Growing up was tough, but my childhood was also full of some amazing and wonderful experiences. I've always loved watching movies and I couldn't help but notice that many events in my life have had uncanny parallels to popular Hollywood films. Whether it was art imitating life or life imitating art, these experiences were too similar to be mere coincidence.
Macaulay Culkin shines as bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister who acts out the night before a family trip to Paris and his mother makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.
When I was 8 my family had planned to celebrate Christmas in Paris, France and I acted out the night before the big trip. My mom made me sleep in the attic and that night I wished that my family would go away. My family mistakenly left for the airport without me and I awoke in an empty house. I was home alone. That lasted for about 30 minutes until my folks realized they were a kid short and turned around to get me. By the time they picked me up, we had all missed our flights and due to rebooking fees and weather delays we ended up scrapping the entire trip and that will forever be remembered as the year that I single handedly ruined Christmas for everyone in my family.
In The Sandlot a new kid in town is terrible at baseball, but is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy, Benny, and his team in the summer of 1962. Together, they get themselves into many adventures involving rival teams, a beautiful lifeguard, and a vicious dog. Benny grows up to realize his dream of becoming an MLB player.
When I was a kid I was terrible at baseball until we moved to a new town and I was taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy named Kenny. I hit a baseball through my neighbor's window and spent the rest of the summer mowing his lawn to repay him for the damage. Kenny blew his knee out in a college pre-season game and never played again. Now he's an accountant for a chain of grocery stores in the mid-west.
In Mrs. Doubtfire Robin Williams plays a divorced father that is desperate to spend more time with his children. He hatches an elaborate plan, starts dressing as an older British woman, and convinces his ex-wife to hire him as a nanny. "Mrs. Doubtfire" wins over the children and helps Daniel become an even better father.
When I was younger my parents had a great relationship until my Dad started dressing up as an older British woman, which caused my parents to go to counseling, eventually get a divorce, and hire a nanny. My dad was always a good father, but he became an even better grandmother.
In The Karate Kid Daniel moves to Southern California and becomes the target of a group of bullies who study karate at the Cobra Kai dojo. Daniel befriends Mr. Miyagi an unassuming repairman in his apartment complex that just happens to be a martial arts master. Miyagi takes Daniel under his wing, training him in a more compassionate form of karate and preparing him to compete against the brutal Cobra Kai and eventually win the All Valley Karate Tournament.
When I was a kid I was the target of a group of bullies until I befriended the apartment manager in my building. He tricked me into doing menial tasks and household chores for him and assured me that he was teaching me the ancient art of karate. After months of "training", he convinced me that I would be competing in a local karate tournament, but it turned out he had entered me into an illegal bare-knuckle backyard fight club that he was making large sums of money on through betting. I lost horribly.
In The Mighty Ducks, After reckless young lawyer Gordon Bombay gets arrested for drunk driving, he must coach a kid's hockey team for his community service. Gordon has experience on the ice, but isn't eager to return to hockey. The reluctant Gordon eventually grows to appreciate his team of hilarious misfits, which includes promising young Charlie Conway, and leads them to take on a tough group of rival players.
In my younger years I watched all three movies in The Mighty Ducks trilogy.
After a wish on a Zoltar machine turns 12-year-old Josh Baskin into a 30-year-old man, he heads to New York City and gets a low-level job at MacMillen Toy Company. A chance encounter with the owner of the company leads to a promotion testing new toys and developing comic books. Soon a fellow employee, Susan Lawrence, takes a romantic interest in Josh. However, the pressure of living as an adult begins to overwhelm him, and he longs to return to his simple, former life as a boy.
When I was 12 years old I went to a state fair and made a wish on a Zoltar machine that I would be bigger. I awoke the next morning the same size but I had somehow contracted Mono from that dirty filthy machine at the fairgrounds and I spent the next four months really tired and suffering from flu-like symptoms. While I was sick I played with new toys, read comic books, and even taught myself how to play "Heart and Soul" on a small Casio keyboard with my feet, but I longed to return to my simple former life as a boy that didn't have Mono.
After Rocky's friend Apollo Creed is mercilessly beaten to death by hulking Russian newcomer Ivan Drago, Rocky comes out of retirement to get revenge. Rocky vows payback against Drago and flies to Communist Russia to train for a Christmas Day fight. Despite their different training methods, the two opponents wage a long and intense match, ending with Rocky Balboa defeating Drago. Rocky then gives a moving speech, saving the lives of millions, as his heartfelt words prevent potential war and the spread of communism.
When I was in High School I got jumped and mercilessly beaten by three hulking Russian transfer students who took all of the money I had made selling candy bars as a fundraiser for my choir's big "Spring Sing" trip. My attackers then distributed the money equally amongst themselves, essentially introducing Communism to my high school campus. Frank Stallone wrote a Grammy nominated soundtrack inspired by my experiences featuring a title track called "Only The Weak".
Four city-dwelling friends (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox) decide to get away from their jobs, wives and kids for a week of canoeing in rural Georgia. When the men arrive, they are not welcomed by the backwoods locals, who stalk the vacationers and savagely attack and violate them in the woods. Reeling from the ambush, the friends attempt to return home but are surrounded by dangerous rapids and pursued by a madman. As their canoe trip turns into a fight for survival they kill two of the mountain men and lose of one of their friends to the river.
One summer three of my friends and I decided to get away from it all and enjoy a week of canoeing in rural Georgia. Thankfully, none of us drowned or fell victim to a horrific sexual assault at the hands of backwoods mountain folk, and we didn't have to kill anyone to make our escape back to civilization, but I did get a pretty hefty fine for leaving my car in a campground parking lot without the proper permit and the weather really was less than ideal for a week on the water. So, still, it was a pretty lousy trip.