Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) by El Bicho
I was 17 when Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came out on May 23, 1984, and that would be the first time I waited in line overnight with a group of high school friends. Though I vividly remember strecthing out on lawn chairs under the stars, I can't remember who all was there. The location was Orange, CA at the theaters formerly known as the Cinedome.
Although we took off school (I had Mom's permission) in order to be part of the first group to see the movie that morning, we were beaten to the punch by those who attended the midnight screening hours earlier. Not sure why we didn't go to that one other than poor planning on everyone's part. Though to be fair, we didn't have much to stay informed those days other than the newspaper. What was funny was a few people who came out the midnight show acted like wiseguys by telling all of us in line that Indy died, which was ridiculous as this was a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Duh! Don't think we got much sleep, if any. As it turned out, I didn't like the movie and enjoyed the time in line more.
Walkabout (1971) by Dusty Somers
Growing up, my family would always vacation in British Columbia in Canada, and part of the vacation rituals always involved my dad renting a few VHS tapes for the week -- and invariably getting ridiculed for his choices as we endured stinker after stinker.
One time he brought back a movie called Walkabout, encouraged by the positive critical notices on the back of the box. My 10-year-old self was dubious, and became much more dubious about 30 minutes in, when it seemed like that brother and sister had been wandering the Australian Outback for years. Needless to say, this selection was not a hit either. I'm pretty sure we didn't even finish the film, and knowing how much nudity occurs near the end, I'm 100 percent positive we didn't get past that scene.
It wasn't until later in life, as I was expanding my cinematic horizons, that I ran across the film again (after seeing Nicolas Roeg's similarly fractured and brilliant The Man Who Fell to Earth). This time, I had a better idea of what to expect and was floored by Roeg's radical use of editing and purity of storytelling. I can't help but think now of that vacation property, and all the other movies my dad picked that might not be as terrible as I once thought they were.
Sideways (2004) by Amanda Salazar
Well it is pretty easy in a film that is a road trip for it to remind you of somewhere that you have been. In the film Sideways it is not the vineyards that they ultimately get to, but one of the stops along the way that is right out of my childhood.
Sideways will always remind me of the yearly trips that I took to the little Dutch town, Solvang, with my best girlfriends. Old friends Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) go on a road trip through wine country before Jack is about to get married. What was intended to be a calm weekend getaway turns into something entirely different as they celebrate Jack's last week of freedom.
There are many different movies that film in places that I have been or some that capture a certain nostalgia for somewhere familiar but I remember being so excited when I saw the scene of them eating in a little cafe in Solvang. The set became something more tangible, something that I could relate to on a different level because it holds so many wonderful memories. Sideways is a charming independent film that did surprisingly well with audiences and critics but every time I think of this film, I think of my girlfriends sitting in the same restaurant talking about the same things that Miles and Jack were discussing, life.
Night Of The Hunter (1955) by Shawn Bourdo
The Robert Mitchum classic came out in 1955 but it puts me back at the Michigan Theater in 1985. I have plenty of vivid associations of movies with specific theaters but this film sticks out. Seeing the huge LOVE and HATE on his hands on the big screen still haunts me. The theater is huge and was mainly empty when I wemt to go see this on a whim during my Freshman year. Shelley Winters and her inability to give him the information he wants - the slow turn fron preacher to devil that occurs is delicious. It's never been the same on home video as it was in that theater on that day.