For my viewing pleasureBy Wade Kwon
I donâ€™t tend to revisit movies.
I donâ€™t put them on in the background while Iâ€™m working. I donâ€™t watch them over and over and hardly ever see the same once twice in the theaters. I rarely buy them on DVD.
But I do reserve one category of movies for repeat viewings: 2 a.m. movies.
Iâ€™m a night owl. I hate mornings and do my best work at night (no sleazy single entendre intended).
And by night, I mean the wee hours. Past midnight.
Itâ€™s time for jazz. Or if I want a movie, one that moves quietly, wistfully.
Maybe I call them â€œ2 a.m. moviesâ€ because thatâ€™s when I first saw them. I canâ€™t remember. Maybe they popped up on HBO or some local channelâ€™s late-night flick. Itâ€™s how I describe their feel.
They put me at ease, like I am when all is still, save for the humming of the refrigerator or the crickets or the air vents. Iâ€™m up, alone, puttering around.
â€œRunning on Emptyâ€ is about a family on the lam from the FBI. Everywhere they go, new names, new identities, new lies, all because the parents participated in a campus bombing in the 1960s that killed a bystander.
River Phoenix plays the older son, torn between loyalty to his family and the promise of a life playing music, settling down and finding love. Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch play his protective parents.
Itâ€™s simply an amazing movie, mostly talking. I could be watching it right now.
I could watch it in the middle of the afternoon, but it wouldnâ€™t feel the same. Donâ€™t know why.
â€œGilbert Grapeâ€ is another troubled family with the opposite problem. Johnny Depp plays the title character, trapped in a family he feels is both freakish and stifling, and a small town where little ever changes. Leonardo DiCaprio plays his mentally retarded younger brother who requires Gilbertâ€™s frequent supervision.
Itâ€™s an underrated little film, and itâ€™s the only Juliette Lewis performance (as the visiting teen who courts Gilbert, or vice versa) I can stomach. Someday, I must read the novel of the same title.
Again, a lot of talking. If things happen in the movie, they happen with little fanfare.
I didnâ€™t see these movies when they came out (1988 and 1993); my discovery of them came years later, by happy accident.
Fortunately for me, they found life in many reruns on television.
Once is usually enough for me. But at 2 a.m., some dreams are worth another look.