Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flying monkeys and Barnabas Collins

Beanie and I were talking about the news that Johnny Depp is going to resurrect Barnabas Collins in a new movie directed by Tim Burton predictably called Dark Shadows. She had been reading MSN and came across a news item about the True Blood leads carrying their on screen relationship off screen and Depp and Barnabas jumped out at her. She had to tell me about it. I had to check it out.

If the movie is successful, and why wouldn't it be with Depp as Barnabas Collins, then Burton will resurrect the rest of the werewolves, monsters and demons at Collinwood in a new franchise. I wonder if Depp will like being in a successful movie franchise as much as he liked being in a successful TV show. Should be interesting.

Beanie said she didn't think either Sookie or Bill were attractive and Anna Paquin certainly can't act, but that she enjoys True Blood anyway and Ants loves it. The Code Monster is not so easily impressed. Beanie and Ants thank me for introducing them to the show, which means I'll have to find some way to thank John for introducing me to the show last year.

When you get right down to it, Jonathan Frid wasn't at all handsome, but he was compelling as Barnabas Collins. It was something about the penetrating eyes, onyx ring on the forefinger, cape and cane with the curving silver wolf's head that kindled the urge to be enthralled and bitten in the most unusually strait-laced and unlikely of victims, like Mom. She worked at a dry cleaner's in North Olmsted, Ohio when the show was on and rushed home every afternoon to watch the show. We kids were forbidden to interrupt, which wasn't hard because Carol and I were glued to the screen right beside her and Jimmy and Beanie were outside playing quietly. No noise was allowed anywhere within a 50 mile radius during Dark Shadows, and I doubt there was anywhere among the female population of North Olmsted or the northern Ohio region. Men knew they'd get short shrift, lousy meals and freezing accommodations if they ignored the ban and ventured to so much as whisper. All distractions were forbidden. Mom still has a thing for Quentin Collins after all these years so she'll be first in line at the theater -- as long as there is no "language" in the movie. I know what we'll get her for Xmas or her birthday as soon as it is out on DVD.

From Barnabas to movies, the conversation moved and Beanie and I reminisced about some of our favorites, telling me some surprising stories about Ants, like not ever watching The Wizard of Oz, because he was terrified of the flying monkeys as a child. Beanie loves the movie -- so do I -- and she watches it every year. When she was little I'd sing Over the Rainbow to help her sleep most nights and I sang to her boys when they were little. Ants loved the song, but still won't watch the movie. He says he's too old, but I'll bet he still gets the shivers when the evil flying monkeys take off after Dorothy and her companions.

Movies have such a powerful affect on all of us, although not the same movies. Ants loves The Monster Squad but he still gets a little nervous when Frankenstein's monster comes on the screen. To Ants, he's terrifying. When the boys were little, every time that movie came on the world had to stop so Ants could watch it, even when they were at my house during the summer. I've seen that movie so many times I could doubtless still recite all the dialogue. It's a cute movie and I like it. Beanie mentioned another movie, but I seem to have forgotten what it was. Oh, well, no big deal since the point is that when the movies came out on VHS Beanie bought them for Ants. Unfortunately, he loaned one of them to Jimmy. Big mistake. When Jimmy and his wife split, Ants worried he'd never get his movie back. He was right to worry. Jimmy was too lazy to look for it and didn't want to brave his now ex-wife to spend the time looking for it, and there was no question that she would take time out of her busy schedule to find it. It was lost and Ants was furious. Beanie went out and bought the movie on DVD and Ants was happy once again. I still think since Jimmy was such a coward he should have replaced the movie, but it's difficult get The Mushroom to do anything. He is proof of the first law of thermodynamics: a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion -- at least until it runs out of fuel. Jimmy at rest is like a barnacle on the hull of a ship, nearly impossible to remove without sharp tools and lots of elbow grease.

I can't say that I have even one or two movies I cannot live without. I have lots of favorites spanning a variety of genres. I'm more pragmatic about things like that. I can always get another copy or do without. Nothing is so special that I'll lose sleep over it. A few people maybe, one or two in particular, but not things. Things can always be replaced and what can't be replaced can be lived without. Then again...

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