Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Return to the Movies

I've started watching movies again. This is a good thing, since I couldn't watch any movies except for romantic comedies for several years. Wouldn't seem like such a big deal except I was a film major in college and movies once were my life.

For the past six or seven years, most movies had become traumatic experiences that I wanted no part of.

They were too real. Bad things happening to fictional characters resonated too much with bad things that happen to real people.

I've had friends that have been stabbed. Others who have been murdered. Acquaintances kidnapped. Suicides.

I've been chased by men with knives on more than one occasion. Been attacked by dogs. Felt paralyzed by fear at two in the morning when camping alone and hearing a group of screaming, drunken men arrive at my campsite. Natural disasters have ravaged the lives of friends and family.

For a number of years, watching these kinds of events unfold in movies has not been escapist entertainment, and I haven't been able to do it.

Now something is different. I don't know what it is that's changed, but I'm not identifying fictional events so closely with real ones anymore. The change has been gradual but now it's picking up speed.

In less than a week I've been to two movies in a theater and I've watched a couple more on DVD.

Tonight I went to see No Country for Old Men. After all the blood I've seen the past week in real life, the movie blood didn't bother me at all. I even watched a needle going into a character's skin and that's the kind of thing I've never been able to keep my eyes open for.

I loved the film. Loved it so much... The Coen Brothers...

And it was funny. I laughed out loud in the theater several times. Despite the killing and the blood. There was a guy in the seat behind me laughing too. Both of us were watching the movie alone.

It was a strangely intimate movie watching experience, two strangers sitting alone, laughing in a sparsely populated theater at the same dry humor. After the film ended, he headed for the door as I gathered my things. He waited, holding the door open for me. The two laughers. I said thank you. We smiled. He walked one way into the night, and I walked another.

It felt good to blow off all responsibilities and spend the evening in a theater watching a movie. I walked home smiling, enjoying the cold, feeling super tranquilo. I think this going to the movies thing is going to become a regular habit again.


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