The Socialization Process : How Films Define Generational Consciousness It is difficult to recall my first experience going to the movies. I am sure that my parents took me as a child, before I could make conscious memories. I am also sure that some of these films were probably not appropriate for younger viewers I distinctly recall them taking my infant sister to see Predator while on vacation. My brother and I were fine on our own at the hotel, but there was no one to watch her. So instead, her infant senses experienced Arnold Schwarzenegger killing an alien hunter. I have to admit, I was a bit jealous. But somewhere in those layered memories lies the first experience, one that was repeated over and over again all over the world. Going to the movies, while different for everyone, is an American ritual and consists of similar movements and practices. Given the consistency of these prac- tices across the cultural landscape, it is appropriate to attempt to provide a par- ticular example as a potential representative type of the social phenomenon. Clifford Geertz, an American anthropologist, suggested that the qualitative study of cultural artifacts and rituals should involve a “thick description” of the activity in as detailed a narrative as possible. Out of this precritical narrative, various anal- yses can be applied. So before discussing how the experience socializes genera- tions, let’s detail the experience as thickly as possible—remembering, too, that the following narrative emerges from my own experience as a situated subject who is limited by his own cultural biases, perceptions, and so on. My parents chose the film based on my interests as a young boy in the Appala- chian foothills of East Tennessee. The film was Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It was 1983. Undoubtedly, my father, a sci-fi fan, also wanted to see it. He and my mother knew it was playing that weekend from the shopping center’s marquis that faced the main street in our small city of about 6,000 people. Perhaps they read the movie listings in the newspaper (literacy and print culture) or called the cinema to get the showtimes. Given the theater’s limited capacity (two screens), only two films at a time were featured. I forget the name of the other film that was offered.