Popcorn Syndrome

Movies have been a major factor in my life. I love them as I do novels. It is very hard to rank them as my friend Anarchist plans to do soon. Each period in my life I liked different ones. I seemed always to be able to scrape up enough time and enough money to find a way to enjoy them. 


The first movie I can remember seeing scared me so bad I made my mother leave the car at the drive in and walk me home because no one else in the car would leave after having paid the entry fee. It was Abbot & Costello Meet The Wolfman. I was about 4.


The next movie I remember was a jungle movie in 3D (lol remember 3D?)  I remember it because my mother (who I share a fear of snakes with) shrieked when my uncle reached and touched her shoulder just as a snake came out of the screen, she ran from the theater as did many of the rest of the patrons to see my uncle across the hood of the 49 Ford laughing hysterically.


I loved monster movies early on despite my first experience. I was intrigued to see how they got killed. I remember walking home down the railroad tracks looking over my shoulders after first seeing Them.  I was 7 I think and pretty sure I might not see 8.


Then Television came along in my life and movies from the 30’s were the rage, mysteries and westerns were on a lot, Charlie Chan, Sherlock Holmes, Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry. And of course war movies that were totally unrealistic about the horrors of war. Folks died but they didn’t really bleed and stuff and if they lost a buddy they always got the bad guy who died much worse than the guys in the white hats. But ya had to love John Wayne. I don’t know how many Alamo Movies have been made but I am pretty sure I have seen them all at least twice.


In those years in my small town in the Florida Panhandle, movies were a weekend and summer escape from heat. We didn’t yet have air conditioning (didn’t get it till I was 22) so .10 for the movies was a cool deal, and you could sit there as long as you wanted unless it was a rare sellout. I could usually come up with some redeemable coke bottles (every bottled drink sold we called coke in the south) to cover my movie and popcorn expenses. Yes I admit it I am afflicted with the popcorn syndrome. To this day, a movie just isn’t a movie without popcorn. Only now I will have a martini before the event to prepare for the sticker shock and the sound which is always overwhelming It was particularly so in The Dark Knight which I saw alone as my wife is not a fan of loud chases and 10 hour movies. Despite which I highly recommend it just to watch Heath Ledger’s Joker.


Today we enjoy Netflix which if managed properly can offer 24 movies a month for $15. Now that’s value!


Since I have jumped forward to today sparing you my adolescent forays with Marylyn Monroe and Bridget Bardot, and my dating days with Drive In Submarine Races. I will share my favorites a bit but I can’t rank them after the first one it is just too subjective.


To Kill A Mockingbird is totally my number one all time favorite movie, it reminds me of all the good things about growing up in the South in a time very different than the world we live in today. It has redemption, integrity, pathos and a great plot. Greg Peck is also my favorite male Actor, his choice of roles is a major factor, if anyone can really claim to have brought integrity to the movies it is he. I don’t think he was ever in a bad movie (Except maybe Moby Dick). Ingrid Bergman ranks as my favorite female actress thus Casablanca ranks near the top for me. What can you not like about this great romance/adventure/pure Hollywood tear jerker?


There are many many lists already made of  the greatest movies of all time which are readily available with a quick google here are a few of mine.


Shawshank Redemption


Lawrence of Arabia



Godfather I & II

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

Silence of the Lambs


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Gone With the Wind

Out of Africa

Sophie’s Choice

The Right Stuff

Apollo 13

Cold Mountain



Westside Story

Magnificent 7

The Great Gatsby (Redford version)


I don’t know about you but as I relook at this list I see a dominant theme. Can you see it?


What does your list look like?



4 Responses

  1. Of your 23 movies listed, I’ve only seen 11, but I read the books Sophie’s Choice and Cold Mountain. Silence of the Lambs and The Great Gatsby, I both read the book and saw the movie. If I’ve seen the movie, I will not go back and read the book; but if I’ve read the book, I will sometimes go see the movie. The first movie I ever saw in a movie theater was GWTW, and no snickering out there, it was not the year it came out (1939). I confess I can’t see the theme. Every time I think I have it, one of them on the list contradicts it.

