‘Stumbling Through Cinema’ or ‘Escaping the Screen’ or ‘Bullets, Boredom and Bad Times’

If I could spend a day in my favorite movie, what would it be and what would happen?

This questions reminds of Nick and Herman flipping through the book ‘A Million Questions’.

I popped open the question book. “All right, here’s one. Which movie character would you most like to be?”

“Not one of Ace’s.”

“Then you weren’t paying attention,” I said, annoyed that Ace was the subject of conversation again. The $#!+ @$&* remained in the car with us even though we’d gotten rid of him. Even so, I corrected Herman, “Ace may have been a useless moron, but the characters he played had action and cars and guns and beautiful women.”

Herman thought about it. “Cars and women, maybe. I don’t need guns or action. I’d rather sit on the couch and watch the action on a screen.”

“Fair enough.”

Can I even find a movie I want to be a part of? I love to watch the movies, but I don’t think I want to live inside one.

I don’t know that I’d want to be in any of the westerns I like. I don’t need to be shot at. I wouldn’t enjoy shooting someone else. Well, I have my doubts about that, anyway. So no Rio Bravo, no Tombstone, no Unforgiven. That’d be a bad one anyway. Unforgiven is something you watch. It’s not something you want to be a part of. No matter which character you are it’s filled with tragedy.

How about something modern then, like Pulp Fiction. No wait, gunfire, car crashes and overdoses. It’d suck to be trapped in that movie for a while.

Even outside the wild west gunfire is no fun, so no Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Escape from New York? My neck will explode if I don’t rescue the President. That’s worse than anything so far except for Unforgiven.

The Big Sleep. Now that’s a movie. You get to overcome evil, wear cool clothes, drive old cars in the decade they were made and you get to fall in love with Lauren Bacall. On the other hand Marlowe gets beat up, shot at, tied up and has it real rough from beginning to end. No thanks.

It only gets worse when I think about movies set before the gunpowder age. Conan or Seven Samurai? Chop people up and get slashed occasionally? I may own a monster chopping knife, but I don’t want to use it if I don’t have to.

I’d like to pilot a Star Trek shuttlecraft, but I don’t want to be shot at by Romulans or Orions while doing it. I don’t particularly want to fly into an asteroid field. I know that they did scientific research, but there weren’t a lot of episodes about that. It was usually running or fighting, which I love to watch. I don’t want to do it though.

Okay, let’s avoid danger altogether. Let me try a comedy. Annie Hall or an episode of Seinfeld. That’s better. There’s no gunfire or fistfights there. On the other hand, it’s just life. It’s relationships and social awkwardness. And it’s boring. I’m not running for my life, but so what? I can stand in line at the movies in the real world.

Okay, that’s not working. How about Donovon’s Reef? I like that one a lot. I have more in common with Gilhooley, Lee Marvin’s character, than anyone else in that film. Now that’s an unwelcome realization. It kind of ruins the in-the-movie experience too. I get to be irrelevant, wear bad clothes, lose money gambling and get my ass kicked by John Wayne. At least he gets to drink a lot. I think I’ll just buy a bottle and watch it without taking part, thanks.

Not comedy. So I’ll delve into more serious movies. The Fisher King, that’s a great movie. Oh, wait, I don’t want to be a part of that. That’s pain and tragedy for everyone.

The Shawshank Redemption? No, that’s terrible.

How about Dead Poet’s Society. Are you kidding? Live life as a student again? I hated school. For similar reasons I can’t take part in the Breakfast Club.

Having to fix the past would be stressful, so no Back to the Future. Besides, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the fifties. Then again, what about American Graffiti? Since I can literally just enjoy the evening in those cars, maybe the fifties wouldn’t be so bad. Ghostbusters would be kind of fun. Bull Durham maybe? It’d be great to bat in a professional baseball game, even in the minors on a team with a losing reputation.

Ooh ooh ooh!!! I got it! Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! I like that one. It’s not one of my favorites, granted, but I get to skip school, go to museums, drive a Ferrari, hang out with Mia Sara, and just generally have everything go right. Granted, I’d have to run like hell to get home, but I think I can handle this one.


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