Thursday, November 18, 2010

Be Gentle. It's Our First Time

Werth: Hi, Wise!
Wise: Hi, Werth!
Werth: Isn't this exciting? Our very first blog posting!
Wise: I know! I feel like our world's about to change in strange and amazing ways.
Werth: It's like we're Tony and Maria gazing at each other across the gym and the world turns all sparkly and magical!
Wise: Or like Dorothy opening the door from sepia-toned Kansas and stepping into Technicolor Munchinkinland.
Werth: Or like the girl at the end of All About Eve holding the Sarah Siddons Award and bowing to her infinitely multiplying reflection in the mirror.
Wise: Or like Charlton Heston opening up the sea as a way for the Israelites to escape. 
Werth: Or like Uma Thurman waking up from a coma as she's about to be raped by a filthy guy named Buck.
Wise: Um, I don’t think that’s the kind of metaphor we’re reaching for here-
Werth: And then there's Lieutenant Dan waking up missing his legs-
Wise: Since this is our first movie blog posting, how's about we discuss the first movie we remember seeing?
Werth: Oh- that's a good idea! Can we save the horror and dismemberment angle?
Wise: Definitely. 

Werth: Yay!
Wise: So, when I was in high school I went to see the theatrical re-release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and halfway through, I realized that I had seen it before.  I couldn’t have been any older than two, and I don’t have any articulable memories of that day—what the plot was or who took me to the theater—but some very specific images had stuck in my brain from that early viewing. 
Werth: Like what?
Wise: Mostly the main character’s feelings.  How terrified she was to be lost in the forest, how happy she was with the forest creatures.  But also the color of the film, the depth of what I was seeing.  I have this vivid sense of what Snow White’s dress must feel like, how her hair smells. 
Werth: How her hair smells?  That’s creepy. 
Wise: But it’s not.  Not really.  This was before the videocassette and the home theater revolution.  Disney movies could only be seen once a decade, and kids saw them when they had the chance, not whenever they felt like.  So of course something that big and rich and overwhelming would have to make a deep impact, even if I couldn’t recognize it until years later. 
Werth: I always thought the Evil Queen was so much more interesting than Snow White. 
Wise: Of course you would, but I think Snow White is one of the most fully characterized Disney heroines, at least until the late 80s animation Renaissance at Disney.  She has that crazy voice and a distinct look, plus her woodland creature friends are, ostensibly, real animals and not Borscht Belt mice or reggae crabs.  She’s weird and I think that’s what makes her so great. 
Werth: I still like the Evil Queen better. I was upset when she fell off the cliff.
Wise: That explains so much. But what's the first movie you remember seeing, Werth?
Werth: I remember snippits of Bambi and Star Wars, but the movie that I remember the most from actually seeing it in the theater was Escape from Alcatraz with Clint Eastwood when I was 6 or 7.
Wise: 6 or 7?
Werth: My parents relaxed the Rated R viewing age this one time. The whole family had been at a rodeo or some other Western-themed entertainment and we were supposed to go to a movie as a family that night. But my younger brother and sister were acting like little honyocks—
Wise: Honyocks?
Werth: A Germanism that my Dad was fond of. I think it means little a-holes or something. Anyway, so Dad abruptly canceled movie night, and I burst into tears because as usual I had behaved perfectly and didn’t deserve to be punished.
Wise: Ah, guilt—the gift that keeps on giving.
Werth: Correct. So my Dad shut me up by agreeing to take just me to the movies. Our theater only had two or three screens, so I don't know what the other two movies were, but Dad clearly decided to go to something HE wanted to see. So I wound up watching Escape from Alcatraz without any idea what my 6 yr. old eyes were in for.
In Escape, Clint Eastwood is Frank Morris, an imprisoned bank-robber who attempts with fellow inmates to escape the in-escapable Alcatraz. It's actually based on a true-story- and nobody knows if these guys actually got away or drowned in San Francisco Bay.
I remember the movie starting off with lots of darkness and shadow as Eastwood goes through booking on The Rock. And then he is stripped and a shaft of light fell across his bare behind. I was in shock. I hadn't seen a male bottom magnified to the size of a movie screen before. Then as the movie goes on, Eastwood has a line about a spoon being so dirty it looked like it had been up someone's ass. I usually lean towards nature in the nature versus nurture argument-
Wise: But it's possible Escape from Alcatraz made you gay?
Werth: Don't tell Clint. And to make things worse, Clint used home-made, papier-mache dummies with human hair to fool the guards into thinking he was in his bunk- which still creeps me out to this day.
Wise: An arts and crafts prison break?  Martha Stewart could have tried that.

Escape from Camp Cupcake. I haven't seen the movie since then, but I still retain a very soft spot in my heart for Clint Eastwood. It was a dark entry to his 70's growl-ey, bon line spouting, action-oriented filmwork. Don Siegel of Dirty Harry and Invasion of the Body Snatchers fame directed it, so I imagine it's a fun watch for adults... but maybe not 7 year olds... unless they're already gay.
Wise: The power of the movies.
Werth: Indeed.
Wise: Check back next week for more powerful Film Gab with Werth & Wise.


Teddy Casimir said...

I just discovered your website and you two are hilarious!!! I'm going to backtrack through your site, so you can expect more comments from much older pieces until I get to the current posts. Great work.

FilmGabwithWerth&Wise said...

Thanks, Teddy! We look forward to your comments. And who knows? We may just talk about The Skin I Live In. ;)