Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ben's Top 5 Most Memorable Childhood Movie/TV Moments

The other day on Facebook, I mentioned that I'd watched the original V miniseries over the weekend (in preparation, as it turned out, for the new series that premiered last night), and commented that the scene in which the evil alien commander, Diana, eats the guinea pig probably ranks as one of the top 5 most memorable movie & TV moments from my childhood. And that got me to thinking... what are the other four?? Well, I've delved into the recesses of my mind and found the five scenes that most affected me as a child and -- for better or worse -- helped mold me into the man I am today. Here we go....

5. E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) -- You know the scene where Elliott's brother finds E.T.'s pale, lifeless body at the bottom of the ditch? I distinctly remember sitting in the movie theatre as a five-year-old and bawling hysterically. These were no run-of-the-mill kiddie tears, though. No, this was probably the exact movie moment that turned me into such a softie and made my heartstrings so damn easy for movies to pull. Thanks a lot, Spielberg!

4. V (1983) -- I was only six when V was unleashed over the TV airwaves, but I distinctly remember watching it with my cousins and freaking out when Diana ate that damn guinea pig. Granted, it didn't turn me into a superfan, and in fact I didn't watch it again in its entirety until a few days ago... but it was one of those things that stuck deep into my subconscious mind and would pop up to the surface every once in a blue moon and I'd shiver at the thought. Definitely one of the greatest and scariest revelations in TV or movie history.

3. POLTERGEIST (1982) -- Jeez, take your pick of the scenes from this movie that have haunted me throughout my life: The evil toy clown. The scary-ass tree. The guy ripping his own face off. But the one that always gets me is the big corpse-riddled climax. "YOU MOVED THE HEADSTONES BUT YOU DIDN'T MOVE THE BODIES!!" To this day, this movie (and this scene in particular) is pretty much my standard by which all scary movies are based. I've spent most of my adult life practically begging horror films to scare me as much -- but so far, nothing has come close.

2. FAMILY TIES (1985) -- Remember the episode where a tuxedo-clad Alex P. Keaton races to the train station where he hopes to intercept Ellen and stop her from marrying another guy? And when he finds her there, he pours his heart out to her for the first time and discovers that she feels the same way and they get together? Well, I do. As a kid, I loved FAMILY TIES and idolized Michael J. Fox -- and not only do I believe this to be the defining moment of the show, but it was a defining moment of my young life. In many ways, the buildup of their relationship, highlighted by their emotional dance (with "What did you think / I would do at this moment..." playing in the background) and culminating with Alex's dramatic outpouring of emotion, directly influenced my own romantic views and, occasionally, actions throughout my life. (Not to mention the fact that Alex & Ellen's relationship was the product of a distinct thunderbolt, since Alex initially planned on dating her roommate, only to be knocked for a loop when he met Ellen!) So, girlfriends past and present, now you know what to blame!

...and finally....

-- This one should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me... and if you are a heterosexual male child of my generation, it may be your #1, too. I'm referring, of course, to Slave Leia. Carrie Fisher as Jabba's prisoner wearing the gold bikini was the hottest thing I'd ever seen in my young life, and it filled my six-year-old loins with my first feelings of lust before I even knew what it all meant. The moment that particularly gets me is after Leia kills Jabba and joins the battle. Luke instructs her to "Get the gun! Point it at the deck!" She circles around to the nearby cannon, and in doing so, her skimpy loincloth flutters up just enough to glimpse some serious skin. How much of an impact has this had on my life? Let's put it this way: Petite, curvaceous, dynamic women with long dark hair have long been my physical ideal. Coincidence? I think not!

Honorable Mentions:

THE NEVERENDING STORY (1984) -- Lots of important moments in this movie, ranging from Falcor's flight to the Rock Biter's lament ("They look like good, strong hands... don't they?") to Gmork's revelation... but Bastian's encounter with the Childlike Empress is the most notable for me, for one reason: If Slave Leia gave me my first feelings of lust, then the Childlike Empress was my first crush!

BUILD-UP TO WRESTLEMANIA III (1987) -- Hogan vs. Andre is widely considered to be the most important match in pro wrestling history. But to me, even more memorable than the match was the moment on Piper's Pit when Andre shocked the world and officially turned heel. As a nine-year-old who worshipped Hulk Hogan and loved Andre, watching the Giant join forces with Bobby Heenan, rip Hogan's shirt and gold cross and throw them to the floor, and seeing Hogan drop to his knees in sadness was almost too much to bear!

RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983) -- Yes, again. I mean, really, I could break down this whole movie scene-by-scene and determine how each was memorable -- it was the most-watched movie of my childhood and remains my favorite STAR WARS film. But the final duel -- Luke vs. Vader, with the Emperor looking on and dispensing his memorable taunts -- is the greatest sequence in movie history, and fills me with as much awe today as it did when I was six.

Ah, time is up... how much do I owe you for this therapy session, doctor? I mean, um... there you have it! Now let's hear some comments, criticisms, etc. -- which scenes would make your lists?


  1. Cool list.

    #2 - one of my fav TV moments for sure.

    Here's Billy Vera and the Beaters:

  2. Goddamn that's a great song. I read that it was originally released a few years earlier and went unnoticed -- but then when it was used in that Family Ties episode, it shot up to #1!