I saw this great movie “Imaginary Heroes” the other day starring Sigourney Weaver and thought she was extraordinary. It was another extremely dysfunctional family drama along the lines of “The Ice Storm” and “Ordinary People.” Oh, how I love movies that expose the hideous underbelly of family life even when everything on the surface looks all warm and cozy. Hmm, how interesting then that I still hold such fascination for the purely superficial/always harmonious pop culture families like Andy Hardy’s or the Waltons which I was obsessed with in the 1970s (starting just when my parents were getting a divorce—hello? is there a psychoanalyst in the house?). I even wrote and received letters from Olivia Walton and three of the Walton kids back then. But today I’m only interested in stories where the calm veneer of serene family life is ripped away with a jagged butcher knife and that’s what “Imaginary Heroes” is like. It’s also very funny. Not a perfect film, by any means, except for Sigourney’s performance which in a way is almost like a continuation of her Janey character from “The Ice Storm.” The movie has a period feel like the “Ice Storm” and I thought it was supposed to be the 1970s until I saw the cars and people talking on cell phones. Bottom line is that I’d walk through hot coals to see anything that Sigourney Weaver was in, she is one of the most intelligent actresses around. Why doesn’t she make more movies? Because she’s 55 which is 120 in female movie star years?
One of my all-time favorite exchanges occurs towards the end of the movie between Jeff Daniels’ hapless husband Ben Travis and Sigourney’s Sandy Travis—
Ben: I love you.
Sandy: (beat) You gotta be kidding me.
Brilliance! One of my other favorite movie lines that I quote constantly is from another Sigourney Weaver film when she keeps repeating to anyone who will listen, “I’m trying to have a nervous breakdown but no one is letting me!”
Speaking of family strife, Kendall and I got into a big fight tonight but out of what’s left of any semblance of privacy and human decency I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that while the top-level content had something to do with leftovers from our Christmas Eve party, the real content swirled around issues of fear and trust and control on both of our parts. And yes, this blogger is fully capable of the occasional passive aggressive act when he’s residing in the land of fear and panic. I’m also still learning how to live with another adult human being which is near impossible according to my relationship mentor Katharine Hepburn. But I don’t want to give you the impression that Kendall and I fight a lot. Nothing could be further from the truth and yet I keep talking about the reasons Kendall is mad at me. Is this entire blog one giant act of passive aggression? Probably. Kendall and I are also still learning that we can hate each other for a while and that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. It’s always helpful to go through the difficult stuff even though part of me at those times wants to hop a freight car to Walton’s Mountain, Virginia. My biggest lesson in this lifetime is to learn to just open my mouth when I’m uncomfortable about something instead of feeling that I have no right to share my feelings.