Oolongs and Zeitgeists

So I watched 2001:A Space Odyssey for the first time yesterday.


I know I was.

A couple of months back, I ran across a list of the 20 most important films. Films like Casablanca and Citizen Cane. Films by Kirosowa and Antonioni. I was shocked at how few of them I recognized, let alone seen, so I queued them up on my Netflix and summarily forgot about them.

Yet as I was reading the list , I came across several that I should absolutely have seen and for whatever reason, just hadn't.

I won't share with you all of them, but most shocking was that I had never seen Kubrick's Space Odyssey

I'd seen pieces.

I got all of the references. I knew who HAL was and why he wouldn't open the pod bay doors, but I'd never sat still for the entire three hours and watch the damn thing.

And now that's done.

And I will never have to do it again.

I never had to do it in the first place, but one has to do something in between naps.

The movie did, however, give me a lot of time to think. A lot of time to ponder each scene. To take in everything from the direction of the narrative to the hand stitching on the leather seats in the passenger section of PanAm's flight to the moon.

More of a painting than a film. A symphony of space and time about space and time. Kudos to Kubrick for making space as boring as watching me typing this paragraph and then staring off into space and sipping my tea as I wait for the next paragraph to come along.

And then be enthralled when the A/C clicks on.

Way to go A/C!

But what'll happen when the temperature reaches the optimum level?

I can hear it winding down now.

Soon the fan will shut off.

and all that will be left of my experience will be the sound of Calvin killing foes with his wooden sword two doors down and the hum of the refrigerator.

The slight sticky feeling of my bare feet on linoleum and the metallic aftertaste of an over extracted Chinese oolong.

This scene needs more half naked girls and laser beams.

And yet, having experienced one of Kubrick's masterpieces, I kind of wonder if I need to experience any of the other movies that I haven't seen and probably should have.

I mean, we all have lists. Lists of chores, books to read, movies to watch, children to feed. We have our dream lists and our bucket lists and our lists that will make us happy and lists that will make us successful. We have people we have to call, letters to write, emails to send, and pages to like.

We have lists of things that we should stop doing along with lists of things we did stop doing but would secretly start doing again in a heart beat given half the chance.

Smoking, I miss smoking.

God how I miss smoking.

I won't watch Mad Men, even though it sits on the top of the list of TV shows I should watch if and when I watch TV, because I can't sit still and watch people enjoy their cigarettes.

And I do have my tea after all.

So I've got that going for me.

So who's gonna know if I never actually watched "The Seven Samurai?" or the spaghetti remake "The Wild Bunch"?

I did see "The Three Amigos" so I've got all the plot points I need.

And I'll never forget Ernest Borgnine in "The Black Hole" so my references will check out if anyone ever needs me to pass a test.

I know you can't have Pixar without Star Wars and you can't have Star Wars without Howard Hughes, but I don't need to see "Hells Angels" to enjoy a good X-Wing fight.

And doesn't this line of reasoning include all of pop culture?


and No.

I think you do need the Beatles.

But do you need the Rolling Stones?

You absolutely need the Count of Monte Cristo, but you can die just as peacefully without the Man in the Iron Mask.

Hamlet's a must, but the Tempest can rot in eternity with the freshman english teacher that made me read it.

So there you have it.

What pop culture necessity can you live without?

I'll await your answer whilst sipping my tea.

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