Brazil

Away in a Suburu


Out every night seeing movies, my parents were convinced that was having sex and doing drugs.  They wish!
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Reported on 17th of May, 2013

This should explain pretty much everything you need to know. About everything. After an adolescence of fifteen movies a week (in the small town of Palo Alto of 1983-4, there were three, count ’em three revival houses, showing three films a night, rotating three times a week. I saw them all. As I was out every night, and my parents were convinced that was having sex and doing drugs. They wish! No, really, they did wish. They only let me do it in the vain hope that I was lying and being a normal adolescent, instead, you know, a sinner. They were looking the other way to avoid looking the other way. Probably an entire article in itself, but it actually helps clarify the whole ‘avoiding Christmas’ below. But how to get out of a parenthetical? Hmm….

‘())’? ‘[)]’?

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Anyway, I was driving back from the east coast of the US on a college Christmas break, and didn’t really want to go back home for Christmas, possibly because I was such a disappointment for not being a drug addicted rent boy. Then, the Christmas miracle. It must have been…whatever God the Christians stole Christmas from, because how else to explain the coincidence of seeing an article in the paper? Other than reading the paper, of course. It’s hard to imagine pre-internet, and thus the pre-Google, ‘Get me the hell out of Christmas Story where are they now’, but there it was: a special screening of Brazil.

It's a fake! Which thematically doesn't fit in with the film at all!

It’s a fake! Which thematically doesn’t fit in with the film at all!

You may not remember, but this was not only pre-internet, but pre-video, and if a studio didn’t like a film, they literally shelved it, because it was cheaper than sending it to the lab to make more copies and so on. It happened to Heaven’s Gate, obviously, and it was going to happen to Brazil. Equally obviously it didn’t, but Mr. Terry Gilliam had at the time very sneakily set up a screening for the Los Angeles Film Critics society, who also set up a screening for the general public. You can read all about it in The Battle of Brazil and so on, but I was a footsoldier in that battle. Like any footsoldier, utterly replaceable, but a footsoldier nevertheless. One screening, one time. The problem: it was on Christmas day.

The solution: it was on Christmas day. And so Pagan Christmas was born.

I had to decide. Either risk…I don’t have the energy to fake an end to that sentence. Of course I stayed and watched the film. That so doesn’t count as a decision. It’s the kind of choice that Stephanie Meyer gives her characters. And so, impossibly handsome and inexplicably glittery, I called my parents and patiently explained how my car had broken down, and being that it was Christmas, I couldn’t find a mechanic. Use the day to sell the lie. And so off to the greatest film ever made.

Okay, maybe not the greatest film ever made, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the greatest film ever made. First of all, I was watching it I knowing there was a strong chance I would be one of the only ones in the world who would ever get a chance to see it. Also, let’s think about when it was made. It was 1984, and the best totalitarian regime story they could come up with was, well, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Remember that? Of course not. Because it’s terrible. It was made in 1984. You know, before they made Brazil. I’m not going to talk about Brazil since this is all about me, and I also don’t have the ticket. Although so is everything on this site, so maybe I will. Why not a quick summary?

Brazil: The Take

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Profits!
Robert deNiro shows up with a very memorable screwdriver.
$4.00
The paper disappearance scene.
$8.00
His mom as his girlfriend.
$3.00
The birth of steam-punk. Accept it.
$6.00
The Messerschmitt!
$21.00
Total Profits
$42.00
Losses!
It’s got some messy bits, but it’s a fucking memorable film.
$1.00
Total Losses
$1.00

$41.00

Do I have to go on?

As you know, the studio relented and the film was released and you’ve probably seen it and so on, but it was a formative experience as a moviegoer, which is probably the closest thing I’ll get to a vocation. Two things: I had discovered the joy of being the only one who saw it. This is movie going as bragging rights. Suddenly, it didn’t even matter if I enjoyed the film, only if I saw it, or would be able to say in future I had seen it. It led to a lot of Bloodrayne‘s, It’s Pat‘s and Idiocracy‘s. It is a path of zero regret. It also led to two, avoiding family for Christmas.

It was a Pagan miracle.

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