Boy, Hooked on Movies

Dear Michael,

Maybe it all started with “Jaws.” Then again, maybe it was “Ghostbusters.” Or, for that matter, “Diehard,” or “Predator,” or “Lethal Weapon.”

But it definitely started somewhere, at some time, with one particular movie, in one particular moment of inspiration. And then, suddenly, you were hooked for life.

I just wish I knew that moment.

Maybe it happened when you were only two years old and watched “The Never-Ending Story” in our living room for two hours without moving. Or when Bruce Willis in “Diehard” has to transform himself from estranged husband and father to heroic cop.  Or when Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters” wisecracks about everything under the sun.

We know something got you going – an action scene, a line of dialogue. Or maybe it was bigger than that – maybe it was how you felt in the theater, watching the screen, how you felt transported outside of yourself and into another reality.

But something, whether large or small, made you say to yourself, “This is for me. This is what I want. This might even be what I want to do.”

I’ll tell you this. Some time back I came up with a line about myself that felt as true as any ever before. “Fiction is my favorite reality.” No wonder I’ve read so many novels and short stories – and yes, watched so many movies. It’s the appeal of a parallel universe, an alternate reality. It’s the allure of a story well told that either brings me in touch with something new and fabulous, or closer to myself, or, best of all, both.

I find myself drawn in, as if by an ocean tide, to “The Godfather,” to “On The Waterfront,” to “It Happened One Night” and “Strangers On A Train” and “Double Indemnity.” The movies (and the books I read and some of the writing I’ve done) took me out of myself so I could be someplace else. A perfect formula for someone like me, who so often felt, especially after the age of 18, rather like a misfit, anxious about my place in the world, insecure, alienated.

Ah, but the movies were always so much more than a quick fix, a medicine for whatever ailed me. Movies meant education and entertainment, and fun and, at best, art.

So I loved seeing you love movies, too.

I loved taking you to a movie theater and – say, in the middle of a scene in “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” – turning to you and seeing your face aglow in the moonlight of the big screen, so enraptured.

I loved your intensity about movies – how raptly you listened, how strictly you forbade interruptions, how analytically you dissected a movie afterwards.

I loved how strongly you felt about movies, too – how sure of your opinions you became. It gave us something we enjoy to share.

Maybe movies will be where your destiny lies. Maybe now you’ll create movies for others.
I think you can. In fact, I know you can. You’ve got it all – the knowledge of movies, the love of movies and all the talent in the world. All you need now is a little luck and the will to make it happen.

P.S. — Here are links to three movie reviews Michael wrote while in college for



“Lords of Dogtown”

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