see a lot of movies by myself. Hell, I see most movies that I see by myself. There is often overlap with my ex-wife's viewing habits where we can have conversations about certain movies, but mostly, it's me, and, well...
An audience that cannot--at least in any particularly meaningful fashion--talk back. So, it's just me and the screen, usually my iPad, that has been a fixture of this blog since before I even had a smartphone or a fire stick or a moviepass. Sometimes, rare times, I want more. Like after I saw I Feel Pretty a few days ago, or after Infinity War just this afternoon. I want to walk out of the theater talking about what we just saw, start digesting it at least in a shallow way as it settles.
I had a few ideas recently about new ways of doing all this, reacting to, responding to, conversing with all the various movies I put into my head. I've even made some steps toward one of them, and I had this feeling like that lead-up week to Day 1 of this very blog. I've told this story before, but I can't recall when. I could wake up my smartphone and do a search, and I'd probably find it, but you know what's fun. Telling stories time and time again, no matter their detail, no matter their depth, no matter their meaning. Like watching movies on repeat.
I went to a screening of Groundhog Day in Old Town Pasadena. An outdoor screening, projected up onto the wall at One Colorado. My son's with me. And, between the time that screening started and the time it ended my life had changed. Somewhere in there I was reminded of Lawrence, Julie & Julia Project and I was feeling listless (though grad school was about to get started). I went home, I secured groundhogdayproject.com, I set up a Twitter account and a Facebook page (neither of which will I link now because I don't use them anymore; I just use my personal Twitter and Facebook.
(I checked on the availability of another URL this past week. It was available.)
A week later, August 2nd (which in retrospect was a day off because if I chickened out on doing a year, the six months done would have actually happened the day before that titular holiday), I sat down at my computer, the movie playing on my iPad... Or was it the other way around? The moment of it in terms of what's come after is different than the moment at the time. I remember starting--and I don't want to check the actual wording--with something about how I never wrote a review of Groundhog Day. No. It was something like, I don't think I've ever written a review, yada yada yada. I knew damn well I hadn't written one. I only reviewed new movies at my other, entirely irregular blog. But, I was jumping into a sea I was not entirely prepared for and I was protecting myself with... What is that? It's not self-deprecation. But, there's an armor in the casualness of that wording.
And, now I break down and double check the exact wording, because obsession is my middle name.
"I've never written a review of Groundhog Day, as far as I know."
Such simplistic bullshit. While implying something bigger. Like there's this possibility that I've written so many reviews that I have no idea what I have or have not written. I was already inventing a persona for myself. I just didn't... I was going to say that I didn't realize it. But, I think I realized what I was doing, I just might not yet have had a full grasp of what it meant. I would end up writing my master's thesis about the construction of self on the Internet, so, there was more to discover, or at least to label. I had certainly been playing on the internet for a while at that point. I first made my website--still hosted in the exact same location--in April 1999. I was relatively new to the Internet then but I had been online before. Message boards. BBSs (or however you pluralize BBS). Hell, my first experience talking to other people via modem was in the late 80s, just a few years after Back to the Future--which is playing right now, even though I don't think I have anything else to say about it that hasn't already been said in all of the ranting I've done for 1364 previous blog entries about so many other movies.
I did have a thought today, though, about what movies meant to me when I was a kid. About, maybe, some key I might subconsciously have been looking for this past year, delving back into movies that were on repeat during my childhood. I've said before that I grew up thinking I didn't have a future. Literally. End of the world literally. The thing that I thought of today--and this relates to the ending of Infinity War but I don't think I will bother SPOILING it here--was that what movies offered, especially when they were available on repeat, was an infinity in the moment. Like maybe this is what captivated me in Groundhog Day in all those resumptions and repeats during the first year of this blog and (just slightly more than) every month since. If a movie ends on a down note and that down note doesn't sit right with you, you can start it over, and everyone who died is alive again. Everything that has been discovered can be found new again. Everything that has been destroyed is intact again. And, the end of the world, mortality--these things don't mean anything. Which is a weird thought considering that the end of the world and mortality are themes found in so many movies. Even Back to the Future deals in the possibility of erasure. Not death, but erasure. A comforting thought, I suppose in some of my more depressed moments. But--and maybe this is because the spring semester is nearing its end, or maybe it's because I've been fantasizing about (planning for?) new ventures--something far away from my thoughts right now. My identity can be boiled down to a handful of things if I need to simplify. Blogger is a big one. But, blogging is just one way to interact with film. I think I want to try some others.
So, nevermind determinism or predestination, or challenges to the same. Nevermind time travel. Nevermind Back to the Future and the specifics of what I might have gotten out of it as a child. I've said many times in this blog that movies are not just about escape. A better word might be vacation. The point to a movie is not the movie itself for me but what comes after. How does this movie affect my understanding of the world, of myself? What does the world look like when I come out of that theater? How has it changed? How have I?
Deconstructing my childhood experience with movies on repeat always left gaps for the movies that weren't on repeat. Some of those had bigger impacts in the long run. But they didn't fit this particular narrative. I imagine watching every movie that I've ever seen all over again, picking each one apart, figuring out just how I became this person I am today, sitting here on the floor, typing away on my wireless keyboard.
I want to complain about how the white pages list Doc Brown as Brown Emmet L scientist and his address is on the next line and there are (almost) no other entries like that. Which makes it a bit obvious. The other visible two line entry is Brundage Vernon E and I wonder if that's the guy who made this phone book mockup, and who is at fault for an all too thick phone book for what it supposed to still be a rather small town in 1955. There are too many Browns (hell far too many Browns with first names starting with E), and far too many Brundages. But, that's not where I am today...
I say after kind of doing just that.
Because manipulating me for the reader is quite fun.
So, the matter becomes a question of where I go from here. Two years ago today I ended this blog. Day 1000. I turned in my master's thesis that day as well. A year ago tomorrow--Day 1001--I picked up where I left off, same film, same thought. I drifted through a few months before settling into Phase Four, this childhood deconstruction. My "movie life" list began with Blackbeard's Ghost from 1968. It's 1985 now. I'm nine years old. I've already got plenty of movies in my head. There are many more to come.