what we were doing and went to get tickets. The theater was in the same area on the base. He was like that when a movie was playing he wanted to see.


Once we moved back to the states - AL to be exact, we were able to expand our movie viewing - we got a VCR, got TMC, and had more movie theaters to choose from when it was time to see movies. And the great thing about my father was anytime was a great time to see a movie. He would take me and occasionally my friends to movies any time during the week - school night be damned. We had a theater on base - which was still behind regular release days, 2 theaters in Enterprise(only 15 minutes away), and multiple theaters in the nearest mall in Dothan-only 40 minutes or so.


Like I said my father was a big fan of the blockbuster movie. I remember seeing all the big movies on opening day when we could get tickets. This was before you could order them online - you might even have to wait for hours in line to get some depending on the movie and the day. Kids today don't know how easy they got it. But more importantly, he liked low budget try hard movies...and the occasional try not so hard movie. Which is why I led off with the movie poster for Ator. I saw this in the theater with my father. I was just shy of 8 years old and I remember how amazing and magical the experience was...I also remember eating my weight in popcorn and Jujy Fruits. Side note - my father's candy choice was always Hot Tamales.

Looking back on it now, with the eyes of an older more discerning eye, I can see the flaws. You can point to the budget, the director, how it was edited, and the stiff delivery of people who had no idea how to act. But I also see the passion for the story, the attempt to make every $ count in special effects, costume, and weapons, and a shared love of movies that the people there shared with their audience. It's what I look for with almost every movie, can I see the attempt to be the best it can be with everything fighting against it? With everything on your side making a movie is difficult, and rarely(esp. with low budget movies) is much on your side.


So I want to leave you with a couple of things; where you can see the gem Ator, and three documentaries that share the magic of making movies and will hopefully ignite a desire to see the films showcased.


In this day and age, with all the computer effects, I like to remember how movies were done. I like to remember a time when going to a movie was special. To remember there was a time when there was real movie magic...not only in the films but with those in the audience sharing the experience.


Happy Father's Day





It's your lucky day, this gem is available to stream on Prime...



First Documentary is on Ray Harryhausen the man who inspired many of today's big directors with his amazing stop motion special effects.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime


Second Documentary deals with the men behind the costumes of the original Planet of the Apes and the phenomenon that it became.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime



Third Documentary for you to check out is on King Kong and the effect he had on movies and movie makers.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime



 
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