I always wonder exactly when it was that I started liking films more than the average person. I did an A Level in Film Studies when I was 16 and I chose the subject in Year 11 when I was 15 (even over similar, more general subjects like Media Studies) so it was before then.
At 14 years old, my friends liked Tarantino and Tim Burton which I’m sure made a difference to developing my eclectic palette. But what about even before then? Yeah I watched Disney and Pixar films, but they don’t feel like I loved them more than the average child. I was a pretty ‘obsessive’ child to put it lightly. And from the below films and film franchises, it’s easy to see how I generally became obsessed with all things filmy.
The Harry Potter Films (2001 – 2011)
I think we were all a bit obsessed with this franchise, but I took it one step further. More specifically, I was completely obsessed with Daniel Radcliffe when I was about 11 years old. Looking back, it’s a bit difficult to understand why. I bought any magazine with a poster of him so I could put it on my wall. I bought one of those Charity wristbands for a random hospice he supported in London. And when it came to a Religious Education project at school where we had to build a shrine, I embarrassingly made one for Daniel Radcliffe while most others did them for their pets or beloved deceased relatives.
But back to Harry Potter, I would watch through every single ‘Behind-the-scenes’ special feature over and over again. I loved seeing how the special FX team built Dobby and the Cornish Pixies, learning what a DOP is. I lapped it all up to become even more obsessed about how films are made.
Mary-Kate and Ashley franchise
Weren’t Mary-Kate and Ashley totally super cool? And didn’t you just want to dress and be exactly like them? Me and my sister loved their movies that took them all over the world. We loved their TV shows Two of a Kind and So Little Time, and we also had their dolls and I’m sure other paraphernalia that our mother indulged us in.
As well as the actual films, I also watched every TV documentary on the twins which I think first got me obsessed about being an actress. They looked like they were having so much fun and had a fantastic life and they were child actors. Then when I realised I didn’t really like acting like I used to that morphed itself into more behind-the-scenes film career dreams as I’ve got older.
Legally Blonde (2001)
This film may seem like a bit of a left turn to the first two examples, but I absolutely adored Legally Blonde. It was one of the very first DVDs we had when we got a DVD player. I’m very, very proud of my 8/9-year-old self loving Elle Woods because I honestly think it’s a great film for girls to watch. Maybe apart from when she uses the insult ‘frigid bitch’… I also got very obsessed with this film. I remember watching it again and again and noting down all the outfits, accessories and even home furnishings that Elle Woods had, so I could ask for the things I wanted most for my birthday and Christmas.
So it was definitely one of my favourite childhood films, but how did it make me love cinema? I guess when you’re as obsessed over a character and you’re 8-years-old, you inadvertently believe that the actress is the character. I would watch Reese Witherspoon in ANYTHING. Cruel Intentions (1999) was showing on TV one night a few years later and I didn’t hesitate to watch, and Walk The Line (2006) is one of my all time favourite films. When you invest so much in a character and believe in them, who knows how far that could go.
School of Rock (2003)
And we finally get to School of Rock. A film I’ve wrote about before in which I list the life lessons School of Rock taught me, and I was pretty obsessed with it. Dewey Finn as a character was perfect for rousing enthusiasm. And I watched the ‘Behind-the-scenes’ special features and commentaries on the DVD over and over. I guess it’s similar to the effect the Mary-Kate and Ashley films had on me. I saw all these other 10-year-old in a major feature film and I totally wanted to do that too.
How obsessed I got over these films and ideals makes me pretty glad that I was able to watch all of these really cool films. Kids really do take in anything and everything and I thank my lucky stars what I was subjected to meant I can now appreciate cinema and films for the wonderfulness that they are.
Do you have any films that stick out in your childhood?