Sunday, December 28, 2008

Kids don't want Cancer

I made the last minute decision to go watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because it was either that or sit at home. Plus if I caught the matinee, it would only cost me five bucks. That's pretty good nowadays, and it's a pretty nice place too, a former rundown grindhouse-type place all spruced up thanks to urban renewal. I miss the grindhouse experience, but right now I miss being able to afford ten bucks for a movie more, so there.

Of course, I screw everything up by not eating beforehand, so when I find out that it's going to be about three hours, I have no choice but to buy something at the concession stand. When did I come to hate the concession stand? Probably around the time when I had to start paying for my own shit. But there was also a time, when the movie popcorn used to taste good. This ain't some fuckin' rose-colored glasses bullshit, I mean it's fucking noted somewhere that they used to use the good stuff when making popcorn, stuff like coconut oil and anything else that clogged the fuck out of your arteries but tasted like Heaven, which is where you end up eventually, if you ate enough of that stuff. But I'm fine with that. I'm fine with being left to make my own goddamn decision whether I want go to an early grave as a fat disgusting corpse or whether I want to die at the ripe old age of 112 looking like Moby. Now everything is fucking regulated for Your Own Good, and the only choice you're left to make is what size you want -- even though they're working on taking that away too, since McDonald's doesn't even have Super Size anymore thanks to that asshole with the Fu Manchu mustache.

I'm hungry enough to know that I won't make it for another three hours, so I cave in and decide to buy popcorn. It's also because I'm a Fat Fuck. Thank God for the Kid's Combo; just enough soda and popcorn to get you by, and they even throw in some candy. Came out to four bucks even. I go to the self-serve topping area and put some of that fake-ass butter on the popcorn. Two kids run up past me, both with man-sized popcorn containers. The girl goes up to put fake butter on her popcorn and the boy stops her, saying "NOOOO, don't do that! That stuff gives you CANCER!". The girl's like "What?". Boy responds "Yeah, I heard that stuff will give you CANCER!!!" loud enough for anyone within 50 feet to hear clearly. So she shrugs her shoulders and off they go, to watch Benjamin Button and eat their dry popcorn. That boy's gonna grow up to be a fun dude, especially when someone near him lights up a smoke, or bites into a cheeseburger or does something else to ease the pain of existing on this planet.

So this movie's about a dude named Benjamin who is born old and becomes younger as he grows up. You should know this by now anyway, but there you go.

I was sober when I saw this movie, like I am now. Painfully sober is a better way of putting it. This was no more evident than in the first half-hour or so of the movie, with the baby version of Benjamin, looking like a miniature Old Dude from those Six Flags commercial. What I'm saying is that I got really teary-eyed during that section. Then I got teary-eyed in the last half-hour. I'm a weepy motherfucker, that's what it is, but I'm good at hiding it until I've got some privacy. The booze can bring it out more, like with Frost/Nixon, but it also slow-motions it at the same time, so I'm good. It just means I'll cry longer and stronger when I'm alone. Painfully sober means my entire body is fucking open nerves and shit, at least that's how it's been for the past few months, and that's how I was watching this flick.

You follow Benjamin as he's raised by this Black woman at the old folks home she works in. Her name is Queenie, but they might as well call her Mammy, they way she carries on. That's not fair. I'm sure that's how Black women acted back then, the same way Mexicans from that time spoke like "MEEESTER, JOO GEE MEE DA MOHNEE OH I STAB JOO MEEESTER. TANK JOO MEESTER" or a Chinese dude spoke like "I RIKE FLIED LICE ON FLIDAY" or a White dude spoke like "Hi there. Would you mind telling me how I can get to Houston Street? Why thank you, Mister, I appreciate it. You have a swell day too!" But she's nice and really cares for Old Boy Ben, so it's all good. Another thing is that all the old white people are cool with Queenie. All of them. In the 1920's. I mean, a couple of these geezers HAD to have been fighting on the losing side of the Civil War, is all I'm saying. But I think when you're too old and weak to change your diapers, you pretty much make peace with whoever is wiping your shitty ass. Or that's their fucked-up version of twisted revenge; "Wipe my ass, darkie! Hee hee hee!".

One of the old ladies has a granddaughter to visit her on occasion, and she gets friendly with Old Boy Ben, which doesn't look right to the others. They don't understand he's really the same age as the girl, but because of his aged look, it looks less like playtime and more like a Very Special Episode of some sitcom where lovable Uncle Joe wants to play a secret private game with little Sue.

That girl grows up to be a ballet dancer type, and Ben grows up to be a crew member on a tugboat. He begins to experience life outside of the old folks home and becomes a man. He's banging whores, getting drunk, eating caviar & vodka with Tilda Swinton -- you know, Man Stuff. Tilda Swinton's my bro, by the way. I took a chance and bet on her in the Oscars, figuring it was ten bucks I'd never get back, but I got it back, and then some. So Tilda's my Girl-Bro. Somewhere along the way, Ben and the dancer chick cross paths and all that lovey-dovey shit starts again and three hours go by.

This movie is Forrest Gump for people who were too cool to like Forrest Gump. I have no problem admitting I loved Gump. If that shit's on tv, I'll watch it no matter what scene, and I'll probably end up watching the rest of it, like I do with The Godfather or Shawshank or Good Burger. I just didn't like all the stupid Gump Happens or Gump for President shit afterwards, that was lame and retarded. And I think we spent the last eight years with Gump as president, and that shit was no fun. But the movie is a classic, if you ask me.

Sure enough, in the end credits it says that the dude who wrote the movie Forrest Gump also wrote this one. It's not a complete rip or anything, it's more like he used the Gump template to adapt the F. Scott Fitzgerald shory story BB's based on. Instead of a feather, it's a hummingbird. Instead of Mama Gump, it's Queenie. Instead of shrimp, it's caviar & vodka. And tonight, the role of Lieutenant Dan will be played by Tattooed Tugboat Dude. But while Gump was about a dumb motherfucker doing some incredible things, Benjamin Button is about a relatively normal dude (aside from that aging backwards problem) living a relatively normal existence. There's a couple crazy things that happen to Ben, but nothing like meeting presidents or running across the USA or banging a chick with the HIV and coming out of it squeaky clean.

Also, despite my eyes turning gay a few times, I never really felt for the characters in BB. I felt like I was observing them, so it's like a Kubrick movie in that respect. Beautifully made, but ultimately a BYOE party: Bring Your Own Emotions. I wanted to cry for Gump because he was so happy his son wasn't going to turn out to be a moron like him. I cried for no one in Benjamin Button. I liked it, though. What I think got me worked up was the overall "time is a cruel motherfucking bastard who will fuck your shit up and laugh while doing so" theme, especially at this particular point in my life. And that shit's universal, I think. A lot of people will come out of this movie reflecting on their own lives, their own choices and what the future holds for them. At least those who liked the movie, anyway. I got an e-mail from a friend who thought it was creepy and sucked balls.

After the movie, I stuck around for the credits, digging the lovely music score. I noticed up front, hanging from the ceiling right above the front row section was that plastic covering for one of the big florescent light fixtures. I don't know the exact name for it, because I'm stupid. Using Fat Fuck Math, I would say it's as big as a pizza box. It's ready to fall down, I just don't know when. I asked one of the cleanup crew when they came in, if it's supposed to be like that. He said no, but they don't have a ladder high enough to reach it. So, if you go to theatre #6 of the (name withheld) don't sit in the center front row, or you dead. That's right, YOU DEAD.