1 How did you first come to see this movie?
I heard of this movie while I was doing the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die project. There are probably about a dozen of these movies that I was introduced to that way.
2 What makes it a movie worth owning?
That is what I am hoping to find out. Because, according to my memory, there doesn’t seem much that would make me want to keep it. I may have been impulsive. Or maybe there is something I am forgetting. It may have been remarkable. But a lot of other movies that I watched around this time stand out much more strongly that I don’t own. Such as Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket.
3 What are your favorite parts?
The only thing I remember is that it starts out with Harry Dean Stanton walking through the desert, refusing to talk./ (from after) I liked the part when he becomes the rich father and he walks his estranged son home from across the street and the son copies the way he walks.
4 What do you relate to in the movie?
I’ll have to answer this after the movie./ One of my interests is elective mutism. I used to spend days without talking to anyone. I think there were definitely things in this movie I could relate to. I’m not sure if I feel like delving into them.
5 Who is your favorite character and why?
I only remember Harry Dean Stanton. I know someone picks him up (I think it is Dean Stockwell, which is funny because I always get their names mixed up) and he looks for his estranged wife who might be working at a strip club?
6 How did this movie make you feel?
I’m guessing sad. And alone. Probably a lot of the movies I decided to keep made me feel that way at the time. Like, less alone in my solitude because of camaraderie with lonely characters in a movie, which reinstated my irl aloneness.
After the movie
1 How accurate were your memories of this movie?
Well, they were accurate in that I didn’t remember much of it. I had the basic idea, but not the scope or depth.
2 How much had you forgotten?
I forgot the emotions, the long empty roads. I felt a much closer kinship or affinity for the son this time around. Here is this boy who has been abandoned by his parents and adopted by extended family. And then suddenly his father reappears and wants to be in his life and reconnect him to his mother. There is a connection there. No matter how fucked up your parents may be, you still expect them to be better people than you are, to have their shit more together. You expect them to be wiser, to be able to help you. And sometimes they can’t or aren’t.
3 Do you still like this movie?
Oh, it’s sad. I think it is sadder than when I first watched it even.
4 Did you have any new feelings or experiences?
After he tells his lost love their story and reminds her of himself, she looks through the one-way mirror, and he looks back, his face superimposed over her face. He says, “If you turn the light off, will you see me?” And she says, “I don’t know. I never tried.” This moment is both simple and profound. “Do you see me?” he says. “Do you recognize me?”
5 What is the take-away?
There is this promise, of movies, of life, that it will all work out. And sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it comes close, and the only way to make it work out to any degree is by sacrificing your share of it.
6 How do you think watching the movie impacted/ will impact your future actions if at all?
It probably didn’t affect what happened to me, but in retrospect it feels very informative about certain decisions about the quality of life and choosing with whom to spend one’s life.