Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Movie Moments

Not my favorite scenes from movies, but rather, movies that have in some way marked moments of my life.

Grease. The first movie I ever watched in a theater. Actually, at that time, about the only place you could watch movies was in a theater. Betamax was still several years away, and its successors yet undreamt-of in the minds of the public. Probably having a musical as my very first film influenced my lifelong love for Broadway and singing in the shower.

Battlestar Galactica. Another film from my childhood, this one is memorable for me because my brothers wanted to watch it, but my parents wanted to see some "grown-up" flick. As the youngest, it was decided that I would get to pick; and my brothers lied to me, saying that my idol Princess Leia would be in it. (See? A princess with a blaster... even then, I wanted to see strong women in pop culture.) I patiently kept an eye out for Leia throughout the film--she never did show up, but we had a good time anyway.

Kramer vs. Kramer. My first "grown-up" flick, when my mother triumphed in the "What to Watch" Wars. I didn't understand half of what was going on, or why it mattered whether the little boy whose parents were divorcing had clouds painted on his ceiling or not.

Race for your Life, Charlie Brown. The first film I watched on Betamax, after which I devoured every cartoon I could get my hands on, particularly the Disney fairy tales. I preferred Sleeping Beauty over the girlier princess movies because there was a fight scene with a dragon. (And so we fast forward 20+ years to the future, where I now have a daughter who sees herself as a Pro-Active Princess, complete with her own sword, shield, and a take-no-prisoners attitude.)

Bukas Luluhod ang mga Tala. My first Tagalog movie, which my grand-aunt dragged me to watch with her. Given my difficulties with my own native language, I understood even less than I did watching Kramer vs. Kramer, though I certainly got Cherie Gil's immortal line, spoken in English: "You're nothing but a second-rate, trying-hard copycat!" It was head-and-shoulders better than my next Pinoy flick, Friends in Love, which probably led to my current shameful indifference to the majority of Filipino cinema.

Footloose. The first film I really identified with. I was in sixth grade, and Kevin Bacon's struggles against the Evil Adults who outlawed dancing seemed of monumental importance to me. Oh, the injustice! The pathos! The angst! Despite the actual shallowness of the topic (which did not seem one bit shallow to me at the time), this probably marked the beginnings of my awareness as a human being capable of sentient thought.

some porn video or another. My mother was very liberal about sex and nudity, and didn't care if I wandered through the room while she was watching pornography. As a result, I don't even remember the first one I saw, it was so not a big deal. My big brothers were queasy about watching porn when I was around, though, so they'd lock me out of the room. More annoyed at being excluded than at missing the actual film, I'd pound on the door and demand to know what all the groaning and panting was about. "They're moving a piano!" the boys would tell me.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The first movie I cut class to see, which is fitting since it's about a guy and his friends cutting class. I was in high school and not yet permitted to watch movies in a theater without adult supervision, so my best friend Janet and I sneaked off to see it on our own. Matthew Broderick as Ferris was likely the inspiration for my rampant class-cutting all throughout high school.

American Ninja. My actor brother's first film, in which he played a cannon fodder ninja, concealed from head to foot in black ninja-wear. "There! That's me!" he would say, pointing at the screen. "Where?" I'd ask, trying to tell one poor, doomed ninja from another. "Too late, I'm dead," Richard said, resigned. Later, I watched him again in Disgrasyada, in which Ruffa Gutierrez tells him, "Ang galing mo pala sa kama." ("You're so good in bed.") It was so absurd watching my brother doing sex scenes that I kept hooting and guffawing throughout the supposedly-sexy movie, no doubt incensing all the other theater patrons.

King Kong. Not the original, but a remake starring Jessica Lange. It was probably old itself by the time they showed it at our school auditorium, which explains why I preferred to have my first movie makeout session rather than watch the actual film. I was in one of those "off" periods with my on-again/off-again boyfriend, which is why I somehow ended up making out with one of my batchmates, a guy I often traded comic books with. He got to second base.

Missing in Action 3. An international movie filmed in Manila, in which my parents acted as extras in a party scene. Mom and Dad are shown crossing the party floor together in the theater version, but in the video version, my father is cut out of the scene. Which just goes to show that art not only imitates, but sometimes predates life.

Navy Seals. A movie premiere which my date and I ditched, opting for a looong, drawn-out dinner at Dean St. Cafe instead. He asked me to be his girlfriend the same night: "Of course, you can think about it as long as you want," he said. "Okay," said I, cribbing a line from Oscar Wilde: "but you should know that I fully intend to say yes." He was my first college boyfriend and the first man I had all-the-way sex with. I broke up with him two and a half years later, little knowing that he had already saved up half the money he had planned to spend on my engagement ring. We're still friends, and now married to different people, so it's all good.

Valmont. The highly superior art film version of Dangerous Liaisons (albeit lacking the Malkovich Factor). My best male friend/co-conspirator and I were so taken with the evil Vicomte and Marquise that we went around making bets on who we could seduce into falling in love with us and/or sleeping with us. The bet I particularly remember hinged on him winning the heart of a tough-nut-to-crack named Isabella. If she slept with him, my penalty would be to sleep with him as well; if she stayed out of his bed for a given period of time, his penalty would be to shave his head. You will note that Dean is bald, although whether he actually lost the bet remains a topic for occasional debate.

Journey to Bountiful. A film Dean and I (We were together by then, though not yet married) were watching on his laser disc player when the power cut out. Left hanging, we naturally had sex while waiting for the electricity to come back on. When it did, however, we agreed that the movie had clearly been moving towards an unspeakably tragic end, and that it would certainly be less depressing and more edifying for us to have more sex rather than watch the end of the movie. Which we did.

Naturally, I've watched a lot more movies since then, but these are the ones that jog my memory; that make me realize, in retrospect, some of the things that have led me to become the person I am. My own little Cinema Paradiso... who'd'a thunk it?
Nikki bit in at 1:53 PM :: ::
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