I have very vivid memories of the summer of 1993.

I had my first girlfriend ever during that summer, a winsome lass named JoAnn. Whilst I was ensnared in the rapture of teenage love with this supple young thing, a second supple young thing by the name of Renee also had a crush on me. It never got pointy enough to be a love triangle; it was more like a love oval, or at best, a love rhombus. But hey, two chicks wantin' the Mattster! Not too shabby. (That's how I remember it, at least. You'll forgive me if memory has studified me more than I deserve to be.)

In between the hectic committments of my burgeoning love life, I was involved in a production of "Oliver!" at the 99th Street Summer Theater on Chicago's beautiful South Side. It was either "Oliver!" or "Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?" When you're in the chorus, playing Rapscallion #3 or Student #12, the details get blurry. But still. The theater is the theatah, and I was in...the THEATAH.

Perhaps most importantly, Summer 1993 was the season of "Jurassic Park." I remember buying the soundtrack CD and Barbara Streisand's "Back to Broadway" album at the same time. (No, I wasn't into Streisand, I was into Andrew Lloyd-Webber, which may be worse, I dunno. See, the CD had a few songs on it from his upcoming show "Sunset Boulevard," and in my frenzy to hear these tunes, I actually purchased a Babs CD. At the time, it made perfect sense, just like New Coke, the Yugo, and "Highlander 2: The Quickening." Which I saw at the theaters in its initial release. But that's a story for another time. Back, mercifully, to the computer-generated dinosaurs.)

Oddly enough, for all the pungent memories of the summer of 1993, I don't really recall seeing "Jurassic Park" for the first time. I do, however, recall seeing it for the third time, at the shabby little screens in Chicago Ridge Mall. I remember that becuase it was the first movie I'd actually seen at the theater more than once. Oh, in 1989, you KNOW I wanted to see "Batman" more than once at the show, but my pathetic 13-year-old ass couldn't get itself dragged to the theater to make that happen. Being newly 16 in the summer of '93, however, meant that I could go where I wanted, when I wanted. And I wanted to see "Jurassic Park" three times, so I did.

I feel it like it was yesterday...that rush of blood to the head...the inner BLOOM from seeing those dinosaurs for the first time. Viewing that sequence now, in an age where the CG-drenched blockbuster has become commonplace, it's easy to see how shamelessly manipulative it was. Spielberg knew he had big life-like dinosaurs in his back pocket, and he couldn't wait to unleash them for the first time on his audience. Still, with the John Williams score effortlessly lifting the camera upward to view the craning neck of a giant dinosaur that STILL LOOKS DAMNED REAL TO ME, it's hard not to get carried away by it all. Especially when Spielberg's smart enough to show us how astonishing his dinosaurs are by letting his characters react first. Sam Neill goes nuts, then Laura Dern, and THEN we see the dino. Masterful.

It's appropriate that "Jurassic Park" is a Universal production, because its ancestors lie long ago in the classic Universal monster flicks of the thirties and forties. There's more than a little of Doctor Praetorius from "Bride of Frankenstein" in Sir Richard Attenborough's portrayal of John Hammond, the daffy and childlike billionaire who brings Jurassic Park to life. And while seeing those first dinosaurs is pure wonder and awe, our first encounter with the T-rex is as horrifying as the first glimpse of the Frankenstein monster must have been to the moviegoers of 1931.

With all the kicks and thrills and eye-popping special effects, there was little doubt in my mind that it had to be experienced again and again. So I saw it again and again, once with my friend Bob Stanker, and I'm sure once with the winsome JoAnn, though that one might not count cause I think I was probably making out during it. (I also made out during a bargain screening of Disney's "Aladdin" that summer. She ain't never had a friend like me. Yet another story for yet another time.)

I think there's something essential in the summer movie experience about repetition. Any great summer flick just begs to be seen again, as soon as possible, after the first viewing. It's addicting, the adrenal rush of it all, when it's done well. You have to feel that rush again, even if it loses its kick gradually each time you see it. You still get a whiff of it, or a full sweeping jolt if the movie's good enough, and that's as gratifying as the boozehound's first taste of the bourbon, or the heroin junkie's first shot in the veins.

I think about movies a lot in the summertime, and I think about summertime a lot at the movies. As I get older, I seem to see fewer movies than I'd like; I tried to keep up this summer, but I just couldn't cut it. Still, every time I did make it to the show, I felt a tiny tickle of nostalgia for days gone by, when I could just drive to the multiplex in the freedom of a teenage summer and surrender to the screen over and over again.

To watch "Jurassic Park" over and over again in the comfort of your own home, I recommend the DVD edition, released a few years ago but still looking great and chock full of extra goodness. You can also pick it up in a boxed set with the second "Jurassic Park" film, "The Lost World," which has some fun moments. Hell, make a movie night of it; turn up the volume so loud the house shakes when the dinosaurs stomp. Sounds like a good time to me.

"Jurassic Park" wasn't by any means the first summer movie I went gaga for, but it's the first one I got to see more than once, and so, it'll always have a soft spot in my heart. Falling in love with movies is like sex; it's not good unless you do it more than once. However, the same can definitely NOT be said for that Streisand CD. I sold it long ago.

Matt Springer has been writing professionally about genre entertainment for the past five years and has worked full-time for such publications as the Official Buffy the Vampire Slayer Magazine, Cinescape, and Total Movie. He co-edits the genre criticism website Entertainment Geekly (http://www.entertainment-geekly.com). His first novel, Unconventional, is the tale of three geeks who spend a life-altering weekend at a convention; buy it online at South Side Press (http://www.southsidepress.net). He's currently working to become a sitcom writer.