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'Harold and Maude' (1971)
The hardest and deepest I ever laughed in a film -- I mean gut-wrenching, bent-over laughing -- was when I first saw "Harold and Maude," and Bud Cort's character pulls out a butcher knife and chops his arm off. The whole sequence of his character's dating / mother rebellion. I'm talkin' fifteen-year-old tears of laughter falling down the face. I experienced my taste in humor. This was followed by "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" -- "...a flesh wound" as an arm is chopped off and a geyser of blood gushes out of the arm socket.
'Star Wars' (1977)
I remember seeing the trailer for "Star Wars" at the University Theatre on Bloor St., in my hometown of Toronto, and thinking, "What is that?! I have to go see it!" and not being disappointed. I was into sci-fi literature and comics, and "Star Wars" was the first movie I went to that worked and matched in the scale and scope of those other forms... not in my head, but there on an 80-foot wide screen. Oh yeah!
And then there was "Eraserhead" at the Bloor St. Cinema -- I went in alone on an afternoon. I remember riding my bike down the street, seeing the marquee, locking my bike, and going in. I did not come out the same kid. I had been altered... affected. I had my perception of what is and what could be about anything and everything opened. Thank you, David Lynch.
The Films of Peter O'Toole
The films with Peter O'Toole were an inspiration for me in the pursuit of becoming an actor -- "The Ruling Class," "Becket," "Lawrence of Arabia" -- the performance, playing unique individuals with a voice, often tragically trapped...
'Taxi Driver' (1976)
And then there is "Taxi Driver." As a young artist, that was a filmic experience I hoped to have one day. That kind of role in that kind of film was my taste, sensibility, and ambition on every level.
Keanu Reeves's "Man of Tai Chi," currently available via VOD, VUDU, iTunes, and Amazon, hits theaters November 1.