Home Movies

By Michael J. Legeros

                "You're gonna to need a bigger boat"
                               - Roy Scheider, JAWS

In 1983, I bought my first VCR.  I saved the money during my first
summer out of high school, while working as a "beach marketer."  You
know, one of those annoying people who approach sunbathers and ocean
swimmers, to pitch some strange time-sharing deal.  If they showed--
and stayed till the end of whatever torturous presentation awaited
them-- Yours Enterprising received ten bucks.  Or maybe it was twen-
ty.  (To ensure proper remuneration, the "special" invitations were
rubber-stamped with our names.)  Thus, how I earned three bills to
buy a Panasonic video recorder that still works to this day, if you
don't count the tape-eating tendencies on ejection.  (Our family al-
ready owned an earlier model and one of the very first home record-
ers, which, I suppose, says a lot about our love of movies.)  I got
mine in August and almost immediately took it to North Carolina
State University, where I was starting as a freshman in Agriculture
and Life Sciences.  (Alas, I didn't get accepted into either Compu-
ter Science or the School of Design.  My grades sucked.)  We landed
at Owen Residence Hall, my VCR and me, sans air conditioning (good
God) and with not one but *two* roommates, the result of unexpected
over-enrollment.  (Our third wheel was either relocated soon there-
after or joined a frat.  I don't remember which.)

Said three hundred-dollar toy was toted home the following summer,
where I toiled for two weeks as a burger-flipper (my sole stint at
McD's) and, for the rest of the rest, at a ocean-side condo complex,
as a combination weeknight/weekend security schlep and person-who-
vacuums-the-hallway-carpets-every-Tuesday-or-Wednesday.  (There's a
lot of sand at the beach.)  When I wasn't working or chasing girls
or hanging with friends in the bustling metropolis of Morehead City,
I stayed sequestered in my bedroom and taped Home Box Office.  (Each
bedroom had both a sink *and* an intercom, making anti-social isola-
tion *extra* convenient!)  Now, I didn't have cable television in my
room.  That was a non-issue non-privilege.  So, drilling a hole in
the wall to my parent's room, I simply ran a double wire from their
television's antenna's connection to mine.  (The latter a wee black-
and-white Curtis Mathis, either birthday or Christmas present.  I
wouldn't own a *color* TV until my early twenties.)  And, yes, this
action *was* with parental permission.  However and if I recall cor-
rectly, they were likely, ah, distracted when I weaseled out an af-

While spending as little time as possible with the rest of the fam-
ily-- hey, I was teenager!-- I'd sit in my room for hours on end,
reading comic books, listening to music (heavy metal, newly discov-
ered), and taping movie after movie off HBO.  Most of the flicks
were favorites, though sometimes I taped just for the sake of tap-
ing.  Made *copies* of copies, too, like the long since-lost footage
of a certain someone trying to stay straight-faced while co-hosting
a cable-access news show.  (Said certain someone failed.)  The res-
ulting collection-- all in six-hour SLP mode, of course-- was toted
to Raleigh that fall, where it resided at both North Residence Hall
(sophomore through first senior year) and a fraternity house for two
sundry summers.  (I chose to remain in Raleigh for every subsequent
summer break.)  Fast-forward (ha!) fifteen years to today, Present
Day, specifically Saturday, when the tapes were tossed.  What can I
say?  They've been gathering dust for years, because I invariable
end up *renting* them rather than watching the lower-quality, home-
recorded version.  Before the Big Chuck, however, I jotted down the
titles.  They're reprinted below and make for an amusing, if brief,
early-Eighties time capsule.  They're also an intriguing peek into
the developing tastes of a young (obsessive) movie fan, who, years
later, would embark on a non-career of movie reviewing.

  o 48 HRS - Walter Hill d. (1982)
  o AIRPLANE - Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker d.
  o AIRPLANE II - Ken Finkleman d. (1982)
  o THE BLUES BROTHERS - John Landis d. (1980)
  o BLUE THUNDER - John Badham d. (1982)
  o CADDYSHACK - Harold Ramis d. (1980)
  o CONAN THE BARBARIAN - John Milius d. (1982)
  o DR. DETROIT - Michael Pressman d. (1983)
  o FLASHDANCE - Adrian Lyne d. (1982)
  o THE GROOVE TUBE - Ken Shapiro d. (1972)
  o JAWS - Steven Spielberg d. (1975)
  o MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL - Terry Gilliam, Terry
    Jones d. (1975)
  o NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE - John Landis d. (1978)
  o NEIGHBORS - John G. Avidsen d. (1981)
  o POLTERGEIST - Tobe Hooper d. (1982)
  o RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK - Steven Spielberg d. (1981)
  o RICHARD PRYOR LIVE IN CONCERT - Jeff Margolis d. (1979)
  o STAR TREK: THE WRAITH OF KAHN - Nicolas Meyer d. (1982)
  o STAR WARS - George Lucas d. (1977)
  o STRIPES - Harold Ramis d. (1981)
  o SUDDEN IMPACT - Clint Eastwood d. (1983)
  o SUPERMAN 2 - Richard Lester d (1980)
  o SUPERMAN 3 - Richard Lester d. (1983)
  o THE SURVIVORS - Michael Ritchie d. (1983)
  o TIME BANDITS - Terry Gilliam d. (1981)
  o TO BE OR NOT TO BE - Alan Johnson d. (1983)
  o TOOTSIE - Sydney Pollack d. (1982)
  o TRADING PLACES - John Landis d. (1981)
  o THE TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE - John Landis, Steven Spielberg,
    Joe Dante, George Miller d. (1983)
  o WARGAMES - John Badham d. (1983)
  o THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP - George Roy Hill d. (1982)

Afterwords:  "F*ck you, convict."  And don't call him Shirley.  Son-
ny Bono as the bomber.  "We're on a mission from God."  Roy Scheider
in big, bad-ass helicopter.  The worst-looking hat that Rodney Dan-
gerfield ever saw.  "No, we don't want to report one of those ei-
ther."  Screenplay by Milius and... Oliver Stone!  Any resemblance
between a younger Mike Legeros and a younger Dan Aykroyd is purely
coincidental.  Is Giorgio Moroder still working?  "Just you, just
me..."  Richard Dreyfuss crushes coffee cup.  African swallows.
"Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son."  Eating
a baby's butt through a park bench.  Building on burial grounds.
"Truck?  What truck?"  Dogs on horses.  Pryor on fire.  "Stand by to
receive our transmission."  Lone timpani.  John Candy with buzz cut.
Clint Eastwood explaining the many things that can happen to dog
sh*t.  Good sequel.  Bad sequel.  Robin Williams and ... Walter Mat-
thau!  "It's evil!  Don't touch it!"  Remake of the Jack Benny film.
Charles Durning flips.  "Beef jerky time!"  John Lithgow as William
Shatner.  Is Dabney Coleman still working?  John Lithgow again, this
time as a woman.  And our family's very first video purchase?  THE
both directing and starring with Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Leo
McKern, and Dom DeLuise.  Eyah!  Eyah!

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros


Search Mike Legeros

Copyright 2023 by Michael J. Legeros