Monday, November 19, 2018

A Movie I'm Thankful For: AVATAR

by Adam Thas
How could I possibly say anything about Avatar that hasn’t already been said, especially on this site?

It’s made over a billion dollars, so chances are all of you reading this have already seen Avatar, and you have your opinions on it. I’m not even going to try and change your opinion, because I’ve talked Avatar enough to know people are really passionate about their opinions. However this column is about movies we’re thankful for, so luckily I don’t need to change opinions.

I love Avatar. Like, I really love that movie. I’ve seen it a ton of times, and every time it’s on cable I will watch it. It is a groundbreaking movie that uses some of the greatest special effects ever. You can not like Avatar, but I’ll argue till I pass out that it is one of the most important movies of the past 20 years. That brings me to the first reason I’m so thankful for Avatar, which is that I was aware enough at the time to realize how important it was while it was still in theaters. I remember seeing it for the first time, when night comes and the entire jungle lights up. I just looked around, awestruck. I saw it on an IMAX 3-D screen and was just floored with what movies were now able to do. I fell in love with the characters, and watching Neytiri flying around, I wanted nothing more than every single thing I saw on screen to be real. I have never had up to that point (nor since) that type of reaction to a movie.
Even with movies that I love and have seen in the theater, I will usually say “Well, now I’ll see it when it comes out on video.” But Avatar was different. I knew that if I was going to see it again, I wanted to see it the way I saw it the first time. I thought of it like going to see a musical with the perfect cast, knowing these events may never happen again. I saw Avatar five times in the theater, and would have seen it more if I could have.

However, seeing Avatar in theaters isn’t the only reason I’m thankful for it; it’s also who I saw it with. I had been dating my wife for a few months at that point, and, as my mother calls it, I’d reached the “Shit or get off the pot” time in a relationship. It was my mother’s poetic way of saying you need to make a decision if you’re all in on the relationship, or if you’re going to go your separate ways. Let me be clear, I wasn’t contemplating breaking up with my then girlfriend. I loved her, but it was that time where I found myself really examining if this was who I wanted to stay with. I saw Avatar all those times, and I saw it with my wife. Not only was what was on the screen totally entrancing, but I got to experience it with someone who was as equally caught up and enthralled by the experience. I couldn’t get enough of it, and neither could she. I look back on that time, and while there are plenty of things that made me realize she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I’d be lying if I said sitting in those theaters watching Avatar together wasn’t one of those reasons.
I know those are plenty of reasons to be thankful for something, but there is one more. I have been so lucky and divinely blessed to have so many amazing people in my life, and Patrick, Mike, and the rest of the crew at F This Movie! are part of that. I love movies. I really do. I love talking movies, and being around people who love talking movies. It’s great, but I am insanely intimidated by the knowledge and expressiveness through which all of the other contributors to this site have. I’ve got two kids, two jobs (three if you count coaching), and I don’t get to see movies nearly as much as I’d like. Pulling away the curtain: Patrick is going to need to edit the shit out of this entire column because I was too busy being a dipshit in middle school to learn proper grammar and punctuation. I’m not a great writer, and under normal circumstances, I probably would never have been given the opportunity to express myself in this way and on a platform like this if it wasn’t for some of the best people I know. There are few things I enjoy more than F This Movie Fest (and was super bummed I was out of town for scary movie night), eating Jan’s cookies and guacamole at F This Movie! basecamp, and tweeting with all of you. Getting the opportunity to see and experience movies and opinions like I get to every day being a part of this group is nothing short of amazing.

Now I know I sound like Bill Paxton in Tombstone rattling on about how lucky a guy he is, so I’ll stop and get back on subject. What does this have to do with Avatar? Well, if you were to go back and chronologically listen to every F This Movie! podcast, you’d start with Avatar (and not because it starts with A). I’m thoroughly convinced that this site would still exist without Avatar, but the facts are that it was the first. It brought me, and all of us, this site. I was a friend, then I was a fan, and now I get to F with the rest of the people here at this great community we all get to be a part of. I wish I could personify the muse that inhabited James Cameron and led to Avatar just so I could give it a hug.


  1. LOVE this, Adam. <3 And I can't wait till you are in our basement again. (Should I rephrase that?)

    1. No, we're good with that statement. It's open ended enough for me to fill in the blanks in my imagination.

  2. I reserved Avatar from the library today. You made it sound essential to revisit yo.