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Who on earth is Ace Ventura, anyway?
Two decades. Twenty years is a long time. Remembering things as far back as that can sometimes be hard to contemplate or even believe. I often try and remember back as far as I can and think about what life was like then. Where did I live? What did I look like? What were my goals in life? (if I even had any) Thoughts of technology and how far it had advanced is always a winner. Thinking of mobile phones when they first really came into the public’s hands to where they are now.
Taking photos and videos back then was usually always a gamble. After the photos developed, you had to live with the fact that you mum had chopped your head off, or dads finger was in the viewfinder. Personally, I never had experience of videoing anything as a kid. That was usually something left for ‘the rich kids’.
Twenty years ago, I was eleven years old. Obviously, I was still at school and I lived at home with my parents and my younger brother. I owned a Commodore Amiga home computer and my brother had a Sega Mega Drive. Neither of my parents owned a mobile phone or any other kind of mobile data device. Come to think of it, nobody really did, unless you were a government or NASA official.
Actually, the very thought of ever owning such a device, especially something as advanced as the iPhone and iPads of today, certainly seemed like something out of a futuristic SiFi movie and way out of reach.
A big part of growing up for us all, are movies. The motion picture is something of a way of life for a huge portion of the world. Ultimately, it is a career and a lively hood for the Hollywood big wigs at the helm, but, for the average Joe like you and I, movies are a source of entertainment, a reason to go out at night, a reason to invite friends over and for others, an inspiration to go out and make it big.
I think most adults of my generation grew up with videotapes and video rental stores. Because of this, most of us will have grown up watching movies such as, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and of course, Ace Ventura. This isn’t an article about the amazing success of Jim Carrey, the star of said movies. Nope, it’s about how something like a popular movie can shape your childhood and follow you all the way through your adult life.
I remember seeing a trailer for The Mask, during the commercial breaks of one of my mum’s god-awful soap operas, on TV one night. I was ten years old and utterly mesmerized with the special effects that were being demonstrated on this seemingly mind-blowing movie. Who was the guy with the green mask on? I had no idea. I also had no any idea who Jim Carrey was, either, if you’d had told me that’s who was wearing it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to witness seeing The Mask on the big screen. Money was tight for a working class family of four in the city, and while my mother had taken my brother and I to the cinema several times in the past (Mr. Nanny and Home Alone 2), at ten years old, I was still profoundly shocked at the price of a cinema ticket.
My disappointment didn’t last long, however. You can imagine the smile on a ten year olds face on Christmas morning when he unwrapped a parcel to reveal a VHS tape of The Mask. From that moment on, the film was played to death in the VCR and I could easily rhyme off random parts of the script. In fact, I still can.
Like most kids, I was a fan of movies anyway, but, I had firmly established myself a fan of comedy and indeed, a fan of Jim Carrey. This naturally made me curious as to what other works he had completed, and it wasn’t long before I discovered Ace Ventura: Pet Detective on the shelf of the video rental store one Friday night.
While at school, kids talked about movies, they repeated lines from them, acted out lines from them. It appeared to be a part of most kids, and parents, lives.
The Lion King, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Little giants, Richie Rich and hundreds of others were all talking points.
The next year, when Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was released, my parents ensured that my brother and I didn’t miss out, and a trip to see it was timed nicely with my eleventh birthday. I was over the moon and buzzing from watching my comedy hero act like a total buffoon on the big screen.
Almost exactly twenty years on, I still own these movies on DVD. I watch them if they happen to be on TV, I’ll laugh at them as I always have. Every so often, my friends and I will chat about our favourite movies, remember them and repeat funny lines from them.
I earn my living as a Manager at a national, blue chip retailer. I’ve done this for many years, after working myself to the bone and climbing the success ladder.
A huge part of my job involves recruiting new members of staff. Full time posts, part time posts, and often, school or college kids are recruited for a weekend position while they beaver away at the their studies.
Over time, when you get to know these kids and you build some rapport with them, you’ll chat to them and find out what they’re into. Maybe even ask what they got up to at the weekend. The ones who didn’t get completely rubbered on cheap, gut melting liquor, talk about visiting the cinema. This generally starts a conversation about movies and actors alike.
I have been astounded at how many young people of today have never seen or even heard of The Mask, Ace Ventura or Forest Gump for that matter. Their argument is usually, ‘that’s old and before my time’. Very true. But, people of my generation are familiar and fans of movies that were out before our time aren’t we?
Predator, Die Hard, Rambo, Rocky, Midnight Run, See no evil, hear no evil? These films have lived on and remained popular due to us ‘kids’ growing up with them and starting a new fan base.
I often worry those films like The Mask and Ace Ventura will fade away. Some may say, yeah, but isn’t there a sequel to Dumb and Dumber due out at Christmas? Yes, there is, but, I wonder how many kids or young adults of today, have actually seen the first one and are there fore bothered about the second one.
I for one will ensure that my kids grow up enjoying and appreciating what made me laugh and fall in love with movies, such a long time ago.
Twenty years ago, to be precise.