Growing Up Geek: My All Time Favorite Movie Going Experience as a Kid
I’ve enjoyed going to the movies almost my whole life. The first film I ever remember attending was Steven Spielberg’s E.T. in 1982. That movie got me hooked and I’ve loved the cinema ever since. I can’t get enough of the movies and I love going to the movie theater to experience these stories on the big screen.
I’ve seen a lot of movies in my life and I have memories of many of those experiences. There’s one memory in particular that sticks out for me, and that’s because it’s one of my all time favorite movie going experiences.
In the summer of 1989, when I was 11-years-old my mom took me to the Alex Theater in Glendale, CA. to go see Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. I love Indiana Jones! When I was a kid, that character was one of my heroes! I wanted to see The Last Crusade so bad and my mom was kind enough to take me.
On a side note, my mom told me that the first movie she ever took me to was Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. I have no memory of that experience, though! I was only three years old at the time. At least I was there!
The excitement that filled me the night we saw The Last Crusade while we were standing in a long line outside of the theater was overwhelming. At the time everyone was telling me that this was going to be the last film made in the franchise and I was so sad that it was coming to an end. There were so many bitter sweet feelings that I was having.
But watching that story unfold on the big screen with my mom and a completely packed theater was awesome! My eyes were glued to the screen as I watched what I thought would be Indiana Jones’ final adventure.
There were so many great moments in that movie, that filled me with adrenaline, like when I thought Indiana died after the tank drove off a cliff. But when the story hit the third act and we saw Indiana Jones and the Nazis show up at Al Khazneh, in Petra, Jordan to retrieve the Holy Grail through a series of riddles and challenges, my emotions were running high!
I’ll never forget the first poor guy that they sent in to retrieve the grail and the image of his decapitated head rolling down the stairs when he tried to go through. I’ve seen the movie hundreds of times over the years, but when I think of that scene, it’s always through the eyes of my 11-year-old self. That certainly upped the level of anxiety when Indiana was sent in to go through it.
His journey through those challenges to get the the grail was probably the most engaged I’ve even been in a movie. It was like I was there right next to him as he approached and conquered each of the challenges that he faced! Remember when he is repeating the phrase, “only the penitent man will pass” at the beginning? As I started repeating that to myself, that’s when I was locked in, that’s the moment when really felt like I was with Indiana Jones every step of the way.
It’s hard to explain what I was going through at this moment. It was so surreal and I never really have felt it sense. I don’t know why, but I assume it was just a right mix of elements involving my age, emotions, and fandom. I don’t know! I don’t think that feeling will ever be fully recaptured again, though.
Then watching Indiana Jones ride off into the sunset with his dad, Marcus, and Sallah at the end was such a perfect moment. It was a perfect ending to what in my mind was a perfect film.
I’m also happy that I was able to share this incredible movie going experience with my mom and that she took me to the film. I walked out of that movie as happy as anyone could be in the world. It was a perfect end to the trilogy.
What is your all-time favorite movie going experience as a kid?