A few hours ago I took my friend Lauren to the California Theatre in Berkeley, which, as much as I hate Berkeley, is the best theater in the Bay Area. It’s weird and old and nicely kept up and before the movie starts an usher walks down the aisle and quietly announces that there will be fifteen minutes of previews before the feature begins. It’s old fashioned in way that doesn’t seem quaint or put-on—it’s just a nicer way of doing things that most of the world has forgotten about or decided was unnecessary or whatever.
I had been trying to take Lauren to this theater for weeks. . . . Several times a month my brother McCune and I, feeling like garbage, will decide to go see a movie there thirty minutes before it starts. It’s a great thing: to spontaneously decide on a Tuesday night that you’d like to see a movie, and you don’t really care what it is as long as you get to see it. Usually there are only three or four people in the place, most of them older, most of them alone . . . and you just sort of chill out with your popcorn or whatever and let the thing go inside you. It is darkness and time alone and there are deliberate images projected on a screen and most of the time they’re good images.
Anyway: she said, “I’d love to see a movie with you” and I said “Oh boy!” and so I took her. We saw The Dance of Reality, which is Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first film in 23 god darn years. Man I had a good time. I would have let that movie go on forever if it had wanted to. But I reckon 130 minutes is what it took for that dude to say what he wanted to say.
. . . actually I have forgotten what it is I wanted to say. I have forgotten why I began to write this. I guess it doesn’t matter.
Maybe to say that, during the film, I thought that it was sad and weird and beautiful that I needed this thing to make me feel OK. And that the only reason death is “bad” is because once a thing is gone it is, as far as we know, gone forever. And sometimes we miss a thing so much because we can’t keep it here with us and we can’t go with it where it is going—at least not yet. And even then there is no guarantee. Not even a trace of one. Who knows.
“God does not exist. You die and you rot.”
The Dance of Reality: ★★★★ (out of four)
Lauren the Human Being: ★★★★ (out of four)
(Yes, I just rated my friend out of four stars. It was a dumb joke. But seriously: she’s the best person there is. She said to me afterwards: “I’m not sure I liked that movie. It did something to me, for sure. But if there’s anyone I could have watched it with, I’m glad it was you.” Jesus, lady. Thanks.)