Other Summer Movies of the 80s: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Released: June 4th, 1982
William Shatner: Kirk
Leonard Nimoy: Spock
Ricardo Montalban: Khan
DeForest Kelley: McCoy
Nichelle Nichols: Uhura
Bibi Besch: Carol
George Takei: Sulu
Walter Koenig: Chekhov
James Doohan: Scotty
Screenplay by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer
Directed by Nicholas Meyer
By the end of my freshman year of high school, I had found my people.
On a whim in the fall of '81, I auditioned for a production of Blithe Spirit. I didn't get the part but it sure was fun. Oh well, I thought to myself, this just means I can focus on making the basketball and baseball teams. I was unceremoniously dismissed from the basketball team during first cuts of tryouts for, and I quote, "not being fundamentally sound." I wasn't sure what that meant, so my wise brother Chris informed me it meant that I couldn't shoot, dribble, pass, or play defense. So, I deduced, I sucked. When baseball tryouts landed a few months later, I was prepared to give it my all until I saw the dozens of other boys who had the same dream. My heart sank because I knew I wasn't good enough. Too bad because I really liked the Mules' baseball uniforms at that time.
So, in the spring of '82, at the behest of a good friend, I walked into Jo Nell Seifert's drama classroom and asked if she needed any help on the one-act plays. Auditions had passed, but surely I could help out backstage and see what this whole theater thing was all about. She enthusiastically welcomed me because no drama teacher in their right mind turns down a backstage volunteer and I instantly felt at home.
Because I had found my people.
I was welcomed in by the other students right away. They seemed genuinely happy I was there. They were funny and odd and kind. And they appreciated my sense of humor as much as I appreciated theirs. For the first time, I felt like I could just be me and it was the best feeling ever.
But, what does that have to do with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? Well, that same friend who nudged me toward drama club was moving away and a party was held for him. I was so excited to be part of a high school party. Now, this wasn't some big kegger blowout thing, but we had a grand time. After gathering at someone's house to partake of pizza and snacks, we all went to see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It was the most fun I had ever had at a movie up to that point. Sure, I attended movies with other people in the past. Usually one of my brothers and it was always fun. Sometimes I met a friend. This was my first time going with a large group and it made the experience all the greater. First of all, the movie was a fantastic adventure and easily ranks, for me, as the best of the Star Trek pictures and to this day remains one of my favorite movies. I loved the story line because I had seen the original TV episode on which it was based. The operatic acting thrilled me. The unity and bond of the Enterprise crew endeared me. For the first time, I understood the communal magic of going to the movies. Because I had found my people.
When we arrived at the theater, a group decision was made to sneak in some snacks, including two liter bottles of soda. We all sat in the middle row and stealthily (though perhaps not as much as I imagine) passed the stash back and forth. I'm sure the statute of limitations on such behavior has long passed, but, just in case, I won't mention any names. I'll take the fall for them.
That's what you do when you meet your people.