The Day I Watched The 1990 Captain America Movie

The announcement on io9 that the 1990 Captain America movie is going to be rereleased with a director’s cut promoted this blog:


There are days that, when they occur, have a dramatic impact on the rest of your life.

The day I watched the 1990 Captain America movie was one of those days because, in an odd way, that Captain America movie taught me about hope.

Rewind to an early Saturday morning in the Fall of 1990 and I was at my high school (Go Chargers!) taking the SAT exam for the second time.

My first attempt yielded me a score that was less than favorable and this second attempt was my best hope to get a score that might secure me a spot somewhere other than my “safety” school.

My college admissions was hinged on retaking this exam and doing significantly better than I had previously and having a score that I could start to send out in the Fall for early admissions.

Like I said.  It was one of those days that then shapes the rest of your life.

I had gone to an SAT prep class, and while my instructor was good she could not prepare me for what was about to happen.

Towards the end of the exam, as the classroom turned to section 6, the proctor made a startling request, “Please turn to section 3 of your exam booklets.”

I say that this is “startling” because one of the first things they teach you in SAT prep classes is that once you’re done with a section; you’re done.  They don’t go back.

So, as everyone turned to section 3, the proctor made another request.  The one that would change my life.

Please raise your hand if there are 35 questions in your exam booklet.

I raised my hand.  Along with a number of other students (we represented maybe 10% of the students in the room).

The proctor then said, “Please close your exam booklets and give your tests to me and leave the room.  There has been an error.  Your test has been invalidated and you are asked to call the Princeton Review on Monday to schedule a makeup exam.

At 17 years old, I don’t think any of us were handling the shock of our futures being torn away from us.  As we tried to plead and beg to get more information, the proctor pushed us out of the room explaining that the other students (the fortunate ones) still needed to finish their exams.

Leave the room.

That was the request.

And we complied.

We would later find out that in the history of giving the SAT exam, this was the first time in something like 30 years where there was a misprint in the exam booklets (section 3 was meant to have 45 questions).  But we’d only find this out later.

For that moment, in the hallways of North Miami Beach Senior High School, we wandered with thousand yard stares trying to get information from each other.  From teachers.  From anyone.

But there were no answers to be had.  This was 1990.  There was no Internet to speak of and any calls to the Princeton Review went straight to voice mail (don’t forget, it was Saturday).

My future was uncertain.  I didn’t know if there would be a chance to retake my SAT in time to start applying early to the colleges I wanted to go to.  And worse, would I even be ready to take the exam for a third time?

I think I called my brother from a pay phone and all I could do was laugh because crying would have just made me realize the gravity of the situation.

So.  It was 11 AM on a Saturday and of course, my thought was to go to my local comic book store around the corner.

I don’t know that I had the courage to go home right away.

I think I explained the the situation to Glen (the owner) and I forget if I had already had it on hold or not, but he gave me a bootleg VHS of the Captain America movie with Matt Saligner that was being passed around among the customers.

He warned me it was horrible.

I didn’t care.

I went home and watched it.  Trying.  So hard.  So so hard to get  my mind off of the impact this curve ball would have on the rest of my life.

The only thing I can remember was that the shield special effect looked expensive and I think it didn’t have Nazis (I think they fought the Italians?).

Subconsciously, the act of me going to the comic store.  Watching Captain America.  Trying to bring some level of normalcy back to my life.  It was me knowing that things would be OK.

That hope was an option and that I was embracing hope because it’s always there.

Much like Steve Rogers was given hope to serve his country and fight the Nazis Italians (?) for his country.

Things worked out, and they worked out for the better quite frankly.

Most of us found out that week that the Princeton Review would comp us to take the exam at a later date.  I retook the exam (for a third time) in May and had my results that summer in time to apply for early decision to many of the schools I wanted to go to.

My score went up 170 points.  Actually, it went up 180, since the Princeton Review decided to go back and grade the English on the second exam (the only section that was officially completed by us).

The combination of the second English section and the third Math section was enough to get me accepted to the University of Texas (Hook ‘Em).

And things turned OK because I guess I always knew that there was hope.

So.  Like I said.  As strange as it sounds, the Matt Salinger Captain America taught me hope.

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