This past Thursday, I turned 31. Older than most, not as old as some, to be sure, but I definitely felt older this year. I watched the episode of The Larry Sanders Show which was Larry’s birthday. Larry was as unenthusiastic about his birthday as I felt, downright frowning while a beautiful woman was singing happy birthday to him. It was a foreboding sign for many reasons. But, we’ll get more into that later. I won’t go through the list of celebrities that share my birthday, (names include Mel Brooks, John Cusack, Pat Morita and Gilda Radner) or write about which movies were popular when I was born (Stripes, History of the World, Part I and Raiders of the Lost Ark). Nope, because honestly, I stopped caring about movies awhile back now.
I still love film. I love watching them, writing and reading about them, talking about them with other people, discussing, dissecting, digesting and more. But I don’t care about them like I used to. I think it’s because I’m older but either way, something has changed. Like watching Larry Sanders the other day, I realized that my viewpoints were drastically different from what they had been only a few years ago. I used to watch it and wish I were one of the writers, now I watch it and thank God that I’m not Larry. I mean, that office is a damn harassment lawyer’s wet dream and I shudder when I think of the kind of paperwork that gets filled out on a daily basis. I have become more sympathetic to the older, neurotic, nebbish comedians than to younger, ‘edgy’ stand ups because I’m older, tired, wiser and can relate more to Larry than anyone else on the show, except maybe Artie. I used to notice the same change or maturation in filmmakers, like Mike Judge making Office Space, then ten years later making Extract. He was no longer the young guy, eager to make his mark, mad at the system. He became the boss, burdened with responsibility, frustrated with the boredom of his life. And he made two excellent films about both different phases of his life. It was great to watch him grow through his films and I was shocked that I could not detect the same change in myself.
I have seen ten movies in the theatre this year. Less than two a month since January. I used to go see ten movies on a three day weekend. What’s worse, it that I had to look up which ones I saw because most of them were so unmemorable that I could not even have cared less if I saw them. I don’t think it’s on me that my favorite movie so far has been 21 Jump Street, but the studios have to take some of the blame for sending out the same garbage every week. There were only a handful of movies all year that I was looking forward to see and they’re mostly in the second half of the year anyway. I can’t stand new movies, old ones aren’t holding up for me and I’m getting bored by my favorites. What’s happening to me? Why do I feel like everybody needs to catch up to me, yet I feel like I’m more behind than ever? I know we’ve seen the decline of human decency on movie theatres grow like a zombie outbreak in the past few years, but every time I sit in a dark theatre with at least one other person, al I can think about is how they are going to ruin this movie going experience for me. I’m in a bad mood before the movie even starts, wishing that I had stayed home and just watched Drive on Netflix.
In a few weeks, the final Batman movie comes out and yes, I called it the final one. No matter what Warner Brothers does with the franchise, there will never be Batman movies like the ones we have been lucky enough to see. Just like Return of the Jedi was the last real Star Wars movie, so too will I only become casually interested in the next Batman movie. I don’t want to avoid spoilers for months on end, I don’t want to battle the crowds so I can see a movie when it opens and I don’t want to be massively depressed whenever a film doesn’t live up to my expectations. I can’t continue to have my emotions swing wildly from unbridled joy to manic depression because Iron Man 2 isn’t as good as Iron Man. I let go of Star Wars and lived, I can walk away from the Dark Knight films and feel satisfied with the time I spent with them regardless. I don’t think there were ever be another series of film that will inspire such heights of fanboy fanaticism in me again and that’s ok, because this lifestyle was killing me from within. It’s time for me to move onto a new phase of my life where my priorities are what makes me happy and good films will continue to be up on the list. I still love movies and I always will, but maybe my place is not to be in the trenches, slugging it out on their behalf every week. Maybe my place is to continue to help share them wit the world. I sold my Janus Box Set yesterday, I moved the television out of my room (Oprah says it’s not good to have a TV where you sleep.) and re-watched The Karate Kid. I’m ready to accept my new lot in life and become Mr. Miyagi.
Thank you for indulging me on this post, where I write briefly about films and mostly about myself, but if you have made it this far, then you have given me all I really want for my birthday. Now, time for my traditional birthday double header of my two favorites films, Goodfellas and Young Frankenstein.