There’s something magical about going to the movies alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love the company of others. I’m a very social person. It’s just that there’s nothing really like experiencing the magic of the movies by yourself. Aside from the pitiful look you get from the ticket-taker, it’s pretty amazing. There are no distractions, no sharing of food, and, of course, you can stay there as long as you want (or until they kick out). That’s exactly what I was going to do when I heard that the 1982 Spielberg classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was coming to theatres for its 35th anniversary. My roommates were all leaving to go see Blade Runner (a film I have yet to see) and invited me to join them. Of course, when I told them I had plans to go see E.T. alone they gave me the same look I would soon receive from the ticket-taker. So later that night, I stuck a bag of Reese’s Pieces into my pocket and walked into the theatre.
As the lights of theatre 9 faded to the dark and the familiar opening theme echoed from the speakers, I was overcome by a wave of nostalgia. You see, E.T. is, by far, one of my favorite films. There are many reasons why and each time I see it, I come up with a new reason to love it. First off, the story. Yes I know, it’s about an alien and a boy but it’s so much more than that. It’s about friendship, maturity, and (something that went over my head as a young boy) it’s about coping with divorce. Spielberg took a lot of his experiences from his own parents’ divorce and implemented it into Elliot’s life. This brings a sense of reality into such a magical story. Second, the details. Aside from clever advertising (Reese’s Pieces, Coors, and many others), Spielberg also made some essential details with the plot. Take the antagonist for example, he is seen at the beginning of the film and throughout it until the end. The catch, however, is that we never see his face until the last act of the film. We know it’s him because the first time we see him he adjusts a keychain on his belt. Spielberg continues to have this character enter time and time again with the keychain until we recognize him just by hearing the jingle of a set of keys. To me, that’s genius.
I could spend hours telling you more and more reasons why this film means so much to me, instead, I’ll leave you with this. An image of me sitting alone in the theatre. The lights turn back on to reveal me drying my tears (yes, I cried and I’m not afraid to mention it). Let me also acknowledge that this always happens. Every time I see this film, I cry. Sometimes it’s because of the score, sometimes the characters, but the last line of the film never disappoints: “I’ll be right here.” After the employees slowly made their way in the theatre to mop up my tears, I took my cue and made my way out. With the ending theme still whispering in my ear, I couldn’t help but realize this is why I want to make movies.