Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Road to Hell

"And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap..."

Henry V, St. Crispin's Day Speech

But what if you were lying abed and could only remember lying abed?

You know that scene in "Tombstone" where Kurt Russell keeps saying "no" over and over again as he plods forward into a muddy brown river, through smoke and bullets, into what appears to be imminent death?

It's kinda like the "I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore" scene in Network - only with less whining and a lot more personal commitment*. Anyway...

Kurt (Wyatt Earp) is pinned down with his men in a crossfire, and it looks like they're pretty much toast, when he rises up, righteous and indignant - and by force of personal will alone (plus a mantra of "no's") (well, okay, and two pistols a-blazin') single-handedly dispatches and disperses his adversaries.

Yeah, it's pretty much the stock, prototypical post-Leone epic western myth. And yet...

It plays. At least for me. Due in part, to the reaction of his compatriots.**

"Where's Wyatt at?" says one. Down by the river, comes the response.

"Most likely walking on it" says Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer).

Incidentally, I'm not a huge fan of Kilmer - maybe because he's a little too... precocious perhaps - but this is one of my all time favorite movie roles and he's the reason why.***

But I digress. The point?

Ah yes.

Today's the day. The day of no.

Or maybe it's the day of yes, but I don't want to by lying abed at some future date, reflecting on a misspent youth (or at least not oldth) of... well, lying abed.

Let Hamlet contemplate the slings and arrows.

I say no.

Or was it yes?


*Which was a turning point in American Culture, I think - not necessarily a good one - where it became not only okay to express outrage, but expected and even cool.
**Acting is after all, the art of not only "action" but "reaction" - without it, you get that whole, tree falling in the forest scenario.
*In fact I pretty much ripped off his interp to do a role in NY, but that's a whole 'nother story.

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