2. How often have people thought their exposure was good, according to the histogram, just to find out later that that was not the case?
Far, far less often than I thought my exposure was good with film and was *wrong*, and unfortunately I didn't know it until a week later (unlike with digital, when you redo it right away). It's pretty rare that I get post-histogram surprises.
Histogram, schmistogram. Sorry to sound rude, but in my humble opinion way too much emphasis is placed on technicalities.
The most important thing to do is to try and look beyond the camera and see what you're actually trying to do or accomplish with the picture you're taking. What is your subject, which is the emotion or feeling that you are trying to convey, and how could you frame your subject in such way that this is done effectively. Is the light pleasing or not helping at all, things like that.
The art and the technique are *both* required for a great image, so it's tough to say that one is more important than the other. What we're discussing here is mostly the technical issues of film vs digital. The artistic aspect of it applies about equally to either, and it doesn't much matter which you're using.
Honestly, did you ever fall in love with a picture because it was so well exposed?
No, but with film I've had to throw out pictures (many!) I would otherwise have loved because the exposure was crappy. I learned more about getting a good exposure in a year with a digital camera than I had learned in the previous decade with a film camera. Rather than coming back from a vacation with about 6 or 8 really good pictures, I'm coming back with about three dozen really good pictures. Part of it, too (though maybe about half of the improvement) is that I never bracketed the exposure much with film because the film and developing were expensive; with digital, I can bracket a great deal more for free.
P.S. To return to the original poster's question, though, you can learn photography with either film or digital. The skills learned with one will mostly translate well to the other. Learning with film will require more study and discipline (which, one could argue, may be better in the long run) but learning with digital will probably be quicker. Either one will work, though, and moving from film to digital can easily be done; most of us here have done it.