Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turning my back on a couple of biggies

Summary: For the first time in almost 30 years, I'm going to miss the opening of a major new release. I'll be traveling when Steven Spielberg and George Lucas bring "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" to a theater near you, possibly to every theater near you. To further add to my movie isolation, I'll still be on the road when "Sex and the City: The Movie" opens later this month.

I'll be away from the movie scene until June 1, but don't feel sorry for me. I'll be traveling in Tuscany, where for the bulk of the time I'll be languishing on Italy's largest remaining intact estate, eating immoderately but joyously and luxuriating in the Merchant/Ivory surroundings. I'll be in the heart of the country where uptight Englishmen -- in an array of greater and lesser novels -- traditionally traveled to loosen the bonds of a restrictive culture.

As I traverse the mountains above the walled-city of Lucca -- keeping an eye out for wild bore -- I'll think of you folks and even blog a bit.

That's one of the joys of no longer working for a daily paper. I don't have to fret about missing something. I'll catch up when I return, and for once, I'll be able to take a look at a couple of major movies apart from the hype machine that surrounds their release. By the time I see it, "Indiana Jones" will be yesterday's news, having been shown to the U.S. press, to the multitudes at Cannes and to an eager public.

Let me digress. Last Sunday afternoon, I happened to stumble upon a TV showing of "Saving Private Ryan." Watching the gripping landing sequence at Omaha Beach, I again was reminded again of what a great filmmaker Spielberg can be. That sequence remains one of the most harrowing I've ever seen. Of course, "Indiana Jones'' puts Spielberg back into the campy world of junk culture that spawned the series in the first place. We'll see how it goes -- or, more precisely, you will. By all means, don't wait for me: Post comments, and watch for reports about my adventures as I transport my sour disposition to sunny (I hope) Italy.

I should, of course be looking forward to this trip. I've been to Tuscany a couple of times, and I've always enjoyed myself. But there's one hitch: To get to Italy, you have to fly. You have to submit yourself to the discomforts of a trans-Atlantic flight. We can't afford business class and upgrading with mileage has become about as difficult as finding gas under $3.00 a gallon. One prays to be spared mewling infants, unruly toddlers and those who insist on reclining their seats so far back that you feel as though you've been jammed inside a waffle iron. The air aboard the average plane can be awful, and the service sometimes seems tainted by an unmistakable odor of misanthropy. I hope experience proves me wrong.

Still, I'll soldier on as best I can, venting when the need arises. All in all, I'm looking forward to sampling life away from the movie fast lane, and am headed to what may be the best place in the world to do it.

No comments: