last night matt and i saw ‘raiders of the lost ark’ at the music box. ‘raiders’ is one of my favorite movies and was a big part of my childhood. it was one of the few movies my dad and i would watch when i was small(er). he loved it because it reminded him of the serials he saw as a kid at the 5ยข movies (or however much they cost) and i loved it, initially, because my dad seemed to really like it and it was something we could enjoy together.

watching it for the first time on the big screen was very exciting. ‘raiders of the lost ark’ was released just before i was born so i’d only seen it on television or in a smaller screening room at northwestern. i’ve noticed that when i watch movies i loved as a child, i can suddenly see where all sorts of seeds of my personality were planted. ‘wargames’ made me forever fall in love with nerds and be attracted to guys that are good at video games and good with computers. ‘clue’ shaped what i think of as funny and influenced my admiration of early to mid-century fashion. when my cousins forced me to watch some episodes of ‘star trek’ because they wanted to watch them and were stuck babysitting me, they hardly could’ve guessed that they launched my life-long obsession with all things roddenberry.

however, while watching ‘raiders of the lost ark’ i saw some other parallels – things that i’d never really noticed but would probably be obvious to anyone familiar with the movie and with me. my fascination with archaeology and ancient egypt is directly related to this movie and i even remember my friend holly, an archaeology major, also talking about how much she loved these movies when she was young.

last night i recalled thinking many years before that marion was the kind of girl i wanted to be. pretty with moxie and able to fit in with the boys. i remember seeing her out-drink that huge guy, handle a machine gun and keep pace with indy as they ran from the exploding airplane and thinking, “she is so cool”. i remember seeing the effect she had on indiana and thinking, “she is AWESOME”.

watching ‘raiders’ so often at such a young age also impressed upon me the idea that indiana jones is What a Man Should Be: intelligent, handsome, physically fit and bold. he always has a dry rejoiner and like macgyver (another childhood crush) he knows how to do stuff – how to survive ancient booby traps, how to find lost treasure, how to fight nazis and escape secret egyptian rooms. he’s also wise/knowledgable – he knows to avert his eyes from the opened ark when the others do not. and…HE’S AN ARCHAEOLOGIST. not a particularly ethical one, but still. brains AND brawn. the only thing missing is music – if indiana played a musical instrument i’d be beside myself. i’m also very aware that this feeling of indy-as-man-to-adore was strengthened by seeing how my father enjoyed the movie and liked the character. if my dad liked this guy – was impressed by him – he must be pretty cool.

i guess i don’t really have an elegant way to wrap up this post. last night i was just really struck by how often i thought, “so THAT’S where that comes from!” did movies influence anyone else this strongly or just me?