When I was 15 years old, my older (cool) cousins asked if I wanted to hang out with them in the basement. I said yes.
I took the stairs slow, bracing myself with each step. As I got closer to the bottom of the staircase, the light coming from the door above me was almost gone. It was like everything illuminated had been sucked out of the room.
There was one light on in the basement. It came from a projector on the other end of the room. Everything was pushed aside and Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was starting.
"Come on and sit, man" one of my cousins yelled out to me.
I shuffled my feet over to the couch and sat down. All of my cousins had their significant others with them and I tried my best to get through each awkward introduction.
I pressed myself up against the arm of the couch. I had thought they made a mistake when they invited me to watch this movie with them, so I wanted to act like I wasn't there. I wanted to disappear. I felt out of place.
As the movie began, I got more comfortable. It was quiet and dark, which made it easier for me to act like I didn't exist.
But as the movie went on, I stopped caring about the other people in the room. I couldn't hear them whispering to each other. When there were humorous moments in the film, I couldn't hear them laughing. I felt like I was alone in the basement with the projector and Wes Anderson.
I had never seen a movie like this before. It was so stylized and I was so wrapped up in each shot, in each frame. I felt like I was in the movie. I wanted to be. Anderson showed me a world I wanted to be a part of, he showed me an environment I actually liked.
When the movie ended, I followed one of my cousins outside. He smoked at the time, I didn't.
"So what'd you think, little man?"
"I think that's the best movie I've ever seen." I chuckled awkwardly.
He flicked his smoke into the street -- and looked really cool while doing so -- then walked back inside. I followed him into his bedroom as he ruffled through some drawers and then finally a bag.
He handed me a couple of DVDs, "That one's Rushmore... and this one is Bottle Rocket. Watch them, tell me what you think."
I fell in love that night.
I mean, I've always liked watching movies.
But that night, I fell in love and proposed to cinema in one sitting.