  2. Wow PTFan1, I didn’t read this until today (Sunday). Although my American movie list isn’t until next week, I’ve already written it.

    I’ve seen 18 of the films you listed. Missed Gettysburg, Seabiscuit, Cold Mountain, Great Gatsby, and Giant. (Possibly I saw Gatsby but if I did it didn’t leave a memory. )

    My three favorites of those 18 would be Butch Cassidy, Lawrence of Arabia and one of the Godfathers. Probably the second one.

    I’m with you on Casablanca. You will see that on my list of top 3 black and white films.

    As for dominant theme, I’d say it is that many of those films are about someone dealing with adversity and having to make decisions to overcome whatever it is they are facing to achieve their aspirations. And I do mean “one.”

    My memory is not that good going that far back. The first movie I saw that is still with me was Old Yeller. Of course I cried!

    And I too enjoyed monster movies. Still do, even though now they tend to be zombie flicks with lots of blood. Not much finesse these days. Halloween #1 had finesse. That was long ago….

    And you only paid a dime for a movie? I thought 60 cents in mid-60s was cheap. Lucky we have the $1.25 theater here. Tampa Bay needs one…

    And I’m a movie popcorn lover too. The theaters here give you a free refill if you buy the largest size and that’s what I do. I thought the $1.25 theater didn’t but when I remarked that they should give free refills they said they did.
    Their popcorn is not as good though; maybe it’s the oil they use.

    And I belong the “clubs”, so periodically, I get a free ticket, free soda, free popcorn, etc. All “upgradable” to the largest size so we can get that refill.

    Fakename joined my wife and I to see Appaloosa today. Good film. Not a lot of bang bang but good “buddy” movie.
    Of course, a “buddy” movie like Butch Cassidy with a lot of bang bang is even better!

  3. Sorry I guess I left the question a little vague, they are all originally written or created by very talented writers execpt for Rocky, Casablanca, and Guess who’s coming to Dinner.

    Isac Dinesen, Mike Shaara, F Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Mitchell, Arthur Clark, Edna Ferber, William Styron, Mario Puzo, Charles Frazier, Thomas Harris, Leonard Bernstein, T E Lawrence, Stephen King, Tom Wolf, Laura Hillenbrand, Jim Lovell, Akiro Kurosawa (Seven Samurai=Magnificent 7), William Goldman, and last but not least, Harper Lee who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird while she was paling around with Truman Capote who was writing In Cold Blood at the same time, that has to be the greatest two author variance in subject material ever.

    One of my past acquaintancies is an avid reader and she ws reading Seabiscuit which I was quite surprised at and to my further suprise it was written by a woman (Hillenbrand) so I read it and found it fascinating on two fronts. First the woman understood horse racing (which I didn’t untill then) Second she captured the spirit of America in the 30’s and I always enjoy period pieces that fil in the culture of the times. It is an excellent movie……..its different…….not linear for the first 45 minutes, you just have to go with it. I recommend it highly. Movies are cheaper in Tallahassee. But I enjoy my home theater too much to miss the big screen, so I only go to things that screen size makes a substantial difference.

  4. Dang…I should have seen that, that most of them were good books first.
    In the spirit of things, I’ve decided to come up with my own Top 10 lists of books and movies…for movies, probably by genre. Sophie’s Choice is one of the best books ever written and has been on my Top Ten list since it was written, while the other entries are ever-changing.
    Appaloosa was a better book, but then I love Robert B. Parker. I thought the movie was a little slow, but Ed Harris was great. I was disappointed in Viggo Mortensen, who is on my Top 10 List of sexiest men alive. He may be dropping off the list.
    Anarchist didn’t mention that the weekend before, he and Mrs. Anarchist and I saw The Secret Life of Bees, which will be another on my favorite books list, and it was a good movie too.

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