Secret Pop

Jan 15, 2007

Wrongful Deaths

I was working pretty much all day yesterday, and Turner Classic Movies kept me company for much of the time. The pay channels for some of the time. I watched The Dirty Dozen, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Player, The Aviator, Quiz Show, and I eventually watched Diva in bed in the wee hours before finally going to sleep. These are all movies I've seen before. And I watched them in the way that I often do -- not necessarily looking at the screen the whole time but hearing every bit. And I remember thinking at one point that it sure makes for compelling drama when someone kills the wrong man or when the bad guy gets his comeuppance but not from the guy he did wrong or when the adulterers don't get caught or when the cuckolded spouse gets yelled at for no reason or when the murderer gets away with it or when hardened criminals become heroes or when heroes become criminals or when French people bootleg opera music but purely for the love of the art. I remember thinking that real drama is fueled by a sense of injustice. Or by the certainty of preventable tragedy. That you can't hang on the edge of your seat if you know not to worry about anyone not wearing a red tunic. That your heart beats less quickly when everything wraps up nicely in the end. Which explains so much about my feelings about Hollywood filmmaking.

Randomly? I used to think Lee Marvin was scary. And that he had a pig nose. Nik Kershaw helped me love Humphrey Bogart. There was a time when I couldn't watch Hannah and Her Sisters because it hurt too much. Watching The Player now that I live in Los Angeles is really, really different. I read Diva before I watched the movie. Sarah and I were in high school, and I got it from the public library's paperback trade-in on the Naval base on Guam. I loved it. And when we rented the movie, I was slightly disappointed. No one was as beautiful as I had imagined them to be. Well, Jules maybe. But I was glad to finally hear La Wally and not have to make it up in my head. Years later, when I made mix tapes of soundtrack music, La Wally was on my downbeat mix. I would like to recreate that mix. If only to recapture the feeling of driving around in a car I no longer have in a city I no longer live in with ideas in my head that have long since come to seem foolheaded. La Wally was one of only three tracks with lyrics. The other two being When You're Alone from Hook, and Victory Celebration/End Titles from The Return of the Jedi Special Edition. Yeah, that last one only goes, "Ya ya ya ya ya." But I guess I think of those as words. And it still used to make me feel my heart in my throat some of the time.

To sum up: I am kind of a nerd.

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