Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Few Brief Comments on My Youth

I realize I haven't posted here in a while. Things have been a little crazy in my household, not least among things taking my time is the sermon I'm preparing for Sunday (on peace, no less, something that seems elusive at the moment).

In any case, a few days ago, I did get the chance to sit down to a movie, a movie I watched often when I was younger: Flight of the Navigator. Abby said she was done with period pieces for a while, and I thought she had said that she liked Flight of the Navigator from when she was a kid, so I put it at the top of the Netflix queue. It turns out, I made that part up. She had never heard of it, and after reading the description and hearing the '80s music play over the DVD menu, she wasn't particularly keen on watching it. Still, since we rarely send Netflix DVDs back without watching them and she wanted this one sent back right away, she agreed to, and so we watched it.

I realized early on that I remembered almost nothing about the movie.

I can't give an accurate count of the number of times I've seen the movie in my life, but I feel like I watched this movie all the time as a kid--probably a few times a year for five or so years. But I completely forgot the plot (boy falls asleep in the woods; when he wakes up, he hasn't aged, but everything around him is eight years older). What did I remember? The robot. The spaceship. The spaceship and the robot flying over the Everglades. That's it.

It reminded me of a story I found that I wrote in first or second grade. Here it is, reprinted in its entirety (though without my awesome drawings):
One day Emily found a professor. His name was Professor Hall. They asked him if he had a time machine. He said, "Yes." So he said, "I'll bring it to your house." When it was there Emily said, "Let's go." Then they went 65 million years back in time. There was a Tyrannosaurus. He got so mad he smashed the time machine. Emily said, "Let's make friends." Tyrannosaurus let them on his back and ride. A triceratops tried to horn them. But Emily said, "Let's be friends." So they did. They saw a pteranodon. It tried to charge them. Emily said, "Let's make friends" and they did. They met a compsognathus. They met a mammoth. The mammoth put their machine together. They said, "Good bye." They went back in time.
What does this story have to do with Flight of the Navigator? Well, for one thing, it verifies something I've heard before but had never really given credence to: we remember what is important to us. I remembered the robot and the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator, but really nothing else because that's what was important to me. Watching the movie again, though, I couldn't help but think that it would have been a better movie without the robot and spaceship. Better, perhaps, but less memorable. (The robot, voiced by Pee Wee Herman--you were right, Abby!--was super annoying.)

The story above illustrates a similar point. I knew my teachers would want me to write a story about people (because characters carry the drama; without characters, there is no story; blah, blah, blah), but all I really wanted to write about was dinosaurs and time machines. Yes, there is Emily and the professor, but really, they are only in the story in that they lead up to the time machine and the dinosaurs. In fact, in the drawings that accompany this story, there are pictures of dinosaurs and a time machine. (I even drew a compsognathus.) No humans are to be found anywhere. Why? They weren't the important part of the story.

(A brief aside: The whole robot/machine thing is also the reason why The Omega Virus was one of my favorite games growing up and why I have so many fond memories playing it. It is the ultimate boy game.)

What was your favorite movie from childhood? Have you watched it recently? You might be surprised by how what you remember compares to what's recorded on the film.


  1. First I have to say, your little story was very cute and from a grown-up view 'hilarious!!' lol!! The story I remember from childhood was of course 'The Wizard Of Oz' (I was born in 1960)... Every last week of November was the beginning of the same movies year after year... Most of them narrated by that king of narrators 'Burl Ives' in 'Rudolf' (and the island of misfit toys... my favorite character being the little elf who wanted to be a dentist) or 'Frosty the Snowman'. But Wizard of Oz is a classic of course! I bought it several years ago because I loved it as a child... and when I saw it again, of course my favorites had always been the scarecrow, the lion, Oz himself, and believe it or not, the troops at the castle (I think it was there big puffy hats lol!)
    Anyway, I still enjoyed it but noticed it wasn't as long a movie as I remembered (Must have been all the commercials) and Dorothy trapped in the castle 'crying for Auntie Em' still chokes me up!! :)

  2. I loved that movie, but it scared me to death. I always thought that something would happen to me, or I'd go off on a grand adventure, or I'd get kidnapped (I was little. These were legitimate concerns.) and I'd come home to find out everyone else had aged, and, worse, moved away.
    Even now, if I can't get a hold of anyone for a while, I have to run over the checklist: How old is everyone? Did I get in a spaceship? Was there a robot?

  3. @MaryL: I have lots of fond memories of The Wizard of Oz, too. I haven't seen it for about ten years, though, so I wonder what I would think. Thanks for sharing!

    @Jesse: Those are still legitimate concerns. From what I've heard, abductions to Phaelon while the rest of the world ages are common in some parts. Thankfully, Pee Wee Herman robots are not.

  4. All three of the Mighty Ducks movies. I have the set on DVD, but haven't watched recently...that may have to change soon...