30 for 30: Saving Private Ryan (1998)




This is it. This was the year that started it all. The year I kicked off my obsessive, fanatical obsession with all things movies. Those who know me know this story well but I’ll reiterate it for all the newbs. It was the fall of 2008. Mid October to be precise. I had just flunked or close-to-flunked one of my mid-terms (I’m pretty sure it was Math). After seeing my dismal grade, my mom crucified and grounded me for two weeks. My dad, being the more forgiving one of the two, gave me his trademark “you’re better than this, you can do better next time” spiel, but I could tell something else was tickling his mind that week. Turns out there was a new movie opening in town that weekend; a new World War 2 movie. Before I go any further, let me go on a tangent for a moment and delve on a little post-it about my old man. Like many dads, he’s a World War 2 movie fanatic, so a lot of my movie knowledge growing up was relegated to him talking to me about movies like “The Longest Day,” “Where Eagles Dare,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and of course, his favorite – “The Guns of Navarone.” Gregory Peck was his man and my mom reminded us of it.

So anyway, there was a new World War 2 movie opening in town that weekend and it was called SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. I hadn’t heard of it. But my dad kept yapping about how we were all going going to see it! I didn’t pay much attention to him until he showed me the movie poster on the weekend newspaper. Hey, it was that guy from Forrest Gump!!!  TOM, TOM, TOM-HANKS!!! And OH, it’s a movie by STEVEN SPIELBERG! I’ve heard of him!” Now, with my interest piqued, I really wanted to see it! There was just one obstacle! I was grounded… banned from watching TV, listening to the radio or anything remotely entertaining for the next two weeks! Harsh! While the rest of my family was making plans to go to the movies that evening, I had to sit at home daydreaming with my books open in front of me. I wasn’t going to allow my brother and sister see it while I sat twiddling my thumbs at home! So I did what every 15-year-old would do… I pulled the pity card on my dad (naturally) and made him persuade my mom to allow me to go to the movies. And you know what… it worked.

We had gotten there early. Like 40 minutes before start! So we naturally had the best seats in the house. Then, just as the lights were about to go down, an usher came in and spoke to my dad. He pointed at my brother and sister and said… “Sir, I don’t think this movie is suitable for them because they’re too young. It will be disturbing.” My dad, with that excitement in his voice replies, “No, no, no… they see all action movies! They’re okay; They’re used to this. Fuck off” Okay, I made up that last part but he might as well have said it. It started off normally enough – The American flag and an old man crying. But then came Normandy and that’s when I knew what that usher I wanted to “fuck off” meant. We weren’t ready for this! Not for the gallons of blood, blown off limbs and soldiers screaming for their mothers while their insides poured out on the beaches. Nope. Shit, even my mom wasn’t cut out for it. But something happened half-way through that scene. I was transfixed! I never wanted it to end. I was in awe of the mastery, the bravura filmmaking – the style – the damned genius of the guy who made it.  Suffice to say, my life changed that night.

The next morning, when I logged on to the Internet, the first thing I did was go on Yahoo, typed in “MOVIES BY STEVEN SPIELBERG” and clicked SEARCH.

About 30-for-30

Movies are a huge part of my life – I mean, why else would I be running a blog/site devoted to movies? To commemorate the occasion of my 30th birthday (later this month), I’ll be counting down to the big day by posting a photo of my favorite movie for each year of the last 30 years I’ve survived on this planet. These aren’t my favorite 30 movies EVER but merely the movie I consider my favorite (or the best) of each year. This is my 30 for 30. Click here to see the other 30 for 30 posts.


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