The Power of a Movie

A couple of weeks ago, Greg and me attended a screening of “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” at the beautiful Tennessee Theater in downtown Knoxville.  Seeing this movie for the umpteenth time just proves how much you love classic movies.  This one in particular is always a top 10 favorite for me.  In fact, it’s the earliest movie that I remember seeing at the age of 2 in 1982.

(Side note: I am planning to do a series or articles sometime in the future highlighting my top 10 favorite movies of all time.)

I think it’s safe to say that the true measure of how a film does is how much it pulls you into the story, engages all of your senses, and especially your emotions.  This film in particular gets the best emotional response out of me.  When E.T. is dying, it always breaks my heart and I feel like a little kid sitting there instead of a guy in his late 30s.  You can’t help but feel heartbroken for Elliott.

Then at the end of the film when Elliott and E.T. have to say goodbye, the emotions swell up again, all the way through the powerful ending with the ship speeding away and leaving a rainbow behind.  Combined with John Williams’ awesome Oscar-winning soundtrack just hits every time.

I remember back in 2002, when I was working at Lee Cinema, we got to screen the 20th Anniversary Edition on its opening weekend.  Every night I worked for the next couple of weeks, I was sure to peek my head into the theater for that final scene, and the same emotions came up and enveloped me time after time.

*That* is the measure of what makes a film a true classic.  If a movie can do that time after time after time and never age or never wear off, it will last forever.

That is what that movie meant to me.  I cried at 2, 22 and 37.  I’ll probably cry again when I’m 42 and the film turns 40 years old.