Some people scour over photos or scrapbooks to mark significant moments in their lives – which, being a natural hoarder, is also a fond past-time of mine. Often our lives are pinned not just with the faces of those we love, but also the pages we’ve turned and songs that have stirred our souls.
For me, from a very young age – as soon as that VHS cassette was gobbled up, I was Andy DuFrane, hammering my way out of the mundane and escaping into glorious technicolour (thankfully avoiding the tunnel of poop to get there).
It wasn’t until meeting my significant other however that I realised just how much my favourite films have infiltrated my everyday life.
For instance, as is so often the case in the morning when I’m hustling the kids to hurry with breakfast whilst rummaging the drawers for the correct piece of cutlery to stir my tea, I transform into Neo from the Matrix and start muttering #ThereIsNoSpoon before checking that Morpheus isn’t about to approach to test my Kung Fu knowledge.
Thanks to watching John Travolta in Phenomenon I can’t trust my phone anymore as every now and again a bright light anoints the screen and I’m convinced it’s an extraterrestrial! As much as I would covet telekinetic powers I’m not ready to leave the kids a half-eaten apple in my wake. Although whether they’d even notice is a question I’m not ready to face. It could prove a cunning way of getting their five a day down them.
I have matured to a degree. I’ll admit my mistakes. But even that is in homage to Dirty Dancing’s Jake Houseman: “when I’m wrong I say I’m wrong!”.
One of the most difficult films I found to reference was Brokeback Mountain. I could only bear to watch it once, it genuinely upset me so much. Usually, like Del Amitri, I’m Always The Last To Know, but as early as ten minutes in, with a heavy heart I acknowledged that I wasn’t going to get a happy ever after. I knew before they even left camp that he’d stolen that shirt! I understand the poignancy of the ending but still, you have never seen a grown woman cry so pathetically – it was NOT a pretty sight. I resemble a mole with conjunctivitis when I’ve been bawling.
However, just as Jurassic Park’s renegade Ian Malcolm advised “life, uh, finds a way” and so, in honour of Brokeback’s soaring message that you can’t dictate who a heart loves, I can’t walk past BBQ Pringles, cheese or a bottle of Barcardi without muttering forlornly “I just wish I knew how to quit you”.
But to invest in films as emotionally as I do comes at a price. I will let you into a secret. Only a handful of my most trusted know; my first crush was Goose from Top Gun. That’s right, while everyone drooled over Tom Cruise’s Maverick and his suspiciously white teeth, Goose had me from the moment he played that piano. I wanted to command him to “take me to bed or lose me forever”; but thanks to Maverick’s recklessness I never got the chance. Call it what you will, a freak of nature, a mechanical malfunction perhaps; I call it manslaughter.
Some foolish people say your first crush is a right of passage, one you’ll get over soon enough. Not me. It only got worse years later when I found him again, only this time Anthony (Edwards) – we’re on first name terms in my mind – was masquering as Dr Green in ER and I was forced to endure losing him all over again. But that was through illness. There was nothing anyone could do.
But his demise in ER made me face the facts. I wasn’t over him. I didn’t get the closure I needed from Top Gun. But worse than that, I had developed a subconscious distaste of Tom Cruise and had inadvertently boycotted the majority of his films (not that such protest hurt his bank balance but it’s a matter of principle).
He tried to get me onside, appealing to my love of action with his Mission Impossible crew but I didn’t have a bar of it – they’re no match for Bourne!
Ah, safe ground. In Bourne I trust. When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary fails to call to me, but I do ask myself often ‘what would Jason do?’. In my dreams I’m rogue Bourne, albeit with my balls strapped to my chest; jumping through windows and reversing off roofs. I’ve even attacked my husband in the past armed with nothing more than a rolled up Heat magazine.
Right I’m off, put your feet up; “get some rest Pam, you look tired”.