How I Fell in Love Forever with Movies
I trace my nearly life long love affair with movies back to a George C. Scott showcase I saw when I was about eight years old. "The Flim-Flam Man" co-starred Michael Serrazin and my first on screen crush, the sumptuous Sue Lyon. Oddly, it was a film that I didn't even want to go see at first.
I had been invited to a friend's birthday party, and a trip to the local theatre to catch the flick was to be the featured activity. For some reason the thought of going to see "The Flim-Flam Man" scared me. I believe I saw it as a "grown ups" movie. Something I wasn't familiar with, and which may present unfamiliar situations which I would find upsetting. My mom, in an effort to alleviate my fears, actually took me to the theatre so I could inspect the promotional poster. I guess the placard passed muster because I relented and agreed to go to the movie with the rest of my fellow party goers. And, man, am I glad I did.
The movie, in which Scott plays a con-artist, or "flim-flam" man, in the deep south was a real gem. I enjoyed the performances, the settings, the music. Everything about it. What I connected with most profoundly, however, was the telling of the story. How it unfolded. The consistently compelling arc it followed from opening frame to closing credits. The film was well written, smartly constructed and superbly acted. Done another way, in other's hands, it may well not have been as affecting nor made the lasting impression it did upon me.
Two years later I was in that same single screen theatre with my parents for "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid". And I was hooked forever. To this day, "Butch" is still the best movie I have ever seen. The pairing of film legends Paul Newman and Robert Redford (who became my all-time favorite actor that evening) in the title roles was nothing short of perfection. The two film icons played off each other as if they'd been doing it forever. And the result was relentlessly riveting performances from both. While billed by some as a Western, the film is really a fascinating character study of two outlaws whose time has come and gone, and is vanishing in alarming fashion before their very eyes.
Some four years later I would thoroughly enjoy this talented tandem of Newman/Redford again in "The Sting". And ever since that time I have become completely involved in scores of films, each time losing myself in a tale well told and characters brilliantly portrayed.
While I tend toward the dramatic and what many would consider "darker themed" movies, I'm also a sucker for a laugh-out-loud comedy. Cases in point: "Lost in America" (the Albert Brooks masterpiece, perhaps the funniest creation ever committed to celluloid), "Caddyshack" and "Punching the Clown" to highlight just a few.
My passion for cinema has only grown since I was first captivated by "The Flim-Flam Man" as a boy. And it certainly shows no sign of ever slowing down in it's enthusiasm.
Thanks for reading my heartfelt homage to a true love and, as ever, Happy Viewing!
Enjoy this particularly hilarious scene from "Lost in America".
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© 2013 A Happy Man
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