Friday, June 18, 2010
Toshiro Mafune as Obi Wan? Of my sweet Jeebus YES! Kurt? Cindy? Absolutely! Robbie Benson as Luke? Not if it meant world peace and punch and pie for everyone for life.
The man was in 'Ice Castles' which is actually worse than Gene Kelly in Xanadu. Some things you can never apologize enough for. I guarantee you that when he dies (is he still alive?) they will mention that movie in his obituary. Which will be a nice reminder for the devil that Robbie in on his way.
"Why down on Robbie so much Cal?"
"You don't understand. That movie damaged me."
"How can that be. It's just a movie."
"Yeh, and Hitler was just a painter. You know NOTHING"
(At this point you need to imagine me bursting into tears and running out of the room)
Now the story:
It's 1979 and I was 14. I was asked out on a date. The school had done that switcheroo Sadie Hawkins dance thing so the girls had to ask the boys. The school and the theatre had made a deal that for that one night every girl who had a date would get free tickets for her and her date. The place was expected to be packed. The movie was 'Ice Castles' which can be summed up with one sentence - 'Figure skater loses eyesight in freak accident but finds true love. GAH! Not a car chase or a gunfight in sight.
I got asked by a girl who had been in my class for years. She had a huge crush on me but I really did not like her. Not her fault that I didn't. I was young and was crushing on someone else. Besides, girls were icky. They would never shut up about things I had no interest in.
She had called my house once about a month earlier to ask me questions about one of my friends and said that she liked him and wanted me to help her by telling him that.
(I found out later that it was was all a scam. She really didn't like my friend but wanted to talk to me and figured that was a good way to cover her real motives. I guess in her mind we were meant to become bf and gf once I got jealous because she was with my friend. Suddenly I would realize that I loved her all along and I would beg her to break up with him and go out with me. That plan was diabolical. And there was no 'Twilight' back in the day to put such ideas in her head.
The Machiavellian levels of this girls schemes were only admired years later. At the time though I felt like a mouse in a trap.
The call freaked me out. I was only 14 and suddenly I was some yenta matchmaker (that reference is for you Robyn) involved in the romantic life of some girl who I never talked to. I was 14! My brain just didn't want to go there. I certainly wasn't going to talk to my friend about ANY of this.
When she first asked me I told her I would have to ask my parents first. That was such a lie because I knew I could do anything I wanted as long as it wasn't illegal or dangerous. I just needed some breathing room to think.
However, she had calculated that possibility could happen. Her mom and my mom worked in the hospital together. Her mother said to my mother that her daughter had asked me out to this movie thing.
You can only imagine my horror when my mother brought it up when she got home that night. This was too much. Another tactic to corner the mouse by adding extra cats. I think that was the first time I hyperventilated into a paper bag.
Then came the final cut. My mother made me feel guilty about no going after this girl had gotten up the courage to ask me and that I owed it to her to be nice. Thanks for having my back Mom!
She tried to explain that this was a good thing but I think she secretly wanted to see us together so that her and the girl's mom could giggle and plot the next twenty years of my life from marriage to grandchildren and beyond. At least that is what my fear addled mind told me.
So I said yes. Surprisingly I got no hassle from my buddies. They all got asked out too and I think they were too frightened to do anything but hang on by their fingernails. It was everyman for himself. We hoped we would see each other on the other side of this but like men sent off to war - we knew it was unreasonable for us to think that everyone was coming back alive.
So I went. She held my hand like she was leading a show pony at some summer agricultural fair. She sat too close to me. At the point in the movie where the poor figure skater went blind she started to cry and wouldn't stop until the whole movie was over. I gave her all my extra napkins and ended up having to lick butter off my fingers. I hated that. I think that is why I never get butter with my popcorn to this day.
With the triumphant end of the picture she looked at me with those hopeful doe eyes and expected me to say that if she went blind that I would be exactly like Robbie and devote my life to her. In truth I would have led her into traffic and left her there after stealing her seeing eye dog.
I spent the next 2 months avoiding her in every way I thought I could. Finally she got the hint that I was immature and didn't know what I was missing out on.
Then she chased down some other poor schmo in the grade before us and I was free. Only the lack of light in that other guy's dead eyes reminded me that I had dodged the bullet.
So now, any mention of that movie sends my mind right back to that place in time. I have that same sick feelings in my stomach that I had in those days. Fuck you Robbie Benson and your Muppet face.
Now you would think that this experience would have soured me on figure skating movies for life and you would be right. But the Universe doesn't work like that my friends. Sometimes the gods take pity on man and they heal a deep and savage wound right next to his heart.
I used to have diner every Tuesday night with a couple of single teachers like myself in Yellowknife, NWT. We were all such losers. The only good thing good was the food and the fact that in this group, I was not the Alpha Loser (yeh, I know, go figure). After diner we would go see the movie that was playing in the theatre that week. There were two screens and the movies ran from Friday to the following Thursday and then were gone.
Now I don't remember what the other movie was but the one that was NOT sold out at that time was 'The Cutting Edge'. Yeh you know that one. Another figure skater romance but this time the guy was a former hockey player who only became a figure skater because he had lost his peripheral vision and could no longer play hockey.
I froze in the ticket line. I couldn't move but I could not explain the reason I just wasn't going into that theatre. It felt like I was 14 again.
I don't remember how but I found myself in the seat, with my popcorn and pop and waiting for the trailers to start.
Now there is something about expectation. Imagine being bit by a dog once and then seeing another dog - a trained attack doberman - come flying at you. You knew what kind of pain you were going to be in for.
Now imagine that same dog stopping at your feat and showing you his belly for a nice scratch. You go from mind crippling fear to elation in the time it takes a lightning bolt to hit the earth.
I LOVED the 'Cutting Edge' and still do. I secretly went back the next two nights it was playing. I had to see it again and then again. It was a beautiful love story. In my defence, Moira Kelly is too cute for words in that film. Pretty, spunky, annoying, hateful, impossible but worth it. I had such a huge crush on her and still do every time I see that movie.
When it came out on video I ponied up the dough to buy it. Videos in those days were not 20 bucks or less like they are now. They were costing nearly 100 dollars. Studios were getting pressure from the video movie rental people to price them so high that people rented their favorite movies multiple times instead of buying them. Nice asshat business model Blockbusters.
So it took another figure skating romance movie to heal the wounds caused by an earlier figure skating romance movie.
Thank you Universe. You remind me that everything will be okay if I just believe they could be. You never know where salvation will come from.
Posted by Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness at 9:32 PM