I love movies. For a long time now. So much so that I am one of those really annoying people who don’t say movies. I say "film."
I love film.
Film was and always will be my first love. Since that April night when I lost my virginity to film – sitting on a camping chair in the bed of my father’s pickup truck at the Frontier drive-in in Arizona… watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
For the next twenty years film would consume me. It was the love of my life. The love I lost my virginity to. The love I tried exotic new positions with. Explored things I’d previously never imagined. Years later, I would get into television just so I could always be near film. Be at the same parties, in the same room. But film never loved me like I loved it. And in the back of my mind I always knew it. But you know how when you’re in the most erotic, passionate, intense relationship of your life, you tend to overlook things like… common sense?
Eventually, as in most all relationships that have nothing but raw passion as their foundation, I started to want less flash and more depth. My love of film, while pure ecstasy at times, became… I don’t know, tiring. Sometimes I’d have a headache. Or want to talk. Or just not be in the mood. Or when I was in the mood, film wouldn’t return my call. It was always on film’s schedule.
Then I met books.
Books I could talk to. Books I could sit in a coffee house with for hours and just chill. I could be in bed, on the can, even driving, and books were always there. Anytime I wanted them and regardless of my mood, books were the Holly Hunter to film’s Angelina Jolie. It’s not like it was with film, but it’s solid, fun, honest, and every so often we get freaky.
So, I’ve been in this monogamous relationship with books for a while, and then the other night, totally unexpectedly, film shows up in my living room in the form of Brick.
Brick is a film made for just under $500,000 by a passionate USC grad named Rian Johnson. The film is classic noir; an American private eye story, containing all the elements – the smoky and at times ironic score (which I’ve already added to my iTunes), the beautifully noir cinematography, a story almost too complex at times, and a screenplay worthy of Hammett, Mamet, and the Coen brothers.
And it’s set in high school.
Yes, that’s right. The entire story takes place in and around a high school. In fact, I think there’s maybe two characters over thirty in the whole thing. But this film is so good it could have been set in pre-school or anywhere else for that matter.
Now, this is not a perfect film, but what is? And I’d wager most criticisms come from jealous film wannabes who are pissed they didn’t think of the idea. There are few films made in today’s world that one can’t find flaw with. And it being a subjective medium, well, there you go.
Brick is simply an incredibly wonderful way to spend an hour and fifty minutes. For anyone, but especially for those of us who dearly love the genre.
I rented the dvd from Netflix, and it sat in my house for two weeks. I wasn’t in the mood. Literally. Then one night, I was about to go to bed, and I was thinking that I really wanted to see the next dvd in my Netflix queue (a blues documentary). But I needed to send back that Brick film. I couldn’t even remember why I’d rented it. Oh, yeah, it was a detective story or something. I decided to put it in and fall asleep to it, then I’d be able to send it back in the morning…
I stayed up until after midnight, completely consumed from the opening frame. And then I watched it again, listening to the commentary.
Film was back in my life. Now, I know it was a one-night stand, but Good Christ… for that one night, film and me, we did things Jenna Jameson’s never tried.
The great thing is that books understand. Books forgive. Books will always take me back, even when I don’t deserve it. And there will be another night, another lonely, rainy night when there’s a knock at my door, and I’ll open it to find film standing there… wearing black thigh highs and Christian Louboutins, a cigarette dangling from its bee-stung lips. And I’ll stand aside and let film enter.
This week’s If I Picked Characters’ Watches:
SJ Rozan’s Bill Smith would wear a 1961 Omega Seamaster…