Saturday, September 10, 2016

What's the Rumpus?

My Friday night immersion was immediate.

Make no mistake, I could have happily stayed on in my oceanfront room, serenaded by the sound of the waves and listening to stories of growing up on the Outer Banks from the '50s.

How else would I have heard about the "Toot & Tell It," a shabby building just after the right turn off the bridge into Manteo? Let's just say that whatever they were toting to you after you tooted may or may not have been legal.

I'd have loved a few more six-mile beach walks (nearly to the Nags Head Pier from the 15 mile post) with a man who also enjoys an enthusiastic excursion and a few more days of air-drying my bathing suits on the fat wooden dowel over the sliding door to the deck beach bum-style.

It would be greedy to wish for another Chablis-fueled dinner at Steamers, a meal that began with a course requiring an oyster fork, was followed by one necessitating a lobster fork and closed out the evening with a dessert fork.

Goodness knows I'm all about staying up 'till 1 a.m. chatting on the middle deck to candlelight about the connection between "Star Trek" and military service, about how I'll eventually fall into an art installation and not be able to get up and other nonsensical topics.

But eventually life calls, so late in the afternoon, I took one last outdoor shower, packed up and hit the road, determined to make it back for a screening of "Miller's Crossing" at Hardywood, a worthy goal, but one that got temporarily side-tracked when I stopped at Frog Island Seafood for dinner.

So between my late start, my need to feed and my refusal to speed, it turned out that I had not allowed quite enough time to make the Coen Brothers classic without going straight to Hardywood.

This is the point at which you consider that you're dressed more for leaving the beach and a road trip than for going to a screening, but it's too late to do anything but try to root through the used clothing and multiple wet bathing suits in your beach/overnight bag in an attempt to look less like you just stepped off the beach.

The good news is it was dark when I arrived, just as author Tom Dehaven began his scholarly and occasionally rambling introduction to the film and the guy at the front table checked me in, informing me I'd won one of the raffle prizes before even arriving.

My beach casual flew under the radar as I slid into a back seat, eager to take in Dehaven's wealth of film knowledge. Not so everyone. I watched as millennials some people in the audience began squirming or focusing their attention on their phones, completely uninterested in learning anything about the film before seeing it.

Or after, probably, either.

For me, the intro was fascinating because I'd never seen "Miller's Crossing" and, to tell the truth, 1990 was a good while ago and I didn't have a lot of memories of it, so when he began going over source material, scene-by-scene rip-offs, homage explanations and the like, I felt like I'd hit the nerd jackpot.

Like a good film professor, he talked about what the Coens had "swiped" from whom (the plot from one novel, the characters from another), how the entire film paid tribute to gangster films and admonished us to pay attention to sound design, as if we could have missed it when every drip or door closing sounded like it happened directly next to us.

He explained that curtains blowing in the breeze referenced earlier films and signified sex had taken place. Fittingly, when the curtains onscreen began blowing gently, so did the breeze in the Hardywood parking lot.

Following in the grand tradition of Smell-o-vision, this was Wind-o-vision, twice with train whistles to boot.

Even without his protracted explanation, it would've been tough to miss how deeply indebted to classic Hollywood it was with such telling details as a fight poster with the name "Lars Thorwald" from "Rear Window" on it, no doubt a genuflection at the foot of Hitchcock.

Sitting outdoors watching the 26-year old movie in beach clothes felt a little surreal - but hello, it's also the Coen brothers - given that I'd left the ocean and wound up at the brewery only to find myself a winner in absentia of two books from Chop Suey.

As I was just saying the other night, why shouldn't I be happy all the time? Life is good.

No comments:

Post a Comment