I was already a full-blown movie freak by the time I was in 8th grade. I remember where I was as a kid—and who I was with—because of what movies were out. I used to cut out the full-page movie ads from the Sunday New York Times each week, just to look at them. Often, the movies I most wanted to see were ones that I never did see, not until later. But I remember my dad taking my brother and me to see Superman on 44th Street, My Favorite Year at the Paramount, Tron at the New Yorker Theater or Rocky III in the wobbly balcony of the old Loews 83rd Street. Eventually, when I'd saved enough allowance—or more likely, pinched a ten dollar bill from my grandmother's purse—I started going to the movies by myself.
It was a raw and cold Saturday afternoon in March 1985 when I took myself to the Lincoln Plaza Cinema to see Amadeus, the movie that would was about to win Best Picture. I'd wanted to see it for months and felt very grown-up about the whole thing. So I was dejected when I got the theater and the late afternoon show was sold out. I wasn't going home without watching something so I bought a ticket for the Talking Heads' concert movie, Stop Making Sense. What the hell, right?
I saw Amadeus a few weeks later and enjoyed it. It made me feel as sophisticated and adult as I'd hoped. But it didn't elevate me like Stop Making Sense did. Actually, watching Stop Making Sense turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences I've ever had watching a movie in the theater. I liked the Talking Heads—my uncle had been a huge fan of theirs for years and around this time “Burning Down the House” was in heavy-rotation on MTV—but nothing prepared me for the radiance of Jonathan Demme's movie.