Sometimes a film moves beyond the big screen.
Sitting here contemplating all of the films one might consider pivotal to a particular time frame, the list grows longer rather than shorter.
Reach back as far as "On the Waterfront," "Casablanca" or "Rebel Without a Cause."
Move to "The Godfather," "Jaws," or, of course, "Star Wars."
Some films are iconic to an era, others resonate more closely with a single generation -- "The Breakfast Club," "Dirty Dancing," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
Others still are genre specific, Westerns such as "Rio Bravo" or "A Fistful of Dollars," or action films such as "Die Hard" or "The Terminator" define or encapsulate a whole category of film or forever change the way films in those genres are made, marketed and received.
"Black Panther" is one such film. Sure, it's a Marvel/Disney adaptation, which, granted most have been successful these last few years, but there is more to this film than the CGI effects and the bringing to life a character previously relegated to capsules inside a graphic novel.
This is a cultural phenomenon. Set to pass a billion dollars if it hasn't already, "Black Panther" features a mostly black cast and was made by a mostly black crew and has been viewed several times over by moviegoers who've spent their $12.50 -- or however much tickets cost these days wherever you go to see the films of your choice -- two, three, upward of six times.
But it isn't a "black" movie. It's a comic book movie, and a pretty darn good one at that.
And that means that kids are going to see the film with their parents, teachers are taking their classes, sports figures and those well off have sent entire grades to the theaters to see this movie. And so for these kids this film stands to come to be what "Back to the Future" was for kids in the '80s.
We ran a story today on a Goldsboro High School graduate who came back from Charlotte to take nearly 80 young students and teachers to see the film. Now, you don't have to go see it, this isn't a free ad for Marvel. But just the idea that a person who graduated high school here, moved away and earns a living in another city across the state felt so moved to raise enough money to come back and take more than 70 kids, their teachers and parents to see this film and visit the concession stand should speak to the value of the film he took those young people to see.