How Aladdin Changed My Life

I’ve had a fascination with movies for as long as I can remember.

When I was 6, my Aunt Shell took my cousins & myself to see Aladdin. I can recall my first experience at the movies almost to a tee. It was at a Showcase Cinema in Norwood, Ohio in 1992. After we had our tickets torn, Aunt Shell bought a large popcorn & split it amongst the 4 of us & we shared one drink. That’s how you did things when times were tough, but you still wanted to treat your family. After hitting up the concessions we went to the right & found our theater.

I remember becoming completely enthralled with Aladdin. The catchy songs, the rich colors & the likable (& some unlikable) characters drew my 6 year old mind into what I was witnessing for the first time.

You have the classic tale of good versus evil when Jafar tries to manipulate Aladdin to do his dirty work for him, steal the kingdom of Agrabah from the Sultan, as well as, take his daughter. A journey of discovering that having all the riches in the world won’t quench the thirst of being wanted & loved when Aladdin tries to woe Jasmine by simply being rich. A tale of unlikely friendships between a human & a genie that lives inside of a lamp. And a story of triumph when Aladdin is able to get redemption by defeating Jafar with Genie’s help & getting the girl at the end.

Since Aladdin I’ve done a lot of things at the movies. Some things as innocent as sneaking snacks into the theater, which I’m pretty sure everyone has done. I’ve also snuck an entire meal from McDonald’s in. I have taken at least 10 naps at various theaters throughout the Cincinnati area. Most notably being the same movie I snuck the McDonald’s into, Gangster Squad, I fell asleep 20 minutes into it & had to be woken up during the credits by my friend. I’ve witnessed the film reel catching on fire during the last few moments of Stranger Than Fiction & still don’t know how it ends, which I plan on keeping it that way. I’ve walked out of one movie midway through, because it was so bad, I’m looking at you League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I’ve seen the same movie twice in the same night, embarrassingly it was High School Musical 3. I have a personal record for most movies seen in theaters: Napoleon Dynamite at 6. And I own nearly 600 movies & TV shows in my personal collection.

It was at Aladdin that I knew movies would be something that I’d turn to for entertainment. What I didn’t know was that I would later turn to movies as an escape, as well as, a way to get my mind critically thinking.

FIlms offer you a chance to escape the real world & go on an adventure through a made up world, an alternate reality or a glimpse into the future. They also give you the opportunity to relive some stories of the past that you might not have been able to witness first hand or had to observe from far away. In either case, they take you some where. Sometimes it’s a fun ride, while others times you might wish that you never even got on. Both outcomes are fine, but I’ve also come to learn that there is traditionally something to be learned from either one. There’s a takeaway whether it’s a new way of looking at things or how to treat someone that’s different than you. Or it could be learning a part of history that you might not have known before. It could be hiding in plain sight or you might have to dig a deep below the surface, but I can guarantee that it’s worth exploring to find the truth in the movie you’re watching.

My hope through these blogs is that you’ll learn something new. Whether it’s a part of a movie you didn’t see before or a new outlook on a film. Maybe it’s just what movie might be worth checking out or which to avoid. We all have different tastes in what we like, but it’s also good to see it from someone else’s perspective. Hopefully at some point I’ll expand this into other avenues, but for now I want to focus on movies, since that’s one thing I’m passionate about.


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