I'm probably the last person in America who hasn't seen Stand by Me, so on Wednesday, when I saw it at the public library, I grabbed it. Yesterday, I watched it. Then I wanted to see River Phoenix a bit more grown up, so I watched Running on Empty.
Both films hold up well. I remember showing Running on Empty to students a few years ago, and being a bit shocked at how much history I had to explain to them. I paired the movie with the documentary Weather Underground, and I wanted them to write about which one worked better, a true-story documentary or a made up story based on truth. The assignment should have worked, but it really didn't, in part, I suspect because I was more interested in the subject matter than they'll ever be. Or maybe I should have tried it again.
It was interesting to see all those various actors at much younger points in their lives, including a very young Keifer Sutherland, before he became a vampire in Lost Boys and later a special agent in 24. It was interesting to see how the themes wove their ways throughout the films. And of course, that theme of love and loss, who you can count on and who you can't, that theme was even more bittersweet considering that River Phoenix would be dead of a drug overdose not that many years later.
Sure, we could have gone outside and been more active. But I feel like I've been going and going and going this summer. It was nice to take an afternoon, do some cooking and settle down for some movies.
And let me just sing the value of the public library, which I've sung before and which I will again. When we thought we might be stuck inside for awhile because of hurricane Irene, my spouse and I headed over and checked out an armful of books and DVDs. Since we were at a smaller branch, we couldn't check out other things that we could have at larger branches, like artwork or music (both the recorded and the sheet music kind). Linda Holmes writes eloquently about the value of libraries here, and I couldn't agree with her more.
I won't be watching My Own Private Idaho, despite the title of my blog post. I watched it once, and that was more than enough. It's time for my River Phoenix festival to end, time to head back to work and regular life. Regular life--what is that exactly? Each week at work since July has brought more surprises than the next, and some of them have been unpleasant, to the point that I'm a bit wary. Regular life--yes, I'd like to be back to a regular life that's free of bad news about numbers and cancellations and impending storms of doom and other catastrophic weather. Yes, regular boring life--that sounds good to me right now.