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15 Years Later, "The Dark Knight" Is A Reminder Of A Time When Movies Meant A Lot More To Me

I am a redundant fuck, aren't I? Seriously, how many blogs have I written at this point about the Christopher Nolan Batman films? Probably a dozen. Those movies are like a warm embrace to me. I'll be eighty years old telling my grandkids about "The Dark Knight." I never get tired of it. And I'm sure I'm setting myself up for another onslaught of comments saying, "You like Batman and nothing else." I know I say a lot of shit, but please, one time, listen and let me explain why this movie is so important to me. Don't read the headline. Read the blog. This should be the last Batman blog I will write, but I'm done predicting things now. I'll likely have another one in the queue next week. It would be silly at this point for me to do a straight review of "The Dark Knight." I've dissected this movie more than any film of my lifetime. If you've seen it, you don't need me to tell you how great it is. If you haven't seen it, what are you doing? We're told to write about what we know, and I know this movie damn well now.

"The Dark Knight" is my pinnacle for cinema. That bothers a lot of people, but I don't know. It's a fucking fantastic movie. I have never claimed that it's the greatest movie of all-time. I've seen movies that are, objectively speaking, better than this film. I've seen it so often that I can point out even the tiniest flaws. People still need to understand that film is an emotionally based art form. I could put on "The Godfather" tomorrow, watch it on my laptop in my parent's basement and enjoy it just fine. I could watch it at home or or on a 50 foot screen. I'm sure it's wonderful, but there's no emotion attached to that. "The Dark Knight" in the summer of 2008 was an experience. Some movies are just movies, but this was an event. When you're young, popular culture is amplified. Things feel more important than they are. I didn't have to worry about adult responsibilities. I also hated school, so summers, especially summer movies, were my salvation. The one problem you run into with being overly excited about so many movies is that you're often disappointed. Not many films genuinely live up to the hype. "The Dark Knight" was one of those rare exceptions. It couldn't have hit at a better time in my life. And fifteen years later, there's never been an anomaly quite like it. It was the biggest movie of the year and the most received then. It changed its genre overnight, and we knew it too. It was lightning in a bottle.

I hear people talk a lot about the experience of going to the movies. In the modern age, I don't understand that. I go to the film, come home, and work on blogs in the basement. I don't really feel the "experience" anymore, but I once did. Because a movie like "The Dark Knight" was an experience for thirteen-year-old me. It wasn't about going to the movies. It was about watching the trailers, counting down the days, checking out message boards, eyeing the rotten tomatoes score, and talking about it with my friends on the tennis court as "Viva La Vida" played on the radio in the summer of 2008. Those were the experiences. I may not have appreciated it at the moment, but I'd turn back time to have those days back, just for a chance to enjoy the summer of Batman one more time.

I don't know why I feel the need to use this blog as my journal sometimes, but I'm nothing, if not honest. I like being real with my audience. I think it's important to not shy away and act like the responses don't matter, so I'll come clean. I don't like what's become of me regarding how my film opinions are viewed. I don't like being the wet blanket who shits on people's good times. And there is no one else to blame for that. I stand by my opinions, but I sometimes wish I had different ones. Life would be easier. I've done many things in my two years at this company, but I swear to you, I have never written or said anything in the hopes that I would intentionally upset people or hurt their feelings. Hate is a wasted emotion, yet I feel it too often. Sometimes I let my mood get in the way. I've also never lied about how I feel. Sometimes, I feel like it'd be better if I did. Opinions are like assholes, and assholes say a lot of unpopular shit.

Last week, after my ever-controversial movie theatre blog, I read Jeff D. Lowe's blog, where he talked about the magical experience of going to the movies. I thought it was fantastic. Something occurred to me as I read off all the incredible experiences he enthusiastically listed of great times he had going to the movie theater. I used to be that guy. I don't know what happened, but that guy doesn't exist anymore, which is why "The Dark Knight" is so special to me. Yeah, it's an amazing film, I would even call it perfect, but it represents a time in my life when things were way less complicated. It existed at the height of my innocence and the peak of adolescence. Maybe I just grew out of that magic. Perhaps I'm the kid from "The Polar Express" who can't hear the jingle bell in his ear anymore. That's something I'll have to accept. When I talk about this movie, I feel like Andrew Bernard lamenting that he wished he knew when he was in the good old days—nostalgia is a powerful weapon. Before Barstool, before content, before podcasts, there was a thirteen-year-old in Lansing who wanted to review films, and "The Dark Knight" was his movie. I'll be forever grateful.