When I Lost My Innocence
Being There (Hal Ashby, 1979)
No, it's not what you think. Not exactly. But Being There is the film I associate closely with a turning point in life, the moment at which everything changed. It was shortly after attending a rep house screening of Ashby's whimsical fable with my dearest and closest friend, that said friend died of a mysterious ailment. Out of the blue, touched by the hand of God, whisked away by the whims of fate. And Being There, our final social outing, is the fulcrum on which this out of balance teeter totter rests. I haven't been able to watch the film since, although I bought the DVD in hopes that someday I'd have the courage to do so, yet moments from it remain burned in my memory. The contrast between Peter Sellers' Chance, and his clear-eyed, uncomplicated take on life, and the nest of snakes my own had become is still palpable, as is the idea that a nation's leader could be so swayed by simple homilies and messages of no discernable depth.
And yet, millions more have seen--and claim to love--Forrest Gump. Don't we deserve smarter idiot savants than that?