Maybe it was Rambo: First Blood or Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, but somewhere between 1981 and 1982 I was completely sold on action movies. I began craving something more than emotionally charged dialog or sweeping period pieces where tensely polite characters took trips to Tuscany; I wanted overwrought, loud, heart-thumping soundtracks, explosions and running – yes, definitely lots and lots of running. How else are you going to escape the debris of the ruins you’ve left behind? (Aside: I already have some great ideas for Gandhi’s Revenge: Civil Unrest. If you’re shopping for a new script, see me.)
In college, I tried to be “cooler” or more “bohemian” – you know the sort that smoke cigarettes at places like Les Amis [i] and have heart-felt, passionate discussions over the latest faire at the Dobie.[ii] (Well, you would if you lived in Austin, TX, but play along as if the above made sense.) For that brief period I feel I had quite a successful run of feigning interest in art house films and dragging out the symbolism of a cloud until a friend of mine suggested something like, “let’s go see this Jackie Chan flick”. Since this offer fell during my “subtitled films are so much cooler and therefore I am made cooler by attending” phase, I went along – I mean, you had to read the film – dubbed films are so late 1960’s (oh Bruce Lee, my apologies) – subtitles are where it’s at (granted, the movie wasn’t in black and white, nor was it in German – but Chinese was the new German, right?). And there I found myself at the Hogg Auditorium [iii] watching this amazing unknown stunt man with his love for Buster Keaton scrambling around and performing these incredible stunts. The real me jolted back to life and I returned to being completely committed to my bad action movie tastes. (Samo Hung, a special shout-out to you – it wasn’t all Jackie – I love you, man!)
Since then, I’ve come to terms with the fact that few people other than my husband enjoy the same movies I enjoy. (Unless we’re talking Brotherhood of the Wolf and I may think the world would be a better place if someone snuck in to where they keep the master reel and burned it to the ground. On that point, we may disagree a bit. I’m sure it’s only because he must have unknowingly sustained a head injury while watching the movie.)
For the record, I don’t like all action movies (there are a ton being spewed out on what seems like a monthly basis that are pure overhyped garbage – and sadly, sometimes they do feature some of my action heroes). I’m also definitely not saying it’s the only type of film I enjoy, but they do hold a very special place in my heart. From Rambo (sorry you can’t withstand the test of time) to La Femme Nikita (the French version) to Run Lola Run to the 300 I’m there. Give me your Terminators, your Commandos, your Jason Bourne’s and even your Die Hards (but not those middle ones) and I’m there. Put Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, and Arnold Schwarzenegger into one movie and I’m taking the day off from work, because really you can’t pack that much awesome into a movie and not expect me to be there at the first showing.
Yep, in half an hour I’ll be on my way to snacking on popcorn while waiting for The Expendables to start rolling. I’m even ok with the fact that I think the movie will likely stink up the joint, because I know that despite the stinkage, it will still make me insanely happy. That’s right, movie snobs, I’ll be slurping down a soda and completely high on happy – that same gleeful feeling you get when you see “Winner – Cannes Film Festival: Palme d’Or Award” attached to that limited run movie you’re viewing.
See you in a few hours!
[i] Cute little café in Austin, TX (seen in the movie Slackers that was torn down to make way for a Starbucks, something there’s not enough of.
[ii] Dobie Theatre – located in Dobie Mall off of 20th and Guadalupe on the University of Tx campus – features theme rooms and hard to find independent films.
[iii] Another theatre at UT with those lovely hard wooden seats that send you back to the 1950’s. and cause your butt muscles to lock up. Good for long post-movie strolls to work out all the aches and pains of sitting there.