For years we have done this thing where we would have entire conversations using dialog from movies or tv shows. I've been trying, but cannot remember, how that started. I have a vague niggling that The Streets of San Francisco, Withnail and I and Crime Story were somehow involved.
In much the same way games children invent evolve at random and have weird, complicated rules, that's how this worked. We never said And Now We Will Talk In Movie. There was always a trigger within the conversation that would launch us into it, and once running we'd try to stay within the same emotional/topical vibe. We'd continue talking about whatever we were talking about, just through other people's words. When you're talking movie you bring to the conversation all the emotional and situational nuance of the scene you're using. Invoking Adina Watson cues a very different set of meaning than invoking Barbarella, for example.
In a way it's shorthand, but in another way you can at times get a little deeper because you're speaking at multiple levels. On the other hand, talking in movie can also be a shield as the approach can be easily be used as an avoidance tool. It's tricky, particularly when we'd find ourselves mainly trying to stump each other.
A firm rule of talking movie is genre has to match genre. It was okay to answer a television line with a movie line so long as both works came from the same genre. Another firm rule was no Star Wars. There were also overlays, such as the Nora Ephron and the David Mamet. Overlays tend to be writers or directors; though a few actors would be used, it was an extremely rare happening. In general overlays tended to trend, though Ephron and Mamet remained constants, along with Chris Carter.
Have a feeling I'm doing a sucky job explaining this. Say we were talking about one of his exes and he said Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. I could not respond with Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny. Anything else would be a waste of material, because the genres don't match. It would be appropriate for me to respond with Empathy was yesterday. Today you're wasting my motherfucking time, or maybe with What kind of saint hides in a church? I could let either of those responses stand as is, carrying over their source implications. Or I could add an overlay to either of them, an action that keeps the source implication while tacking on a mood/landscape query or statement. Take the line from On the Waterfront. What kind of saint hides in a church (O-NE) is asking/stating something a quite different than What kind of saint hides in a church (O-DM). The overlay for the first probably signals "in the end all will be fine," while the overlay for the other is ... well the other one is Mamet.
Hmn. It probably still doesn't make sense. Oh well.
Talking movie is an enormously difficult thing to do, especially during a live conversation, but it's also a lot of fun. Once the situation got to the point where our primary method of having longer chats was via email or IM, we found ourselves using longer script chunks. (Because we're the sort of people who enjoy reading scripts, we both had a pile in the house, and with a little bit of effort stuff you want to read but not own can be found on the internet.) But we got to feel that this was cheating, particularly when we got to a point where we were saying things like Heat, p.37. We went back to limiting ourselves to specificity, and, when possible, no looking it up.
Talking in movie is one of the things I miss so very much. I'm going to retire the concept because I don't ever want to do it with anyone else. Though I don't need it anymore, someone else might find it useful and/or fun, so I'm sharing it here.
We also had this thing where we'd spot ourselves in movies and television, usually looking for ourselves as a set, but sometimes spotting us as individuals. Once I finally got around to getting the Deadwood dvds, I was maybe halfway through the second episode when I hit the speed dial and spazzed fuck! they put us in a Western but they made us white! i mean they made *me* white and they made *you* more white! before he could get out the "hello?" We'd never been in a western before and were very excited.
Since I don't have cable and my preference is to watch tv on dvd an entire season at a time, most tv shows he saw well before I got around to them. Unlike movies, it can take me a while to get around to a tv show. What actually got me off my butt with Deadwood was when his patience ran out and he told me we're in it, more than we've been in anything else in quite a while. He wouldn't tell me who we were, just said it was obvious. It was freaky how much Jane and Charlie is us, even more so than Pembelton and Bayliss is us. (Technically, in Homicide we were closer to Munch and Crosetti, but since those two were not partners by the Rules they couldn't count as us.)
Though we're in Deadwood as a set, he's the only one in there as an individual. (The formula for individual representation is complicated, with the root being it's not which character you want to be in an ego/fantasy sense, but which one you actually are.) He claimed to see himself most in Star, but his affinity for that character stemmed more from a Die Whitey motivation than reality. This is a Major Triple Dog Dare Violation Of The Rules. Thus it was my Duty to explain to him why Cochran is so him it's freakish, until he eventually caved and the balance of the universe was restored. That took a few weeks, and I'm convinced that his resistance was just getting back at me for our battle over Collateral. My position was we're not in it as a set or individuals. His response is best summarized as "me? No. But fuck if YOU'RE not."
Occasionally I'd tease him that the crazy ass preacher Smith was also dangerously close to his essence.
Been thinking about all this since the Oscar nominations were announced. The Oscars are our Superbowl. We usually start working on our prelim list in early November, getting serious about it after Thanksgiving. To work around him not being able to get to a theater, I would go see and send him the Full Report on the films that were in limited release or came out at the last minute as qualifiers that he thought would be in play.
Phase 1 is what's going to be nominated and that lasts right up until the day of the announcement. We swap lists the day before the announcements so no one can sheat. Phase 2 is the cage match over what/who will win, and we swap those lists the morning of the actual ceremony. Phase 3 is congratulating ourselves or mocking each other/the Academy after the show. Also involved is the ritual of making fun of or admiring the poster. I don't know why the poster is a big deal for us. This year's poster is fabulous! He would have LOVED this one.
I'm not really sure how I'm going to make it through the cermony this year. I do know I'm not going to leave the house or have anyone over, and I'm going to pay lots of attention to the set. I have a thing for the outfits, he has a thing for the set, going into great detail over what was right or wrong about it. I never understood that. The set exists only to best show off the outfits! Different strokes, I guess.