beccavox: (butch and sundance)
Last night, Annie and I went to see a special viewing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Paducah. I've seen it a million times, but never on the big screen, so I convinced her to go with me. She hadn't seen it since our college days (so quite a long time ago), and, to be honest, I hadn't seen the second half of the movie in years.

I watched it not too long ago, before Christmas, I think. But as soon as the outlaws have escaped the pursuit by Joe LeFors and Lord Baltimore, I turned the tv off and found something else to do. You see (Spoilers for a film that came out in 1969), that's when Butch and Sundance decide to go to Bolivia, along with Etta Place. And that's where they eventually die.

I was only two years old when the movie was released, but it would be broadcast on television when I was around nine or ten. I watched it with my Mom and Dad, thrilled that I was allowed to stay up late and watch a grown-up movie. That is, I was thrilled until the end.

Butch and Sundance have just robbed a courier in the jungle and escaped with their money and their mule. At a local village they stop for food but have their identities discovered by a young boy. The local police begin a gun fight that escalates quickly with many policeman killed and both outlaws wounded. And here's where it gets tough for me. While Butch and Sundance bicker with each other in the safety of a small cafe, the militia arrives and lines soldiers with rifles one after the other. Butch asks if Sundance saw Lefors among the men shooting at them. Sundance says no, and Butch, leaning against a wall for balance from his wounds says, "Oh, good. For a moment there I thought we were in trouble." The film ends with a still shot of the two charging out in their last stand with continued sounds of gunshots as the camera pans away from the outlaws.

And that first time I watched the movie, I felt sick to my stomach. My mother commented that she always hated the ending as she got up to go to bed. Dad stayed up, as he often did, watching the news and anything else until the stations would go off the air. I went to bed, but my little brain kept going over the final moments of that movie. I got up and padded to the living room, stood next to my father's chair and asked, "Did they get away?"

"No, they didn't," he said. "You saw all those soldiers."

"But maybe they got to the horses..." I hoped.

"Nope."

"Or all their guns jammed at the same time and that let them get away," I pleaded.

"No. You know that wouldn't happen." Dad was always pragmatic.

"So they died?"

"Yeah, baby. They died."

I must have looked like I would burst into tears (I've cried plenty of times while watching the movie even as an adult), because Dad added, "But they did a lot of things when they were alive."

"Yeah, I guess." I said goodnight to my father, kissed him, and he quietly told me to get to bed, it was way past my bedtime. And I lay there, thinking about Butch and Sundance, hoping that no one I knew would ever die that way.

I cried at the movie last night even though I knew death was coming. I cried because Butch and Sundance are like old friends who I hate to lose. I cried because my Dad isn't here anymore; I can't ask him about the end of the film. I cried because I'm older than both Newman and Redford when they filmed the movie. I cried because I couldn't imagine being in that situation with my best friend and losing her.

I'll watch the movie a million more times (I hope), and I'll probably continue to stop the DVD before they head south. I don't want to think about Bolivia.
beccavox: (I'm too old)
While it's apparent that LiveJournal has turned into a large empty pit, this seems like as good a place as any to start writing again...slowly...we wouldn't want anyone to get hurt by just jumping in and rattling off a good story or two.

So, it's time to reminisce about important things in life. Namely, Mad Max.

My father and I made it our New Year's Eve tradition. There would be a few rousing games of Trivial Pursuit with both Mom and Dad (and Dad and I would grumble if Mom actually won a round); He would usually accuse me of reading the questions beforehand if I won. And then we'd eat some popcorn, Mom would go to bed, and Dad and I would settle in to watch The Road Warrior. While he and I both agreed that the first Mad Max had merit, it was the second film that we both loved. Even though it was filled with violence, there was something weirdly hopeful about people who were still fighting to keep a certain way of life. The first time we watched it together, neither of us knew the twist: Max was driving a tanker full of sand, and not oil. There have been nerd arguments raised on both sides -- was Max in on the con? Dad and I decided that he wasn't. He wouldn't have sacrificed so much and driven so far if he knew that he was a pawn in the game. But Max didn't seem to be too upset about the events. It was just another day, another car chase.

I saw Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in the theater when it was first released. I loved it immediately and told my Dad all about it when I got home. He hated going to see a movie in the theater, so we had to wait until the VHS release. I think I loved watching him watch the movie more than I enjoyed it myself. He laughed, cheered, and shook his head at the ending, "He just can't catch a break, can he?" No, I offered, he couldn't.

We'd repeat quotes to each other from both films from time to time. Dad would talk about how he wanted to build a car like Max's Interceptor and race it across the Outback. We talked seriously about going to Australia to just see what the Outback looked like even without a crazy car chase. And, of course, there was the ringing in of the New Year, when Max left with his tanker of sand, would remind us that sometimes, life bites you in the ass.

Dad was diagnosed with cancer in the late 90s, and one day we were talking about Australia. I'd heard a rumor that they were making another Mad Max film. He smiled, "That would be cool." Yeah, it would.

He's been gone for almost thirteen years now, and I have tickets to go see Mad Max:Fury Road tomorrow night with Annie. I hope that it's all that the early hype says it will be. I know that if it's anything near what The Road Warrior was, I'll be entertained. But I also know that during the extra long car chase, the insane stunts, and the world of Max, I'll be missing my Dad and wishing he'd built that car that we could race to the sunset of a slightly better world.

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August 2016

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