Sunday, September 28, 2008


You know that moment when you go to a live show, that moment when the lights go down and you know the show you've been waiting for is gonna happen RIGHT NOW? At concerts that's the moment when you SCREAM REAL LOUD!!! At musicals and plays and ballets and the opera (yes, I've been to ballets and the opera. You don't know everything about me, smartypants) it's that moment when your throat gets tight and your eyes start to burn and you hope you don't whimper out loud. You know that moment. It's a wonderful, almost magical moment - so full of both anticipation and the release of anticipation.

I had that moment yesterday when we went to see "Choke" and the trailers were over (I do love me some trailers! Is that so wrong? "Milk" - welcome to my eagerly anticipated list!) and I'd been warned about not providing my own soundtrack (which is fine and all, but I miss the dancing snack foods and the hot dog jumping into the bun...) - then - opening credits. The movie I'd been eagerly (major understatement) anticipating since I learned of its existence was getting ready to start. Not a clip, not a trailer, I was gonna spend the next hour and a half with Victor Mancini.

My boundless love for Chuck Palahniuk has been well documented. I went into this movie prepared to love it, and I did. I might not have been completely unbiased.

But I've gotten ahead of myself. I knew the movie was opening this weekend and - since it was such a huge deal for me - I assumed it was a huge deal. Being the center of the universe that I am and all. Ahem. So I was surprised to learn that it wasn't playing at my local multi-plex and that I was going to have to go a little closer to the city to see it. Not a huge deal, but telling. I could have, however, seen "The House Bunny" at my local theater. So. Yeah. Whatever.

As we were driving to the theater I had mixed feelings about realizing that something I knew I was gonna dig so much was not gonna play well to the mainstream. On one hand, I was pissed at the world for not grokking Chuck's greatness and the inevitable greatness attached to anything based on his work. (Goodness, I'm veering into crazy stalker fan-lady territory. And I get on my daughter about her obsession with all things "Twilight"...) On the other hand, it made me cherish it even more. I think the easiest comparison would be this: You fall in love with an obscure little band. When they make it big (or even kind of make it a little) you get very proprietary - I knew them before it was cool to like them. You get a little snobbish and smug about it. Admit it - we all do it.

And that's how cult-classics are born. Songs, bands, movies. I wish I could say I was a "Rocky Horror" fan from the beginning, but it already had a full-fledged cult following when I jumped on board. I'd still feel justified wearing an "I was doing this before you were born" shirt to a show, though. There's something snobbish and smug about that, too, no?


That's what I realized this fucked-up-Chuck stuff is destined to be. His official fan site is even called "The Cult". That should've tipped me off...

Soooo we get to the theater. We have the kids with us, "Igor" was playing at the same time and had a similar running time, so we sent them off to that while we went to finally see "Choke". You should've seen the usher crack up when the 4 of us walked in, happy family that we are, and he looked at our tickets with our quite different destinations printed on them. We just may have made his day.

Anyway, I'm not a movie reviewer, so I won't attempt a serious review. It didn't follow the book faithfully, but it hit all the notes I needed it to hit. And one thing I consistently love about a smaller indie movie, as opposed to a big blockbuster (which I could've seen at my local theater) is how REAL the people look. The cast was attractive, but in the way people you see on the street are attractive, not the way we expect Hollywood movie stars to be attractive. I remember "Se7en" losing a little something for me because of the perfection of Brad and Gwyneth's teeth. I could picture a blue collar young couple being good looking, certainly, but there's no way in hell a blue collar young couple had teeth like that. But I digress. (what? me? no!)

I loved the movie and was sad when it was over. YM, however, MV. It's not for everyone. Sometimes I picture Chuck putting all of these various life experiences in a hat and then pulling them out randomly and saying, "I'm gonna write a book about this". If that were the case with "Choke" some of those slips of paper drawn from the hat may have read: sex addiction (depicted a little too graphically for some, perhaps), colonial reenactments (interestingly enough, something that came up last time Tom and a couple of our friends and I were trying to decide what Christopher Guest's next mockumentary should cover), dementia, cloning, grifters...

It's ugly and dirty and sad and funny and just a little teeny tiny bit sweet every now and then. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.

Now let's bring some of those other Chuck novel to movie rumors to fruition. "Survivor"? (I don't think it's too soon anymore) "Invisible Monsters"? (tricky, that one, but that's what I thought about "Fight Club" and that didn't turn out too bad...) "Rant"? "Diary"? I've heard all the rumors. Come on, Hollywood, make it so. I'm jonesin' big time for my next fix already...

No comments: