Friday, February 15, 2008

Memories of our first betamax VCR tapes


The first two videos my father brought home were CHRISTINE and THE BLUES BROTHERS. I was ten years old, my brother would have been six during the summer of 1986. We had no idea what either of the two films were about but we were excited to finally have a VCR nontheless. We had seen many films by then, mostly on cable or satellite, and out of those, most were horror films like Pscyho, Pscycho 2, and Friday the Thirteenth (the final chapter, or so we thought then). When Dewey popped in Christine we were excited and scared because he told us it would be a film about a car that KILLS PEOPLE!!!!

Wow.
I remember feeling a bit moved by many of the music selections in Christine, none of which would have been popular or current for the time (the film was released in 1983 and I believe to have taken place in the here and now): Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Ritchie Valens; along with some stuff that would have been current then, like Thorogood and The Rolling Stones. Really, has any other song been as well placed in a film as "Bad to the Bone?" That song alone was probably enough to win my father's approval, despite the fact that it's a scary Stephen King adaptation that was actually picked up by a cool director.....

My brother and I watched this film (along with the other one) at least once a day every day that summer. It would be a long time before quoting films in social settings would be cool but we seriously could have started at the beginning and performed it to the end if anyone would have posed such a challenge. Our favorite parts all had to do with the car. Killing Moochie and the close up on the tire squeal when Christine floors a good smoke show and starts chasing him, rebuilding herself while Arnie stands in front of her, watching, and the fire-y blaze that chases after Buddy Reperton down the highway after completely crashing into the gas pumps and his camaro (SOME SHIT HEAD IS FOLLOWING ME!!). We also really got into the character of Darnell, that guy definitely had the best lines of the film, which, if I remember correctly, stayed pretty true to King's novel. It would be a few years before I tackled THAT.


The Blues Brothers we loved mostly for the car chases but I think we actually (secretly) enjoyed the music in that as well. My mother HATED us watching that, probably because she hated the movie herself, but really, what's so bad about your elementary aged children getting a few curses in while absorbing ACTUAL music history? Aretha Franklin? Cab Calloway? Ray Charles? John Lee Hooker? I knew who all those people were way before anyone else my age. Double for my brother. I see that film as a cheesy exercise in music that probably shaped a lot of my tastes that would follow down the line. Plus, those car chases were ACTUAL DEMOLITION IN ACTION. You just don't see that anymore, not that we knew it at the time. I love it. Favorite scene, hands down though, is the bit with the penguin.
YOU GOTTA GO UP THERE AND VISIT THE PENGUIN.
NO....FUCKING.....WAY.

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