Every third episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation was about dreams. It fit right in with the egocentric, touchy-feely, “End of History” haze that was the 90s. Bad TV (like Star Trek) fed on a lack of world-changing events, so that even a show set in outer-space turned inward, with whole episodes where people slept. In an episode called “The Inner Light”, one character lives out an entire lifetime in a dream; marrying, raising children, growing old…only to wake. This plotline is dreamt-up again in Leonardo Dicaprio’s new movie, Inception. In both cases, dreams offer me-time. It’s just that – in Inception – Leo’s job is breaking into heads.
I wonder what confession would have been like with Martin Scorsese. (Legend has it he almost became a priest.) I picture myself (a good Catholic boy) confessing to some venial sin, and Father Scorsese…socking me in the jaw. He’d get my attention, no two ways about it. His sermons, doubtless, would be filled with anguished, sweaty, febrile saints. There’d be a lot of talk of blood, tough words on redemption. All the altar boys would look like Ray Liotta. By God, I’d be transfixed. As a director, Scorsese is Catholic the way Papal shoes are Catholic (N.B. the Pope’s shoes look like matador slippers). Marty’s new movie is for people who can pardon indulgence.
Someday they’ll make a movie about the making of Titanic; an epic story of love and disaster, with an ice-berg called James Cameron and two plucky leads named Kate and Leo. Audiences will gasp at the scale of hubris involved in making a two hundred million dollar movie – and thrill to watch Kate and Leo battle ice-berg Cameron… braving PCP in the clam chowder, sub-zero waters and the shoot to end all careers! The movie will have a happy ending; Kate and Leo survive. But what will future audiences make of us – their forebears – will they grasp why we loved this movie so?
Love comes skipping and life makes a fist. So be careful. The new movie Revolutionary Road is about a woman (not a couple, as some reviews may claim) who life kicks the shit out of. Her tragedy is romance; she wants life, but she gets married. Not that the movie is anti-marriage, or that the man she marries isn’t good to her; worse, it’s that she isn’t someone who should be married. Love fools her the way it fools everyone who winds up miserable or divorced, by saying: love will solve everything. But love is only the solution to wanting love. If you want something else…someone has to give.