Tuesday, February 17, 2009

i'm not even supposed to be here today!

Query: What movie changed your life?

Everybody has one-- the movie that changed your life.

And please, for the love of all that's holy, don't say it was a Rob Schneider film.

The change could be enormous or subtle, but it's there.

For me, it was Clerks. In 1995, the year that photo was taken. I'm the one on the far left. Don't ask about the flannel shirt over the homecoming dress.

Before then, I had seen all the usual movies-- the blockbusters, horror, action flicks, chick flicks, comedies, dramedies, tragicomidromedaries, you name it. But then I saw Clerks, a low-budget, black-and-white, vulgarity-ridden belly of laughs with a spoonful of philosophy thrown in. I had no idea people were even *allowed* to make movies like that. Not a single movie star. A whole lot of f-bombs. It was irreverent, smart, entertaining, and groundbreaking, and there wasn't a single explosion in the whole thing, a major accomplishment for a 90's film.

Now, over 10 years later, Clerks reminds me that there is still ground to be broken. When I feel like everything that can be done in music or art has already been done, that if I see one more rabbit eating a cupcake on Etsy, I think of Clerks and the fact that Kevin Smith woke up one day and said, "I want to make a movie. With my friends. And we're going to film it in grainy black and white, curse enough to curdle milk, and have no action whatsoever. We're going to be mean to people, and... and... i'm gonna have a cat crap on film. The cat's just gonna drop one, right there in front of the camera." And then he added roof hockey, knocking over a casket at a funeral, heavy metal Russians, accidental necrophilia, you name it.

And people loved it, and he went on to make 4 more wonderful movies. And an awesome cartoon. And then some really bad movies. And, recently, a really good one. And the funny part is that the movies with the biggest stars that followed the Hollywood path were the least loved and the least loveable. Like Gigli. When Kevin Smith thinks of Gigli, he must feel the same embarrassed protectiveness that I feel when I see pictures of myself in 7th grade. "It's okay. You're hideous and confused, but I promise it gets better. We all make obvious, horrible, terrifying mistakes. But it can only go up from here. Parachute pants never killed anyone."

Another point in the favor of Clerks is that it was introduced to me by a boy on whom I had had a crush for 4 years. But that part doesn't matter.

What does matter is that there is always something new to explore, always something with the possibility to turn a little key in the human heart and change everything. And if you're really, really lucky, that something new will include the salsa shark.

And exclude enormous, caterpillar-like eyebrows. Seriously. Do you see those things? Would someone please go back to 1995 and hand me some tweezers?

So, what's yours?


delilah said...

So no one is going to tell me the movie that changed their life?

I'm going to assume they are all David Spade movies. How about that?

Andrea said...

The Lost Boys. 'Nuff Said.

Valerie said...

You know, I think it's "A Room With A View". It's still my favorite movie after all these years, though I'm not sure why. Maybe because I see it as a comedy, or at the very least, a commentary on how we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. Or let the expectations of others rule our lives. Justin thinks I like it because there are about 2 seconds of flopping wieners in the "bathing" scene. Nope. Breaking out of a shell or constraint and getting what you really want. I think I was 18 when I saw it.

Natasha Kreisle said...

Stupid as it may sound, The Little Mermaid. Not the Disney one, but the Disney one because Disney took a sad heartbreaking love story and turned it into stupid happy endings. I liked the "real" one and have always been confused that it became so... well, Disney. Which is why my daughter didn't go down "the pink aisle" for three years at any toy store.

My Indian name was Pressure-Per-Square-Inch said...

Changed my life hrmm....I love movies, but I'm not sure any seriously altered my life. That seems to be reserved for books. Still, I was rather enamored (still am) of Il Postino (the postman)and all the christopher guest movies because they are ridiculously hilarious.

mamamilkers said...

Mine was Pump Up the Volume. Mostly the music in it changed my life, but that was a big turning point for me. It came out, what, 92-ish?

Die Bruce Willis, Die said...

1. Who was this boy? Was it Dan? I'll bet it was Dan.

2. No movies have changed my life. Although I will say that "Die Hard" was the first movie to make me root for the bad guys. Stupid Bruce Willis.

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