Sunday, November 9, 2014

Interstellar and the Movies That Haunt Me

Every so often a film will come along that I will continue to think about in the weeks that follow my viewing of it.  There are certain movies that are so timely, they strike a chord that can resonate with you for weeks or even years.  Books also have that effect on me, but because of their visual nature movies do it much more often.  I like to leave the theatre knowing I'll be haunted with musings about the films I see.  Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy light hearted popcorn fare and romantic comedies that I only remember the plot or the fact I've seen them before half way into a viewing on HBO.  For me, movies are usually pretty good, but when the kismet meeting of a plot and my life cross, I'm in heaven.

That brings me to Interstellar.  I knew very little about this movie going into it.  It looked similar to Gravity which I thought I'd very much enjoy and then wound up being disappointed by, so my hopes were slightly less high than they may have been.  It had Christopher Nolan who is one of my favorite directors, and Matthew McConaughey who until very recently (True Detective) I didn't really care for.  I actively avoided his movies and then was always tricked into watching them anyway because I liked his co-stars.  I also knew it had Anne Hathaway who I have been in love with since The Princess Diaries and whose movies I often end up disliking everything but her in and she is always enough to save the film.  Oddly I thought it starred Morgan Freeman.  It doesn't and I'm not sure why I thought it did, but it didn't really weight my desire to see it.  I was excited but a little bit skeptical that it would be a wonderful movie just because I hate getting my hopes up too too high.

In short I loved the film.  Yes, there were some plot holes.  Yes, there was some crazy science I didn't quite understand.  Yes, there were times I was so overwhelmed with the beauty of the scenes I forgot to listen to the dialogue and I became confused because I couldn't figure out the passing of time, but overall I immediately wanted to see it in IMAX.  There isn't even an IMAX theatre anywhere near us, but I wanted to go and immerse myself in the movie again in an even bigger way.

I won't give away any plot spoilers, but I will say that one line really stood out to me.  Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) tells his daughter Murph that once people become parents they are just there to be memories for their children.  If you read my post from yesterday, you may understand why this was a very timely thing for me to hear.  I had no idea that this was a theme of the movie.  I had a vague notion that Cooper was headed off to "save the world" because I had seen a trailer, but I wasn't aware how much their relationship would direct the film's plot or the path of the story.  I know that this movie will stick with me.  Many of the themes that pop up in Christopher Nolan's work speak to me and keep me thinking.  I have seen Inception over a dozen times and I find something new upon each viewing, so it really shouldn't surprise me that Interstellar holds the same fascination for me.

There are a few films that I've seen at the perfect time in my life.  They have haunted me well beyond their initial viewings and are often called to mind.  Films can haunt you for good reasons and bad, but I love the feeling that you get when you've seen a film that means something to you and you know you will rehash over and over.

I remember walking out of the film American Beauty and sitting in silence in the parking lot outside the theatre in Tuscaloosa Alabama with my friend.  Both of us were crying and trying to process the movie and we were both so overwhelmed with emotion we understood that we just needed to sit and think.  I told so many people to go and see that movie when it was in the theatres, and often went with them to view it again.  I know I saw it at least five times.  I even told my parents back home that they had to see it.

My mother hardly ever went to the movies.  When she was young she took her mother to see Rosemary's Baby because my grandma was a huge fan of Frank Sinatra and wanted to see his wife's new movie.  My grandmother was horrified at the plot and according to my mother made a huge scene and shouted "Mia Farrow you are a filthy young lady!!" at the screen.  My mom was so embarrassed by this the next movie she saw in a theatre was Jurassic Park.  After that she went on my recommendation to see American Beauty with my dad, and called me afterward.  "Did you love it?"  I asked and she said very quietly "I don't see why on earth you would tell your father and I to go see that movie.  We were too embarrassed to leave.  I wanted to die."  I couldn't fathom this reaction.  It wasn't as if my mom never watched movies.  We grew up with HBO and watched tons of films together on the small screen of the television set.  I didn't think the subject matter would bother them.  They were cool and sophisticated and loved films that meant something.  I said "I'm so surprised you feel this way.  I really was blown away by this movie and I found it so elegant and meaningful..."  She said "but what about all sex and the nudity and the... the... pie?"

It was then that I had the startling realization that my mom didn't always listen to what I was telling her.  She often had conversations with me late at night where I chatted away and she said "uh huh, mm hmm, oh yes, oh uh yes" for an hour.  That just maybe she only heard the word "American" and hauled my father off to the theatre to see what I had claimed to be a life changing film.

And that film was American Pie.

Some films haunt you in good ways, some in bad ways.  I can't watch anything with Jason Biggs in it without thinking of my poor parents and wondering what went through their mind when they thought that my idea of a life changing film that spoke to me on so many levels included the line "this one time, at band camp...."


I would recommend Interstellar.  I think it is a good film.  It's going to stick with you and make you think about the relationships we have with our parents.  Maybe not as much as American Pie makes me think of mine, but you can't have everything.

Hope you all had a great weekend.  Much love to all of you.

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