Wednesday, the line-up for the 2011 Heartland Film Festival was announced. I bought my Fest Pass and am counting down the days until my return to Indy.
For those of you who don’t know me well, I’m a Movie Whore. I love movies, love the experience of movies, love popcorn and Diet Cokes and sticky floors. In fact, movies are probably second only to books in my Love of All Things. And a book that’s been made into a movie? Be still my heart.
I’m a horrible movie critic. I love them all.
Well, I don’t like the scary ones. I no longer go to the scary ones. After I sat in the second row to watch “Seven” many years ago, I decided that it was no longer necessary for me to try and be brave. And Chris decided it was utterly unnecessary to have to walk me to the bathroom at night for the next six months. I used to think that once I grew up, I’d be able to separate fact from fiction. But I’m 41, and I still can’t do it. Jason still lives at the bottom of the lake, doesn’t he? And Norman still resides at the Bates Motel. Don’t try to tell me otherwise.
I’ve only walked out of one movie in my lifetime (ahem… The Flintstones). I always find something redeeming in them. Sometimes it’s just Matthew McConaughey’s yummy, glistening, ripped, shirtless chest. And really, isn’t that enough for anyone?
I can see a movie again and again. Because my memory for movies is very similar to my memory for books, there’s always something new to discover. Or rediscover.
Movies, well… move me. They really do. The beautiful people, the soundtracks, the anguished close-ups, the funky camera angles… I find every bit of it fascinating and mesmerizing. My life would most certainly be complete if one of my books was someday made into a movie.
And here’s the funny thing — movies make me a better writer. (Much like reading John Irving makes me a better writer.) Seeing a movie is the perfect blend of emotion and intellect. It’s the Secret Sauce of getting in touch with your imagination, with challenging your view of the world. Movies give me permission to unleash the rawest of my naturally raw and overly-sentimental feelings. I’m never embarrassed when I walk out of a movie with red, puffy eyes and snot dripping out of my nose. My kids might be, but I’m not. And they always walk 20 feet ahead of me, anyway — simultaneously being mortified by and denying that they know me.
And Heartland’s movies? They’re, well… moving. (Hence, the “Truly Moving Pictures” moniker.) This particular festival is chock-full of films that make you think, make you feel, make you laugh, make you cry. They challenge the way you look at life; they persuade you to see things from a new perspective. They provide fodder for introspective conversations and cool-theatre-sweater-sharing. They have the power to change you.
Last year — although it was the Heartland’s 19th year — was my first festival experience. I was hooked from the get-go. We attended the black tie awards gala with dear friends, and it was akin to the Academy Awards — Indianapolis style. I’ve already got my outfit picked out for this year’s gala, already have my Beyonce shoes sufficiently scuffed and ready to hit the dance floor. (You know which ones I’m talking about, right, Sarah K.?) We’re taking a limo this year. There’s always that distant possibility of over-imbibing. The gala just happens to coincide with our 17th wedding anniversary. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate. Movies, friends, food, wine, dancing, the love of my life? Sign. Me. Up.
During last year’s 10-day movie run, Chris developed a nasty and altogether inconvenient case of pneumonia. But fear not, friends. I didn’t let his crippling lung infection stop me. Others were worried about his well-being, but I knew he’d be okay. I checked in during my breaks, made sure the kids were fed and bathed via the phone. He’s a trooper, my husband. Being inside public schools for the past twenty years has rendered his immune system utterly indestructible. If there’s a nuclear holocaust, I’m convinced three things will remain: cockroaches, Twinkies, and my beloved.
Although we’re all coming back to Indiana during the festival’s run (because it coincides with the kids’ Fall Break), I’m the only one slated to attend the showings themselves. I made it infinitely clear to Chris that I intend to spend 10-12 hours a day watching movies come hell or high water. Or pneumonia. Anyone can join me. Anyone can come have lunch or dinner with me in between. But I don’t want any responsibilities for kid-running or kid-wrangling while I’m in Indy. My biggest decision will be whether or not to add Milk Duds to my most recent box of popcorn.
It may sound selfish, but sometimes sacrifices must be made in the name of art.
And Junior Mints.