Friday, October 3, 2008

Diary with Hero

Sunday. Only twenty years on, I have discovered the iconic Die Hard movies. One sits through a festival of gore and profanity, in order to arrive at the scenes of heroic rescue at the end, especially the ends of the first two movies, in which the hero rescues his wife. Probably equally a male as a female fantasy, especially in movie number 1, at the end of which the hero, in shock from all the killing, hands her down like a queen from the rubble -- and then protects her again. All the while covered in his own and other men's blood. A kind of Christ figure? No; Odysseus perhaps.

Anyway, extremely pleasurable. The strong, decent man going through hell for justice and for his woman. It's ridiculous of course -- if he turned green and immense and hollered "Hulk smash!" I would have no patience with him, but he may as well do that -- but one waits for solitude the next day for a chance to slip the movie back into the DVD player, and fast forward to the scenes of rescue. He staggers, weak and bloodied, through the snow, calling his wife's name, and weeps when he finds her. He -- Bruce Willis -- proved himself a pretty believable cry-er in the first film, and so a poorer set of scriptwriters gave him more crying scenes in the second.

Tuesday. Alas, can't get the DVD player to work. It pixelates at that scene. Proof of over-use perhaps? A few hundred other human beings have also wanted to see just that, just one more time?

Friday. It's funny how the appetite for hero worship never goes away -- human nature, I suppose -- and one is really almost disappointed to learn that the actor, not necessarily this one but any one, is just another human being, who dates starlets or gets thrown out of nightclubs or whatever. And when one particular fictional crush wears off, you wonder what was inadequate about you that you needed to fall for that. In reality, there wasn't anything wrong with you, you're just a human being and you like heroes and gods. I have no doubt that plenty of the great figures of history, especially the religious figures, were handsome men. Only that first draws the human eye, and introduces the theme of -- I was going to say godliness. No; god-likeness.

Anyway. Great fun. And will be again.

Sunday. Didn't I say so? Twenty years on: Nights in Rodanthe. One sits through a festival of beautifully coiffed people dealing with fake problems. "You weren't there for me"/"I wasn't there for him," etc. The beach. Richard Gere -- and I have always meant to see Days of Heaven, it's said to be marvelous -- in whose face I can faintly see the cute-as-a-button old man he is going to become. Watch the movie: there's got to be a rescue soon, because that is tantamount to permission to make love, especially between two characters who have just argued. Ah, yes, here it comes! The hurricane. The crashing china cabinet. She is about to be crushed. He leaps and pushes her out of the way. Perfect. I still think I prefer the fantasy full-blown, a la Die Hard, guns blazing and the hero facing far more formidable foes than toppling furniture.

Great fun, and will be again. Haven't I said so?

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