As I may constantly remind you, I was homeschooled as a child. In place of a social life, I would spend a lot of time with family, or a great deal of time alone entertaining my brain. This was a good time in my life. It was during this time that I think I figured out the very basic fundamentals of who I was.
My sister and I didn’t have a consistent allowance, so we would often collect recycling and turn it into change and turn the change into dollars. We would save it up in empty Mott’s Apple Juice containers and we would usually scrounge together quite a bit of money. It was a fun time. I would look forward to what I would do with the $20 or the however-so-much I had saved. I often walked to the K&B Toy Store on Myrtle Avenue to see what caught my eye. Usually it was one of the Marvel Legends action figures back in the days when Toy Biz had the license.
The other high points in my week were watching or helping my Mom cook dinner, reading books out loud during “class,” and watching movies with my Dad.
There was a Hollywood Video around the corner so we would usually rent about 5 movies per week as part of our routine. Sometimes he would make popcorn on the stove, sometimes not. Sometimes we’d return the movies on time, sometimes not. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we could rent a video game as well to help the time pass by.
I have a theory about why movies are so important to me, but I will save that for when someone else dies.
I saw so many movies during this time and some faces became more familiar than others. Samuel L Jackson. Halle Berry. Harvey Keitel. Angela Bassett. Michael Caine. John Hurt.
I was about 11 or 12 when I saw Alien and Elephant Man for the first time. One of the movies that had the most profound effect on me as a kid was Elephant Man. Around that time I had been developing a fleeting interest in the stranger corners of the human experience, so my Dad rented that one, a few other weirdo movies, and like, Magnolia or some shit like that.
But boy, oh, boy…Elephant Man fucked me up real good. I’ve seen a million things with John Hurt since then but that was the one that took the cake for me.
This is getting long. And it meandered here.
I really, really, really liked John Hurt. Definitely one of the most fun actors to watch. Such a talent and prolific worker. My TOP favorite things he did were Elephant Man, Hellboy, and his turn as The War Doctor.
What I loved about his performances was that he was a moving cocktail of fierceness AND gentleness. There was always something delicate and frail playing with something wry and scrappy. He wasn’t a big guy, but there was just something in his face and voice that sparkled. And other times that something exploded.
But mostly, it was the sparkling thing.
The last thing I saw him in was Jackie, and at the time I didn’t know he was in it. I was overjoyed. It felt like an old friend stopped by to say hey. In his performance, I thought to myself, “This is that magic thing that movie do. This is why I go.”