I guess things started in earnest in college. I had liked movies before, had a list of favorites, a genre-type that drew me to the medium. I grew up watching my grandmother's VHS trilogy of Star Wars all the time (she used to look after us during the Summer when my brothers and I were out of school). It was adventure films like that, and Indiana Jones that I craved. She's even take us to the theater and buy our tickets to the latest R-rated flick that we were too young to get into by ourselves. But other than Star Wars, I didn't know what an "old" movie was.
When I got into college, probably starting my sophomore year when I didn't live in the dorms anymore, I had a little more autonomy and found myself watching movies in my free time. I had a great group of friends, and was pretty active in terms of being physically active. My friends were all into sports so we went to the football games (I was at Cincinnati in 2009 when they went undefeated and missed playing in the National Championship game by one second
), and spent time on nice days on green spaces throwing some type of ball, or playing intramural sports.
But whenever I had downtime, I found myself watching movies. I started by watching what few DVDs my friends/roommates had, then I even moved on to those my friends that were girls had (even rom-coms and chick flicks). I was watching whatever I could get my hands on. My one roommate was big into comedy, particularly stand-up, so when went in together on a Netflix subscription and started getting all kinds of movies through their DVD service. It was about this time that I needed more cinema in my life, and I found Filmspotting. Through Filmspotting I was able to discover Ingmar Bergman, Fellini. I was able to discover such things as classics and foreign language masters. I started going through the Canon as best I could, aided by the tastes and opinions of those on this forum.
Throughout college this continued, and eventually I started compiling my reviews not just here, but on my own blog. After college, I didn't have a job lined up, so living with my parents and working at Best Buy, I was probably peak movie watching. Again, I had friends, and did things, but most of free time involved movies. After about 6 months, I got a job with the company I am still with today, but not much changed. I even started travelling for work as a consultant, which lent itself to isolation at night, and finding the local cinema to watch the latest movie. This did afford me to chance to see a film with our very own Junior while on business in Connecticut, that I don't regret.
Then I met my wife, whom I invited to play in a fantasy football league with some guys I knew from my college days in Northern Kentucky. The night after coming back to Columbus after our annual draft, I was going to see Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine at the local indie theater. She tagged along and, well, the rest if pretty much history. I started to introduce her to less mainstream new releases that I was excited to see, and she loved that I loved movies and wrote about them, even encouraging me eventually to apply for the Central Ohio Film Critics Association. Movies was just one of many things we had in common. She is no cinephile, but she is open to new things and has at least a mild appreciation for movies, enjoying knowing that I have a passion like that. As our relationship grew, I was watching less and less movies with less and less time by myself. Like Martin, I was fine with that. Spending time with Tonya was not only more fun, but way more important to me.
I still watch a ton of movies, and being a part of the critic association I enjoy the perks of tons of advanced screenings, but movie watching has become a secondary task. I do it when I can, and still enjoy it a great deal. But more often than not, I have something else going on. I've been able to find a nice life/movie balance that I hope continues for a long time to come. I know there are plenty more life events ahead that will cause cinematic detours (like children), but I don't think I'll ever lose this passion.