My personal Idaho


I am having a very strange experience with My Own Private Idaho at the moment. It's the only thing I have managed to string a sentence together about for the past month or so and I sure didn't expect that upon watching it I'd have these overwhelming and incredibly warm feelings for it as I do now. 

To be honest with you, the whole thing is kind of weird. But, here I am, typing these words for you to read and maybe remind you of the time that you've had a similar experience with art, life - whatever it is that has had such a powerful, undeniable voice that has spoken to you from ever angle, every corner of its being that it is impossible to ignore. Like you've been lost and the right time came along; everything falls into place just as it was meant to. 

And, there it was staring at you in the face.

That's what Idaho did to me. 

I really dig Gus Vant Sant (apart from that God awful Psycho rehash, but we all know, and he knows too, that it is terrible), so going into Idaho, I knew that it would be a good film, but probably just that - a good film. Out of eighty new different flicks I've watched this year so far, it would remain on that list of 'good, but forgettable', despite my admiration for Van Sant's previous work.

Idaho had been a joint I'd wanted to check out for a while, far too long. I even remember the circumstances of watching the film, when I finally got round to it, and though it didn't happen long ago, I'm usually forgetful on places - where I've read something, what cinema I went to. Unless it is a meaningful experience, that is. 



Idaho had been a joint I'd wanted to check out for a while. I liked the idea, the fact it seemed to be an unusual and new take on the Shakespearian language, and of course the man behind the camera. 

The funny thing is I have a great memory that has served me well, recalling insignificant events at an inhuman speedy pace, reeling bits and pieces of things said, things done, that could have been from years ago - but not when it comes to art. When you've consumed so much over the years from all different mediums, it gets chucked into a blender and is mixed around so much that it is all one in the same; only the exceptions don't get lost in the mess, they're the ones that I remember and hold dear to my soul. 

Oh, with Idaho I recalled every single detail. That's when I knew something was up in the movie cosmos, change was happening and it was all taking place right in front of me; blissfully unaware until the final credits.

I still don't know what the significance of Idaho's affect on me is, but I know that the experience of watching has shaken me; reminded me what it is like to have this sort of messed-up-but-totally-awesome feeling about something art related. 



Watching Idaho very much felt like an outer body experience. All of Mike's feelings, all his thoughts; that absolutely gut-wrenching (and in my eyes, one of the most beautiful moments I've read, watched or listened to) campfire scene played out as if I were experiencing these painful moments, too. Whatever Mike did, whatever Mike was about to do, I was right there with him, (no matter how off-putting and kind of cliché that sounds).

The film does so much without even trying. It’s a lavish, surrealist dream-scape; an exploration into River Phoenix’s heart-breaking portrayal as Mike, a discovery of new worlds and the shattering of others. It's a story of unrequited loved. It's a story of the  complex father/son relationship. It's a story of a lost young kid trying to find his mother. It's a story of a deep, binding friendship. Idaho is just about everything you could ever want it to be, at least it was for me. 

Don't get me started on the Shakespearean language, too. So well done that it doesn't bog the film down, it lifts it up; it highlights the complex relationship between Scott and Bob in a way that no other style of the English language could, and shows once again how expressive and brilliant Shakespeare's language is (his poetry is so overrated though, but let's not speak of that, we're all about positive vibes here).



The name even has something about it. My Own Private Idaho. It feels like this film was made for me and me alone. I am sure others feel the same way about this film, or anything else they have a strong connection too, whether if it is art related or not. 

Most of us have at least something that has a special place, more than anyone could understand and it's always a struggle to formulate that into words; letting  someone see a deeply personal side of you through a fictional platform. 

And that's what I just did - try to gather up these buzzing thoughts and express them into words.

It was real fucking hard, too. 


7 comments

  1. Very interesting.

    I don't believe I've ever seen any of Van Sant's work, a bit gap in my cinematic knowledge for sure. I really should remedy that.

    Anyway, great post, you're very prolific!

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  2. I never see this one before. I'm adding this to my list then. Thanks for the follow up from my post :) I like it when people post their favorite movies that has a big influence on them. Keep writing!

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  3. @ Jack L. - Thank you! Yeah, Van Sant is definitely one to check out, man. I am a little bit (well, that's an understatement)wary of his new film Restless as no matter how much I like him and how much I like Mia Wasikowska, the trailer just looks like your average run-of-the-mill coming of age story...and both of them are better than that.

    @ Andina - Thank you Adina! I actually quite enjoyed writing about Idaho this way. I feel I couldn't go deeper than how I feel about this film, in the way that I have done with my other articles so far. And I will keep writing!

    You should definitely add it for your 'to watch' list! Glad to know it's going on there! Thanks again, too.

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  4. I've not only not seen this - I've also never heard of it. But you wrote such beautiful things about it, that I really need to see it...

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  5. Aw thank you! That really means a lot, man. It really does. I've never considered anything I write to be beautiful, but for someone to say that is an amazing compliment, so thank you so much!

    Don't worry about having not heard of it! Half, if not most, of the films you blog about makes me feel so uneducated in Indian and Bollywood cinema that I need to turn this around, pronto. One of the many reasons why I followed your awesome blog in the first place!

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  6. I'm about to go watch the film, so all these nice words are making me even more confident about it! Oh, and I love Van Sant too, he's one of my favorite directors.
    And thanks for mentioning me and my project, that's really kind of you!

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  7. Gah, I might have overhyped it too much now, dammit! I really hope you like it, (and I have no doubts in my mind that you won't like it!)

    And you're very welcome! We're both new to this blogging on blogspot/wordpress biz, and I feel now a kind of duty to link to other blogs and people when I can! (Plus your project is too awesome, not to mention it). We all have films we haven't seen that we probably know we should have.

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