In response to the writing prompt—At the Movies—by the Writer’s Block Party this past weekend, I watched and wrote about the 2018 film, Kodachrome.
The premise is simple, as it is in the best films and it sets up quickly: A world-class photographer who chose his career over his family is dying and wants to spend his last days with his 40-year-old son. Except his son hates him and couldn’t care less if his father dies or not. The photographer bribes his son to drive him across the country to hand-deliver some old Kodachrome film to the last place in the world that develops it. Zoey, the old man’s dedicated nurse, a beautiful woman with her own inner turmoil goes with them.
The son promises this is not going to be some bullshit redemption story and I believe it because the old man is a colossal bastard.
Three is a dangers number when it comes to people. No matter how things shake up, it’s always some variation of two against one.
I get lost in the movie and love what it says about music and photography as they weave throughout the story in a way that is almost unbearably beautiful. How we are all so frightened by time and the eventual disappearance of everything we love and so we try to capture it in a picture or a song, to make it last forever. I love what it says about the choices we make in life and the joy and the pain that comes from those choices.
Halfway through, it is delivering on the four things I ask of a good movie (or a good book, for that matter). One: It makes me laugh out loud.
Two: It makes me cry—this is a big one because I rarely cry in my real life, if it weren’t for good books and good movies, I wouldn’t get that release … at all.
Three: A good movie has some sexual tension to it, not overt, not in your face, but present like a good rock song playing in the background.
As I watch, I think of someone who would appreciate this movie as I do. I pick up my phone and I put it back down. I pick it up and put it down again. I pick it up a third time and tap out at text: I know we agreed not to contact each other, but I am watching a movie that you would love. It’s called Kodachrome. It’s on Netflix. Enjoy!
I get back to the movie and it continues to work its magic. After it’s over, I lie in the dark and think about it as a song from the soundtrack loops through my mind.
That’s the fourth, and most important thing that makes a good movie for me: it makes me think. I will think about this movie for days. And I will watch it again in a month or two and see all kinds of things I didn’t see the first time.
My phone lights up with an incoming text: Thanks, David. I’m sitting here watching this movie, ugly crying.
She is hesitant to watch movies that make her cry but she’s always glad she watched them after the fact.
I text back: Sorry. I should have warned you tears would be involved.
She responses: No, thank you, for real. It’s a beautiful movie. I love it. And that line describing art: “Human nature made tangible.” Damn, that’s perfect. Thanks again. Have a good night.
I send back: You too. Glad you enjoyed it.
I see the dancing bubbles on the phone. She’s writing something else. Then the bubbles stop, and she’s apparently thought better of what she was writing and deleted it because that third text … never arrives.