Science Fiction Escapes Me

Must be my age. For the most part I can’t get into science fiction. I’m old-fashioned enough that I love to watch the development of a multi-faceted character or be surprised by believable twists and turns in a superior plot. So for me, most science fiction just doesn’t cut it. I find myself trying to believe in a universe with bizarre characters that seem to act pretty human. That in itself is unbelievable. And if that’s the case, why not make a movie with humans and focus on the story rather than try to dress it up to make it interesting? Do you need something outrageous in order to hold the audience’s attention? Maybe so. Maybe we’re back to the generational differences and what we were raised with.

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I have no idea who the character in that photo is supposed to be or even if it possessed human-like characteristics; I’m just using it as an example. But if I went to a movie where this animal saved the world from destruction and rescued the leading lady, I’d come out of the theatre feeling like I’d wasted my money.

I haven’t seen “The Shape of Water” and I know it’s supposed to be a beautiful movie, but I will probably never see it because the idea of someone falling in love with an aquatic creature is ever so slightly incredible. If the idea is to tell a great love story about two misfits in the world, then I ask again, why can’t that be done with regular characters and a damn good plot?

I remember a boyfriend I had in college taking me to see the first “Star Wars.” I’ve never seen another one. Of course, we were on the verge of breaking up so anything he liked, I didn’t, but putting that aside, he thought the movie was the best thing to come out since sliced bread. I thought it was cowboys and Indians in space and totally unbelievable. You knew from the very beginning how the story would end and that nothing would be very surprising.

Having said all that, I loved ET. Go figure.

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I never got into science fiction novels either. I had a cousin who once sent me a box of science fiction books and after slogging my way through a couple of them, I ended up tossing them out because I couldn’t force myself to finish them. I guess it boils down to personal preference and is just another illustration of how different we all are. For those of you who love the genre, I say, “Go for it.” I’ll stick with mystery and fiction.

 

Then … and Now

Back in my dancing days, I had several opportunities to meet some pretty big stars. I was exhilarated, thrilled that a small-town Texas girl could be in a position to meet famous people and, of course, I wanted a photo with every one of them to commemorate the moment. I’m glad I did because looking at me now, you’d never suspect that show business side of me and it makes for wonderful conversation.

One of my photos, taken backstage at “Casino de Paris” in Las Vegas, is probably my favorite. It was during the show that we all noticed Cary Grant sitting in the King’s Row booth center stage. I was told he held stock in the hotel and was a friend of our comedian and frequently showed up but it was the first time I’d seen him in the audience.

After the show, word spread fast that he was backstage and in our comedian’s dressing room. Everyone dawdled, wasting time that would normally see us racing to the coffee shop for a bite to eat. Someone even called the camera girl to come backstage so those who were lucky enough to be there when he came out could perhaps persuade him to take a photo or two. Finally, I was dared (and of course took it) to knock on the dressing room door and ask if a few of us could get a picture.┬áHe couldn’t have been kinder. When he came out, cast members lined up for a photo and he stood there and humored each and every one of us.

Cary Grant

Think the story stops there? Of course not. A little over a dozen years later, I had retired from dancing and was working in a law firm. I wanted to put at least one something in the office that would remind me of the career I’d had for 13 years that had provided me with tons of great memories and dozens of great stories. I chose to frame my photo with Cary Grant and put it on the bookshelf across from my desk.

How ironic that when I put something up to make me think I wasn’t the has-been I sometimes felt like, a younger co-worker walked in one day, examined the photo carefully, then turned to me and said, “Very nice. Is that your boyfriend?” Incredulous, I said, “Cary Grant?” She shook her head with incomprehension and asked me if he was famous. I mentioned several movies – North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief, Charade, Houseboat, Father Goose – and to my utter amazement, she didn’t know any of them.

Nothing like a younger generation to put things in perspective, is it?