dark_towhead (dark_towhead) wrote,

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Becoming Short Round

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I mean, sure, he's a kid, but he knows martial arts and he gets to go on adventures with INDIANA FRICKING JONES! So, tonight: surprise bucket list item leftover from when I was nine has been accomplished. And I also got to win a free movie ticket to boot.

Let me begin again: When I was a kid, Indiana Jones knocked my socks off. Raiders of the Lost Ark remains one of my all time favorite movies. That globe-trotting archaeologist showed up at the perfect time. I was six years old for the first movie, and adventure had a name, and that name (so said the commercials for the sequel that would come three years later) was Indiana Jones. Hell yeah! Raiders had given me nightmares (their faces! Melting!) as well as an adrenaline boost that was better than any sugar high, and a love for exotic adventure that would never be quelled. In short, that movie captured my imagination, and it still fascinates and thrills me (ZOMG. What has two thumbs and saw the IMAX version of Raiders? Yeah. And the adult me got to sit in a theater with a screen as BIG AS MY SIX-YEAR-OLD-SELF'S MEMORY, but that's another story for another time).

Then, when I was nine, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom came along, and it was somehow even more perfect. I would later go through a phase of Temple hate. Kind of like a rebellious teenage years phase, where parents want to kill their kids? Yeah. Like that, only I wasn't stealing cars or setting things on fire, I was just pooh-poohing a movie. Perspective achieved.

Anyway, when that movie came out, and Indy escaped from the club at the very beginning and is saved by a well-placed car with a kid playing wheelman? Well, I had a new hero. Ke Huy Quan, who now goes by Jonathan Ke Quan, would later become the coolest Goony of them all (yes, better than Corey Feldman as Mouth, better even than Chunk; if you disagree get your own blog) but on my little person radar he was the coolest sidekick. Ever.

And when I was nine, I want to be him. Not quite thirty years later, I got to make good on that want. AAAAAAND I nabbed a free ticket to the finest movie chain in Texas (or possibly the world) in the process. All while wearing my work clothes.
So: Alamo Drafthouse (the aforementioned Greatest Cinema Chain) has been "reuniting" the class of 84 this year. That means Buckaroo Banzai and Purple Rain and, yes, Indiana Jones and the motherloving Temple of motherloving Doom. Of course I had to go to Temple. HAD TO. I hadn't seen it on the big screen (and in 35 mm print) since 84, when my folks took me to see it. And bought me the novelization. And . . . Yeah. Moichendizing yadda yadda.

I HAD to go, and go I did. Not just to a movie, we were told. This was a film party quote-along experience. We got rubber snakes and cockroaches and balloons to toss into the air at certain times. We got to chant along with the movie. We got to celebrate the film in a different way than the Alamo Drafthouse is known for (usually, it's silence is platinum, not speak aloud time).

Before the show, they called for volunteers. Three of us. The first guy, was Indy. The second person was Willie ("Be my Willie!" said the organizer, before he quickly amended, "I mean my Willie Scott!") and the third person was Short Round.

I. Was. The. Third. Person.
Yes, standing six feet two inches tall and two hundred pounds. Towering over the Indy-proxy by almost a full head. I was Short Round. (Lifelong bucket list item ACHIEVED!) Our quasi-embarassing task? Be the first to finish Snake Surprise! AND eyeball soup! AND monkey's brains (the former two served in a silver bowl and the last served in a little plastic cup shaped like a smiling monkey). Afterwards, we had to shout KALI-MA! In reality this meal was gummy worms, gummy eyes, some kind of sugar-water solution, followed by red Jell-o served in a fancy cup. BUT DAMMIT I WAS IN IT TO WIN IT!

So, despite the fact that I was wearing a pretty blue button up dress shirt (no tie, I don't do ties for work except in special circumstances) and my dress slacks and my Kohl's dress socks and my black Reebox (my work shoes stay at work, long story) and the others were casual-casual in Ts and jeans, I upended the bowl of soup/snakes and mowed down on the contents before slurp-lathering on the monkey brains, being sure to claw any droppings out of the dish and made a full on show of it. The Indy-proxy tried to prematurely shout Kali-Ma with a mouthful of gummy. He was about as intelligible as some amateur playing godfather with a mouthful of marbles.
I squirreled some gum, filling my cheeks with those critters I couldn't bring myself to swallow right away, cleared my tongue, and thundered KALI-MA in the most intelligible fashion (sounding a bit like Frank Welker's Soundwave from the oooold Transformers cartoon)and was declared the winner. :) Lookit me Ma, I'm a champeen gummeh-gobbler. The audience went nuts (well, they applauded and whooped for me), and I pumped my fists in the air and was (for a moment) transcended from the everyday silly me.

Yeah, I got a free movie pass. AAND I get a copy of the Nintendo Temple game (vintage, baby!). BUT more importantly: for just a single moment, I got to be Short Round. I got to play act in front of a crowd (something I normally enjoy the hell out of), and yeah, I'm thirty-mumble now and not nine, but this still gives me the greatest kick.

Afterward, I sat down to watch the movie. To marvel at this film. Sure, the thing has green screen issues with some of the images. And yes, it's problematic. More than a bit unfair to both the Chinese and the Indian characters by painting them as pulp fiction villains or noble savages (OMG, does Mola Ram owe so much to Boris Karloff!). It paints other religions with weird brushes (Hindu voodoo dolls; really?). I understand this, now, and I can appreciate these facts and frown upon them. Yet, there's a part of me that can overlook these qualities and enjoy the story for its own merits. As a piece of pulp fiction adventure, this movie is a delight. The part of me that is nine and in love with adventure, and a believer in good inevitably triumphing over evil (and really, the food choices were less reflective of actual Indian food—which is fricking awesome, and which I freaking adore—than it is indicative of the EEEEVIL in Pankat Palace) and in courage triumphing over terror was and is impressed.

TL,DL: My night was wonderful.

This entry was originally posted at dreamwidth.org. Comment there or here as you choose!

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