What Movies Mean To Me 

Posted: August 13, 2015 in Blog

I’m sitting in my bed, in my hotel room again in the middle of the night, thinking about my day and thinking about what I want to talk to you guys about. I had a long day of walking around Disney World, took a bunch of silly pics on my snapchat and rode a bunch of rides. I was pretty taken with Hollywood side of the park, walking through the gates and seeing my town, Los Angeles on display for the whole world to see. Familiar sites, replicas of buildings and restaurants. Sometimes you don’t see the beauty of the things in your backyard. On a last minute decision, we raced across the park to catch The Great Movie Ride, actually they we’re closing that area for some reason, I think due to end of the evening, we kind of jumped the roped off area and went to catch the ride anyway. We ended up being the last folks to do the ride. I was sucked into the movies again.

I just loved seeing the films that I grew up on, not because I’m as old as most of those films, but because I grew up an actor and a big part of my training was watching all those films, watching and studying what is literally the history of our industry and craft. I went through my head the names of all the films that were being showed in the clips… Public Enemy, Maltese Falcon, Tootsie, Bonnie and Clyde, Grease, Doctor Zhivago, True Grit, Singing In the Rain, Casablanca… some films I haven’t seen in awhile and feeling that urge to go back and watch the classics. The excitement of seeing the opening of films and the music of the lights of 20th Century Fox or the Universal globe, knowing I’m in some way apart of all that.

The ride takes place in a replica of the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood and I was thinking of being in the original theater for my own movie premieres, one being “Biker Boyz,” which I was ironically recognized for later in the park, shooting in front of the theater in a pilot called “Hitman,” where I was stealing a Corvette. It’s cool to see your town being recreated somewhere on the other side of the country and people enjoying it, to feel like you’re apart of it all, even if it’s just a little bit.

Upon returning to my hotel, I remembered I couldn’t play my favorite video game, League of Legends, due to a restriction on the internet and I went back to Netflix and found myself watching this amazing documentary on Roger Ebert, called, “Life Itself.” I must say, I’ve never really been keen on movie critics, I mean what actor really is? I always felt we do the work, we’re filmmakers, let them decided if what we did was good or bad, they can talk about it all they want later… But, I was really touched by the film and felt a kinship with the man, he loved film as much as I do and was incredibly articulate about it all. He lived a fascinating life, a great life. Through the film, I definitely have more respect for the role of the critic… They help raise the bar.

I do remember him not liking the movie “Hook,” and of course, I know the film was flawed and didn’t really open to critical acclaim only became a cult classic later… but I also remember him really appreciating a smaller film I did  called, “The Debut,” an indie movie about a Filipino American kid coming of age played by myself.

I guess I feel like, in the Hollywood movie making fraternity, with this guy and all us who’ve been around this industry for years, Ebert is one of the people who help make these movies we make for entertainment, fluff to some, have weight and importance, puts it in the context of great literature and fine art.

Movies just mean the world to me, I’m lucky to have been apart of some classics, big films, indie films… I look forward to telling more stories.

  1. Hey Dante, if you’re sticking around Disney World, will you be in the Magic Kingdom? I work there and it’d be so cool to meet you. I’ll keep an eye out! 🙂

  2. Genevieve says:

    Hi Dante! Like you, movies have made a big impact on my life and ‘Hook’ was one that I recall as one of my favorites growing up. My husband and I now have children with whom we share our love of stories and tales with. In fact, Avatar, the Last Airbender is our favorite series by far! So much that they (and many of my nieces and nephews) have cosplayed characters for a few cons here in Orlando. We’re excited to meet you at AFO tomorrow. Thank you for the fun and exciting character roles you play in the imaginations of our lives.

  3. This is great, Dante. I am a huge Disney park fan and I went to Hollywood Studios many times before I ever made it to LA. Everytime I’d walk into the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd, I always expected a ride to be in there, haha. The times I’ve been since I moved out of LA, it was so fun to see the town in a different perspective, and it reminds me why I always loved it so much. I saw the Ebert documentary as well, what an incredible man. I always loved Ebert and may have been one of the few children that read movie reviews regularly. Glad the park brought up so much nostalgia, that’s the magic of Disney. Hope you are doing well!

  4. Gabriella says:

    Hey Dante !
    I didn’t know you had a blog!! I’m currently doing a voice actors research project on you and would love to know how you got in to voice acting and what challenges you! Thank you very much,
    Gabriella 🙂 🙂 🙂

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