very now and then, you encounter a movie that really changes your perspective on things.

Maybe a Michael Moore movie changed your perspective about politics and society, or maybe a movie like The Evil Dead changed your perspective about low-budget, independent art. And then, there is an even rarer kind of film - the kind that fundamentally changes the way you view your entire outlook on life.

For me, David Lynch's 1977 film Eraserhead is definitely that kind of rare cinematic experience. The first time I saw it, I felt as if I had just witnessed some sort of grand revelation about the nature of being and the universe. . .which is pretty funny, because just about everybody I talk to that his seen it has no earthly idea what the movie is SUPPOSED to be about.

For a lot of people, not only is Eraserhead an incomprehensibly weird film, it is pretty much the definition of avant garde cinema. Apparently, it is the kind of movie you either get or you do not - and if you are in the latter camp, odds are, it s a movie you are going to utterly despise.

Heck, even among the people that actually like it, most of the people I speak to really do not know how to interpret the thing. They just see it as a bunch of really cool, really dark, and really weird things happening - basically, a post-modern horror flick rebelling against society, commercialism and who knows what else by just being kooky.

Apparently, there really is not a grand narrative - a central meaning, if you will - behind the movie. This conception, of course, is something that I TOTALLY disagree with.

Despite the movie's reputation, I pretty much got it right from the start. As it turns out, Eraserhead is not just a juxtaposition of weird imagery and crazy dialogue, it is actually, if you can believe it. . .your basic, typical, by-the-numbers coming-of-age story, really no different than The Graduate or The Catcher in the Rye. At the end of the day, I think Eraserhead has more in common with The Sandlot and Stand By Me than it does The Elephant Man or Dune. . .and I have the indisputable proof to back up my claim.

Don't believe me? Well, how about we re-watch the film, and note a couple of scenes that parallel the whole experience of becoming a young adult we have seen in so many standard coming-of-age flicks?

OK, so visually, it is a tad different than most coming-of-age movies, but thematically, it really is not exploring anything that James Joyce or Federico Fellini already hasn't. Alien babies and meteorite people or not, Eraserhead, at its core, is basically about one thing, and one thing only - the trials and tribulations of growing up. In fact, I think you would have a hard time finding a more thorough primer on young adulthood in cinema, as we will soon discover. . .