Monday, May 16, 2011

First Time Last

The Wilrik by Donald Lee Pardue
The Wilrik, a photo by Donald Lee Pardue on Flickr.

The other night I was laying in bed coasting through the channels when I happened upon the film, Requiem for a Dream. My husband is a huge fan of its director -Darren Aronofsky- and he and I had watched it together several years ago. I vividly remember sitting through the entire thing and turning to my husband immediately afterwards and telling him - nay, pronouncing! - with all sincerity, that I was never going to watch that film again. Ever.

For those of you unfamiliar with the film when it was released, Requiem For A Dream was about a lot of things: addiction, exploitation, destitution, loneliness, institutional corruption, the toxins of the media and our get-rich-quick culture, the false promises of the American Dream. Mainly, though, it was about visceral experience and Aronofsky provoked the audience in a visual way to feel these themes with the characters rather than have us sit back comfortably as the characters slowly circled the drain. That's why when Ellen Burstyn's character started to buzz out on pain pills, you started to feel like you were doing the same. When her drug addicted son (Jared Leto) started riding the heroin train, you felt like you were too. Fun times, huh? It was as powerful an anti-drug movie as I had ever seen and probably ever will since. And guess what I learned? I didn't like feeling like a crackhead and never wanted to be in a place where I had to turn tricks to get a fix. Lesson learned, Mr. Aronofsky. Success!

There are definitely films that I will love and cherish forever but there are also those that handily fit into the category described above: first time last. Sometimes, however, I would like to meld the two. I have decided that the best way for this to happen would be to receive the full Lacuna Inc. treatment —that's when a total stranger could with the touch of a "forgetting pen device" wipe away the memory of having seen a certain movie. Then I'd watch Hitchcock’s Psycho again for the first time. And Rushmore. And all of the Godfather movies. I just want a chance to spend an evening getting really invested in the Corleone family. Or watch Bill Murray sink to the bottom of that pool in the middle of his twin's birthday party and feel my heart break. Or watch Janet Leigh and wonder just what she is going to do with all that money. And when she meets Anthony Perkins, I want to sit through that whole awkward, kind of sweet conversation they have over sandwiches without knowing that the wig Norman’s about to put on his head is made of human hair, and not know just where he might have plucked that hair from…

Wouldn't that be nice?


  1. Great post Laura! I remember having the exact same reaction to Requiem for a Dream,and although my niece keeps asking to rent it again, I am sticking to my guns...

  2. DON"T DO IT!!!!!!!!! Too. Much. Humanity. Stand your ground, Jill.