Have you ever watched a movie that made you feel something? And I don’t mean just thinking, “Oh, that was a good movie,” or “Eh, that one didn’t do much for me.” I mean, really, deeply, made you feel something, something that maybe helped you realize something about yourself?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I re-watched Baz Luhrmann’s wonderful “Moulin Rouge!” recently and it is a movie that always gets me.
But wait a second. I’m the guy who writes about action movies, right? I write about underwater zombies and how terrible an actress Denise Richards is and, you know, silly stuff, right? What am I doing writing about a musical all of a sudden?
In short, I’m writing about Moulin Rouge because it speaks to me. It moves me profoundly, and it always makes me think about my life. It makes me think about where I am in my life, what I’ve accomplished, what I could have done but didn’t.
Ok, before I go any further I’m going to give you a little background on me. This is going to be more personal than I’ve gotten on any of my other posts, so if you don’t want to read about the life details of some guy on the internet who is more than likely a complete stranger, I understand. I just kind of need to spill my guts here, so bear with me.
I’ve always been a bit of a loner. I don’t really make friends that easily, so I’m the kind of person who prefers to have a few really close relationships than a lot of more casual ones. I’m kind of an extreme introvert. Social situations make me nervous. I’ve never been good with big groups of people, I always feel uncomfortable and out of place. I’d rather be at home with a cup of tea and a good book or hanging out with a really close group of friends than be at, I don’t know, a really crowded party or nightclub or something. That kind of setting just doesn’t appeal to me. To be brutally honest, it scares the hell out of me.
In college, I was the guy who stayed in his dorm room on the night of all the big school dances and such and watched Resident Evil movies and ate ice cream. Seriously, I did this. I was that guy. College was a challenge for me because I’ve never been good at meeting new people, I always feel like I make things awkward because I’m not good at talking to people I don’t know. I made lots of good friends in college, and I value their friendship enormously, but there were a lot of wasted opportunities on my part.
Girls, for example. I went to a college that was at least two-thirds female (it may have been more, I forget the exact ratio), so you’d think that I’d have a decent chance. But I wasted it. I completely wasted it. People kept telling me that I had to just put myself out there, and I never did. I just…couldn’t.
I had a huge crush on this girl who lived in my dorm freshman year. She was the prettiest dark-haired girl I ever saw. I talked to her maybe twice. Maybe three times. I did get to open the front door to the dorm for her once when she couldn’t find her keys, and that made me feel gentlemanly, and she knew my name, which was nice, but I never made the effort to really get to know her. I wanted to. I wanted to so badly, but I didn’t. I let my fear and my nervousness get the better of me, as I have all my life. A girl that pretty, you just know other guys had their eye on her too. And then she transferred to another college after freshman year, and I never saw her again. Probably never will.
I spent all four of my college years thinking “Hey, it’s all good, you might meet someone, you never know, it’ll be fine,” and guess what? It’s now almost two years since I graduated from college, and I haven’t even managed to get a job that’s anything more than just temporary.
I’ve never even dated. Not once. I barely even talked to girls in college. I feel like some Neanderthal because I still have no idea how to talk to women my age. I just never tried. And now I’m living at home and nothing seems like it’s going to change. I’m 24 years old and I’ve never even kissed a girl. And I want to. So much. I keep seeing people I knew in college announcing on Facebook that they just got engaged, and I’m happy for them but every post I see like that just serves as a reminder that for me, that level of intimacy is still just an idea. Some intangible, mysterious and completely unobtainable idea. Something that, for me, is so far out of reach it might as well be in another galaxy.
And it’s not just physical, my desire for that sort of intimacy. I mean, let’s face it, I’m a guy, there are physical impulses at work here, I won’t deny it. But what I really want is that sense of connection with another human being. That feeling of one soul in two bodies.
And that is what Moulin Rouge makes me feel. It makes me feel like it’s possible. Like the beautiful courtesan and the penniless writer can fall in love. The list of things that make me feel this way is pretty small. Moulin Rouge did it. Hunger Games did it. A book called “Divergent” by Veronica Roth did it. There are maybe a few others, but those are the ones that immediately pop into my head whenever I think about this.
I guess this is all part of why I love movies so much. I read a lot of books and I play my fair share of video games too, don’t get me wrong. But what I’m driving at is that I haven’t found that unobtainable level of intimacy in real life yet, so I look for it in fiction. And isn’t that what stories are really all about? Experiencing things you more than likely wouldn’t get to do in real life, like blowing up the Death Star or traveling through time? For me, I just hope that falling in love won’t remain one of those things that exist purely in the realm of fantasy.
For any of my family and friends who may read this, I would just like to say that in no way is anything I’ve written here meant to reflect badly on any of you. I love and cherish each of you, and any of my personal failings I’ve described here are entirely my own.
Well, there it is. I spilled my guts on the internet. I never really intended to get this personal when I started blogging. But deciding to write about Moulin Rouge brought with it all of these feelings, and it didn’t seem right to just ignore them. And it helps to get them all out, you know? Writing is good therapy. I’ve had all of this bottled up in my head for so long, it really helps me to be able to just step back and look at it. I’ve never been very good at expressing my feelings vocally, my own mom has told me I’m a hard person to read, so hopefully I managed to express myself in writing just a bit more eloquently. Feel free to psychoanalyze me if you want, and if you want to ignore this post entirely that’s fine too. Maybe I’ll follow this up by writing about something light and happy, like a Pixar movie. That would be nice.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a movie to watch.