Sunday, November 15, 2009

Justifying Desert Island Needs - I of II

My father (Aba to his children) doesn't re-read books. He doesn't watch favourite movies two and three times at the theatre, never mind renting a movie he has already seen. Like most normal people he wonders why anyone would? After all, you already know what's going to happen.

In a post last month I mentioned this. But I feel it bears elaborating, and a better bit of explaining too.

It's not just that I watched "Inglorious Basterds" thrice in theatres this summer. It's not just that I've read every book translated into English that Haruki Murakami has written, or that I've re-read (and a few times even re-re-read) no less than seven of of his books. No, it's when I read or watch something more than five times that the worrying should begin. (Right, Jon, cause re-reading a book four times is normal!)

As you read this my poor Aba is scratching his head, wondering aloud why his son needs to keep going back again and again and again and ...

I should have known it from the start. Because long before Jhumpa Lahiri and Haruki Murakami, before the John Hughes movies, before Christian Slater and Winona Ryder were together in "Heathers," before I even knew a boy named Holden Caufield there was "The Terminator." From the fluke first R-rated viewing when I was ten (at our cousins place; they had the movie channel; the adults were upstairs), and for the next near decade I must have watched that classic action flick upwards of twenty or thirty or even forty times. (I guess I just never could get over how cool I found it that the bad guy got to be the main guy. I had a thing for bad guys.)

Though as a nearly-teenager I vowed to never outgrow action movies of the 'Bruce Willis Is In Them' variety, and though as a full-blow adolescent "The Breakfast Club" was sure to remain my all-time favourite movie of all time, forever - forever! - some addictions, for better or worse, we get over. The trouble is we tend to just replace one with another.

Salinger remains a more than occasional jones I need to hit. But Murakami, a relatively new fix, I can barely make it through a conversation that even hints at writing, never mind a blog post, without bringing up the poor guy*. I've probably read "Norwegian Wood," the first book I chose to take to my desert island that is Murakami's least surreal and only out and out elegiac love story, at least five or six times since I was introduced to Japan's most famous living writer seven years ago.

In other words, Aba, if the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, it does risk bumping its head a few times after, or rather during, the fall.

To explain my lunacy, then, I offer, The Hamburger Defence.

I offer it here.

*In her ever gentle way, Ai has recommended that I take a break from Mr. Murakami for a while. I've surprisingly rather agreeably consented to take a short sabbatical. Even arty addictions, it turns out, can be rather unhealthy. (And ok, it was kind of my idea in the first place to take the break, but Ai's mentioning it kind of hammered the point home in my wee head).


  1. What's the appeal of The Terminator? I have not watched it yet.

  2. Well, that really depends who you're asking. 12 year-old me would have said: everything! He would have told you how cool it was, how bad-ass it was (though he may not have learned that lingo for a few years yet), that the bad guy has all that power. Kids like the ones with power. The Terminator had power.

    Receding hairline me would say, it's still a really really good movie but only if you are interested in that kind of thing, action, destruction, images of a dystopic (is that a word?) future.

    It's not something I'd go and rent. But maybe that's just because I've worn it that thin. Cause I would re-rent The Dark Knight, and maybe that's a modern equivalent, of a bad-ass big budget dark themed hell of a ride of a movie.

  3. I will try The Transformer one day. I enjoyed The Dark Knight greatly, by the way. It has Christian Bale in it! --- Christian Bale!

  4. lol. don't you dare rent The Transformers!

  5. Sorry, I meant to say The Terminator. I must sound quite stupid.

    But is The Transformers very bad? 'Don't you dare rent The Transformers!', you said. I have watched neither The Terminator nor The Transformers.


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