The Bad Movie Report

Evidence of a Decaying Mind

The Sixth Anniversary Sense

Six years. Huh.

Anybody here been around since the Fortune City days? Really? By all means, have a little something from the Leftover Halloween Bowl. I sure don't need any of it.

So I've been scarce for a while. Some of you have even been nice enough to ask why. Since this space has often served more as a recap of where I am in my life, rather than the site's accomplishments (not so many this year, but a special thanks to all you newcomers who took the time to write and serve me up a much-needed ego boost), I suppose an explanation is in order.

I got old.

Yes, you are likely saying, Doc, you always complain that you're old. Aren't you used to it by now?

Well, that's kinda the point.

Contract labor is a notoriously spotty thing; earlier this year, I was hired by a local theater to direct a children's show. You may snicker or gawp, but I used to do this quite a lot; I'm good at it. I largely gave up theater to be around for my boy's early childhood, and this production was my entrée back into that particular world. Perfect show to get my sea legs back, too, with only four actors to worry about.

As rehearsals were ready to gear up, one of my actors was offered a job with Cirque de Soleil. And for some reason he felt that employment with an internationally recognized troupe was preferable to stage time at a small regional theatre. Go figure.

In any case, his role was fairly small, and having nothing else on the job books for the next six weeks, I took over the part. Hey, in this business, a steady paycheck for six weeks is a very tasty carrot on a very short stick.

So. The show opens, and is quite successful. Very very successful. Three shows a day, six days a week successful. Now, I tend toward the physical in my comedy and directing. No problem for my actors, all twenty-somethings in good shape. Ah, but myself, well….

At the end of the first week, I was walking across stage, just walking across the stage, mind you now, when I felt the soft pop in my knee and felt the line of pain shoot down and then back my leg to my brain. Oh, hell.

Now, at most gatherings, I am made obvious by the cane I carry, a legacy from a major auto accident back in the 80s (exacerbated by a Lon Chaney self-torture stint as Long John Silver, but that's another story). Over the last couple of years, I'd been getting much stronger, to the point where I was doing without the crutch. Walked over much of New Orlean's French Quarter with it folded up in my wife's bag, just in case. Met Joe Opposable Thumb Films Bannerman at Hobby Airport for a brief layover, unencumbered by cane. (To my eternal shame, when he commented on my lack of prop, I did not have the snap to shout, "Mein Fuehrer! I can VALK!!!")

My ambulatory nature was likely due to the fact that, when I finally bought a house (one-fifteenth mine, as of last month), it had two stories. Having to walk up a flight of stairs to get to my computer and bed had a strengthening effect.

Ah, but therein lies the pitfall to my sudden re-crippling: the stairs. Stairs were once again my nemesis – and this time, it looks like they always will be – But it quickly became clear that going up or down them was now such an ordeal that whichever floor was my destination, I was staying there for a while. No trotting upstairs for a quick peek in at the B-Movie Message Board. No running downstairs for a quick snack because I was writing and had forgotten to eat lunch. No quick anything, in fact.

With the re-crippling came an almost inevitable depression. Not only due to mundane things like still being contractually obligated to finish the show (accomplished by dint of knee braces, Ibuprofen, and re-blocking), or forcing my geriatric lawn mower and stiff, groaning body to mow the yard one more time (my Home Owner's Association and I have a relationship roughly equivalent to that of Palestine and Israel), but there was also a deeper line of black running down into the depths of my soul.

It was very clear I wasn't bouncing back from this in a week or two, or even a month or two, and this led to a startling revelation. It's a joke, how old I am in the company I usually keep around these parts, people ten, fifteen, twenty years younger than myself. If I had been more of a ladies' man, I could be the father of some of you. I've been saying "I'm not getting any younger" for some time now. This time it was hammered home to me that I'm also getting older. There is a difference. Not getting younger, yeah, okay. No more acne, don't get carded for booze, you actually think about things like school bonds. Older on the other hand, that's bad. That means decay, debilitation and the fact that there are things you simply can't do anymore. Ever.

That's a profound, life-altering moment, having your mortality hit you in the face like a bag of railroad spikes. It produced one of those funks where you ask yourself What the hell am I doing? And why the hell am I doing it? What have I accomplished? What do I have to show for all this?

And suddenly it occurs to you that this must be that Mid-Life Crisis thing you've heard so much about.

So that's what it's all about! Having the concept of old age and eventual death move from the abstract into the concrete. Hell, why didn't they just say so, instead of dressing it up in psycho-babble? I might have been a little better prepared. (I'm lying, of course. I was still twenty years old and bulletproof in my head before this happened)

Buying a red Ferrari was rather beyond my means, not to mention my credit rating, so I bought a Gameboy Advance instead. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, incidentally, rules.

But another of the side-effects of the soul-searching (nope, still haven't found it) and the enforced separation from the computer was the realization of how much time I was not spending with my family, but was instead receiving an anti-tan from my computer monitor. The was reinforced by a recent tragedy on the BMMB, and I realized that situation had to change.

Another effect of the depression had to do with old, old feelings I had about the Net, exacerbated by the deep, dark place I found myself. I've never liked the way anonymity gives rise to puerile behavior and displays of outright, naked hatred; I've grown to loathe the automatic nay-saying and hip cynical posturing by self-proclaimed misanthropes who do not have a fraction of the life experience true misanthropy requires. Most places on the Web are like being trapped in a room full of teenagers, all haughtily trying to establish their maturity by their universal disdain and inability to describe anything they don't like in less than apocalyptic terms. Well, come to think of it, most of them probably are roomfuls of teenagers, but that only underscores the fact that I have, in fact, become a middle-aged man and old fogey. My Gameboy Advance and collection of Chemical Brothers and Rob Zombie notwithstanding.

I've started coming back, somewhat. Returned, however sporadically, to my duties as moderator at the BMMB (hello, old friends); it, the other B-Masters sites and are about the only places I care to visit anymore (and that likely because I avoid the forums at Fark). I used to watch two or three movies a week. I watched maybe three movies in the entire month of October.

I'm afraid this entry doesn't have a very strong ending, simply because I have no idea where things are going, and what shape my life will take. I've taken on a new job as a salesman, despite the fact that I suck at sales, simply trying to wreak some change into the stony strata into which my existence has reified. Will I write again for the BMR? Certainly. I just can't tell you when. Hopefully soon.

Ha! Heard that before, haven't you? Psych!



- November 8, 2003