It was a summer in the early 1980s. We were on a family vacation. Perhaps to Disney World. It seemed that at every stop on our journey, Under the Rainbow was in a constant loop on HBO on our hotel television. We must have seen parts of it a dozen times. Memory is a fickle thing, but I remember that the PG-rated farce had one bare breast that pops out when the little people are running through a communal dressing room, or somesuch.
I mention this because I can, as we have arrived at the Self-Involvement Blog-a-thon, running Wednesday, July 9, through Sunday, July 13. This is the official Culture Snob birthday party, with this little site celebrating its fifth birthday on July 10. So give me a present: Write something for my blog-a-thon!
I’ll collect submissions in this entry over the course of the blog-a-thon. Links to submissions are best made in the comments, as work and Emily responsibilities will likely prevent prompt posting. (Self-involvement alert: baby pictures!) You can also send links to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I first announced this Self-Involvement Blog-a-thon, I inexactly framed my goals:
“The Self-Involvement Blog-a-thon is about the intersection of movies and life [...] .”
“Of course, we bring baggage whenever we talk or write about movies, but this is meant to be more personal [...] .”
(Self-involvement alert: the quoting of oneself!)
One commenter on another site correctly noted:
“Isn’t that terribly redundant, though? What else is the blogosphere all about except intensely personal reactions — to the cinema and everything else?”
She prompted me to clarify my intent:
“Most film writing is movies filtered through the self; I want the self filtered through movies.”
Tardy Tardy TardyGhostbusters: New York and Self-Involvement. At SpoutBlog, Karina Longworth explores Ghostbusters and its effect on her relationship with New York City: “The city’s real-estate hierarchy is thus upended: Still-scary downtown is a safe haven from the horrors of the high-rent district. In 1984, the city was in the first throes of the gentrification that, two decades later, has rendered the Lower East Side and the Upper East Side virtually indistinguishable. Paranormal blight is a Dorian Grey thing, the manifestation of repressed wrongs. Above all else, the Ghostbusters are laying the groundwork for the city to self-homogenize, one borough at a time.”
Day 5: July 13, 2008My Life and My Life. Jason Bellamy at The Cooler traces a trail of tears from John Denver to the Michael Keaton vehicle: “Now, on nights when I’m alone and I go to my DVD collection to find something to settle in with, I look squarely at My Life and then look away. I remember John Denver. I don’t want the movie’s effect to wear off.”
Viewing Habits. Touch Touch Publishing’s Rhan Small Ernst appreciates “light passing through a medium and projected on the screen”: “I had an emotional reaction to the beauty of this print. It was like stepping lightly and respectfully on virgin soil.”
My Obsession with Film Classifications. At All About My Movies, Emma looks at the impact of movie ratings of the age variety: “I used to be immediately terrified/suspicious of a movie if it had the 18 logo on it. Similarly, if a film were rated 12 or 15, I’d feel a sense of false security when I went into the cinema to watch it.” And: “I did buy a few 15s when I was younger than that and got away with it, but that all came to a halt when, on a summer’s day, I’d tried to buy Ghost World and Dead Man Walking from Virgin Megastores and the store clerk had rudely told me that I ‘didn’t look anywhere near 15.’ I was 14 and a half! Gimp.”
Day 4: July 12, 2008A Boy, a Girl, a Friendly Ghost: Why I Haven’t Gotten a Real Job. At Hey Brendan!, Brendan tells us about the boy (himself), the girl (Christina Ricci), and — of course — Casper: “The folder became quite the source of teasing in my family — I can still hear my dad’s exasperated voice when describing the extent of my affection: ‘He has a file.’” It gets better: “In case you haven’t figured out, I was not a normal kid, so I decided that the best way to meet Ricci was to write a screenplay for her to star in and send it to Steven Spielberg to direct. I promptly began work on Power Play [...] .”
My Life Like a Montage. Piper at Lazy Eye Theatre years for “the best bits of life without a concern for how we got there or the consequences after. Only the most brilliant moments. Set to a kick-ass soundtrack.”
Aborted Ideas for the Self-Involvement Blog-a-thon. A public service for those who want to contribute but find themselves short of subject matter. Steal one of these: “My Movie Body. In which I reconstruct myself (Frankenstein’s monster style) using the parts of movie characters/actors. But probably with Ewan McGregor’s penis, because I get at least one upgrade, don’t I?”
The Big Sleep: A Confession. Bob at Forward to Yesterday is not referring to the movie: “So far, I have been able to manage the filmnambulist scourge through the ingestion of high amounts of caffeine and strict adherence to regime that specifies no Bergman after 10 p.m., no Italian neo-realism post-9, and no Russian cinema, ever.”
My Best Job. At He Shot Cyrus, elgringo remembers the Granada Theater: “My friend and I offered to work for free posters but I wound up getting a real job offer. I started two days later.”
