This Week: Opening Credits


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It was "Titanic" that got me into movies. I'm talking Leonardo DiCaprio hoisting Kate Winslet up on the bow of an ocean liner. I don't know what it is exactly about that movie that inspired me in 1997. I wasn't even a fully formed person; my parents still had to drive me to the movies then. I guess I have to thank James Cameron but he'd probably eat me if I did that.

After "Titanic" went down, my obsession became deviance. It's hard being an eight-year-old trying to discuss the Oscars with kids at the lunch table. It's even harder being a 13-year-old trying to explain to your friends what's so good about "Lost in Translation," which in 2003 convinced me of the cinema's power in the way "Titanic" did six years earlier. I barely had friends as it was and writing about Sofia Coppola on my Xanga (the poor man's LiveJournal) definitely killed them all off.

When you grow up on movies like I did, they start to become your surrogate parents. I learned a lot of important lessons from them. You did too, if nowhere else but from "A Christmas Story": Don't lick a frozen flagpole (my three-year-old brother told me so on Skype the other day). Just the other day I learned you shouldn't see "Blue Valentine" with your significant other. It could destroy the both of you.

When you see as many movies as I did in middle school and high school, when I had more time for that, you start imitating them, too. I think I was 12-years-old when I started behaving like Woody Allen, wearing ugly dark glasses, running around really frazzled and talking with my hands. There's probably nothing as annoying as a boy with a lisp and a fro behaving like Woody Allen. It doesn't get you friends in the icky years of junior high. See, I told you I learned lessons from the movies.

Recently, I indulged in the ultimate exercise in vanity in the 21st century by Googling my name. I scanned through the articles I've written for the Daily Californian thinking how satisfying it feels to have published film criticism. But then I stumbled across a little gem, a kernel in my brain I had forgotten about: My profile on (username: moviefan13). My bio says, "I have a deep obsession with films! My favorite band, currently, is Coldplay." I only needed to look at the titles of the reviews, written sometime in eighth grade, to make myself cringe: "Ron Howard's 'The Missing" is missing something..." or "'De-Lovely' is...a bit di-sappointing." I still stand by these comments, by the way, but not their embarrassing puns. Learn from my example: If you don't cover your tracks, your Internet footprint is FOREVER.

Film, like the best crack, has turned me into something of a sociopath over the years. I would rather be watching a movie than do just about anything else, except maybe talk about them and write about them. And this has got me thinking about "Titanic" and "Lost in Translation." They're both about two people who are somewhere they don't belong and yet they somehow manage to find each other. I guess I found the movies like that, stumbling upon them when I was in a place I didn't belong. I know all of this sounds really confessional and narcissistic but this column will be less about defending my love for movies and more about simply loving the movies, and sharing that romance with you if you'll let me. Moviefan13 out.

Tell Ryan he's fully formed at [email protected]

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