Talking With My Wife, Part One
Jenny has come home from work. I am playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
Travis: I have minions!
Jenny: In what context?
Travis: In Assassin's Creed.
Jenny: How do you have minions?
Travis: I’m recruiting people for my guild.
Jenny: They’re not minions. It’s an association of young professionals.
Travis: No, they do my bidding! I send them out to kill people I don’t like.
Jenny: You are drunk with power.
Five Movies That Scarred Me as a Child
Jenny and I have a pretty expansive cable package, which we maintain by threatening to drop cable altogether every 6 to 8 months, resulting in panicked deals and attempts at placation from our cable provider. It’s sort of an abusive relationship, but we’re firmly on the side of the abusER, so I don’t care.
Anyway, when you have access to several thousand channels, and you also suffer from frequent insomnia, you might find yourself, like me, staring at the TV at 4 am and trying to decide between one of several mid-to-low-card 80s films. This has been causing me to have some HORRIFIC flashbacks to my childhood, as I re-experience several movies that traumatized me as a kid.
The 80s were a great time for movies that would fuck up a small child. Disney was just on the tail end of a streak of “what the fuck” film decisions that resulted in some truly amazing movies like Tron and The Black Hole, but also gave us a lot of stuff where Bette Davis is creepy and evil.
Everyone my age has some sort of trauma relating to E.T. Mine wasn’t that it looked like E.T. was going to die. My mother, being forewarned at the affect the movie might have on her sensitive son, had made a big point of assuring me that E.T. wasn’t going to die. So I was fine with that part. But then, at the end, E.T. goes home and leaves Eliot behind with his asshole brother, his borderline retarded sister, and his absentee mom. Oh, and no friends whatsoever. E.T. to me is the story of a lonely little boy who has his magical best friend taken away by the government. That’s why I’m a liberal.
Anyway, here are five films that messed me up when I was a lad.
1. BABY, SECRET OF THE LOST LEGEND
This is one in a long line of films where the story introduces you to an adorable family of magical creatures and then proceeds to slaughter one or more of them. This movie has all the best parts of Bambi AND Dumbo (one doe-eyed dinosaur parent gets murdered, the other gets imprisoned by the evil human scientist people). The film has a very clear message about how dinosaurs are better than people, and also about how most scientists love torturing things. Unlike a “Jurassic Park”, I don’t even think you have the moment of cathartic release when the maliciously evil villains are killed and mutilated by velociraptors. Admittedly, my memory on this is spotty. I only saw the movie once as a child, and it upset me enough that just seeing the movie poster causes PTSD. Fuck this movie. And fuck the Greatest American Hero for not doing more to help these dinosaurs.
2. PROJECT X
Not only is science evil, so is the military. And when they get together, whoa-nelly. The evil is practically off the scale. I mean, most people consider Doctor Doom pretty evil, but I’m not sure even he would think of strapping chimps into a flight simulator and then bombarding them with radiation. (Cosmis rays, maybe.)
Again, this is one of those movies where the endless cruelty against our protagonists is resolved with a desperate flight to freedom, the death of a loveable character, and a faked demise for most of the rest of the protagonists. You can also see this in D.A.R.Y.L., except that time is was robots, not apes. This is why the Rise of the Planet of the Apes remake was so awesome. Because by the time the third act comes around and all the apes are jumping through windows and electrocuting Draco Malfoy, you’re pretty much on their side. Project X needed more monkey-on-human violence.
3. TIME BANDITS
I actually did rewatch this not too long ago. This movie is so WEIRD. Let’s see… a neglected and lonely child (a theme in movies I watched as a kid, apparently) gets involved with six dwarves who are running away from God because they stole his map of the universe. Actually when I write it down, it doesn’t sound THAT weird. Except for the six dwarves, it sort of sounds like a Grant Morrison comic. But trust me, this movie is insane. And it has the most downer ending possible, where after being abandoned by the dwarves and God, the kid watches as his parents are disintegrated by a chunk of absolute evil.
In doing some research for this, I found out that George Harrison helped produce this. That makes sense because this movie is the visual equivalent of a guy playing a sitar. I don’t know how it is, it just is.
4. THE WATCHER IN THE WOODS
It’s Disney’s version of The Exorcist. Yeah.
5. CLOAK AND DAGGER
Okay, so it’s another lonely little kid movie. This time it’s a kid whose dad is never around and clearly blames him for the death of the mother. The boy wraps himself up in role-playing games, make-believe adventures, and an imaginary friend who looks JUST LIKE HIS DAD.
I actually think this is a really good movie. But I also think that, for me, ten years old may be too young to confront your own issues with your father. Also I hate movies where they basically imply that imagination is dangerous and that to grow up you have to stop playing make-believe. That’s just completely untrue. Most of my favorite people have predicated their lives and careers on playing make-believe. I’m glad your dad came and saved you from terrorists, Henry Thomas. But you’d still be well-advised not to write off good old Jack Flak yet. Your dad’s still going to work tomorrow and leaving you sitting home alone with nothing to do.
Wow. This blog is saving me a week’s worth of therapy bills. AWESOME!
Jenny is looking at the latest Rolling Stone, featuring a cover story on The Sheepdogs.
Jenny: This cover… what’s the name of the band in Almost Famous?
Jenny: Yeah. That’s what these guys look like.
Travis: Yeah, they kind of do. And you know, I read the article… and it IS a think-piece.
Jenny: You’re such a fucking dork.
Hugs and kisses,