“What the fuck did you say to me, boy?”
“Sir, I just asked if you want to add fries with that.”
“Don’t fucking sir me, boy, trying to act all high and mighty and proper. Just get me my fucking hamburger, fucking raghead.”
The teenager’s head snaps back, as if he was slapped, and his mouth drops open. He throws Earl’s hamburger into its bag and, gritting his teeth, thrusts the bag through the drive-through window. Earl snatches the food and immediately claws open the hamburger wrapper.
“You probably spit in this too, didn’t you, raghead? Didn’t you?” Earl separates the pieces of the hamburger: pulling apart the bun, the beef patties, the lettuce, looking for the evidence of spit that eludes him.
No flashlight? No worries!
When I was a kid I decided I wanted to be a counterfeiter. I’ll just get your next thought out of the way and let you know that, no; I am not currently perusing job boards looking for my way into the secretive business of currency forgery. I left that dream behind around the time I entered the lair of the mid-teen years. But let’s go back to that time anyway. Back to the days of watching movies until sunrise, back to the days of arranging my basement couch cushions into a movie worshiping throne, and back to the days of giving my heart and soul and mind to the idols on the fat CRT in front of me. Young Dom watched a lot of movies and he dreamed and he day dreamed and he dreamed dreamed and he found himself living in the (he supposed) coolest place that ever was – late 1980s Hong Kong.
You might end up with an outie when you’re looking for an innie.
There are a couple handfuls of perfectly excellent films I have avoided seeing because, for one reason or another, I already know too much about them. Sometimes a scene or a plot twist or a character seeps into the public consciousness and becomes its most representative, defining characteristic. Sometimes the entire film is referenced and dissected and quoted ad nauseam and completely loses its element of surprise. And while the element of surprise isn’t always an essential criteria for enjoying a film, if you have the choice between experiencing a great film that holds a promise of originality and a great film that has already become lodged in your cognizance, which would you choose?
Protectors of America
There’s a healthy amount of “suspension of disbelief” that is needed to enjoy some films. You shelter your mind from the illogical scenarios and allow yourself to drift into a fantastical world. Then there are films like last year’s Red Dawn, a remake to the 1984 Swayze vehicle about a Russian invasion of America, that would require a “suspension of disbelief” bordering on decapitation in order to envelope yourself within the confines of the film world. Somehow I never got around to adding the 80’s Red Dawn to my “must watch” list, but I like to think it had more to do with bad luck than it did because the movie is terrible. Nonetheless, Red Dawn has joined the ranks of mediocre/cult movies that have been remade into terrible, terrible, terrible films. Perfectly enjoyable 80’s fare such as Fame, Conan the Barbarian, Footloose, and Evil Dead have all recently been remade into the same generic sludge that premieres in theaters every weekend, and 2012’s Red Dawn is no exception to that established trend.
It’s been said that I can be a, “pain in the ass to watch a movie with.” I’m not going to attribute that quote to any one particular person, partly because I made up the quote, but also because I can imagine any of my exes telling me that. The sentiment, either in those words or similar ones, would be carried out in an exasperated tone and I would scribble a mental note to keep myself from falling into a similar situation again. I have some very particular preferences for enjoying a film, all of which are related to losing yourself inside the created piece for the entirety of its duration. So, no lights, no talking, and absolutely no questions will be permitted during the film. I’m not a masochist though, so I usually just watch movies that I don’t feel the need to invest myself in if there will be others in the room. Therefore, if Anchorman is on the screen, quip away, quip away. Comedies are fine, terrible movies are fine, mediocre movies are fine, Hollywood movies are definitely fine; in fact, the majority of movies that people usually want to watch are fine. The problem is I don’t usually watch the movies that are most often watched. I’m watching bizarre foreign films, indies, and strange experimentals that may require more than one viewing and at the minimum at least a fully attentive audience to fully understand.
“Pressure and time. That’s all it takes really, pressure and time.” Red, from The Shawshank Redemption, was referring to Geology – the study of the Earth and the changes that act upon it and also one of Andy Defresne’s favorite pastimes. Pressure and time and a rock can be transformed, transfigured into something else – maybe something more, maybe something less, but always something different. The life of a human is that of applied pressure and a constant ticking of the clock. We slip in and out of fantastical realms as the Buzz of the alarm steadily announces its presence. “Wake Up. Wake Up. Wake Up. Wake Up,” it whispers again and again, annoyingly consistent. The volume of the irritation increases, but we learn to tune out the noise and delay, delay, delay until finally opening our eyes, squinting, rubbing out the night crust and misplaced eyelashes, only to discover the day has already passed. Our lives have slipped on by. We chose the comfort of our womb-like beds and deferred something slightly disagreeable. We slept through the Buzz of life, but there’s no escape from the pressure. It can be delayed, postponed, or rerouted, but the pressure grows unrelentingly. The pressure will be released, violently if need be, and no amount of walking through life zombified and unconscious will relinquish its hold.
Wake up. Eat. Go to work. Eat. Come home. Eat. Watch a movie. Eat. Go to sleep. Dream about eating. Wake up and do it again. Repeat for the next 25,000 days or so. Take a child and ask them about their hopes and dreams and expectations. Ask them again at fourteen. Then at twenty-one, twenty-eight, and onward, once every seven years for the rest of their lives. 56 Up is the story of us, of life, of change, and of accepting the successes and failures that are unavoidable if you are lucky enough to keep getting older. The eighth installment in the series continues its amazing report on the lives of a particular group of individuals whose experiences growing up and, for some, out of the United Kingdom are among the most universally relatable.