Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who needs sad songs when you have sad movies?

Today is the third day in a row we've had nothing to do because we are waiting for the moon to come back before fishing again (you don't catch many swordfish during a new moon), and my roommate has been tearing through his formidable movie collection. He is watching a movie when I get up in the morning, and pretty much watches one after another til on into the night. Some days I like his selection and watch along, other days... not so much. This afternoon, he put in Saw II. I hate hack 'em up flicks. I can do scary and don't mind some gore if the story comes first and the gore is secondary, but... whatev'. Saw II was about as far from anything I would chose to watch as you can possibly get.

I've said before that the movie libraries on these boats are completely without rhyme or reason, but perhaps nothing better illustrates this than his choice of movie to follow-up Saw II, which would be Steel Magnolias.

At then end when all the sad shit is happening, I'm up in my bunk trying to not sniffle loudly enough for my roommate to hear me. This is a fishing boat. You can't be all weepy in an ultra-macho male work environment, right? Well, actually I suppose you can if you are watching Steel Magnolias because after he turned off the movie and there was no longer the noise from the movie to hide it, I could hear him sniffling in his bunk.

This is one of those great movies for playing if-we-were-who-would-we-be? I've always supposed that if we were characters from Steel Magnolias that I would want to be Truvy, mostly just because I like Dolly Parton, but I've always been sure that I would instead be Clairee. One, she is a likeable character, but more than that, amongst my friends from college who I usually play this with, there was always a dichotomy between my friend John and I, so that whenever there was a diametrically opposed pair of friends amongst the characters we each had to be one of them. And in this cast, John would be Ouiser so I would be Clairee. This was mostly fun to say because John would then huff and argue and make everyone agree that he was in fact Ouiser.

Watching it this time, I've changed my mind. I want to be Ouiser. She is the best ever. I can't wait to be cranky and old and grumpy like that. Actually, I guess I already am. I was realizing while I was home at Christmas, I'm already the grumpy guy in the family. Amongst my friends, I might be Claire, but at home I am totally and completely Ouiser. I'm the one that storms in and bluntly asks questions that no one else does and the one who voices complaints that no one else will say and the one who gripes about being dragged along to things that everyone else is being cheerful about. And I like it that way. Someone has to be grumpy and why not me?

Maybe I should start wearing funny hats, too.


Anonymous said...

Don't pretend that you've played this game more often or more discriminatingly than I have. There was once an argument that you were most like Drum, M'Lynn's husband. You're a prankster with a formidable sense of humor.

I sympathize with you, because we all want to be Ouiser--sometimes just as much as we want to wear the t-shirt that reads, "I slapped Ouiser Boudreaux!" She's the antidote to the snide, uppity garrulousness that Clairee most obviously typifies, but which implicates all the characters.

But when it comes down to it, I think you're more of a Spud. Or at least, that's how I've projected you for the past couple years.

Like Golden Girls, Sex and the City, et al, part of the attraction of the play lies in the fact that the entirety of the characters make up a whole, complex human psyche. We're all Shelby just as much as we're her mother. But, at some point, we draw boundaries and choose to identify (or our friends determine the identifications for us) with one more so than the others. But perhaps the genius of the play lies not in these indiviudual idenitifcations but the synthesis of disparate parts of one psyche which allows us to idenitfy with each and all of the characters at once.

Hmm. I should have cut and run when Mason and Liz told me that you were Blanche.

d.e.g. said...

Why you gotta be hating on Blanche? I would have never turned your head if I hadn't been Blanche.