It started in the summer of 1998. I just graduated from high school and I was accepted to Norfolk State University, a short 30 minute commute from my residence. My mother suggested I get a summer job to earn money for books and school supplies. My previous job experience consisted of fast food chains and retail clothing stores. This time I wanted a little bit more. I wanted to work at a job where I could actually enjoy what I was doing.
Then the divine connection happened.
Just a few miles down the street, renovation was beginning inside a new store in my neighborhood. The name of the store said it all: Hollywood Video. I was instantaneously drawn to the prominent name Hollywood and applied right away. I was elated when I got the call a week later from the store manager telling me I got the job! Since the store was still undergoing minor construction at the time, I was trained in their sister store several miles away. The moment I started working for Hollywood Video was the moment my movie geek was born.
As an employee of the popular video chain at the time, I was allowed 5 free movie rentals per week. Yes, I am NOT embellishing here, I was allowed to rent out 5 video cassettes or DVDs per week with my employee discount. My summer was inundated with several movie titles from all genres. I watched classic films (pre mid-1960s), indie films, westerns, dramas, horror, comedy, and yes anime too. I rarely left the four walls of my home and knew what it was finally like to live the life of a film critic. It was awesome!
I remember getting angry at my boss for mis-categorizing film titles when they were scanned in and making careless mistakes like having Sharon Stone’s prison movie Last Dance in the Horror section. Seriously? I mean the movie was atrocious, but scary? I don’t think so. I also didn’t like the fact that our anime section consisted of two shelves and there were NO Sailor Moon titles. I’m sad to say, my knowledge of Sailor Moon is lacking and I hold Hollywood Video responsible for that.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I will say if it were not for my experience at Hollywood Video, I wouldn’t be the go-to-girl when it comes to this scenario:
Q: What’s the name of the movie with Nicholas Cage where he was on the plane with a whole bunch of criminals?
Jamie: Oh you mean Con-Air?
Q. What’s the name of the actress in that movie where she’s a witch and she becomes the popular girl in high school?
Jamie: Oh that’s Robyn Lively and the movie is Teen Witch.
Yes, I’m that girl. I’m also the same girl that can kick your ass in Scene It! Every time there is a movie category on Jeopardy I’m the one that cleans out the category and then feel a little resentful that I didn’t get any applause from the TV audience.
As of late, my movie geek has slowly transformed into a TV geek. It fluctuates from time to time. I’ve been very disappointed in movies lately and since I no longer work at a video store, I don’t have the kind of access that I used to. However, with TV and the advent of digital cable, Hulu, and Netflix Instant, watching amazing TV shows is so easy to do. Twitter has fueled my TV geek with live-tweeting and conversing with thousands of fellow geeks who share an affinity for the same kind of shows that I do.
I miss the days of working at a video store and having innumerable amounts of free time to just sit back and watch movies all day. I still hold some jealousy for people who get paid to watch movies and critique them for a living. I want to be about that film or TV critic life. In the meantime, it’s fun to reminisce and share the source of my movie geek.
Are you a movie geek? Where did the origin of your movie geek begin?