Friday, July 05, 2013

31 Day Film Challenge, Day 5: A Film That Reminds You of Someone

First, I want to say that it's been really great seeing everyone's 31 Day Film Challenge picks show up each day on the Facebook page for our Challenge. I've got a lot of new movies to watch.

Today's pick was surprisingly difficult for me.  There was a similar prompt on Day 5 of the original version of the 30 Day Song Challenge and I had plenty of ideas for that one, but for some reason it's been much harder to pick a film that reminds me of a person than it was to pick a song that did the same.  I'm not sure why that is.  My best guess goes something like this:  the stories that are told in cinema (and the characters that populate those stories) have a kind of independence that songs don't have.  That is, films seem to resist our manipulation more than songs do.  It's harder to substitute the events and people of our own experience for the films' events and characters without deeply distorting the integrity of the film, something that is very easy to do with songs, I think.  For today's prompt, I didn't want to simply pick a film that "reminded me of someone" because I had seen that particular movie with that particular person several times, or because that movie was that person's favorite or least favorite.  I wanted to pick a film in which the content of the film itself reminded me of the content of my relationship with someone.  Or something like that, anyway.

My pick for today is the 1969 Paul Newman and Robert Redford classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the story of two bank robbers on the lam.  Butch and Sundance, leaders of the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang, find that the passage of time and the rapid civilization of the formerly-"wild" west is making it more and more complicated for them to engage in their wayward profession.  When they happen to rob the wrong train on the wrong day, a special posse of lawmen  begin tracking the two bandits.  In a series of too-close calls, the pair manage to escape capture throughout by virtue of some combination of haphazard luck, clever charm, half-witted planning and pure adventureButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a classic "buddy film," and I'd dare to say that there are precious few buddies in the history of film as perfectly matched as Newman and Redford are in this one. The real heart of the film unfolds in the friendship of its two protagonists-- Butch is all ideas, Sundance is all pistols and cojones--  and as terrible as they are for one another, one can't help but fall in love with whatever little blip in the cosmic order joined their lives together. 

That's just like the relationship between my fellow-bandida Elizabeth ("E") and me.  I particularly love this picture of the two of us together (left), in no small part because it looks like we're on the lam.  Which, to be honest, we probably were in some way, metaphorical or literal.  E and I are the very best and the very worst with each other and, just like Butch and Sundance, we're also the very best and the very worst for each other.  I once said of E that, if we had never become friends, I would have never gotten into half of the trouble I've been in... but I also would've missed out on the lion's share of fun that I've had.  I think everyone needs one of those friends who you can call and know with absolute confidence that, no matter how hare-brained or dangerous or ill-advised the plans you propose, your friend is going to be game.  Bonus points if you can count on her to one-up your stupid plans with a "let's have a drink first!" or some other perfectly terrible amendment.  I also think it's important for everyone to have a friend who you've gotten in to real trouble with, who has dragged you home in the wee hours and put you to bed, who you have bailed out (literally or metaphorically) more than once, who shares with you a secret volume of strictly entre nous stories, who will both put up with your sh*t and call you out on it.  I have never laughed (or cried) as hard with anyone as I have with E, and if I had to pick one friendship of mine that would make for a "buddy film" as excellent as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it would be ours.  No question.  Full stop. 

E and I were definitely cut from the same cloth.  We're both rule-breakers, by constitution, and we don't even require good reasons to break the rules most of the time.  Nothing much more than just the adventure of doing so, to be honest.  We're also both "big ideas" people.  Sometimes those ideas are awful, more often they're great, but almost always they're bigger than we are and much more difficult to execute than anything we should reasonably undertake.  We both tend toward excess, in both good things (love, laughter, adventure) and bad things (danger, risk and conflict).  We're straightforwardly, sometimes brutally, honest with one another, but we don't hold grudges and we don't judge one another beyond the particular circumstances of a specific infraction.  Like Butch and Sundance, we've had the good fortune of more lucky escapes than we've earned. But we've earned our way out of plenty of tight spots, too, with a combination of charm, pluck, wit and cleverness.  And, just like Butch and Sundance, I'm positive that if the day ever comes when E and I find ourselves cornered, trapped, without escape, surrounded by the (literal or metaphorical) deputies who've hunted us down and want our hides, well...

You can bet your bottom dollar that we're going down together and with guns blazing.


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