Friday, September 30, 2005

One day to go: Oh shit.

Butch & Sundance/Indiana Jones/Jack Burton/Data: Oh shit...

The top of the rollercoaster. And other such things. A friend asked me what my plans were for the weekend. I said, "I don't really have any." Then a thought. "Oh, yeah, I guess I have to watch a movie. Shit." I spoke that last word because it suddenly dawned on me at that moment what a commitment this is.

Random thoughts:

For the record: David Cronenberg is one of my favorites. Yet, in my younger movie-watching days, I thought his movies were pretentious and plodding messes. I watched Videodrome, Naked Lunch, Dead Ringers, The Dead Zone, and The Fly like any good teenager with a video rental card eager to earn his cult-movie watching street cred, but with the exception of The Fly and a little exception to The Dead Zone, none of them made any sense to me, emotionally, thematically, or plot-wise. I didn’t “get” Cronenberg. I figured he was one of those filmmakers that I just wouldn’t connect with. His films were continually listed on all those stupid “greatest sci-fi/horror” lists which, in my younger days, I absorbed with gleeful abandon. I never understood why they put his movies on there when they were, clearly, inferior product to your John Carpenters, your Lucases, your Romeros.

That all changed. When I was about 19 and, I guess, still eager to earn my cult-movie cred, I rented The Brood. I don’t know if it’s just that it’s the first movie I saw wherein the themes Cronenberg has been exploring his entire career were stated explicitly, the plot’s dealing with a mother gone mad (a theme that never fails to shake some part of me), my age and emotional maturity (relative to the past, of course), or the movie’s adherence to certain genre conventions that allowed me, for the first time, to get these themes, but I got it. And how.

Immediately, I re-rented all of those other Cronenberg films I’d seen before. Seen through the lens of The Brood, they suddenly made sense, and what’s more, I went nuts for them. Absolutely crazy “this was made for me and only me” kinds-of feelings about Cronenberg’s work.

Of course, it wasn’t The Brood that killed my dissatisfaction with Cronenberg, it was everything leading up to seeing it. When I saw The Brood, I was watching THE perfect movie for the way I felt at that time in my life. This has happened to me a few times.... Seeing the restoration of Vertigo on the 50-foot screen of Kansas City’s Englewood Theater... seeing The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly at the same theater, watching Annie Hall in the midst of a horrible teenage relationship, and, most recently, City of God.

The right movies, the right time. Life changing.

Anyone out there have any similar experiences?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

waking life.... kinda lame, i understand, but at the time, it was as if at a certain point in the film, one of the characters was going to turn to me in the audience of the tivoli, look at me, and say, 'don't you think so ryan?' honestly, it struck such a chord at that time at that moment in my life... also 'all tit fucking volume 4' really hit me at the right point in my life.
samul

David Wester said...

I think I had the same experience with a badly videotaped copy of "Lady Chatterley's Lovers"

Ash Karreau said...

Mysterious Skin, by Greg Araki. I hated all his previous movies with a passion that burned with a thousand black suns, but then I saw his new one, and it's awesome. Subsequently, I re-watched his previous films. They still suck.

Vickyna said...

I just saw Breathless and Hiroshima Mon amour and change my life perspective...