Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The new guy playing Superman has the same cast about his face as C. Reeves, in that they both look(ed) simian/outsize/gargoyle-like. Their features are really big and frankly not always handsome. The times when all the bits and angles and protuberances work together, though? Preternaturally beautiful. Oversized.

Superman was the first movie I got to know--by seeing it a lot, I mean. The Sound of Music was the first movie I ever remember seeing twice, and of course I got to know the (opening parts of, until I had to go to bed) of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Wizard of Oz when I was a kid by seeing them once a year, but Superman was the first film I saw over and over. This was because it one of the few movies there was to play on "cable" in Columbus, Ohio in the very early 1980s (just like there were about three videos to show on the pre-MTV shows/stations--always The Shoes, Split Enz, and Van Halen). The system was called "QUBE" and was actually quite avante-garde in that Columbus way (Cols = test market capital). It featured a response box with all these buttons you could push to play interactive shows and such. I think we had The Movie Channel (?), and they played Superman over and over and over...I saw it a lot. I haven't thought about it much but maybe that played into my later urges to always re-watch/re-read/re-visit movies and books I love, over and over? Except...I didn't think I loved the movie, quite, at the time. It wasn't that kind of urge. Not to mention it was still connected to a world of movies that wasn't that in our control (no VCRs quite yet, etc.). Movies were still Bigger. But I remember having strong reactions to CReeve's beautiful ape-like face, the cleverness of Lex Luthor commandeering the NY underground for his lair, the weird sadness of it all when Lois died, the weird weirdness of Margot Kidder (that casting was significant). Miss Tessmacher. The quiet before you hear the sound of the earth starting to whip back around in time. I don't have gargantuan soppy feelings about the Superman mystique, but it was a fairly formative film, no way around it.

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