Wednesday, February 3, 2010


“We are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

I forget how much I like some movies until I’m flipping through the channels, looking for some brain drain and run across something I haven’t seen in a while.

Tonight, my viewing while Robert spent all his time playing his new birthday video game (thanks, Cody—now I’ll never get to watch any of that TV I’ve got DVRed) ranged from Kevin Bacon in Footloose to Brad Pitt and Ed Norton in Fight Club. Both rank up high as favorites for me, but for very different reasons.

I watched Footloose countless times as a kid. In our house, we had a habit of watching the same movies over and over and over and over and over and over and over and…. They were usually more obscure movies—Hollywood Knights, Mischief, The Man in the Moon, etc. Stuff that you won’t find at a bricks-and-mortar movie place today. Blockbuster probably doesn’t even have those movies in their database. Honestly, though, I’ve seen them so many times that I don’t even have to have the movie in front of me because I could quote them all verbatim.

Footloose was one that we watched when my aunt and her family had moved in with us. I remember, during the dance scene at the end, my mom and aunt would get up and dance along with Bacon and Co., whooping and hollering and having a good ol’ time. At the time, this embarrassed me, especially if one of my friends was over to visit. It seemed the epitome of dorky to dance along to a movie. It was the epitome of dorky. But the thing is, they were having fun. They weren’t worried about what anyone thought—they were just enjoying themselves to the best of their abilities. I still cringe a little thinking about it, but I’m equally nostalgic for it. I don’t focus so much on how much they are embarrassing me—dang it! couldn’t they see I had a friend over?!?—but more on how good a time they were having. These are laugh filled memories and I think that’s pretty significant.

My memories of Fight Club are much more recent and much more related to who I am as a person today. While I never bought into the idea that you have to beat the crap out of each other to find yourselves—guys are so weird sometimes!—I do recognize that finding yourself out of whatever box society says you should be in is pretty important. I always liked the dark humor of the movie and appreciated the delivery from Brad Pitt who at this point had only played Pretty Boy (pretty much his entire oeuvre) and Crazy Bugger (12 Monkeys—the only non-Pretty Boy roll I remember him ever taking). It was nice to see him—the most specialist, prettiest person—telling us all that no one is a special snowflake. It was nice to see more-average-looking Ed Norton show Pretty Boy in the end that, why yes, you can be a little special. You don’t have to go all they way to the other extreme, but you can find a balance.

I will say that I always feel a little like I’m failing Tyler Durden any time that we go to Ikea. I mean, I don’t stop shopping there—that’s crazy talk!—but I do feel like, somewhere, Tyler is laughing. Or crying. Or whatever.

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