Sunday, April 19, 2009

Odd Sidebar:

Sorry, but I'm kind of on a Thomas Jane kick at the moment, so here's yet another post mentioning him. Now, I haven't seen everything he's been in by a long shot. Some of his movies, I'm just not interested in. Others, haven't had a chance yet. But no, I haven't seen everything.

However, I've noticed a few things about the ones I have seen, and one of them sort of disturbs me. He's played suicidal at least three times. And I have to wonder about the mentality required to willingly put a gun to the ol' head while remembering that there's no such thing as an unloaded gun. Just ask Brandon Lee.

Oh, yeah -- here, there be spoilers. Just an FYI for if you haven't seen the example flicks. I can only be so vague, ya know.

In The Mist, David Drayton isn't suicidal until the end, when he had to make such a horrible choice and was stuck living with the results of that choice. While still screaming about what he's done in the name of cold, hard mercy, he puts the revolver into his mouth and pulls the trigger over and over, hoping for just one more bullet. Hard to watch, because you, The Viewer, are sort of hoping for it with him.

In The Punisher, after his "work" is done, Frank Castle just wants to rejoin his family or, at the very least, end his own suffering. He doesn't want the memories anymore, doesn't want the creeping guilt, the blistering, hopeless, futile fury. He just wants peace, and he knows there will be no peace for him as long as he can remember. So he puts the gun under the shelf of his chin and damn near pulls the trigger. You, The Viewer, don't know if you should root for him or reach out and take the gun away from him and hand him another bottle o' sauce.

And in Dreamcatcher -- admittedly not the best movie in his repertoire by a long, long shot, but one of the relatively few I've seen -- Dr. Henry Devlin is suicidal from the start and puts a revolver (gotta love those six-shooters; I discovered just this weekend that I can load and cock one without even looking at it*) to his temple in one of the very first scenes. You, The Viewer, don't know why he's suicidal (unless you've read the book, which is infinitely better), so you don't know whether or not you should root for him. Unfortunately, the scene really doesn't have any impact because of this lack of build-up (which is definitely there in the book), but hey. It introduces the character. Of course, a phone call from a friend stops him, but still...gun to the head. And this one actually goes off, though not into his noggin.

No, this one goes off into his psychiatry degree. Ironic, that. A little heavy-handed, but still kind of amusing. The shrink is suicidal. Har-de-har-har.

Anyway.

I guess my point is that I wonder how, for an actor, it feels to put a gun -- even an empty one or one loaded with blanks (which can still hurt like a bitch or even severely injure) -- to your head? Is an actor so immersed in the character that he only thinks what the character thinks and doesn't question whether or not the unloaded gun is unloaded, if the props crew has done their job right? Or is there a clamoring voice in the back of their mind yammering that Brandon Lee was just supposed to get squibbed, and look what happened to him, idiot, he caught a bad case of dead so put the gun down?

Or is there a little capering demon deep down inside whispering to go ahead and do it, hotshot, pull the trigger and play a little hide-the-bullet, play a little catch-some-dead, play a little Chicken, pull it pull it pull it?

Does his life flash before his eyes as his finger settles on the trigger? Does he have to be just the slightest bit tempted to bring himself to raise the gun in the first place? Does he feel that oh-so-human impulse to lean just a little further over the dropoff, to sniff the noxious fumes, to stop treading water and just sink, to stare down that barrel's cold, unblinking eye?

Meh, it's probably nothing. Probably none of those things. Playing suicidal in a movie is probably as thrilling and dangerous as paying your taxes or brushing your teeth. But it does give me pause. So many people in Hollywood end up pulling their own plugs. I have to wonder....

Heh, kinda makes me want to go for a master's (or hell, go whole hog and shoot for the ol' doctorate) in psychology just so I can use it as my thesis (or dissertation).

Oi. I guess that makes me as mercenary as they are suicidal. Heheh. I really am a cold bitch.

Surprise, surprise. Heh.

* Okay, so it was a toy six-shooter and the "bullets" were foam with suction cups on one end, but it was still a little disturbing how easily and rotely I loaded it up for the kid and cocked it back for him while carrying on a conversation and not even really looking. It's not like it's something I do everyday. Oi.

[EDIT: Oh, and speaking of loading guns for kids, ha ha, the reason I was doing so was because I went to the ol' hometown to see Kristi's newest set of twins. They are suitably precious. I suppose they'll have to do. And while they are identical, I can already tell which one's Willow and which one's Scarlett. And, miraculously, neither of them urked on me.

Thus, I count the weekend a success.]

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