As I child, I’d latch on to certain movies like a barnacle on the side of a ship. I was happy to watch them over and over and over again, much to the continual annoyance to my parents. My mother says my taste in somewhat dark, creepy movies molded me into the charming, sophisticated, creative siren that I am today. Just kidding. The exact term she used was “weirdo.”
Whatever. But, because The Hubs and I are planning on opening a bottle of wine and watching Ghostbusters tonight after our children go to bed (because what else would you do on a Saturday night?), I bring you The Rambling Jour’s Top Ten Movies that Contributed to My General Awesomeness (or Weirdness. Thanks, Mom). In no particular order, they are:
1. The Wizard of Oz
My all time favorite movie! I was Dorothy for Halloween for like, five years in a row. I covered two pairs of shoes in glue and rolled them in red glitter. I’d run around the yard with a basket of plastic cupcakes and a stuffed dog looking for Oz. But moreover, as an adult, I harbor a deep, deep hatred of monkeys. My dislike for their creepy little hands and smug little faces kept me from a behind the scenes tour of the Monkey House when The Hubs worked at the zoo. The keepers were like, “She can come in! She can see all the Monkeys!” The Hubs said, “Uh, she really doesn’t like monkeys.” The keepers were reportedly confused. “Really? Because we have them all inside and she can see them.” The Hubs replied, “It’s complicated.”
It’s not complicated. They’re just a vest and a Shriners cap away from snatching someone up. And their little dog, too.
2. Return to Oz
Where the Wizard of Oz is all about singing, dancing, throwing apples at people, and awesome shoes, Return to Oz is all about electroshock therapy, headless witches locking people in towers, girls drowning in a river and waking up in Oz, and Wheelers falling into the Deadly Desert and turning into sand. Apparently I had some kind of “taped off HBO” version of the movie, because I seriously did not realize headless Mombie chased Dorothy through the palace until I was like, twenty-one. And I was horrified. I adore this movie now, because it is so deliciously dark and creepy. And because I’m still waiting for modern science to give us the Lunch Pail Tree. Come on, science. Throw us a bone.
3. The Neverending Story
Atreyu was my first crush! I’m 31 years old and still am not convinced The Nothing isn’t lurking in the woods behind our house. I have no idea what this movie is actually about. Granted, I haven’t watched it in…probably over fifteen years, but, I’ve got nothing. It’s a kid reading a pilfered book in some kind of broken down, deserted wing of his school. Do I want to read my novel and be transported into the storyline? Yes. But, really, all I’d really like to know is what The Child-Like Princess’s name was. Because it sounded like Bastian just screamed, “Mooouuuunsssssaiiiiiiinaaaaaaa” which….may have just been a lyric from the theme from the Lion King. Seriously, I’ve got nothing.
This is probably the reason Random Contemporary is paranormal. And why anytime someone asks me, “Who is that?” I respond with, “It’s Juno, your case worker.” Hilarious.
Again, I’m probably on a paranormal kick because I was addicted to Ghostbusters as a child. And I’m going to watch it tonight. Anyway, when I was pregnant with The Preschooler, the running joke was that in the delivery room, I was most likely to respond to The Hubs with, “There is no Heather. Only Zuul.”
My children might be dressing up as Ghostbusters for Halloween. This will only happen if The Hubs can convince me of it, because my vote is currently for Alan Grant and a velociraptor from Jurassic Park. Last year they were Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock.
6. Jurassic Park
When I was in junior high youth group, our youth pastor devoted a whole youth group meeting to how terrible, horrible, gory, and ludicrous this movie was. My father, the pastor of the church, looked at my mother and I and said, “Well, we need to watch it.” So we rented it. You know, back when you could rent movies from stores.
And then I got it for Christmas that year.
I learned to rollerblade pretending to run with gallimimus. And—get ready—I owned the ENTIRE set of Jurassic Park Pogs and kept them in plastic pog sleeves. Remember pogs? The Hubs read this and said, “I cannot believe you would do something so dorky.” Ha. Obviously he and I have just met.
7. The Hugga Bunch Movie
In 1985, this movie happened. I remember next to nothing about it other than 1) it made me cry when I’d watch it when my dad was away for Army drill and 2) for many, many years I thought you could travel to other dimensions via bedroom mirrors. I think it had to do with apples keeping people young? According to IMBD, it was berries in the Land of Shrug. She had to cross a sea of broken glass? Grandma was going to a nursing home? Look, I don’t remember any of this. My mother made me a hugga bunch doll though. Not recently. But you know, back in 1985.
8. The Dark Crystal
The Hubs refuses to watch this movie with me.
9. The Great Muppet Caper
This movie, though not creepy, resides in the dark recesses of my brain and makes it hard to actually watch this movie as an adult. I can’t explain it. I adored this movie when I was a kid: it was my favorite Muppet movie until Muppet Treasure Island came out. But…I don’t know. The first time I started rewatching it as an adult, I actually had to turn it off because I was too uncomfortable. Weird. I know, way weirder than you probably expected. But there you go.
10. The Shining
No, my parents didn’t allow me to watch The Shining when I was a kid. Actually, that’s not completely true, because my dad would let me watch the very, very beginning when it was on television. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized there was more to the movie than just showing up at a hotel and riding a Big Wheel through the halls. I’m adding it to the list because, bizarrely, watching this movie always makes me want to write.
On a related side note, when I was a senior in high school, I was blowing off a creative writing class (I know, right?) and instead of doing the assignment, I typed out four entire pages of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and no one got the reference. But then, the girl next to me was writing a fan fiction about WWF wrestling.
These, of course, are just a minute sampling. I had plenty of other movies I obsessed over, such as but not limited to, Newsies, The Mighty Ducks, D2, The Sandlot, Hocus Pocus, U-571, The Patriot (Mel Gibson, not Steven Segal), Abbott and Costello’s Hold that Ghost (where, for about three weeks, I wanted to be an Andrews Sister), Indiana Jones, Star Wars, the list goes on and on.
I’m happy to report I’ve passed this gene on to my children. Currently, they’re happy to watch Toy Story forty-seven times a day if I’d let them. I’ve tried to expose them to Newsies. So far, they could care less.
Ah, what a happy jaunt down memory lane. But now, kids, I have a date with a bottle of Stark Raving wine I won at The Writer’s Conference in May and Peter Venkmen. Doooooe. Raaaay. Egon!!!