I've been going to the movies with remarkable frequency lately. I tend to go at least once a week, but since it's the depths of winter in New York City and I've managed to alienate most of my "friends" through unorthodox behavior in public (random outbursts of song and dance, did I mention I'm also, like, way into musicals too?! I've never been the same since purchasing the soundtrack to A Chorus Line), I have no choice but to disappear into the dark bosom of the most sacred of all sanctuaries, where for $12.50 plus some thirty- odd dollars on snacks one can spend an afternoon alone and in fantasy land with wild abandon... the movies!
Walker Percy said it best in his existential and imaginatively titled novel the Moviegoer. The hero Binx (!) ruminates during an outing to the cinema with some numbnuts girl who clearly doesn't understand his broody essence and says:
"There was this also: a secret sense of wonder about the enduring, about all the nights, the rainy summer nights at twelve and one and two o'clock when the seats endured alone in the empty movie theater. The enduring is something which must be accounted for. One cannot simply shrug it off."
To endure. To endure! Is there anything more noble than enduring? I wish I could marry going to the movies. Well, I sat my rotund bottom in one of those movie theater seats this past Sunday at a picture show from another southern gothic dandy, none other than Mr. Tennessee Williams! "Wait a second, how can he make movies when he's been dead for decades?" Now, now, don't think yourself into another dizzy spell, dear philistine reader, with such questions of time and space and mortality. He wrote it fifty years ago, and the screenplay has subsequently been DISCOVERED which is EXCITING.
Tennessee Williams is the Pedro Almodóvar of the American south, because he loves women on the brink of nervous collapse and he is gay. Tom Wolfe is kind of like a modern Tennessee Williams, because he is a fine southern gentleman but he much prefers to write about dudes, except for in I Am Charlotte Simmons, which should be required reading for any homegirl who dared attend a private university. And Tom Wolfe is our contemporary Truman Capote, obviously. Whoa! I'm giving myself a literary gay analogy migraine!
Anyway, the Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is currently playing at the Quad Cinema, which has the size and charm of a Mexican bus. If you chose to overlook the marquee, you would think you stumbled into a McCain town hall meeting in Boca. The elderly and infirm LOVE this movie theater, probably because there's no stairs (bad for the joints) and no escalators (confusing). Old people are really annoying because they do all the things for they condemn the young for doing. They talk loudly, and throughout the movie. I gave the whole audience a big SSSHHHHH from the back row during the previews because I knew what was in store from these geriatrics. This is the "unorthodox social behavior" I referred to earlier, because it actually managed to embarrass Brooke D, something I imagined impossible prior to this moment. She found herself even more humiliated later in the day when we went to Victoria's Secret and I demonstrated the generous proportions of her cup size by putting a bra on my head. The bra covered my eyeballs and almost my nose.
So in between the coughing fits and shouts of "What did she say?! I can't hear anything!" resounding throughout the theater, I reveled in the fetid, festering 1920s Delta this movie portrays. All the classic hallmarks of the grotesque preened on the silver screen: live oaks, creepy twins, flasks of whiskey in coat pockets, a lady's descent into madness, assisted suicide, and the unintentional murder of sharecroppers by a carpetbagger industrialist! The main character played by Bryce Dallas Howard has a crazy name (craizer than her own) that only unhinged southern women with a flair for the dramatic can carry off- Fisher Willow! Ooooo, and there's class conflict too. Just like the relationship in After Miss Julie, Fisher entraps a hottie mcbody peasant into a romantic dynamic with an intoxicating asymmetry of power in which the dude ends up hating her because she's so insufferable and spoiled and retarded but OMG did I mention what a hotmaster this Jimmy Bovyne is?! Holy mackerel, I want to play a parlor game with him!
Alright, so Fisher Willow is no Blanche DuBois or Maggie the Cat, but Williams is Williams, southern gothic nourishes the soul and we need to take whatever morels we can scavenge in the withered, frigid northeast. Beggars can't be choosy, but someone needs to go tell the rest of the audience from the 3:15 show to go home. They're still wondering what the characters are saying on the darkened screen. To enduring!