Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Five Bad Movie Ideas (one of those damn memes)

I don't go down the meme road often (being over the age of fourteen and all), but this one came out of nowhere; name five dumb things you did as the direct result of a movie. Having read a few variations where people did dumb things while watching movies (use your imagination), or made bad fashion choices as a result of movies (some of them old enough to admit indulging in the Annie Hall look), I figured that my five were at least a bit off kilter.

Most of them take place in the mid to late 80's, which at least means that I chose other dumb things to be inspired by later in life. Feel free to add your own dumb things in the comment section, we don't judge here.

1. Took part in a staging of Dante's Inferno based loosely on the movie Godspell

This might take some 'splaining. In prehistoric times, I went to a performing arts high school and knew a genuine prodigy, a kid who was designing and staging scenes from Strindberg's Dream Play at 14 or so. A few notches about Max Fischer as far as talent goes, but not without weird ideas of his own. At one point, he'd gotten a small company together and rented a tiny theatre to stage Dante's Inferno, and showed us Godspell to give us an idea of the kind of scene-study/improv that the project required.

This didn't turn into Virgil and Satan romping about in clown makeup singing Day by Day in the end, which is a blessing for all involved. I dropped out before it came together (I got a rare professional gig and money is always a good thing), and I never saw the finished product, but apparently he pulled it off. Maybe it wasn't so dumb after all.

2. Learned to play the entire soundtrack of Streets of Fire on the piano

I'm not sure this qualifies as dumb exactly, I'm going to call it misguided. Streets of Fire is, admittedly, an acquired taste. But I know a few guys who unrepentantly mist up at a good chorus of Tonight is What it Means to Be Young, so you take your resonance where you find it, right? As for me, I sent away for the score, and learned to pound out all of the Ry Cooder/Jim Steinman tracks, which almost nobody recognized since the film was pretty much of a flop.

3. Made out during Ridley Scott's Legend

I'm sure this qualifies as dumb, but I'm not sure if the dumb part stems from seeing Legend in the first place (it's pretty, but incredibly silly) or from the extended make-out session which has permanently welded images of Pinewood Studio unicorns and overlit shots of Mia Sara and Tim Curry as Satan-Upon-Thames with the plinky synth music of Tangerine Dream into some kind of bizarre erotic haze.

I actually bought the double-disc set of the film (as said before, it is very pretty), and can't actually watch it without an embarassed memory of being 16yrs old and goofy over a Romanian girl with long eyelashes and pouty lips. I admitted this to Norm Wilner (who'd asked why the hell I'd actually want a copy of the film in the house), and he said "I understand. It's a much easier film to revisit if you've got memories of boobies attached to it." So voila.

Most people outgrow making out at the movies at an early age, which is for the best all the way around. It makes the theatrical experience for the other people in the theatre far less awkward (except for those who take an unnatural interest in such things), and removes the possibility of awkward remember-when phonecalls later in life:

Dude: Amanda, I was channel-surfing the other day and I saw that Legend was on TV. It really took me back. I remember that time at the movie and...well...it was kinda special, the whole wrapping up of you and me and that time and place and everything. I saw it with a secret smile and the fond haze of days gone by.

Amanda: (after a second) That was you?

No, this didn't happen to me. But there's some dude out there...

4. Showed up at a Wim Wenders movie dressed like an angel from Wings of Desire

The most dumb part of this was that it wasn't on purpose. Wenders came to Toronto to introduce Until the End of the World and a friend of mine brought me to the screening. It was December, and I was working retail at the time (where I got some very nice clothes in lieu of a living wage) and showed up in a dark blue overcoat, blue chinos, black shoes, and a crew-neck sweater with a barely perceptible V at the neck. If I looked like Bruno Ganz it wasn't on purpose, I was actually dressed to sell t-shirts and relaxed-fit jeans under the company's dress code. I was lucky enough to get Wenders to sign a copy of his Faber book and wondered why he looked at me strangely. The movie sucked, by the way.

