See you in a few weeks!
The Mother points to the sky and says, "that's where God lives," and suddenly the score swells with the sounds of Smetana's Má vlast. That was the moment I knew that Terrence Malick's Tree of Life had me. It had me through dinosaur detours, through Sean Penn's overearnest cragginess, through too-beautifully-curated Mid-Century furniture. It even had me at the end, though it tried so, so hard to lose me there. You have to admire a film tries to tackle the meaning of life. So far as I can tell, the answer is in the sun and the trees. Or at least that's how the cosmic astronaut God-baby from the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey sees it.
Everyone agrees that the movie theater experience isn't what it used to be: the floors are grubbier, texting is commonplace, the movies are dimmer. But one thing I continue to value are the ticket stubs. I've been saving each and every movie stub since 1989, when I saw Back to the Future Part II. (I still find it hilarious that that was the first film I chose to memorialize.) Every so often I open the tin to recall the experiences. Like the time I saw Groundhog Day on Valentine's Day after a terrible argument with my boyfriend. Or the time I walked out of the interminable Late for Dinner to sneak into Terminator 2: Judgment Day instead. Or simply the fact that I saw Boxing Helena in the theater. So I hope theaters don't become extinct just yet, if only for the sake of future memories.
When I was 7 years old, my parents took me to see John Cassavetes' Gloria. The image of mama bear Gena Rowlands firing her gun to protect a mob-targeted little boy has been in my memory ever since. (This poster by Orphan Elliott captures it perfectly.) I just saw it again, this time from a mama's perspective. Cassavetes' most mainstream film, it works because of Rowlands, who is beautifully feral and maternal in flowy Ungaro skirts. Taking her gun out of her purse, she tells young Phil, "Don't be scared. I got my gun, it's nothing for me to blow someone's brains out, believe me, I just hope it's someone I know." I love that my 7-year-old brain had to process this. And I love how 30+ years later, my protective mama brain understands her, just a little.