“All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside. It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.”
Re-watching “Return of the Jedi” (1983) as an adult makes the scene where Luke burns the body of his father stand out as the true climax of the original trilogy- the culmination of Luke’s journey. While it may seem tragic that sister Leia wasn’t there beside him, this was something Luke had to do alone. After all, it was only Luke who saw the human face of his father and felt his humanity- and aside from the situational limitations of the movie’s plot, only Luke would have ever been able to understand his father on that level. Luke delivering his father’s funeral was his final rite of passage into manhood, and the true return of the Jedi.
Every man will have to bury his father, but will every man have understood his father when the time comes? The evolution of a man’s relationship with his father mirrors Luke’s struggle with Vader throughout the course of Star Wars- from not truly knowing him through the inevitable conflict of a young man’s teenage years. If you’re lucky you’ll have a moment where the pieces come together and you see your father as a part of yourself- but not everyone gets there… and, unlike a Hollywood movie, the story may end first.
If the months between high school and college represent a budding sunrise of emerging freedom, the summer between graduate school and real life becomes your last chance at tasting it; time to get sick on Halloween candy because tomorrow is the start of winter. I spent these months on a friend’s couch playing “Mario Baseball” (2005)- I regret nothing.
Video games are meant to be played socially. The long extinct shopping mall arcades of the 1980s were social hotspots buzzing with life as teenagers would crowd around machines watching the cool kids do their thing amongst the flashing lights and buzzing sounds of games like Q*Bert and Centipede, telling their own kind big fish tales of forgotten high scores; “…if only they’d left the Frogger machine plugged in, then you’d see…”
Consoles were originally packaged with two controllers for this very reason- video games were meant to be played together. In fact, a two-player mode was so important to the programmer who ported “Pac-Man” (1982) to the Atari 2600 that he mistakenly sacrificed game quality and playability to accommodate the game’s social aspect, producing an atrocious home-version and ultimately killing the market until the rise of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985- a console which also came packed with two controllers.
“If you take a thing apart or modify it, there are certain aspects which must remain intact for it to retain its identity. Without certain parts, it becomes something else.”
So it’s a lazy Sunday night, I did my dishes, tidied up, and I’ve got some time to kill. Time to hunker down in front of my TV and let the clown and puppet show melt my brain when it occurs to me- it’s a pay-per-view Sunday, brother!
The pro-wrestling pay-per-view Sunday was a highlight of my childhood. Months of intricate story lines, peppered with plot twists, met with my own, personal, mental preparation for the big day which would ultimately culminate in…. nothing. My parents weren’t going pay for a play-fighting television show (“pay for TV!?”).
But those times when I carefully wore away their resolve with begging and pleading- usually with highly detailed explanations of all the moments that led to this happening, where on this particular Sunday night everything would be coming to a head, and nothing would ever be the same in the entire world (wrestling federation).
I needed to be in front of my aging 27″ to take it all in… and those times where they yielded to my lust for staged grappling were fucking beautiful.
“You give me a good whore house every time. A guy can go in an’ get drunk and get ever’thing outa his system all at once, an’ no messes”- George Milton, Of Mice and Men
Compared to male sexuality, female sexuality is surprisingly linear. While it’s true that men enjoy the typical signs of youthful fertility- large breasts, curvaceous hips, clear skin- a man’s attraction to a woman must be tempered by a sense of realistic accessibility. “The girl next door” archetype is sexy because she isn’t intimidating; she’s unaware of how sexy she truly is and this makes her accessible.
Female sexuality is more linear because women don’t feel indebted to accessibility as a component of attraction; for a woman, this would be like going to a movie and wondering, “do I deserve to be here watching this movie?” Since women don’t have this concern, a woman can feel entirely unencumbered with whom she’s most attracted to- which inevitably is the highest-quality male in any scenario.
However, defining highest quality male isn’t always what it seems.
Part of the beauty of Shane Carruth’s Primer lies in its alienating density. Carruth doesn’t care if you don’t get it; nothing about Primer is inviting or accessible. You will not understand Primer the first time through, repeated viewings are necessary. Even with a timeline walk through, Primer is conceptually intimidating.
Unlike most films, the thematics of Primer are hiding in plain sight. The challenge of Primer is following the details of the plot.
When I sat down to watch Primer again with the idea in mind of writing about it, I decided to ignore the time-travel elements. Chuck Klosterman had already written an excellent essay on Primer’s time-travel and I’m unsure if there’s anything left to be said on the topic.
So, this time around, I pushed through the fantastically constructed physics and focused the characters.
I was shocked to find an entirely new movie emerge.