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Friday, November 2, 2012

Movie Memories 07 | J.R. Murdock

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I haven’t always been a cynic when it comes to movies. Honest. I know I’ve posted many critical movie reviews and I have a tendency to tear apart movies, but I really like watching them (even the bad ones). Honest.

The first movie I saw in a theater was in Tamarack, MN (some 20 miles away from where I lived) when I was…oh…6? My memory as a kid can be foggy. But I do remember sitting on basically concrete steps like it was some ancient theater (yes, others had seats) and the movie was projected on a mostly white brick wall over there (yes, some theaters had screens). Needless to say the theater wasn’t much of a theater, but there was popcorn, and a movie. We saw the Jungle Book.

NO! I’m not THAT old!

It was a reshowing of the original. Sure I’d seen it on the small screen many times. I’d seen a lot of movies. I loved watching movies. Once I saw something on the big screen, I was shocked! It was great.

The second movie I saw in Aitkin MN (some 40 miles away) a few years later. Yes, going to the movies was an event. We got all dressed up and headed over. It was quite a drive (nearly an hour) and we got there early to make sure we got good seats. I didn’t even know what movie we were there to see. I don’t recall the previews. What I do remember was the words crawling up the screen.

Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! (Yes, this was in the days long before OMG was a thought)

It was the Empire Strikes Back! I had seen Star Wars many, many times on television and was so excited to see the sequel. I think I actually started bouncing in my seat as I ate my popcorn and drank my soda and chewed my red vines (not all at the same time mind you). I sat mesmerized by the visions on the screen. The massive explosions. The bright lights. The music!

Quick aside, nearly all of my viewing up to that point was poor due to my need for glasses that I didn’t have. Once I had glasses, watching things became completely different . Still everything I saw was on a tiny TV that got a lot of static due to our location just next door to the middle of nowhere.

To see Star Wars in such huge clarity with sound I didn’t have to strain to listen to and no commercials!


I had to excuse myself when I was certain it was a slow point in the movie. I ran as fast as I could trying not to trip as I walked backwards up the aisle. I did my business as quickly as I could and got back to the movie. NO! How did Luke escape? What happened? What did I miss?


Yes, I’ve seen the Empire Strikes Back many, many times since. I burned out my Video Tapes I had of them and had to buy new copies. I have them on DVD, but I doubt I’ll get the Blue Ray. To this day I still have not seen the Empire Strikes Back without interruption. Be it a phone call, a bathroom break, a knock at the door. It’s like life knows I’m watching this movie.

Even when I went to the theater to see the updated versions, The Empire Strikes Back had something wrong with the playback and the movie cut in the middle and we had to wait 10 minutes for it to restart. I even joked with my friend that something will happen. Sure enough, fate intervened.

I have seen a lot of movies over the years in a lot of different theaters. Yes, I’m cynical and critical of the movies I see. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the experience of buying my popcorn, my soda, my red vines, and taking my seat with the hopeful anticipation that I’ll be entertained for the next 1.5-3+ hours. I doubt I’ll ever stop seeing movies.

I think I’ll go throw in the Empire Strikes Back and see what interrupts me this time.

J.R. Murdock is an avid reader of almost anything he can get his hands on. That being said, he also writes with near reckless abandon in any and every genre. His style is intended for pure entertainment. Over the years he’s written nine novels and over one hundred short stories. Only a few short stories have seen print (in actual print and on the web) so he’s decided to throw his hat into the podcasting arena with his novel V & A Shipping. Since then he has also podcast his novel Billy Barbarian and released his YA novel Astel: Chosen, not to mention the great short stories he's podcast in his Murdockian Tales series. Find out more at Also from J.R. Murdock look for the Action Pack Podcast at There he'll be spinning a serial western steampunk tale called Golden West. The podcast and eBook formats drop once a month starting this February. When not writing like a mad-man, J.R. Murdock does have a day job as a computer programmer and loves to spend time with his lovely wife and beautiful daughter.

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