This is the next entry in a Theatre… a Movie… and a Time, a series that was begun here. Rarely, I do revisit films through a new experience, if it means something extraordinary, that is. Did it with A Hard Day’s Night a couple of years back, and had the chance to do similar this week with a film I keep coming back to. If The Lads’ first film did it to me as a kid, then this has done similar as an adult…and for the last twenty years of whatever I have left.
“I was operating a camera. I was looking through a lens, and I started complaining.” I said, ‘Dante, where’d that light come from? Turn off that damn light!’ He said, ‘Michael, that’s the sun.’” ~ Michael Mann
September 7, 2016: As I’ve been known to do, anxiety dreams are allowed to haunt my sleep from time to time, so hold that thought.
For most of my life, have learned to anticipate the bad side of things — especially those that can take away what I cherish most. Sure, it’s an attempt to try and control what I can’t. I know that. Still, it doesn’t stop the mental gymnastics many of us do to bend the map and in some way protect what we love. Or fool ourselves into believing we can. For the longest, have tried to imagine all the ways something important could go terribly wrong, and in doing so somehow short-circuit the route there.
I know where that foolish idea comes from, too. I HATE surprises, even if most have been of the good variety. The bad have just outweighed them. Losing my father and mother unexpectedly at an early age — the former through divorce and the latter through death — triggered a number of others, which surely kickstarted the magical thinking as a child that has carried forth. I won’t go into the creative dark visions I’ve dreamt up for my wife and kids through the years to ward off just that.
Don’t laugh, it works for me and mine.
So, it was no surprise how my Tuesday into Wednesday slumber was one where those forty winks were worry-filled. You see, hours before this I’d got hold of something I thought was beyond my reach. Had heard the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences here in Los Angeles had a special event scheduled for the 7th of this month from friends local and on social media. To celebrate Michael Mann’s Heat by showcasing a new 4K restoration of the film in their state-of-art flagship theater.
With Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Michael Mann and other cast and crew in attendance for a conversation moderated by director Christopher Nolan.
Sold out, of course, when we mere mortals try to buy tickets online. Typical. Figured to get into the stand-by line out of desperation for the film that had captured me two decades prior. Hadn’t reckoned that trying one last time, the day before, after getting home from work they’d have some left…and I’d claim a couple1. Um…surprise! Printed them right then and there…but what followed wasn’t. Wouldn’t have been obvious given my outward giddiness, but she-who-must-be-obeyed surely knew2.
Every way possible that could have kept me out of that theater, and at the appointed time, floated into my head and twisted me awake. Even realizing it didn’t prevent the next one coming out of the REM. Just wanted to be there that bad, obviously. So, lined up tickets, car keys, and my daughter by the door (had to drop her off for practice for her canoe race on Saturday) in plenty of time to get to Academy headquarters an hour and a half before those splendid opening titles began appearing.
In that beautiful Academy theater with others like me drinking it all in, on the edge of our seats, hoping that the all-star group who came up on stage after that extraordinary screening would keep on talking about their experience3 for as equal a runtime, it was a once in a lifetime moment…and worth the angst.
- Had envisioned taking my son, who is the same age as this movie, but having to get up extra early the next day to his first job he started this summer, precluded that. Luckily, online bud and Heat-enthusiast, Bill Consolo could join me. Turned out, we’d had way more in common than just this movie and only added to the exceptional evening. Surprise…again. ↩
- The love of my life being the subject of many a Hall & Oates nightmare over the length of our marriage. ↩
- For details of what director, cast, and crew talked about, with thanks to J.D., be sure to check out articles by Deadline, Variety, Collider, and EW. ↩