Future Past Nostalgia (Part 1)
It just hit me that there will come a time, probably soon, when I’ll stop connecting viscerally with coming-of-age movies about people in their mid-20s/early 30s and instead view them with a sort of fuzzy nostalgia. Not sure how I feel about this.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been the type to let outside stimuli effect the ways in which I live and interact with the people and world around me. In some cases I have let these stimuli dictate major life decisions and control, to varying levels of intensity, what I allow myself to feel. I literally allow outside forces to control my life. It sounds scary and more than a little insane, I’ll grant you. But it isn’t. In fact there’s a certain level of ease and connection with oneself that can come no other way that I know of. More than people but about equaled with music, movies have shaped most every aspect of my life. When I saw Star Wars I wanted to…well, I didn’t know what I wanted but it involved flying an X-Wing. When I saw Wargames I wanted to learn everything I could about computers.
Then it happened. I was nine. The year was 1989. I had only discovered that girls were a thing that I liked a few years, maybe two, before. Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court on the movie screen. I didn’t understand all the witty comments but I understood the viewpoint of a guy who wants to be himself regardless of what others think. And so what if the girl you like is out of your league? Go for it! Throw caution to the wind! What’s the worst that could happen? Well, for Lloyd it was this: I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.
I feel ya, Lloyd. I feel ya.
The movie was Say Anything. Now considered a classic (with a great soundtrack, by the way) I had little idea of the impact that movie would have on my personal life. (In a not totally unrelated topic, John Cusack would come back to inform my opinion of not only the opposite sex but myself as well.) Of course there’s the iconic image of Lloyd standing outside Diane’s window blasting “In Your Eyes” to woo her back but the movie was so much more to me than that. Even at the ripe old age of nine I knew that. I didn’t know exactly why or what or, well, anything really. But I knew that I was feeling something. I figured out quickly - as in before the scene was over - that sometimes you don’t always get the girl. And amazingly at some point in the not too distant future I was able to expand that to you don’t always get the fill-in-the-blank. I guess The Rolling Stones were right. (They aren’t on the soundtrack though. But Peter Gabriel was. And a lot of other heart-crushing vocalists. Hell it was a Cameron Crowe movie so the soundtrack is going to kick ass. It’s one of the perks of being married to half of the band Heart.)
Fast forward a few years and it’s 1998. I have already been schooled (thanks to my oldest sister) in the fantastic Brat Pack movies of the 80s (seriously Ringwald - Ducky was SO much better for you than Jake!) and I understand now that being the underdog has its perks as well as drawbacks. Lloyd gets the girl, but Ducky doesn’t. Even Cameron gets a kiss in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and he's a hypochondriac! I have the biggest crush on one Jennifer Love Hewitt. Don’t laugh. If you were hetero and had a pulse in the 90s, so did you. The movie was Can’t Hardly Wait. At its heart it was the usual “last party of high school” movie. Everyone had just graduated and this is the last time all the different cliques will be together at one time. Amazingly they all end up at the same alcohol filed party. Jocks, dweebs, the head cheerleader (Miss Hewitt, thank you very much), and the awkward but lovable geeky guy with a heart of gold (and great 90s sideburns). The first two on the list battle it out as usual and, no spoilers here, the cheerleader and Mr. Awkward Lovable Geek come together, are separated by misunderstanding but then are reunited as the end credits roll. The geeky lovable guy got to kiss JLH. Wow. By the logic of my hormone-driven mind, I COULD KISS JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT! Luckily for her and the police department in whatever jurisdiction I would have attempted the kiss, we never meet. But the seed is planted. And I know what I needed to do. I need to find a girl just enough out of my league that she is still attainable and then do something stupid, then make up for it, then we will kiss. And if there’s a clueless jock that keeps trying to thwart my getting with her then all the better - it will only cement in her mind that she and I are truly meant to be.
Oh yeah - I almost forgot - all of this needs to happen to a fantastic soundtrack. Dire Straits is on that soundtrack. So is Eve 6. And all the music is perfect and real and speaks to every feeling one can feel.
But it’s all fiction in the end. And I know it. And I don’t care.