Romancing the StoneSo, I have this big screen, HD TV my wife got me for Christmas one year… just before I started my new job where I travel all the time and only get to enjoy it on the weekends. But on those weekends, I try to get the most out of it as I can with my “research” watching and breaking down movies from various genres. I’ll go through rental movies, I’ll go through DVDs in my collection (I seem to buy them faster than I can find time to watch them), and I’ll get all click-happy with the remote seeing if there’s anything interesting on to watch.

Today, I did all three, and I came across a movie from my youth I hadn’t seen in a while (but since my mom loved the movie, I saw it plenty as a kid)… Romancing the Stone. As I watched it, I remember myself thinking, “Damn, I forgot how much fun this movie is.” Sure, it’s got some cheesy bits, and it’s not a champion in the realm of cinematic achievement. But it was fun to watch. Taking a machete to Joan’s expensive Italian shoes. Using the marijuana for their campfire in the wrecked plane in the jungle. The guided tour of the village during the chase scene escaping from the army vehicles with the mounted machine guns.

So, I sat there and thought about the fun movies I’ve seen over the years. Galaxy Quest, Last Boy Scout, Big Trouble in Little China, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Hawk the Slayer, Pirates of Penzance, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Goonies, Pirates of the Carribean, Kung Fu Hustle, Ice Pirates, Army of Darkness, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lethal Weapon, Con Air, Grosse Pointe Blank, Better Off Dead, Karate Kid, Bulletproof Monk… well, I’m sure I could be listing out movies all night here.

Sure they aren’t what people would necessarily consider masterpieces, but they scored high in the fun category for me. And when you’re looking to be entertained, fun usually works for most people. I think the quest for that “masterpiece,” for that gleaming statue of recognition… I think it gets in the way sometimes. It’s a goal to strive for, but when I think about it, I’m more into the “fun factor” with movies. I tried writing a screenplay I thought would have a shot at recognition. Emotional. Artistic. A thinking person’s movie. But over halfway into it, I tossed it to the side and never finished it. It hit the emotions, but it just wasn’t fun. I just couldn’t picture myself sitting in a theater with that movie for a couple hours and feeling fully entertained.

As I think more and more about it, I realize I started writing for fun in the first place. It was an outlet to entertain myself. And even though I share my writing with other people now (instead of hoarding it in dozens of notebooks buried in a closet), I still write for my own entertainment. I still write to have fun.

Sure, I could probably write one of those masterpieces if I put my mind to it, but deep down, I want to write the fun stuff. I want to give back to the people that entertained me over the years.

I want to be an entertainer.