Day 3: July 11, 2008A Letter to My Daughter. In which I ask a favor of my five-month-old child: “Each year on my birthday, I want my present from you to be sitting with me and your mother and watching a movie, and talking about it afterward. I’ve chosen a movie for each year through 2029 — when you’ll be 21 and I’ll be 58.”
How I Lost the Zombie Drinking Game. At Forward to Yesterday, Bob is “raising with laziness” (a band-name winner!) by recycling. No shame in that, brother: “I’ve found that alcohol can be an effective tool. That started when I sneaked an airplane bottle of vodka into a (morning) showing of Kill Bill, Vol. 1.” No shame in that, either.
Restoration (1995). At Ferdy on Films, Marilyn Ferdinand finds a kindred spirit in Michael Hoffman’s movie: “It felt good to sit alone in the dark. It was something I used to do a lot as a kid. I used to lose myself in my dreams. Now, I’d lose myself in someone else’s dream. Seemed appropriate, because I’d just done that for the past seven years, trying to be someone I wasn’t to please my mate. I didn’t know who I was. Maybe Restoration could tell me.”
Back in Time: Bob Gale’s to Blame. Michael Peterson at Patchwork Earth, after noting that Back to the Future Part II is “the weakest of the series,” reveals its allure: “It was the best parts of free will and predestination at once, and what an idea for a child’s fertile imagination, that somewhere another him was acting out the decisions that he hadn’t made, for better or worse. It was ... consoling, somehow, for a child in a broken and fucked up home, that somewhere there were other hims getting to experience whatever he wasn’t able to.”
Day 2: July 10, 2008Andrew Bemis at Cinevistaramascope notes that anybody who has participated in DVD Panache’s “Friday Screen Test” has unwittingly committed an act of self-involvement. Andrew’s is here: “EARLIEST MOVIE-WATCHING MEMORY: ‘John Carpenter’s Halloween at age three. Thanks, mom.’” (My Friday Screen Test is here, because this is about me, you know.)
BOUNCE•E. “When I said ‘self-involvement,’ I meant it.”
Movies and Life. Jamie at Chicago Ex-Patriate traces a love of film back to Rebel Without a Cause: “Sometimes, I found myself secretly wishing that I didn’t have loving, supporting parents, just so I could yell out, ‘You’re tearing me apart!’”
Culture Snob, by the Numbers. In which half a decade of solitary, often painful labor is re-cast in cold, unforgiving figures: “Watching, writing, and editing for Culture Snob has eaten up the equivalent of nearly 49 40-hour work weeks over the past five years. And it’s a hobby.”
How James Bond Changed My Life. At Ultimate James Bond Fan Blog, Deborah Lipp recounts a rekindled love affair with the super-spy: “Now, here’s a thing about my son: He has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He must do things in order. Steps must not be skipped. So, because he was now interested in seeing Bond movies, we had to watch all of them, in order.”
Film Clips. Bob Glickstein of gee bobg offers a greatest-hits collection appropriate to the blog-a-thon. In one entry, the self-described “founding movie-quotes editor of the Internet Movie Database” writes: “Quoting dialogue from movies and TV shows has been a cherished way of life for me since age 10, when it occurred to me to place my tape recorder in front of the TV and grab the audio from an episode of Happy Days.”
Day 1: July 9, 2008Reconstructing a Life. In which I try to figure out why I write about movies: “Using release dates and memories, I’ve built a biographical cinematic timeline. It makes me wish I had the equivalent of a Netflix rental history for my whole whole life, because there’s uncertainty all around.”
My Movie Life. JPB comes up with a concept that seems ... familiar: “One of the things I watched down there was Fantasia (1940), which also marks the first time I ever took acid.”
Love with Friends, My Ass. On When Harry Met Sally ... , Chaos Theory states bluntly: “This movie has certainly fucked with my concepts of relationships.”
Between Nightmare and Terror. Adam Ross of DVD Panache wants to tell you about his nightmare, and why he now knows whether people running for their lives in movies are giving credible performances: “Some may brush these actions off as extreme sleepwalking, but this is not true, as I remember every second of them — I was fully conscious. I remember how the asphalt driveway was ice cold and my feet gradually numbed. I remember how there wasn’t a sound to be heard except the impact of my feet to the ground, and my heavy breathing. Most of all, I remember never questioning why I was running, and never having the urge to look behind me at my pursuer.”
My Reality Deficit. Kendra at Jake Weird wins the prize for the first entry with a reverie prompted by George-Michael: “And this guy, like Michael Cera could do, would sit in front of me inside an unknown bistro in a similar city to L.A. and would say ‘We have no idea where this will go’ and he would try to explain me some Hollywood novelties, but I would be very far away, and he would go on talking about self-generated awareness, deadpan encoding, and his favorite tea brands, and I would be smiling at him, patient and quiet.”
Tim and Jeff: A Love Story. Probably the first piece of personal writing I ever did about the movies, written in 1999. It’s a little embarrassing — it tries too hard — but it’s seminal to my thinking about movies and my life.