Monday, 1 February 2010

Don't Scratch

Pat has challenged me to name three classic movie moments that made me buy things, do things, or think things that maybe I shouldn't have.

I'm not sure about the 'shouldn't have' bit, it depends on how you look at things: no movie has induced me to moral reprehensibility as far as I can determine, but these three have, perhaps, encouraged certain weaknesses that tend only to lead to disappointment.

First, Ronin. I searched the internet for the particular moment of influence and couldn't find it, there are lots of clips from the film out there but they're all boring action stuff. So I'm guessing that my idea of a classic movie moment and that of the sort who uploads clips don't quite coincide. Who knows why? Anyway, ever since I first saw Ronin, over ten years ago, I have been searching for this:

not Robert De Niro, but the cup in his hand. It's my perfect coffee cup: gleamingly translucent, hand thrown fine clay; bowl shaped; large enough to hold the necessary quantity, and that wonderful deep foot. Here it is from a, slightly, different angle:

It's a poem of a cup. Every element adds to every other, I want it dead bad, and have seriously considered buying a potters wheel and kiln in order to try and make it myself.

Breakfast at Tiffany:

this whole film has made me buy things, do things and think things: I wore Rayban Wayfarers for years. I bought a Burberry mac, though I could ill afford it, but which, years later, I still wear. And I luxuriate in eating a croissant out of a paper bag as I browse the windows of posh shops I can't afford to enter, whenever I'm in a city. I've never done it wearing a cocktail dress though, yet.

Leon: this is the most 'shouldn't have' of the three. I have on more than one occasion been tempted to layer several mismatching wallpapers in my house and then encourage the top layers to peel off, and I have had my hair cut in a short bob, a la twelve year old Natalie Portman, more than once. But, maybe because I am considerably more than twelve, I can never get mine to look quite so fabulously wild.

So far I've not been tempted to train as an assassin though.

This has been a fun post to do and quite enlightening. Now I know what Tom (the man who got me writing) meant when he said in a workshop: 'Eryl is all surface.' I would now like to invite everyone who reads this, and has a blog, to join in.


Poetikat said...

Now wasn't Jean Reno in both "Leon" (aka The Professional) and "Ronin"?

I like your blog very much. Caught you over at Titus (JoAnne's) blog and am so glad I came. It was the Coleridge that drew me.

I'll be following when I can.


P.S. I also really like this meme, though I'd really have to give it some serious thought.

Pat said...

Great! Back later to comment and thanks.xox

Pat said...

Eryl: I see what you mean about the cup - it's delectable.
To my shame I don't know Ronin but Leon had me spell bound. I was so afraid he might harm the girl in some way and the relief was palpable.
One of my blogging friend's elder daughter is a dead ringer for the girl - enchanting. I'm so glad you did it - I knew it would be fun to read.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I loved Leon, thought it had great style Nathalie Portman often has an thing I want, In Garden State it was her cycle helmet.

Titus said...

Killer of a post, and I just knew, before I started reading, that Breakfast at Tiffany's would be there. Now why is that? Maybe you've got some subliminal Audrey Hepburn thing going on. Never would have guessed the source of the haircut though, but so obvious once it's pointed out.
Complete agreement with the coffee cup - it's the size and that foot that does it for me.

Yes, this is a good meme that I must apply some thought to. Have some quantum physics thing I'm currently contemplating, but this may be next. My instant response (and thus the truest) is Mad Max's black Interceptor. The car of my dreams. I'm so surface at speed.

Sausage Fingers said...

Kudos on all 3 movies, all great but all very different. My wife wanted me to watch the Twilight movie - New Moon she just diggs the buff young werewolf. So for my birthday she bought me a gym membership and I always thought being a poster boy would be fun.

Eryl Shields said...

Kat ~ yes, Jean Reno was in both Ronin and Leon (the professional), I do have a bit of a soft spot for him I must confess. It's the nose, so French.

Thanks for coming over. I should thank Coleridge: the great connector.

Pat ~ Ronin is more action than Leon, but much more stylish than the average action movie, as you can see by the cup. Do you think it's porcelain?

I, also, was worried for the girl (Mathilda) for quite a bit of the film.

Lulu ~ Garden State, I'd forgotten about that film! Is it the one where they go to visit the chap who lives near (or is it in?) a crater, in a caravan? I can't remember her cycle helmet either. I'll have to go to the scary cupboard and dig it out.

Eryl Shields said...

Titus ~ it is the size and the foot that does it for me too, but try finding one in the shops with both!

I'm sure I've watched Mad Max but can't remember the black Interceptor, though I love a bit of speed too.

Have you seen me eating out of a paper bag?

Sausage Fingers ~ gym membership? That's cruel!

The Pollinatrix said...

I don't think I can do this, because when I try to think of things I've done that I shouldn't have because of a movie, I can only think of good things movies have "made" me do. Like Tomb Raider made me take karate, and Julie & Julia made me start a blog.

I regularly do a media violence segment in my writing classes, though, where we watch the movie Natural Born Killers and read the article John Grisham wrote about how movies should be sued because some kids that were pretending to be the characters in the movie killed a friend of his. It's always interesting to see what my students think about the idea that "a movie made me do it."

steven said...

eryl what a great post! i have never thought of buying something because i saw it in a film although i've bought more films because of films i've seen - and books! do they count? steven

Scarlet Blue said...

