Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Moonrise to Dark Knight

With the end of Labor Day, another summer bites the dust, the Big One and, for all intents and purposes, even a dusty Big One. (ptui!) Yeah, Summer 2012 has no right being mentioned in the same breath (let alone the same same sentence) as last year, but nothing could have competed with the grand and glorious New York Cherney Journey. That was one for the Book of memories while this year barely fits this here blog.
However, no sour grapes say I since it became almost a necessity to low-ball this past season  both economically and spiritually. At least I mustered up enough effort to book-end the summer with two very distinct trips to the cinema viewing two very distinct films, though they did have one thing in common: my state of mind.
After a horrific spring that culminated with my psyche taking a throttling of absurd frequency, I needed a break more than anyone really knew and took refuge in the wonderful world of Wes Anderson, namely MOONRISE KINGDOM. His wistful tale of young love propelled me back into a time when summer actually meant something in my life instead of another reason to hate hot weather. I'll totally cop to the desire to flee the present into that warm glow of nostalgia because it was a safe haven I really desire to escape into  for at least a couple of pleasant hours. MOONRISE KINGDOM called up sweet memories I never had, desires never satisfied and adventures never lived, but recalling even the longing of these gave me the solace I truly needed. So sitting in a packed matinee audience in June, usually another circle of my own personal Hell, turned out to be a tranquil afternoon that provided just the right of therapy to survive the suck and get me through to the next crisis. It also reaffirmed my love for the film-loving people of Portland who are the best audiences I've ever encountered. If I could get over some of my anti-social ways and discomfort with the general public, I'd join them more often. It's funny that I can sit side-by-side with an audience during a live performance, but I'm hesitant to do so at the movies. Then again, I never attend the thea-tah alone. Say it loud, I'm neurotic and proud.

It wasn't until August that I ventured out again to catch one more flick before Labor Day. I was all ready to step into a second run theater for a last gasp showing of PROMETHEUS, but stopped dead in my tracks when I spied a mother with five pre-teens at the box office AND two other mamas in the lobby cradling their babies. Uh-uh. No way was I going to subject myself to that torture dungeon. It didn't matter that the admission was only a dollar. I beat feet away from that place as though it was a nest of Herpes-laden hornets.

The next day, I took the plunge into the dreaded multi-plex for another anticipated film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Though I had been looking forward to it for months on end, I found myself reluctant to see the grand finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy due to the morbid shadow of the Aurora, Colorado massacre the month before. How could I even begin to watch this movie without the mental images of that tragedy play through my head? I actually had an interior debate, even accusing myself of insensitivity. I decided to take my chances and deal with the guilt if and whenever it came. It didn't. Instead, I realized that here I am, a lone patron in a cinema and suddenly, I am suspect or at least, I very well could be. Attending movies solo has been my modus operandi for, well, ever. My wife abandoned the idea of accompanying me long, long ago and in almost 15 years, has gone with me exactly twice. It became one of those activities we don't do together and if I can't sit next to her, call me Greta Garbo, but I want to be alone.  I am also one of those odd ducks that never buys anything at the concession stand, preferring to bring in snacks from the outside. This usually occurs during the winter months when I can cram a lot into a large jacket. I've brought in sandwiches, hamburgers, burritos and assorted beverages (non-alcoholic). One fine day, I brought in sushi from Trader Joe's and watched the great kung fu epic HERO. This time, I didn't bring anything more than a protein bar (it's a 2 3/4 hour movie for Chrissakes). With the temperature in the 90s, a big jacket concealing various food items would raise more than just one red flag, so I lowballed it. Parking myself in the back of the auditorium, I sat in silence in awkward anticipation of suspicious glances or nervous whispers about my lonesome self crouching in the corner, a potential Madman du Jour. But these notions of mine soon evaporated into the paranoid ether once the film began and I opted to engage myself into Christopher Nolan's bold and brash cinematic symphony, just like everyone else in the theater who didn't give me a second glance if any at all. In the end, what happened in Aurora had nothing to do with the movie at all and everything to do with a crazy motherfucker with a gun. And the rest was all in my head. Maybe that's where it belongs.

Summer ends. Fall begins. Life goes on.
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