In the house I grew up in, there was a closet that held our movie library. This was no glorious collection of 35mm prints or pristine laserdiscs and this was long before DVD, in time when blue-ray could only have possibly been a reference to a species of fish. This closet held VHS tapes.
Even by the low standards of that humble medium, these were low-quality. Some strict, unspoken edict in our house demanded that every tape be filled to the eight-hour long-play maximum and each one was. Actual store bought VHS movies were the exception. This collection was built on dubs. Movies and tv shows were taped one after the other until the run-time was maxed. No thought was given to the order of the contents or their connection to each other. I recall that The Empire Strikes Back was second a tape that contained some lesser works that have been forgot, leaving only the bitter memory of having to fast-forward through something else to get to the best of the Star Wars films.
But for all the poor quality and Empire-access issues, that closet of VHS tapes was a defining force in my life and in the life of my younger brother, Mike. It was the 1980’s and this technology was revolutionary. For the first time ever, the average person could play a movie in their home. And the average parent could put one on for their kids to get them to stop beating each other for a solid ninety minutes. For those kids, it shaped their lives.
We were those kids and now we are adults.
So we are going back. Opening that closet back up and looking inside at the films that passed our rainy days and bored childhood nights.
Every month, Mike and I are looking back at one iconic film- iconic for us, that is- watching it and reflecting on it.