5. Identified with a character from a Martin Scorsese movie

The wrong movie. I had just gone through a bad break up and decided that my life was paralell with Newland Archer's from The Age of Innocence. And it's a fine film, but c'mon. He's not one of the most vibrant protagonists in film history. Edith Wharton fans are free to beat me up (which I think would be quite out of character for them) but I could have at least chosen somebody who gets out from time to time. A good friend of mine fixated on Travis Bickle for a long time (no, he didn't shoot anybody), and I've known a few variations on Jake LaMotta (most of them far more pleasant). I've never known a Kundun. At least I don't think so. If Buddhist monks start showing up at a local Starbucks or some such, I'll update the posting accordingly.

Anybody got anything to add...?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

you need therapy.

Doc G said...

Uhm. Okay, you already mentioned the Travis Bickle episode where I carried a knife in my cowboy boot for the better part of 1988-89. But that was a sheathed, double-bladed throwing knife much like Jack Burton's in Big Trouble in Little China and not the military/hunting type that Deniro had duct taped to his ankle. So let's call that a hybrid influence. Gladly the boots have long since departed but sadly the knife was appropriated by an Israeli par-amour that I suspect was planning to either turn on me or do a clandestine,last-minute suitcase pack before I headed to the airport.

Either way, I deserved both.

And in no particular order:

I made a silencer from a plastic coke bottle and some fiberglass pink insulation. Honestly, I can't remember what movie that was from.

Certainly I'm not the only one who took tin shears to a peach can lid and tried to make a throwing star when they were twelve. Thanks Channel 47 sunday afternoon kung-fu programmers.

My downstairs kitchen has enough canned and dried goods to feed us and the animals for three months. And I own more than one machete plus several very sharp shovels and edgers. Thanks Romero and the rest of you Zombie hacks out there.

I once sat in a seaside bar Maine reading some pretentious European garbage and when the waitress looked over at me, I lipped the word "cognac". I didn't say it. I was nineteen. I was in fucking Maine. I was -- a complete tool. Bonus points if you can figure out what movie I was miming in that failed effort to get laid.

Fucking Maine.

Oh I could go on...

James McNally said...

Oh, this is good. I need to think about this. But oh yes, Until the End of the World is crappy. I watched two parts out of three of the special "uncut" version Wenders wanted to release, and had to stop it was so bad. Maybe one day I'll be able to write about that film, but really, why bother?

Derbecker said...

re; Doc G

Cutting shooting stars out of apple juice cans? Lord, yes. Kinda flimsy ain't they? Great for cutting the skin between your fingers. And the residual apple juice stings like hell. I still have the scars...

Coke bottle? Don't remember the movie but remember the gag. Nikita maybe?

The Travis thing, that ain't dumb. I still carry that pigsticker you gave me. Won't say where. But with a little WD-40 and some needlenose pliers, it can open with one hand. Not that I'm passing this on to my son, of course.

And Congnac? Why Tomas (pronounced Tomhaj), how unbearably light of ya.

You and me...let's get drunk and belt out some Streets of Fire. We all know what tonight is for...

Derbecker said...

re; James

I've got the uncut as well, sort of hoped it might make sense. The hopes were dashed. But Wings of Desire is so damn GOOD, it...ahh, not worth debating. Sometimes ya got it, and sometimes you don't.

I don't remember movies from the Parkway days, other than sitting around in Vicky White's (?) house watching (I think) Gandhi and Terms of Endearment. Gandhi would work into a bible study kind of thing I guess, but Terms...?

Derbecker said...

re; anonymous

thanks for the tip. and if you can't spell your own name, why are you typing?

Anonymous said...

Well, how do you choose from a set of silly times from a life based on movies...
1) Sitting in the Rose and Yonge and Eg with my friend and ordering "two gins, two pints of cider, ice in the cider" and having the server just stare at us.
2) Dropping out of a tree in a dark Toronto park wearing full camo's during a capture the flag game with a church group.
3) Having too many drinks, watching Highlander, and putting on my girlfriends plaid skirt.
I think I've said enough...

Derbecker said...

re; the second anonymous dude (who I know, but I hate changing nomenclature)

I still have the BRUISES from the tree incident...and were you the first anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Nope, not the first.

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