Birthdays in Film

Today is a momentous day as throughout the world, it is free Slurpee day at 7-Eleven. It also happens to be my birthday. I’ve never been one for big birthday blowouts. I’m not big on eating out; there aren’t any fun venues I’d want to hang out at on my birthday. I tend to like a small group and a quiet event to something loud, “fun” and noisy. However, being a movie buff, I use a birthday as a good excuse to go see a movie or two.

I got into movies in the fall of 2006, so I didn’t do anything movie-related for that birthday. However, in 2007, I got a rather large group (for me) of friends and immediate family to go see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We hung out for a few hours afterwards and it was probably the closest I’ve come to having a party for my birthday as an adult.

The next year, 2008, was easily the most stressful summer of my life. I was taking 15 hours over the summer in order to finish an associate degree. I was taking Physics at the time and going to class half of the day, doing the homework until dinner, and then working on a philosophy class in the evenings. Somehow I took the time to go see Hellboy II: The Golden Army with my Dad and it was a much-needed break from the utter chaos of too much school in a small amount of time.

As time went on, I became more interested in taking day trips to nearby cities to see art-house fair instead of the latest multiplex offering, especially during the summer. I convinced my Dad that we should go to Austin to see a couple of different kinds of film at places. In 2009, I saw both The Brothers Bloom and Moon on my birthday. Not the most artsy of the art-house, but certainly a bit more pensive than anything playing locally.

The next year (2010), my Dad and I went to Angelika Dallas, which is my favorite nearby venue for movies. The double bill this time around was Cyrus and Winter’s Bone. Luckily, alcohol was involved or I don’t think my Dad would have made it. Sorry about Cyrus, Dad, that sure was an interesting film.

After that, the tradition has fallen by the wayside. In 2011 my family was spread out across the country so I spent my birthday alone, which isn’t as sad as it sounds for an introvert like me. It was enjoyable to have a day of silence and a day where I had free reign over the living room TV. I did see The Tree of Life the week before, which I considered for practical purposes my birthday celebration. I think I got my sister to come to that one as well.

Last year, I was in London, so I didn’t see a movie for my birthday. Instead, I hung out with my fellow travelers. It was a good, low-key birthday. Being across the world was enough excitement; I was happy enough that I didn’t need anything special. The fact that it happened during my birthday was just a bonus.

This evening, the birthday movie of choice is Pacific Rim, it seemed like the obvious choice, especially since I saw Hellboy II five birthdays ago (wow, has it really been that long?). Also, I have to give a big shout out to my Dad who watched all of these weird movies with me for my birthday. Hope you feel more enlightened than traumatized by these film experiences!

I’m curious, what movie-related birthday traditions do you have? Is there a favorite you watch every year? Do you brave the multiplex or check out a smaller venue?  Which was the best or the most memorable?

© 2013 James Blake Ewing

  • Sandy

    Happy Birthday James!

    A few years ago, I started going to the city alone on my birthday and catching two movies at the art-house cinema. In other words, I like your style. 🙂

    • James Blake Ewing

      I’ve gone to some films out of town solo before. It’s a nice way to just enjoy your own company and good film or two that you don’t have to talk about as soon as you leave the theater.

  • Many Happy Returns!

    I believe you know this, but for the sake of your readers, every year on my birthday I “seal” a list of 21 movies. I use the word seal, because once upon a time there was an envelope and a page, but in the digital age it’s now a post on the site. Regardless of its public nature, I do not refer back to it.

    This list is just a list of movies I hope to see before the next year. The fact that it is not looked back on for reference means the tradition is an exercise in serendipity…not resolution.

    Enjoy the day!

    • James Blake Ewing


      I always though that tradition was neat and it’s cool to see how many you check out each year. Knowing my own personality, it wouldn’t work for me because I’d want to look back at it and then watch some of those films.

  • Happy B-Day James…. I always go to the movies as tradition on my B-Day (w/ the exception of last year and 2006 as the former was because nothing good was playing and the latter was reasons beyond my control)

    2003-Girl with a Pearl Earring (special screening at the Arts Museum in Atlanta)
    2005-Pride & Prejudice
    2007-I’m Not There
    2008-Synecdoche, New York
    2009-An Education
    2010-127 Hours
    2011-The Descendants

  • Happy Birthday James! Those are some great choices for a birthday movie, especially Hellboy II: The Golden Army. I can’t think of a better movie to take you away from the stress of school. I don’t currently have a birthday movie tradition; mine is in late January and always seems to come at an odd time. Still, I may have to think about starting something. Cool ideas!

  • Happy belated birthday! I’ve never had a movie tradition for my birthday, because I’ve only been watching films seriously since 2011, and my birthday lines up with finals week. (I still make time to celebrate)
    The one movie birthday I had was back in 2003, when my dad took me to see The Return of the King, which we both enjoyed a lot.
    Around the week of my past two birthdays, I’ve had a hankering to re-watch Burton’s adaptation of Sweeney Todd, which I chose to indulge both times, so maybe that could become my birthday tradition.