Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Letters to Conan: A movie collection


Hi Conan,

It's been five and half years since I wrote an introduction to this series and have sadly not followed up until now. A lot of that time has been spent just living our life together. I hope that at whatever time you come to find this, you feel good about that time we've spent. It's certainly brought me more joy than I ever imagined.

The other day, I had a conversation with your mom and asked her to make sure, if anything happened to me, to make a reasonable effort to ensure my movies made it to you. Up until recently, we've made a lot of decisions that have kept me from keeping up my movie collection, or continuing to restore it after a number of events took it down to substantially less than it had been. Perhaps by the time you have the ability or interest in reading this, that will seem odd. Perhaps because it will be as restored as you can imagine or perhaps because some other unforeseen events will lead to some other plan entirely. Right now I am beginning that process.

I find movie collections fascinating. Perhaps you will not. Movies more than books or music even, although, of course, I'm fascinated by those as well. With books and movies, however, we are expected to purchase a significant portion of them without already having experienced them in their entirety. You grab them as an impulse at the department store. For the most part, movies are different, and even those of us who do feel the need to buy the occasional movie we expect to, or hope to, like, but haven't seen - I recently preordered Wolf Guy – Enraged Lycanthrope, you might have a better idea than I do how that went. - there's still a tendency for it to be something we do quietly or apologetically, and, most importantly, less often.

But they're still not your X number of favorite movies. They reflect that time you stared at Ikiru and The Transporter, and while the Kurosawa movie could be, in your mind, superior on every level, you still know that the money spent on The Transporter will go to immediate use when you throw it on that same night with a big bag of microwave popcorn.

NOTE: At this writing, I own neither Ikiru and The Transporter and am not happy about either being absent from my collection.

They are the discounted copy of Taken you grabbed on impulse at the 7-Eleven, which I just did recently. They are gifted movies you like just enough to keep in order to keep peace with the gift giver whenever they come over.

And, increasingly for me, the movies I buy for you now, because you like them, such Inside Out, that Nana gave you, and Kubo and the Two Strings, which we saw together in the theater, but also movies I want you to have around to discover. There are too many of these in my head to mention, but really you'll find some, I'm sure, and ignore others, as you have so far with The Rescuers and The Wizard of Oz. You've watched, and enjoyed, several Miyazaki movies, but none has inspired you to ask for repeat viewings, like Minions, which I'd call your favorite movie so far in life, but there are a few other contenders.

I don't know what you'll end up finding interesting there, soon or much later.

Sometimes I think about the things my father inspired my love for. The Flash Gordon serials with Buster Crabbe that he grew up watching in the early days of television before there was enough original programming to fill the days. The Alien movies that held some great fascination for him. The David Cronenberg movies we discovered together in the early days of video.

On the other hand, I can't think I've read any of the books he talked about. He loved Len Deighton and Larry Niven. He could go on about SS-GB and Ringworld forever, explaining why they so tickled his fancy. To date, I've read neither author. Not out of stubborn resistance, at least not much of the time. Honestly, both authors have just been somewhere down my "to-read" list for thirty odd years now. You'll probably find yourself thinking the same about Clive Barker or Keigo Higashino someday.

Maybe it's the immediacy of the movies that makes them a better sharing experience. The ability to say, "Hey, come sit down and watch this with me." that makes movies different from books, aside from the ones we read together now. Perhaps we'll find a way to share that longer than my dad and I did, now that I've thought of it. I'm not sure.

I want you to know that while I can't help trying to make sure these crazy things are in front of you, I want you to find what you find in them, and ignore the ones that turn out to mean nothing to you personally.

Just know, as you look at it, that there's a story there. The story of a life built and lost, rebuilt, struggled with and rebuilt again. Somewhere deep in the recesses. That's me. Not all of me, but a part of me. An important part of me. Perhaps too important, some would speculate, but never more important than you, and I hope if you ever get to reading this that you see both sides of that already without having to read it.

I still don't know what I'll write the next one of these about, so I can't know when I'll write it. I hope it will be sooner than five years. I'd rather like there to be something of a collection of these waiting for you someday.

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