[January, 1989] Ahnuld: A Love Story
On Friday I went to see the movie Twins with my parents. It was so much fun. We got pop-corn an ice cream and we played video games.
I had a real blast.
Me and Nisa are now as close as we were.
Rose and me sort of had a fight. We are still ok friends though I guess.
I just hope she does not get her mother involved in this.
The first movie my parents took me to see when we immigrated to America in 1982 was Splash. I fell in love with movies then and there. (I also decided I wanted to be a mermaid, despite the inconvenience in modern New York, especially when shady characters played by Eugene Levy were hunting you.) To this day, going to the movies is a treat for me, from the snacks to the previews to the hush that falls upon the audience when the opening credits roll.
Growing up, going to the movies was one of the main ways my parents and I bonded. We were amazed by the scenes that unfolded before us in darkened theaters and amazed by the snack counters. Much in the same way Beefsteak Charlie’s taught us eating unlimited plates of shrimp was okay, movie theaters taught us that gorging ourselves on tubs of popcorn and sodas the size of my torso was perfectly acceptable. It was the American way.
While I was quick to segue from my movie outing to my latest trouble with Nisa and Emily, let’s forget the friend drama for a moment and talk real drama. Let’s talk Arnold.
Most people who know me are surprised to find that I have a deep affection for the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ask about my favorite films and I’ll mention a string of foreign/indie/arty/classic titles. But no matter how much of a film snob I become when discussing Felinni, Lynch, or Lubitch, the mere mention of an Arnold movie will make me light up with a different kind of enthusiasm.
I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always had a soft spot for this Austrian body-builder-turned-actor-turned-politician. Maybe because he was also Eastern European, and showed us how much an immigrant can accomplish in America. More likely, it was the fact that movies like Commando and Pretador were sheer thrill rides, but then he could turn his intimidating physique into a vehicle for comedy in movies like Twins and Kindergarten Cop. Sometimes the action and humor blended seamlessly and you got a movie like True Lies.
Generally, I prefer Arnold in the more dramatic roles, like the Terminator films and Total Recall. I didn’t even mind Eraser much (especially when a panicked Vanessa Williams scolds Arnold for being late in the middle of a shootout and he deadpans, “Traffic”). There’s something about his big hulking form and thick accent that I find thoroughly endearing. Watching him on film, Arnold has a vaguely bewildered air to him. As if he isn’t sure how he ended up a movie set, but decides early on that he is going to kick as much ass as possible while he’s there. And he does.
I haven’t kept up with his career as governor, but I have to admit I miss seeing the big lug on the big screen. Today’s blockbusters star special effects more than they do action heroes. Arnold was a true action icon. Despite his sense of humor, he still packed some serious muscle and authority. When he screams “GET TO DA CHOPPA!!!” you better listen.