' ' Cinema Romantico: A Mohican Themed Week

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Mohican Themed Week

Miles: "How long have you been into wine?"
Maya: "I started to get serious about seven years ago."
Miles: "What was the bottle that did it?"
Maya: "Eighty-eight Sassicaia."

That is an exchange between Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen from wonderful wine-themed film "Sideways". It makes me smile to hear it not because I too love the Eighty-eight Sassicaia (the what?) but because it makes me think of how a similar exchange might unfold in my life.

"So, Nick, how long have you been into the film de cinema?"
"I started to get serious about fifteen years ago."
"What was the movie that did it?"
"Last of the Mohicans."

I don't recall the precise day I first watched it but I do remember it being sometime in July of 1993. Hence, the month set to descend upon us tomorrow is the 15th Anniversary of the first time I saw my very favorite movie. Yes, it's really been that long.

(Note: Recently Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun Times, in the wake of the 15th Anniversary re-release of Liz Phair's landmark album "Exile in Guyville", chided the celebration by stating the truly important anniversaries are the 10th and 25th, not the 15th. Well, since this blog wasn't in existence during the 10th Anniversary of my first viewing of "Last of the Mohicans" and since I'll be - oh, God - 40 on the 25th Anniversary and therefore 1.) Married and possibly with a kid and/or kids and without time to write this blog or 2.) Selling my soul to write screenplays for a living in L.A. and without time to write this blog or 3.) Exactly where I am now with no changes whatsoever and too depressed to write this blog, well, I'm going to go ahead, Jim-boy, and celebrate the 15th Anniversary.)

Bruce Springsteen saw Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show. Lucinda Williams heard "Highway 61 Revisited". Michael Mann, the writer/director of "Last of the Mohicans", saw "The Joyless Street". Daniel Day Lewis, the star of "Last of the Mohicans", saw, well, let him tell it: "....when 'Mean Streets' came out, I was 16, and you cannot imagine the effect it had on me, a young and slightly wayward guy from south V C London. It was like a light going on in my head. It was so influential for me as a young person."

Sixteen, he said! I was sixteen when I saw "Last of the Mohicans"! Do you see the parallels?! Do you appreciate the irony of this?!

You cannot imagine the effect "Last of the Mohicans" had on me, Daniel, a young and slightly wayward guy from Waukee, Iowa! It was a light going on in my head! It was so influential on me as a young person!

Neko Case had Bessie Griffin and The Gospel Pearls. But let her explain: "'Swing Down Sweet Chariot' (was) the most influential album of my life. It made me want to be a singer, and I thought it would surely make anyone else who heard it feel that way too. I'd never heard anything so passionate. It crushed the thin brittle strains of the 'Bringing in the Sheaves' of my memory under its thundering joyous wheels. There was nothing ironic or tacky about it. I didn't believe in God, and thought religion in general had no redeeming value, but those ladies convinced me I was too mortal to think that I could know for sure, no matter how punk rock I thought I was."

That! All of that! That's how I felt the first time after I saw "Last of the Mohicans"! I'd never seen anything so passionate! There was nothing ironic or tacky about it and it was the closest, at that point in my life, I'd come to seeing and knowing God.

Oh, but here I am using the words of others to try and explain how I feel and that's wrong. Dead wrong. I've got a whole lot to say on my favorite movie myself, though don't think I'm about to go and pour my guts out on this post. No, no, no, one post would not do, my friends. Thus, Cinema Romantico is declaring this to be Mohican Week! So strap yourself in and check back each day! I assure you, the fun's just beginning!


Rory Larry said...

All evidence says the film came out wide release in September of 1992. Did you not see it in the theater? Was it still playing a year later? I'm confused, of course I was 11 or 12 at the time so please don't hold my youth against me.

Nick Prigge said...

I did not see it in the theater. I know my parents did but they did not take their son with them. This, of course, means I have yet to see my favorite movie on the big screen.

Which might be a good thing. Could my heart take it? I'm not sure.