Thursday, September 15, 2011

Movie and Beer

Tonight was a joy for me. I love films about travel. I also enjoy trying new beers from around the world. Throw in my popcorn-and-crumbled-Doritos snack (served in a red-striped cardboard popcorn box) and I'm pretty much satisfied.
I selected a film I've seen before, but the beer was new. The Darjeeling Limited is one of my favorite Wes Anderson films and I think it's appropriate to the adventure theme here. Let's face it, for many people in our times the closest thing they have to adventure is travel. I'm not talking about the tourism brand of an itinerary planned down to every fifteen minutes, get the tee shirt, visit all the postcard spots and race home. Travel in my lexicon of experiences means getting yourself somewhere and just going with your personal flow once there. Nothing wrong with having an objective or even a shopping list of things to see, but when I travel I prefer to have plenty of time off the beaten path or to just kick back and soak it all in. I like to think while I'm there. This is why I enjoy travel movies, especially this one by Wes Anderson.
Essentially, you have three brothers who've agreed to meet in India on some quest undisclosed by the brother who planned it all. Turns out they are on this journey to get closer and find their estranged mother. Their father has died not long before the trip so they're still dealing with that between themselves. For me, it's what's between themselves that often has me laughing out loud. As they ride the train, we are introduced to their individual quirks and conflicts. The oldest brother plans incessantly, dictates actions and orders the food for all. The next oldest seems to have an existential problem regarding fatherhood, reflected in his fetish for their father's personal effects (which keep turning up to the ire of the others) and in his self doubt as a husband and potential father. The youngest is the romantic, looking for validation as an author of a story about down-to-earth love even as his passions lead him into a tryst certainly exemplary of his romantic less-than-down-to-earth nature. Interestingly, it is all this that actually points to their living mother as the ghost who haunts them more than their dead father. The oldest is just like her, the next oldest's self-doubts may reflect his fear of not being adequate to his wife, a la reflective of inadequacy in the eyes of his mother (which may be yet another reflection, this one of the father who was likely inadequate to his wife, their mother); and the youngest seeking to replace the absence of his mother's nurturing love with physical trysts in which he hopes to bury his feelings of inadequacy. You're asking yourself, 'And this movie is funny?' Hell yes, I laugh out loud through much of it. Such layers are adventures within themselves. Ultimately, the brothers find their mother and she sets them straight. They achieve what they set out to, and they are really brothers again, shedding the baggage of their father. Literally.
The humor in this film is dry, my favorite. The locations are where they're supposed to be. The first friggin' place I ever wanted to travel to and have yet to get to is India. I have spent time in Pakistan, but it ain't the same, folks. At least, not in my experienced-traveler-yet-idealized vision. I envy everyone who worked on this film who got to travel. It's the sort of film during which I don't keep track of the time. I just roll with it and enjoy the experience. Having seen a fair chunk of the world, I watch a movie like this and it takes my mind to places I've seen, from trains or windows or airplanes. Little quaint things please me, like Adrien Brody talking about how nice one place smells, or the girl on the train bringing sweet lime drinks. I love lime drinks. The soup served in one scene makes me think of some good Indian food I once had in Khartoum. Anyway, travel films take me to exotic locales and inspire me. New destinations and new stories come to mind and I forget whatever might have been annoying me before it started. The Darjeeling Limited is one of these films. Not classic in setting, but it is an adventure of three souls who go off to a far land alien to them and find a treasure. That's adventure.
If you've never seen this film, I recommend it with popcorn and crushed Doritos, along with a Lhasa beer. It's actually brewed in Tibet and exported, so the label says. I really enjoyed this brew. No skunky after taste, actually goes down good and smooth. I had two during the movie and am tempted to have a third, but I'll likely save them for hot afternoons.
I'm not sure if I'll make another significant posting before the Lovecraft Festival this weekend, but I will report on it afterward (maybe during), along with photos.

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