You start off being introduced to the magic and energy of cinema by Lucas and Spielberg.
-- "Truck? What Truck?"
-- "You're gonna need a bigger boat"
-- "That's no moon. It's a space station."
-- E.T. lifting all of the bicycles over the police barricade as John Williams' music swells
Then, when you're in high school, you catch a cable showing of a little film called "Blood Simple," and it becomes yours. Few others know about it, so you kind of treasure it and cherish the fact that this decidedly non-mainstream film is your admission into a different world of film lovers.
Then you go to college and get shown "Citizen Kane" in a film class and realize that it was all done brilliantly so very long ago.
Then, over a dozen or so years, in fits and starts, you become more of a cinephile. Oh, you're still rushing out to see Con-Air and Pirates of the Caribbean every once in a while. But you're more interested in finding the gems of the past -- Wages of Fear, Vertigo, The Hustler, The Third Man, Il Posto, Seven Samauri -- and seeking out the fabulous work being produced (if not always appreciated) in the modern era -- Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Seven, Traffic, Three Kings, The Shawshank Redemption...
I guess that's how I am slowly but hopefully surely earning my cinephile wings...