So, I’ve got a new phone, and I swear I’m gonna shut up about it. This ain’t about the phone.
BUT… the phone is a gateway to new experiences right now.
It’s got a YouTube App on it, and that led me to do something I normally never do… browse YouTube just to see what’s out there.
It just felt different, seeing those little videos on a phone! Aww, so cute!
So, of all the videos on YouTube, posted from all the available bits in all the world, what do you think random chance brought me to see? What do you think I was finally introduced to, that everyone else in the known universe probably already saw?
If you said “Two girls one cup”, go stand in the corner and wait for the Blair Witch to come get you. Hush.
No, instead I saw a video starring one of my favorite actors of all time, a man I can actually gush about for an hour or more, dancing the night away.
I’m trying to think what I was doing the year that came out, 2000, because this one slipped right by me. I think that was the second year I was truck driving, so I was probably in a rig crossing into Idaho.
Edit: Cassie happened to remind me that I suck at math when my head is full of ache, as it is right now with this cold. I got out of the Marines in ’94, I spent ’95 and ’96 truck driving.
Or, as Cassie put it… if we’re about to have our 10th wedding anniversary in March, and I spent the 2 years before that as her fiance, and the two years before that getting settled into the Twin Cities, how, exactly, could I have been truck driving in 2000?
So, actually, I was just clueless in 2000, not truck driving. I now return you to my previous post, still in progress.
Not a lot of TV in the cab of a truck in the old days.
Christopher Walken. That son of a bitch can dance, yo.
Oh right, you knew that. Like, eleven years ago. Because it won awards from MTV out the wazoo and has become such a massive cultural hit it’s been spoofed multiple places… that I also didn’t see.
When I saw that Fatboy Slim video, I didn’t just see that one performance.
No, I saw shades of every great performance Christopher Walken has been in, that I’ve ever seen.
It brought back in a rush all of those incredible man-crush movie moments in my life, watching Christopher Walken just act his ass off.
The former POW returning a watch to a young man in Pulp Fiction. The mobster interrogating Dennis Hopper in True Romance. Hickey the old west gangster in Last Man Standing (and again with the Bruce Willis), the badass mofo in Suicide Kings, The Deer Hunter, good lord The Deer Hunter.
And of course the performance that stands above them all, Christopher Walken as the Angel Gabriel in the Prophecy. Hey, you don’t think that was his best, sue me.
The Fatboy Slim video reminded me, all in a rush, that Christopher Walken is, for me, one of the true movie legends of my generation. He is an actor whose work defined the way I thought of movies for decades. When I’d think of what was possible in movies, in storytelling on the screen, in the power and majesty and depth and brilliance that could leap from the screen into my brain, Christopher Walken was one of the few actors that led the way for me.
The defining Christopher Walken movie, for me, will always be Brainstorm. That movie, and the possibilities it posed, the imagination it held dear, the bravery in tackling such an impossible topic and trying like hell to present it visually on screen… that set the tone of all movies for me. It didn’t have to be about dropping some quick film to make a fast buck, it could be about something more. That was the standard to strive for. Brainstorm, and Walken, showed me that movies could take a chance and really try and explore something massive.
The earlier generations had their own heroes, I know. John Wayne, Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, so many great actors that I’m sure would bring back a rush of nostalgia to my elders. Those that ain’t in the ground yet, because I’m already getting pretty eld here.
My generation had all of the action stars with their ripped muscles and machine guns and explosions. It’s so easy to see that, and discard the entire decade as crap. Entertaining crap, but crap nevertheless.
But we also had Christopher Walken, and that means something to me.
I’m getting older now, and it’s getting easier for me to be able to look back and see where the high points were while I was growing up, what the major inspirations were that opened my mind to wider horizons, and helped me learn to appreciate how kick ass movies and fiction could be. The movies, books, and people that helped me learn how to really dream big.
It makes me wonder, who do the folks growing up these days see as their inspirations, their grand lions and tigresses of the imagination? Who sets your brain on fire and drives you to write, or draw, or create stories and images, or, yes, parodies while you drive towards your own future?
Who out there is peeling your brain open like a crazed man with a rusty can opener?
Do you have a Christopher Walken of your own? Do you have a true original, a legend that can be so many things, but never predictable?
I really hope so. I do.