My Favorite Film and 99 Runners-Up

Everybody has a favorite film. Some people have ten favorite films. Some people flesh out their list to a full hundred. How and why people choose their favorite film is subjective. Some choose a film of important personal significance or inspiration. Some choose a film of extremely high regard to impress other people. Some pick the movie they could watch over and over again. But in the end, a person's favorite movie is more indicative than they may realize.

This is my story.

I grew up on a steady diet of cartoons and sitcoms. From my first day of kindergarten, I set out to be a comedian. The jokester. Mister funny man. I thought making somebody laugh was the surest way to make them like you

As I aged, my tastes didn't necessarily refine, but grew to encompass most everything. I was like the Blob, I just wanted to consume everything in my path. Unfortunately, I had the tragic misfortune of
A) Being a minor,
B) Living in suburban Missouri and
C) Having conservative parents. My mother and father had a strict kibosh on anything they deemed too racy, too violent, too inappropriate, too raunchy, or too controversial. I wasn't allowed to watch The Simpsons from seasons four through ten. My father overheard Bart relentlessly chanting the word "Bastard," and banned the series from our house. That was the freaking golden-age of The Simpsons. I'm still mad about this.

Come to think of it, my dad was a pretty ardent Bush supporter...

At about age 13 or 14, my parents either lifted the ban or stopped caring enough to enforce it. We didn't have cable, so they didn't feel it necessary to censor any of my TV-watching; there was nothing too inappropriate on broadcast television.

In early 2000, there was an advertisement for a TV show. It looked funny, and I wanted to watch it. It was that simple. I didn't know who was responsible for creating it, any of the actors appearing in it, or even the background that led to its fruition. I just knew the TV show from a brief 30-second promo. I watched it. Low and behold, if it wasn't the single-funniest 30 minutes of my life, it was damn close. I tuned in next week, and it was even funnier.

And then it was cancelled.

After a mere two episodes, the TV show that changed my life was cast into the garbage by ABC to make room for more episodes of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

This show was Clerks: The Animated Series.

This two minute scene was funnier than the final three seasons of The Drew Carey Show.

As mentioned, at this point of my life, I was trying to experience as much media as possible in any form. The internet was still in the days of dial-up, so it was no help there. I could spend an evening downloading a single song from Napster if my parents didn't need to use the phone, or I could spend 22 bucks on a new album. Hard copy media was still the name of the game. Sam Goody, Funcoland, Wherehouse Music and Best Buy were my homes away from home (That's right, Best Buy. That's where you stand.)

But the king among kings was Blockbuster Video. You remember Blockbuster, right? For five bucks, you could leave your home to pick a movie from a limited library, take it home for three days, (assuming nobody else took the single copy of the movie first) then leave your home again to return it.

9000 my ass. Also, a director from Amsterdam wouldn't use this many Dutch angles.

The one advantage Blockbuster and other video rental outlets had over modern internet streaming services was the ability to browse. You could instantly see hundreds of video boxes, all right next to each other. If you couldn't find something you wanted, you could look at everything else, maybe finding a diamond in the rough. Maybe finding something else entirely. Something serendipitous.