Ha ha ha! I thought I was the only one who'd been influenced by a twelve year old!!!

Elisabeth said...

A fascinating post, Eryl. I'm with those others who can't think of a thing they were persuaded by a movie to buy, but I often chase up music from movies.

Now it comes to me: my husband who turns wood made a number of wands for our youngest daughter and her cousins when the Harry Potter films first appeared. Pity they held no magic.

Golden West said...

Hi Eryl, I'm with Elisabeth - don't think a movie has influenced me to buy anything (although I've always been a fan of Ray Bans! Very classic.)

We plant snapdragons here in the autumn and they thrive until March-April. We're in a strange little climate pocket - our sunniest month is December. Overall the temps rarely drop below the 40s nor get above the 80s. We're in the midst of a drought, with mandatory water rationing, but the rain we've had in Dec. and January will hopefully ease it up on us a bit.

Eryl Shields said...

Polli ~ Tomb Raider made you take karate, wow?!

Your media violence segment sounds very interesting. I guess, as with everything, there is a balance to be struck between allowing that the media can be extremely influential and accepting that influence as an excuse for certain behaviour. A movie can't make you kill someone if you feel killing is wrong. Natural Born Killers made me want long skinny arms.

Steven ~ more films and books definitely count. Films are just another way of seeing things that you are already interested in, which is what makes this meme interesting.

Scarlet ~ who's your twelve year old?

Elisabeth ~ I'm beginning to think I'm rather more influencable (that's not the word I'm looking for but it will do) than most.

Eryl Shields said...

Golden West ~ I can't wear Ray Bans any more, they're too heavy for my nose!

Fingers crossed that your water flows more steadily soon.

Mary Witzl said...

Karate Kid made me stick out the judo class I was in. Then I sprained my ankle badly and had to drop it, but I signed up for tae kwon do as soon as I could.

I'll keep my eye out for that cup! It's what we used to call a 'summer' cup in that the liquid in it chills fast because of the greater surface area.

Lily Cate said...

Ha! I had no idea what "Leon" was until I read the comments- although I thought the image looked like it was from "The Professional".
That is an outstanding movie.

As far as Natural Born Killers goes, you should really get a copy of the director's cut, and do a compare and contrast.
The version that was edited for theatrical release is actually more violent than the one that Stone wanted. The director's cut is much more saterical, and (I found) critical of media obsession with and glamorization of violence and deviant behavior. Then, ironically, the theatrically released version- where most of the satire and social commentary was edited out- became more like the kinds of films and news stories that Stone was commenting on in a negatively.

I find it interesting that we're still talking about NBK when since then, a whole new genre of torture-porn of the "Saw" and "Hostel" variety has taken media violence to nausiating new levels.

The Pollinatrix said...

Tomb Raider made me take karate because when I watched the special features, Angelina Jolie was talking about how she did all her own stunts, and I thought - how empowering! The human body, when combined with will, can do amazing things - and I felt like I was squandering that gift.

Haha - long skinny arms. Come to think of it, NBK made me want to move to New Mexico, which I ended up doing. I now live in the town where the "wedding" scene was shot.

Lily Cate - I wasn't aware of that, about the director's cut. I'll have to check that out.

My students and I actually talk about how tame that movie seems, compared to the level Tarantino and others have taken it since then.

The reason we use that movie is because of the article Grisham wrote and the rebuttal Stone responded with. Both are horribly written and we have a lot of fun tearing them apart, logical fallacy-wise.

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ so, you're a martial arts expert! I took karate as a teenager but stopped before I got any good, I like the idea of kick-boxing now but think I might damage myself.

Lily Cate ~ I'll look out for the director's cut of NBK, it sounds very much worth seeing.

I hadn't even heard of 'torture porn' but it sounds like something I need to know about so will do a bit of scouting around. I'm pretty sure I won't be able to watch any though.

Polli ~ after my mother died (in 2006) I took up trampolining, and then running, after years of being pretty sedentary. The difference it's made to me in terms of stamina, strength and overall fitness is great in itself, but it's the difference it's made to my intellectual capacity, and stamina, that is truly astonishing. So I know what you mean.

I now must search out the Grisham-Stone dialogue for the fallacies alone!

The Pollinatrix said...

I just started running myself. It's great.

The college reader that I use has both articles in an older edition, but the newer ones only have Stone's because Grisham asked to have his removed. He was arguing to sue movies, and I guess it didn't go over very well. I think he actually had a court case that he lost over this.

Kim Ayres said...

A superb post, Eryl. Sadly my attempt at trying to come up with ideas met with a complete and utter blank. And the more I thought about it, the blanker I became.

But I really enjoyed your take on this :)

Eryl Shields said...

Polli ~ I love running and am missing it at the moment due to my recent operation, but I'm thinking of trying it again this week.

Kim ~ you mean you are sure you haven't taken up photography due to having watched Blow Up as a teenager?

Glad you enjoyed it. I could probably have named another ten films, at least, that have had some small but concrete influence, usually regarding appearance. For example, I got a cow hide rug after watching Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.