So I have worked my way through the entire six seasons of Dawson’s Creek since my return from my epic fail in the US. The Creek has been a blessed bandaid for my aching heart. Seriously, I kid you not. I highly recommend you do the same the next time you find yourself faced with a broken heart. Sharing Dawson, Joey, Pacey, Jen and Jack’s emotional trials and tribulations over what is the equivalent of ten Creek years, from the age of 15 to 25, is, metaphorically speaking, chickensoup for the soul, or as I, the vegetarian, prefer, a bandaid for your heart.
Movies and television play a huge part in our lives whether we are aware of it or not, and being the romantic dreamer that I am this is most definitely true of me. I am able to be drawn into these worlds so completely that I make them exist. My imagination is so vivid, powerful and fertile that I am able to do this with literature as well (I am a voracious reader). This ability is aided or strengthened by the fact, I think, that I am an empath of sorts. By this I mean I am able to empathise with people and their situations or quandaries. I am, quite literally, able to walk in their shoes, I can feel and experience what they do completely. In a way it is more a curse than a gift but it is what it is and I live with it. My point is that I am able to literally experience what the characters in a movie or book are experiencing and so it becomes very real to me. If you have ever observed an eight year old watching a movie, I am kind of like that, totally engrossed in that world and feeling everything going on in it! Twitching, wincing, grinning, crying, that is me watching a movie! However I also, as I do in life, view each moment in frames of creation, as an artist. Each image becomes a frozen moment of beauty or horror or joy or sadness, a work of art, and my mind is working on creating those images in oils or snowy marble or movement and music.
Now while on the subject of movies, let me tell you about my man, Tom. He and I have travelled a long, long road together! We first met in 1981 in a movie called Endless Love, this was and is how I feel and what I believe about love; eternal and overcoming all obstacles, he’s in that albeit a small part, so is a smoking hot, pubescent Brooke Shields! Good movie! I was in high school when I saw it but I remember it posing a pretty good question: how liberal and open-minded are you when it’s your daughter who is having underage sex? Or as we were being asked in South Africa in the 70s and 80s, your family being blown to smithereens by an ANC bomb?
Taps (1981) came out that year as well and Tom rocked in that playing the role of a sociopath, Cadet Captain David Shawn, at a military school; I encountered a lot of those during my military service.
In ’83 he did four movies: The Outsiders, Losing It, All the Right Moves and one of my personal favourites, Risky Business. In ’84 when I was discharged from the Army, I was a wild and troubled youth, and a catch phrase from that movie became my mantra: every now and then you just gotta say “what the fuck, make your move” Apparently, if I recall correctly, this opens you to experience roads less travelled. Unfortunately this also introduces people like Guido, the killer pimp into your life as Joel/Tom finds out. I have to admit though, whether you prefer the road less travelled version or the what the fuck version, following that credo has made all the difference in mine. An excellent movie which is the original teen-coming of age classic, not crap like American Pie and the like that have followed or tried to imitate. Celebrating his parents leaving him alone in the house, Tom rocks it in his undies and socks; it is a scene to remember!
In my College years there was Legend, the still awesome Top Gun (I feel the need for speed!), the underrated Colour of Money, Cocktail (Elizabeth SHOOOOOHOOHOO, loved her!) and Rainman. Once when I was on the Freshers’ Reception Committee (in charge of organising parties to welcome the new, first year students, hell yeah!), I dressed in a naval aviators uniform, had my haircut military-style and wore the shades, man, It was a good Freshers’ Week, I kid you not! Good old Tom! The man has style and epitomises cool…despite the whole bouncing on Oprah’s couch-thing! Hey, he was in love, and with Katy Holmes no less, so cut him some slack! We’ve all done crazy things when in love!
