Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My only true talent and RUSHMORE (65)

Many people have many talents. I always thought mine would lay somewhere in the creative fields. Maybe I'd be a writer, maybe an artist, maybe my post-adolescent squalor of a voice would go through a third change and I could be the lead singer of a hair-metal band, just like I always dreamed. I just always assumed that my one talent, the one innate ability I would be able to shape in to immense financial success would be something from my mind, not my motor reflexs. It turns out though, after far too many recent hours parked in front of a stout block of an arcade console, I've discovered my one true talent:

I am a god at Ms. Pac-Man.

This rare ability first showcased itself during my first interaction with Alex and, honestly, it almost ruined everything. I blankly guided my bow-wearing, pellet-eating circle through level after level, as Alex slowly lost interest. I wooped and hollered, completely immersed in a 2-D world of power pellets and flashing blue ghosts. It was not my proudest moment.

In the days and weeks and months that have followed though, I've decided, entirely of my own accord, that I'm damn near legendary at this stupid arcade game. I sit down with Big Secord at our local watering hole (free Ms. Pac-Man and huge German beers) and can almost everytime play through the first seven or so levels on one guy. I'm like a fucking Barry Sanders of this game. My hands are moving with speed unseen in the world of Ms. Pac-Man. People are oohing and aahing. Women are throwing their panties at me. I'm playing with my eyes closed, while eating, two games at once - it doesn't matter, I'm damn near Bobby Fisher at this shit.

Oh sure, I can hear the cries of "sad" and "get a life doughboy" but I don't care, I've found a talent, albeit a sad one, and I'm taking it to the fucking top of the world. Sure, I have no idea where that might be, but I'm going to find it, and I'm going to ascend to it, and I'm going to play a super-intelligent Russian robot for keys to the Ms. Pac-Man executive suite and then all you doubters can send in your resumes for Noah "Ms. Pac-Man Extraordinaire" Sanders' Toilet Cleaner.

On second look at this column so far, I should probably not drink before writing it.

Rushmore (65) as I've stated before, is one of the reasons why I'm so invested in film to this day. During my high school years, I knew I enjoyed movies, but I was still slogging through the dreck Hollywood was laying down each and every year. I was completely okay with accepting the big budget flicks as the best there was to be had, completely unaware that a whole other layer of flicks lurked below. And sure, Rushmore (65) isn't the most independent film ever made, but Jesus, if it wasn't a sparkling gem to a 15-year old more accustomed to Snow Falling on Cedars and The English Patient.

I watched that film in a dark theatre with my good friend Timothy Gelfling and realized that if properly sought out, there was vast world of unseen films for my eyes to be laid upon. I will always credit Rushmore (65) as the film that changed my mind about what could be seen on the silver screen.

And now, ten years later, I've probably seen the film fifty times, own the Criterion version and consider Wes Anderson to be in my echelon of favorite directors. It's been a while since I've sat down and watched it though, and I thought I'd just bullet point a few of my thoughts on how I see the film now:

- It's strange to see this film as a segue way between Anderson's less formal style (of films like Bottle Rocket (450)) and the super stylized takes of say The Royal Tenebaums (157). The camera seems almost unhinged in comparision to some of Anderson's later work, and, to be quite honest, it looks a little less put together in my mind. The characters, the world he creates, seem less Wes Anderson, but you can certainly see the progression in his style taking place.

- This film is sadder than I remembered. I don't know if it was because I was in a bit of a funke while viewing it last evening. But Jesus, Max Fischers trials and tribulations seemed so dour. Humor is abound in the film, but it's tinged with a sadness, a sort of reaching need to be something else, that I never saw before. It was almost jarring.

- The best performance in the film, sans Bill Murray whom I love and would never say a single imperfect thing about, has to go to Seymour Cassel as Max's Dad Bert Fisher. He's just this big friendly, old-timer of a man, who takes all the quirks Max has to offer and loves him like only a parent can. You can see the sadness line his face when Max, a selfish prick of kid really, turns against him, but he still loves him, no matter what.

- There's a slow-motion shot in this film that has Max coming out of the elevator, holding a bee box, and shoving his gum on the wall that haunts my dreams. I've thought about at least once a week since I saw this film, and seeing it again took my breath away an equal amount. Jesus, what a fucking shot.

And that's what I've got. The next six or so films are dire straits, so don't expect this amount of writing or excitement, you greedy bastards you.

Thursday: Blood of a Poet (66)

1 comment:

wescoat said...

Don't forget, you can also throw rocks really fucking far. You are a multi-talented doughboy.