Monday, June 27, 2011

Life VS. Movies Pt. 1 (These Things Really Happen)

"Why do you always quote movies?" Someone asked me once.
I thought about this and realized that I do indeed have a movie quote for every situation in life. Is there something wrong with me and my perception of reality? Or haven't we all related just a little too much to our favorite films? Don't we all have a scene from a certain movie that makes us say:
"Oh totally. That's my life."?
Has my movie watching  gone beyond casual enjoyment and now become a conglomeration of scenes that make up my life's screenplay? Yes. Most definitely. Is that a bad thing?  Am I like Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy, a character who lives in T.V. land and therefore has become a complete sociopath?
Or maybe I am like Tom Hanks in Castaway, stranded on my own desert island with movies as my only companion instead of a volley ball named Wilson. I know there are others who were traumatized when Hanks made his last escape on that man made raft and lost Wilson in the ocean. Who wasn't heartbroken as Hanks flapped his arms uselessly, screaming, choked and waterlogged: "Wiiiiillllson! No! Wiiiiiilllson!" Oh yeah, I've been there.
It could be something as mundane as trying to get to work on time and the world is so stacked against me I feel like Indiana Jones in that opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana has just grabbed the small golden statue and consequently set off a trap. He runs with a boulder fastly approaching behind and a stone door closing in front. After narrowly escaping under the stone door, and of course grabbing his lucky hat, he is greeted by a villain who smugly takes the statue from him.
Fifteen minutes to get across town. After beating the traffic jam on the road that never has traffic except this certain day, a construction site seems to instantly have sprouted up in front of me. A construction site where men are simply standing around and moving cones.  Noticing the gas is on empty I realize I have forgotten to shave and that my name tag is on the sink next to the unused razor. My cell is dead so I can't call my manager to tell him I'm going to be late. 
Rushing in to work, hoping to sneak in undetected. Yes! I discover my name tag is in my pocket. Like Indiana Jones grabbing his lucky hat, I put it on and clock in. Five minutes late, but undetected, I take a breath to compose myself. But there to greet me is the only manager who cares about punctuality, conveniently called in on his day off to do inventory. The words "late" and "write-up" are said.  I want to explain but how could I explain narrowly escaping a rushing boulder, poison darts, deadly pitfalls, and a slamming stone door? So I take the write-up.
Writer/director P.T. Anderson explained the relationship between life and movies pretty well in a scene from his masterpiece opus Magnolia. The genius actor Philip Seymour Hoffman delivers the following lines:
"I know this all seems silly. I know that maybe I sound ridiculous, like maybe this is the scene from the movie where the guy is trying to get a hold of his long lost son, but this is that scene. You know? I think they have those scenes in movies because they are true, because they really happen."
I couldn't have said it better myself Mr. Anderson. A movie begins as a screenplay, a screenwriter slaving away at their laptop, trying to put into words their inner most feelings, hoping that somewhere, someone will "get it". So the next time you watch a movie as ridiculous as Top Gun and find yourself feeling embarrassed because you know every line, remember you are in good company. "You can be my wing man anytime".