Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Steve's Top Ten Films: Star Wars

Star Wars is a forty-year-old film this year.  I turn forty-two today, which means I existed for two whole years in a world without Star Wars.  I have no clear memories of those two years, so I don't remember a time when the film wasn't part of my life in some way.

I am told my Uncle Wayne took me to see the film sometime during its first release, but I don't remember seeing it for the first time.  I wonder what my two-year-old self experienced in that first viewing.  Was I scared?  Thrilled?  Awestruck?  More than likely it was a combination of all those and more.

What I do remember is the excitement I felt whenever the film came back around for limited re-release.  One of those releases marked the first time I was ever allowed to go see a film by myself, more than likely fueled by my parents having absolutely no desire to see the film again.  Likewise, I distinctly remember going to see the two sequels: Empire was at the Seaford Twin Cinema, an initial attempt by my father taking my sister and me to see it thwarted by a sold-out theater; Return of the Jedi was at the Midway Theater in Rehoboth along with my mother, my Aunt Vicki, my sister, and two female cousins.  None of whom cared at all about seeing the movie, at least not at the level I did, so I might as well have been seeing it by myself.

But, my excitement over those two films resulted directly from the deep connection I felt (and still feel) to the first Star Wars movie, a film whose existence is interwoven with mine on a primal level.  I honestly don't know what kind of person I would be if Star Wars hadn't existed in my life.  And, on a certain level, I don't understand people who are indifferent to the film because feeling that way would mean an essential part of me would disappear.

I have to confess that although my top ten films receive nearly equal admiration from me, I saved Star Wars for last because at forty years old it has been part of my awareness the longest out of any film I've ever seen.  And, it continues to be an active part of my life as new Star Wars films are made, and I have been able to share the experience with students, my Nerd Circle buddies, and, most importantly, my nephew, who has recently made a point of watching all the films in the series and has come to me with questions about the story and characters.

So, the significance of this film in my life perpetually evolves into something more than it was before.  That means something.

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