I have constantly been searching for my flavour of film since I was a little girl. I remember staying up late, and getting up in the wee hours of the morning to watch something I had read about in the TV guide. My family aren't the biggest film buffs, but they have always liked watching films and my parents encouraged my siblings and myself to watch them. Besides overdosing on my daily fix of Disney films and The Simpsons, my main interest was basking is the violent glow of action and martial art films. I have an older brother, who was into these films, and just by default I ended up having to watch what he picked. I grew up idolising people like Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Bruce Lee, and the small amount of friends that I did have, really didn't understand why. After watching films like Bloodsport, I would go to school the following day and try to encourage the kids to 'play Bloodsport' with me. I would try and excite the other kids by quoting lines from the film, and they looked at me and made me feel even more stupid and left out than they already previously had.
Moving from suburb to suburb, I was never far from a local video store. It was definitely the first thing I scoped out to find rather than finding new friends. Videos were my friends. All those bright colours on the VHS covers always brought so much intrigue into my mind, and I would try to imagine the plot inside of my head. Whenever I went to the video store with my mum I would always try to take advantage of the fact that she was there so I could rent something violent. I can just imagine my mum walking to the counter now, just picture the scene for a moment. Mama Jade would be waiting for her two eldest children to come to decision on what films to pick, and then suddenly her middle child Jade would come up to her holding up Alice in Wonderland, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Best of the Best, Mortal Kombat and Kickboxer. Mama Jade's reaction would be a sigh because she knew her daughter picked Kickboxer the previous week and then she would say "Jade do you really need to watch it again?" Her daughter would just nod excitedly. As Mama Jade paid at the counter you could see she was going to have a hard time to make her daughter more feminine but at the same time you could see she appreciated her individuality.
You may be thinking that this really didn't happen, but this was a weekly occurrence when I was a child. Videos were really my life. Sure, I went outside to play with kids, but some instance would occur where I was left out, laughed at, picked on because I was 'weird'. Some days I would come in crying because I felt so left out and I was so tired from being called names for liking what I liked. But as soon as I sat in front of the TV and turned on my cheer up film which was the He-Man and She-Ra animated film, Secret of the Sword, I was instantly happy. This was a technique I still use to this day, but I have replaced Secret of the Sword with Enter the Dragon.
I often think back to my journey through watching and experiencing film, and it definitely has taken me to some awesome places within my own mind. I felt emotions I hadn't felt before around actual people. You may think that is being disconnected, and in a way I definitely can be, but seeing an idea, or a dream being portrayed on screen is something I have always felt easier to trust than someone's words. And for years I felt no one could even relate to how I felt about film, and I didn't meet anyone who got excited about the same things I did until a few years ago.
I went through childhood, my teenage years and my early 20's not having anyone to relate to, I felt like an alien. I have been in many different groups of friends, and it hasn't been until now, where I have a small but the best group of friends I could ever ask for. These are the type of people who are not judgemental if you haven't seen a particular film or if you don't like a film that they adore. At the end of the day, they are film lovers, they embrace films for what they are, and enjoy them for what they try to convey. Sure we vent about films we don't like, but more often than not, we sit around in a comfy lounge room, with a TV on and just embrace whatever we see on screen, no matter how bad it is. While we do appreciate well made films, we cant help but love the films out there that get lost in leaky basements, or that get sold off at closing down video stores or lovely remastered DVD's and Blu Rays that Arrow Video distribute.
When I watch film, I couldn't care less about camera angles, lighting or any of the real technical aspects. All I want when I watch a film is an experience, a memory, an emotion. If bad dubbing on a forgotten martial arts film makes me laugh then it's done it's job. If an unknown horror film astounds me by it's practical FX and countless cameos from actors before they were famous, then it's done it's job. If a film makes me CONNECT, then it's done it's job. I don't care about plot holes, I don't care if a film wins awards, I don't care if everyone hates the film, but I like it. That is irrelevant. I often wonder if people are actually embarrassed to like the films they do, and just hide their favourite films under the floorboards, because why would anyone want their friends to see their copy of Sharknado sitting proudly on the shelf?
I love film, I love discussing it and I love quoting it. And age at 27 I refuse to be told that I am 'weird' because of my passion. I believe if we embraced peoples passions instead of cutting them down for it on a daily basis, we would actually be able to understand each other a lot better.