We all have our origin stories—our radioactive spider bites or parents gunned down outside the Gotham opera. Mine occurred in a movie theater when I was a wee child and features blood, tears and the Devil. It set in motion my career as a director and my relationship with my father, but frankly, I can’t believe that I ever watched another movie again.
In 1982, my father was thirty-two and I, his youngest child, was three. I loved music first and most of all. I demanded that my parents play a 45 of “Duke of Earl” as part of my bedtime ritual. I loved it when Dad strapped on an acoustic guitar and strummed “Puff the Magic Dragon,” or assembled the improbable steampunk machinery of his bassoon, whetted the double-reed between his lips and played the wolf’s theme from “Peter and the Wolf.” So when my father read in the paper one day that Disney’s “Fantasia” was coming to town with a $1 million restored Dolby soundtrack, he figured it was the perfect film to take me to for my first in-theater movie-viewing experience. “Fantasia,” after all, had everything: Dinosaurs. Classical music. Bewitched household cleaning equipment. What could be better?