In 1989 the Cruise did Born on the Fourth of July where he was so robbed! His performance deserved an Oscar, and it (and Stone’s Platoon) took me back to my own war horrors, and in a strange way aided me in achieving some sort of closure by facing and dealing with them, to some extent anyway. My years immediately after Varsity were mirrored by his Days of Thunder, Far and Away, A Few Good Men and The Firm: employment, responsibility, relationships while trying to maintain a social life; all the real adult stuff. Interview with the Vampire is one my favourite novels and even I believed Tom would suck as Lestat! But the man can act and he was awesome in it!!!! He followed it with the first Mission and then showed me the money in Jerry Maguire (again awesome)! Then came two very unsettling roles in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia for which he again deserved an Oscar! I’m hoping he will be rewarded this time for Rock of Ages. The Cruise missile never fails to entertain: Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, Goldmember, The Last Samurai, Collateral, War of the Worlds, Lions for the Lambs, Valkyrie, Tropical Thunder, Knight and Day and of course the Missions. Certainly a great actor and often underated because of his charisma, looks and the negative view the press present of him.
OK so we have established that I am a fan of the Cruise (just a sidebar for a moment: I effing hate the way he is attacked for his religion, let me tell you if it was an Abrahamist one; Christianity or Islam, there would be an uproar. But the press attack him via his religion, Scientology, with impunity. It’s absolute bull!).
OK so Tom is obviously my favourite male actor but female actor? Diane Lane, love her, talented and beautiful: she appeared in Streets of Fire in 1984 and I have been crushing on her ever since. Streets of Fire is quite possibly my favourite movie of all time; I have certainly watched it more than any other movie apart from that ghost with the most: Beetlejuice (don’t say it 3 times), love it, love Tim Burton. O back to Streets of Fire, a cult movie by Walter Hill (great action director) and Ry Cooder (guitar genius); it has an amazing soundtrack, motorcycles, leatherjackets and kissing in the rain. If you have never seen it you really have to! Seriously! I fell in love with her all over again in Under a Tuscan Sun.That is my dream, to find and win the love of a woman like that and share our extraordinary lives together in a house like that. Oh well one can dream. If you are not sure what I am talking about watch the movie, love it!
As I have mentioned before I really live in two worlds, and art, movies, books help facilitate that. I have, as I am sure we all do, such fond memories of the event of watching a movie. You see I was fortunate (and I really don’t mean this sarcastically) to live in a country that only got television in the mid-70s. As kids we listened to the radio, not only to music but radio productions, where you were required to use your imagination and listening skills. Movies at home were a production!: a sheet would go up over the curtainrails in the lounge and the projector would be set up. The whole neighbourhood would congregate, chairs spilling out into the diningroom and sometimes even as far back as the kitchen. A mishmash of snacks would be brought over, and the house would smell over popcorn, hotdogs, coke and cigarettes. My Mom was a maestro projectionist and would run it with movie-house efficiency. But it was part of the whole experience, to mingle and chat between reels as they were changed; kind of like social adbreaks. A movie could take four hours to finish, it was an entire evening of entertainment.
Once a month, on a payday Friday, we would pile into my Mom’s old mini or vw Beetle or dunebuggy and head off to the drive-in with tupperwares full of burgers and pancakes and bottles of coke. I loved to sit outside on a blanket on the warm asphalt, under a bejewelled sky on a summer evening and watch movies. We lived in a suburb with a drive-in and no movie house but every once in awhile there would be a fundraiser at the Afrikaans school, Werda, or at the local boxinghall, JJ’s. Venturing to the Afrikaans high school, who we had a fierce rivalry with, was an adventure, and usually only undertaken by the English high school boys because the Afrikaans girls were forbidden fruit. That and these girls were quite confident and socially adept with regards the opposite sex. You see, the English schools were single sex while the Afrikaans schools were co-ed, therefore they were far more experienced with pubescent intermingling and interaction. These girls would often send their friend to ask you if you would like to come and join them, and sit next to them at the movie. You would often get to hold their hand, and if they liked you, a kiss at the end of the night and an invitation to call them. It was sort of like a mixer but you stayed in the hall and hauled ass (intentional play on the words 🙂 afterwards because your back would actually literally itch from the hot, angry glares from our Afrikaans brothers.
But the world has moved on since those days, and yes, the quality and convenience and sheer volume of choice etc etc etc has improved in leaps and bounds but there are no drive-inns or home screenings on bedsheets or huge cinemas or radio theatre, and as lame as these things might sound to later generations, they really were awesome, you really had to be there!!!