The Harbinger Online

Keepin’ It Reel

I once had a conversation with some friends about what was the most important thing to each of us in our lives. One answered money, another women, and the third music. My answer was movies. They chastised me for my response a bit, and didn’t quite believe me, but after 20 minutes of intense interrogation they understood it was the God-honest truth.

So how does such an overwhelming obsession with films develop? Well, when I was little, it stemmed from watching Disney and Pixar movies (“Toy Story” in particular) and the original “Star Wars” trilogy over and over. I could even tell you the approximate runtime of each one off the top of my head. Then, I would live these films that sparked my interests in movies by dressing up, acting like, adopting the names of and nearly becoming the characters.

Before I could even talk, my parents would know when I woke up because they’d hear the plastic boots clacking together of my Burger King Collector’s Edition Woody doll I slept with, as I pattered down the hall dressed in my “Toy Story” pajamas, and clinging to my idol. Several years later, the Force was so strong with this one that I would only respond to my Jedi name, Luke Skywalker, as I sported one leather glove over my “robotic” left hand. All of this, of course, made possible through the cooperation of Princess Leia (my mother).

My father, a videographer, used to make home movies starring myself, my brother and the neighbor kids, or if it was at a family get-together, then the cousins. Through these mostly improvised or written-on-the-spot videos, I also deepened my appreciation for films and how they’re made, as an amateur actor and assistant director under my dad – even if it was just for “Jenny Springer,” “The Charlie Knows Show” and “The Ray-Gunn News,” along with other such silly productions. It was here, in the smallest small-time, that my everlasting desire to become a film director, in the Hollywood big-time, arose.

Then there’s also the nine-year-old family tradition of watching foreign movies on New Year’s Eve. Through this yearly event, I adjusted at a young age to the phenomenon of reading subtitles, and was introduced to films of different cultures earlier on than most children. From French flicks to Polish pieces, and most commonly Japanese works, these cinematic New Year’s marathons widened my horizons and are probably the reason I like foreign films so much, as well as why I’m somewhat partial to absurd Asian movies.

Fast-forward to seventh grade, where I would stay up until 4 a.m. nearly every night procrastinating on my homework, only to go to school the next day not having completed all my assignments. Now how is it possible to stay up that late, three to four times a week, and not finish my work? Easy – just click the minimize button on that draining “Where the Red Fern Grows” essay-in-progress and secretly stream an exciting film over the Internet! The teachers were never happy about my missing/incomplete work the following day, but my friends got a kick out of my devotion to movies over education. It was at this point that they seriously started respecting me as the school’s utmost Cinemaniac, joking that I’d seen every film ever made.

While these late nights of falling behind on homework to race ahead with movies weren’t always the wisest course of action, I did learn something vital from that year-and-a-half long routine. Once I realized that films were more important to me than my grades and sleep, I was finally able to embrace my destiny as “Alex Lamb the Movie Man” head-on, with complete and utter devotion. So when I say that I know what I’m talking about when it comes to films, I mean it. I eat, breath and sleep movies. And until I either become a paid film critic or legitmate movie director, I’ll use this blog to share my knowledge with the world.

From rounding up the top films of the summer (Inglourious Basterds, District 9, Star Trek, Up, and The Hangover), informing you about the must-see independent masterpiece currently playing at your local art-house theater (The Hurt Locker), or recommending those out-of-the-way gems (both new and old) that require viewing for any fan of cinema, I’ve got you covered. Whether it’s the funniest, most delightful comedy you’ve never heard of (Amelie), or the weirdest movie about a high schooler ever made (Donnie Darko), I’m here to help you keep it reel.

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Alex Lamb

Alex Lamb joined Harbinger his freshman year and became East's resident film critic. He also worked his way up from being a videographer on the Harbinger Online during its rebirth in 2009 to the convergence editor his senior year. He graduated in 2012 and still writes movie reviews, only now at the University of Kansas, where he is double majoring in Film and Media Studies and Journalism. He plans to become a movie director. Read Full »

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