I've spent most of my life being annoyed by pretentious hipsters who almost pathologically lie when you ask them what movies/music they've been enjoying lately. They usually pull the most obscure local synth pop band that opened for New Order once in 1984, or some indie doc they claim they saw at some Palestinian film festival that never happened. In reality.........they've mostly just been listening to Jay-Z and watching America's Got Talent like everyone else. Maybe it's genetic, maybe it's habit, but they've developed this skill for building up their own legend with white lies.
I don't have that. At all.
Maybe it's out of spite of the aforementioned hipsters that I hate, but if you ask me what I've been watching and listening to lately, I'm gonna fucking tell you. For better or worse. Like now, I'll tell you straight up the last movie I watched was Land of the Lost with Will Ferrel (which I thought was hilarious), and as I type I've been listening to Cocteau Twins and Morrissey solo albums. The entire time. Pretty gay, right? See? You're already calling me a loser in your heads. Silently judging me. Even the name of this post came from Morrissey lyrics. So why the hell did I tell the truth? I could have said anything. I could have just as easily told you the last movie I watched was some newly restored Kurosawa masterpiece, and while I was typing I was listening to a Bob Dylan/Iggy Pop jam session bootleg that nobody knew existed but me (mainly because I just invented it, but also because it's INCREDIBLY RARE).
But I didn't. And that is the textbook definition of "honest to a fault". White lies can clearly help you look cool, but for some dumb reason I choose to opt out of coolness in the name of some misguided integrity.
I watch the Turner Classic Movie channel. A lot. And not in some nostalgic "they don't make 'em like they used to!" kinda way. We've already established that I think post-Anchorman Will Ferrel movies are funny. Trust me, I don't own any high horses. I just watch a shitload of movies and have absolutely no filter for what is acceptable viewing. Old, new, foreign, whatever. It's all worth a try. And my late discovery of the miracle that is DVR technology has only made this unhealthy obsession worse. I'll press record on pretty much anything that sounds halfway interesting or features Sidney Poitier. The sad fact is that this means I end up watching an uncomfortable amount of musicals every month. I don't know if Ted Turner just has a soft spot for motherfuckers tap-dancing in kilts or what, but the regular programming schedule for any given week on TCM will lead you to believe that roughly 83% of all movies released from 1929 to 1959 were sweeping set-piece musicals.
Don't get me wrong...........not all of them are terrible. Road to Bali for instance, the old Bing Crosby/Bob Hope comedy, is pretty hilarious and dumb and I watch it anytime it's on. And I don't think anyone who's actually seen Singing In the Rain could bring themselves to say anything bad about it. It's a legitimate classic. But still............there's really no cool way to tell someone the last movie you watched involved choreographers and costumes. And yet, I put myself in that position more often than anyone should.
Most recently, I saw an old musical on TCM starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy called "New Moon". It's about a French revolutionary who escapes on a ship headed for New Orleans posing as a petty criminal to be sold into slavery. Falls in love with a wealthy debutante who owns a plantation. Becomes her man-servant in New Orleans. Reveals his identity when the French come looking for him. Leads a slave revolt. I know, it sounds boring. But it's really a fucking awesome movie, I promise. Well written, funny, action packed. There's one scene deep in the Louisiana swamp where Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald are singing to eachother romantically, and outta nowhere they get interrupted by this weird voodoo ritual involving slaves dancing around an ancient tree and calling to dead spirits, and it all can very easily be taken as racist or a product of the time in which the movie was made (1940)............but really it's a beautiful and haunting scene, no matter how you slice it.
Anyway, so it was a great movie and I enjoyed it. The next day at work (and remember, I'm in the military, I don't work in some curtain store where this kinda shit is acceptable) a friend of mine says "Hey Mike, you have pretty good taste in movies, what's the last one you watched?" Instead of doing what I should have done, which was lie my ass off, I said "Oh, last night I watched this one called New Moon". He says, "What.........that fucking Twilight vampire movie?" I had totally forgot that was even a thing. Never seen those movies. So I quickly corrected him, "Hell no, I don't watch that bullshit. No, this is an old movie from the 40's I saw on TCM, a musical about the french revolution." No sooner did the words leave my mouth than I realized this made me seem a million times gayer than if I HAD been watching Twilight, and had been literally drooling over Robert Pattinson in a room full of teenage girls. While licking an oversized candy lollipop.
So my mid-year's resolution is to be a liar from now on. And next time when you ask me what I'm listening to on my Ipod and I tell you Black Sabbath or Clipse, please don't grab the headphones and call me on it, cuz neither of us will feel comfortable when the truth comes out.